Hi everyone, my name is Megs Shah. I am your host for Chat and Chai with Megs. I am also the founder and CEO of the Parasol Cooperative, a non-profit organization that provides technology, tools, knowledge and services to domestic violence organizations all over the world. So they can do what they do best, protect people.
In this episode, we are going to be talking about all things policy-related when it comes to international policies that affect gender-based violence, as well as US-based policies that affect it. We will talk about what are some of the barriers that these organizations are facing and see if there are any possible solutions. So let's get right to it.
Hi Everyone! Welcome to this episode of Chat and Chai with Megs. We have three amazing guests with us today: Kavita Mehra from Sakhi, we've got Danny Bradley from Madre and Lolly Be who's an amazing individual working with indigenous tribes.
I wanted to introduce what we're going to be doing this time around. We want to talk about policies and how those affect gender-based violence around the world. And so our guests will be talking a little bit about what are their strategies in terms of supporting their organizations or the organizations that are coming to them for information. Then we'll talk about policy in specific of United States and how some of those need to really get moving at this point. So, without further ado, let me get our guests introduced. Kavita that why don't we start with you?
Kavita Mehra (Sakhi for South Asian Women) (01:40):
Hi, I'm the executive director for Sakhi for South Asian women. We work with survivors of gender-based violence who represent the South Asian diaspora here in New York City.
Fantastic. Thanks for being here, Danny?
Danny Bradley (MADRE) (01:56):
Hi. Yes, my name is Danny Bradley. I'm the international justice coordinator at Madre. We are an international feminist human rights organization, working on advocacy, grantmaking and a slew of other things. Alongside our global grassroots partners, we also support women's rights and various issues around the world.
So nice to have you as well. Lolly whenever you’re ready.
Lolly Be (Works with the Native American population) (02:21):
Lolly, I'm an activist, a social worker, survivor and advocate in domestic violence. And I work primarily with the Native American population in the West.
Fantastic. Thank you for being here as well. I am so excited about talking about this topic because this month is as you know, (the women's history month ) and international women's day is coming up. We've got a whole series of historical events that have occurred by women and we're celebrating them this month. And so, you know, I wanted to touch a little bit about, gender-based violence and some of the policies, UN came out with one of the goals of gender equality. And underneath that, we talked a little bit about, the fact that violence against women, whether that's physical, verbal, or otherwise is, pretty prominent. And I'm just wondering Danny, you know, what are some of the statistics you've seen globally? And, you know, how is it that you can have policies that are defined to help with the sustainability goal that the UN has come up with?
Danny Bradley (MADRE) (03:19):
So just to kind of start with the statistics in the past, I think a few months back, the UN came out with a number that globally 243 million women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 have been subjected to some form of sexual or physical violence perpetrated by an intimate partner in the previous 12 months. So basically, not necessarily as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but certainly exacerbated by its calls to help lines have increased fivefold in some countries because of increase in domestic violence. Pretty much as a result of the pandemic in terms of the policy, luckily some countries, at least 48 countries as of September have integrated, prevention and response mechanisms within their COVID response plans and many have some sort of strengthened service capacity for women survivors of violence. But certainly, we know that that's not enough and the numbers are still going up.
Danny Bradley (MADRE) (04:26):
Even before the pandemic, I think it's really important to look at those numbers as well. So at least one out of every three women in the world will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. Most of the hands of an intimate partner and nearly half of all women in the world have experienced psychological violence. So I get to your question of the policy issues. I think first we have to think a little bit about the terminology and that's something that, we've been working a lot on at Madre alongside our partners is what do we mean when we say domestic violence or gender-based violence? First and foremost, you know, our understanding is that domestic violence is only one form of gender based violence. And after a number of assessments that we did at the beginning of the pandemic, it was clear that domestic violence, the term is often conflated with the term intimate partner violence, but a broader lens shows us that DV or domestic violence can really be broader than that.
Danny Bradley (MADRE) (05:32):
So we think of domestic violence as essentially household or family violence. So that absolutely includes things like intimate partner violence, which is probably the most prevalent form of domestic violence. But with this broader lens, we can really think about, violence committed by parents, against children or elder violence, other relatives, or family members living in the same household. And if we do that, if we think of it a little bit broader, we can really start to see different intersections, not only across age and gender, but across different intersections of racial minority, LGBTQ persons, persons with disabilities, indigenous groups, rural communities, all of these things really start to be connected with this broader understanding of domestic violence. And that really defines how the approach should be. You know, in our thinking around this and in the past year with the pandemic, never have we really seen a lot of these different forms, having anything in common.
