May 8, 2017
Yesterday, we had a study session with the theme “Support for women in Men’s Counselling” as Lesson 2 of Men’s Counselling Lecture Program.
I wrote in my May 4th’s Diary about the problems in existing general supports for women including those provided by the government. I got aware of the problems when I was listening to the voices of women who were involved in domestic violence. In yesterday’s session, I talked about what it should be like the support that can solve the problems.
First, the problems of existing supports for women: Simple separation for protection of women suffering from violence and recommendation of divorce only – without any supportive approach to batterers, restorative support nor continuous livelihood support including mental health and psychosocial care to women after separation and divorce. These force the women to continue their hegira with anxiety. The women are robbed of their human relationship that they had built in office and local society, etc. They are forced to raise their children in isolation, and this can lead to additional problems of abuse and sickness…
Then, we discussed what the support to women should be like to prevent the above-said problems from viewpoint of Men’s Counselling:
Listening to attentively with attitudes of acceptance and sympathy,
Relief from anxiety and fear,
Restorative support, self-reliance support; and
Support to children with single mothers.
But, batterers are not always women in gender. Batterer and victim are often vice versa. The problem is not simply the violence but the power-controlling, the communication and social skills that each person has cultivated in his or her life and the low self-esteem. We have found that, for every person involved, communication with both so-called ‘batterer’ and ‘victim’ can be meaningful for his or her recovery in every different stage of recovery.
Our discussion got hot, and we almost forgot the lunch time. After lunch, one of my friend – she was a client for long years and now a volunteer staff of our Center – spoke with me in a free-talk session with attendees.
She has used our services for almost a decade and overcome various difficulties of couple conflict, separation, divorce, child raising and so on.
She says recently she has come to feel thanks to her ex-husband though she never felt such a feeling when she was married to him and now is able to have events like family dinner including the ex-husband.
Her three children have grown up to be tough-minded persons. They are strong enough to remain calm even when talk about divorce and domestic violence. Such words like ‘painful’ or ‘feel sorry for them’ never suit them, rather sounds ‘rude’ to say so.
Of course, that’s because all the family members have recovered and grown. When they were in the midst of confusion, they were struggling with various problems and agonized, just like other families suffering from psychological harassment and divorce.
The fact that her family has got recovered to what they are now within 10 years may be a proof of effectiveness of our support, providing a wide variety of programs – shelter, group workshop, counselling, Gourmet Night and so on.
I believe the participants to today’s session could share the above thoughts. Today’s discussion was worth listening to, indeed… But, what a pity! - The participants were merely 6 people! In the next room to ours, some famous authorities of women support seemed to be giving lectures about support to DV victims (women). I saw their booklets and some documents…hmm, well…That’s it? How many true things do the real voices of recovered women tell us – in a very different position from the authorities! Our Men’s Counselling is a unique project. We want many people to know it but rarely receive media attention… Anyway, we enjoyed the joyful and fruitful 10 hours of discussion.
This English version is a translation of the original text in Japanese, translated by a consigned translator and not by Michiaki Ajisawa myself.
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