Danny Bradley (MADRE) (06:39):
So domestic violence can be so-called honor killings in Iraq. They can be, corrective rape in South Africa. If it's committed by someone in the household, abusive domestic workers in the United States, with this understanding of domestic violence, you can really look at everything more holistically, start to take things out of the shadows that have so often been called just private. You know, they're kind of pushed aside that happens in the home. We don't need to worry about it. But with this understanding, you can really start to have concrete policy solutions to address it. You can really start to end stigma and a culture of silence around domestic violence. And this helps grassroots groups, national groups, international groups, really help to really start to address all forms of violence and then offer up policy recommendations to policy makers around the world. So that's kind of a big picture view. I think of how we think of policy change happening here in the U S but also globally.
And I think that's important, you know, you hit on a point that we talked about in our last episode as well, which is, would we define as domestic violence? I think many people have confused domestic violence with just being a physical act of violence. And I think it's a definition that I even admitted last time that I didn't have the right understanding of it when I first learned about it several years ago. So, you know to say that if we can at least all get on the same page in terms of what we mean when we say domestic violence, I think that will make a huge stride towards, as you said, getting to the common ground as far as policy is concerned, organizations around the world, like you, support grassroots organizations in many different countries. I'd love to hear, you know, some of the challenges that they have faced, whether that's funding, whether that's strategies, whether it's outreach, like what have you been hearing and how have you been supporting as Madre, the grassroots movements?
Danny Bradley (MADRE) (08:40):
Yeah, that's a great question. And I think the short answer is that all of those things have impacted the aggressors' groups, unfortunately, in terms of funding, Madre tries to take a really flexible and community-driven approach to our funding. So, we were able to, give a lot of emergency grants to different groups that might've been overlooked by traditional humanitarian funders, which really helped them adapt quickly to what they determined for their community was most important, whether that was funding for better messaging about COVID prevention or domestic violence prevention, whether that was direct services, food, or things like that. Those are really, really crucial to help the groups keep doing the work that they have, the expertise in that they want to keep doing, but may not have the same kind of funding structure that they could in the pandemic.
Danny Bradley (MADRE) (09:38):
I think in terms of some of the more on the ground, things that have been facing is, you know, I guess the reason why we really started thinking about domestic violence, more holistically of Madre was we had some groups say we're ready to go. You know, we've dealt with a crisis situation before we have a plan in place. Um, we've dealt with a health crisis before and we're just going to do those things. They can continue. Other groups really needed to have, practical tools or ideas that could kind of spark a new plan that they could create. So we've been working with a lot of different groups to think through, is it messaging that would help you in this moment? Is it COVID messaging? Is it domestic violence messaging? Is it incorporating men in the conversation so that you can provide strategies for men to have some sort of violence, mitigation, things? How can we help you at this moment?
Danny Bradley (MADRE) (10:35):
I think it is also important that grassroots groups and marginalized groups are given a seat at the table in this moment. So many things coming under the UN don't necessarily give them the right information that they need to really be effective or the right advice from the UN the right approach. I think even just keeping that conversation going with international stakeholders can be really, really crucial. It can feel so far away from grassroots groups, but I think it can really impact them if you know, those stakeholders have a say in their countries and the funding. So it's really, really all connected. But grassroots groups are resilient. They are incredible and inspiring and they have just been able to keep doing this amazing work in the midst of this really tumultuous year.
Yeah. I think, having talked to the team at Sakhi about that, you guys have done a great job of transitioning as well. And I'd like to understand, what are some of those changes that you have incorporated over the last year that are fundamentally different? And how has that really, support services for you or your constituents?
Kavita Mehra (Sakhi for South Asian Women) (11:58):
Yeah, that's a great question. So we're coming up on the one-year anniversary of when we went remote, which was March 12th, and that was a week before shelter in place orders were taken into effect. That was a day before the first COVID death in New York City. Many of us didn't know what we would be facing, but as crisis responders and as essential workers, it was pretty clear that we would have to flex a muscle that we're very comfortable using. And the advocates that work with survivors started to do immediate safety planning. They were on the phone talking about what the impact of shelter in place orders would look like and strategizing around how one could utilize technology and or support services at Sakhi, to be able to support them through their healing process or seek safety. And many of us didn't understand how severe shelter in place orders would impact us in New York.
Kavita Mehra (Sakhi for South Asian Women) (13:01):
It was an extremely scary time for a lot of us the months of the half month of March and into April. What we were seeing was a fluctuation of helpline calls where, um, most survivors were not reaching out to us at that time, which didn't match data, national data trends. We also saw that many of the survivors we work with were experiencing extreme forms of violence, especially extreme forms of sexual violence. And so working with survivors, around their safety planning and really thinking about how to personalize that experience for them to help them cope through those moments was something that was very intentional on our part. We also by May had equipped our team with, personalized cell phones. Everyone already had laptops, but thinking also about wifi hotspots and what's the technology component to ensure that we were doing something that's as analogous to tele-help.
Kavita Mehra (Sakhi for South Asian Women) (13:59):
I'm probably the most impactful and what really has been, coming up the most from the community has been the economic calamity that all of us are trying to navigate through as a result of the pandemic. And we're talking about a population that is still recovering from the 2008, 2009 recession. We're talking about communities who have experienced the economic inequality that the United States has continued to see over the last decade and now has exacerbated as a result of the pandemic. And so we have seen a marked rise in housing insecurity, food insecurity, and utility insecurity , and our team by late March, we had a group that was doing emergency food, grocery delivery. So between the months of March and November, we had distributed close to 18,000 pounds of food, specifically grocery specifically at survivors homes. So it was our version of Fresh Direct.
Kavita Mehra (Sakhi for South Asian Women) (15:02):
We had distributed about $130,000 in emergency cash assistance, recognizing that survivors didn't have enough money to pay their cell phone bills. One of the survivors that we work with, I remember hearing this story and it just gave me chills. The person who was inflicting harm had lost his job and he was looking to cut expenses across the household. And he actually took away her cell phone. So her one lifeline to the outside world, which is a cell phone, was taken away from her at that point in time. And we recognize that these are just dire, extreme circumstances, that none of us know how to navigate through and try to support a survivor. In that situation, we realized our response needed to change as much as well. We created a text option as well as an email option for survivors to reach out to us. I am incredibly proud about is that my colleagues were listening very closely to the complex challenges survivors were experiencing and then crafting a thoughtful way to respond to them. So that we could demonstrate to the community that no matter what to the best of our capacity, our organization will continue to support.
I think that's so important, right? I think it is almost like a snowball effect that's happened since last year where a problem that seemed small has now become so big, that I think we are all scratching our heads, trying to figure out how we're going to figure this out over the next year or two years in terms of recovery. I do want to understand a little bit better in terms of, the indigenous population. Are you seeing certain trends? Like, what are you noticing on the ground when you're talking to survivors?
Lolly Be (Works with the Native American population) (17:00):
Absolutely. So one of the primary concerns with native populations and concerns with survivors of domestic violence is isolation. Yeah, so that I think is one of the largest factors of concern, some of the reservations and nations shut down their borders entirely in order to restrict the likelihood of the pandemic, like continue contaminating their community, but that cut off anybody from any opportunity to leave the situation they were in, if it was unsafe. I think that that compounded that isolation factor there's also, and because a lot of the reservations are very rural. There simply are not domestic violence shelters. There is literally nowhere for someone to go. A lot of the tribal communities have a lack of housing, lack of shelter.
Lolly Be (Works with the Native American population) (17:50):
In like one house, many families are living and most are living usually below the poverty line. There's also a lot of overlap between addiction, which unfortunately has increased with the pandemic and the increase of unemployment. And that results in further violence happening in the home and just a profound lack of resources for anybody to get their own basic needs met. And so I think that is one of the most concerning factors. I think also having a youth, not going to school, was another window into getting support and checking in about how things are happening behind closed doors, back on the reservation. And so I think that, you know, people staying home all the time and not even being able to go in and check the teachers and nurses also further, perpetuated this problem of they're simply not having anywhere to go, not having people to reach out to, and then just being contained and isolated in a situation of violence in the home.
Yeah. I mean, I, I think that's what was so scary last year. Right. And a lot of us have probably the first off that came in. So how are they going to ask for help? Like there, we're all isolated, they're all going to be at home with their abusers. And, you know, this is one of the biggest issues. And in fact that's how we were, we were conceived, right? Like our organization was created primarily because of that. Since evolved from that, but you know, one of the challenges that we have, not just from an economic standpoint, I think that's a very big issue to be solving. I certainly do want to cover that topic on a different episode because there's enough to talking about as far as economic support is concerned. VAWA has been around and it has provided a lot of good funding and a lot of good structure, in terms of support for gender-based violence here in the United States. Covet that as you sort of work with your constituents in New York or otherwise, and sister organizations that you might be working with, how is VAWA not being sort of reissued and confirmed affecting you? Is it affecting you? What are things you're looking forward to having as part of that policy?
Kavita Mehra (Sakhi for South Asian Women) (20:03):
Yeah. So the violence against women act, which was first passed in 1994, it really set the mark in terms of setting the conversation of how gender-based violence needs to be, brought to the forefront of it as a national issue. And what it also opened up was a pool of funding for organizations across the country, including Sakhi. Our transitional housing program, our sexual assault program, our culturally specific work is funded through VAWA and throughout the office of violence against women. And so undoubtedly it has had profound effects and then it's been reauthorized since 1994.
Kavita Mehra (Sakhi for South Asian Women) (20:48):
And it's been at sitting in the Senate for I think about two years now, which is interesting.
No, we can't let it sit in there for two years for something that's important!
Kavita Mehra (Sakhi for South Asian Women) (20:59):
Kavita Mehra (Sakhi for South Asian Women) (21:00):
Right. Well, hopefully with this new administration, things will shift, especially given, president Biden's, historical connection to the violence against women act. You know, I think, there are, it's the all-encompassing, no federal act that essentially allows for us to think about why this issue is so critically important. But it's not the only thing. Right. And especially for individuals who are living layered lives, which is most people in the United States. And so if you are, undocumented, or if you have particular immigration status, or if you know, you are of a particular economic background or class disposition, or if you have a particular identity, where VAWA does not apply to you. And so there are there's other work that's happening.
Kavita Mehra (Sakhi for South Asian Women) (22:06):
One organization that I'd love to lift up through this conversation, which we've recently become really familiar and working closely with this is: Free From. They focus specifically on policy advocacy, economic justice for survivors of gender-based violence and realizing that class mobility class disposition and that experience is part of like, one's a critical component to one's healing journey. So, let's take the stimulus checks. For example, many of the survivors that we work with about, you know, about 25 of them have had their stimulus checks either stolen or are not applicable to receive stimulus checks. So over $35,000 has been stolen from the survivors that we work with. That's $35,000 is a car that's a down payment on a house in certain parts of this country. That's an insane amount of money. Oh, it doesn't cover that survivor that we work with who falls under, the H4 or H1B visa, or H4 AD visa status. They're not protected under this unless they actually call called the police on the person who inflicts harm. And so survivors, many of them who, live with a particular immigration status have to make the difficult choice between calling the police for who could potentially be the father of your children and having a legal paper trail.
Kavita Mehra (Sakhi for South Asian Women) (23:46):
Or living with abuse, because there is no other mechanism. So while I think VAWA is an incredibly important act, I think it is, it has been game-changing for survivors of gender-based violence. It is not all-encompassing and it is, unfortunately, just major gaps, especially when we think about the intersection of, uh, of people's lives.
Yeah. And I think, you know, in reading articles about VAWA, is largely because of those gaps, right? So there are individuals who have raised concerns about the gaps. And one of the large gaps that were there in the original one was for the indigenous people, right? Like here in the United States, we have to find better ways to be able to help them. And I think that's one of the reasons why there's still a lot more discussion to be had. But I'm hoping that some of those gaps and if not, all of them can actually be addressed in this, uh, you know, sort of new confirmation of it. Lolly, as far as the gaps are concerned in the policy, how familiar are you with them?
And then also, what are you noticing from, from your perspective in that regard?
Lolly Be (Works with the Native American population) (25:00):
Sure. So originally, the VAWA did address the problem that existed for three decades since 1978, when it was ruled that the tribal nations do not have jurisdiction over non-native people in general. So it restored that, and it gave the tribes the right to prosecute domestic violence and dating violence, but it had certain stipulations. So it had to be that the person that was being abused was a tribally enrolled member and, or a resident of that area. And that the person perpetuating harm actually had to be also a resident of the local community and have enough of a relationship established with that community in order to fall under the jurisdiction, meaning that it was maybe a new relationship, it wouldn't apply, there's a classic problem within Indian country, which is those native people that are, have moved to the cities and are living in the cities and no longer on their reservations communities.
Lolly Be (Works with the Native American population) (25:55):
And then because the tribal enrollment is allocated in many ways in this antiquated policy of blood quantum. And so you may have the children of a generation of native people, no longer qualify for tribal enrollment and therefore are not provided any of the protection that would be bestowed upon members of the tribal nation. Another challenge is that it has to be the per the crime has to have happened on the tribal nation of the tribally enrolled person. So for example, I work closely with members of the Lakota community, and there are two nations. They'll follow up with the nation and this Tangala called the nation in South Dakota, and they are very close to each other. And so members regularly traveled between one and the other and have relatives and family, friends, and friends, any separate communities. It's only about an hour's drive. However, if a Tangala member is in a relationship with an Oglala member or they moved to the Oglala reservation and they're in a relationship with a non-native person, then that government cannot prosecute the crime because that member is not on their own nation. And so like expecting that everybody just stays in their own nation is sort of also an antiquated expectation from when native people were not even allowed to leave their reservations. And so some of the gaps that it's not able to cover it also don't allow the prosecution of sexual assault. It's only intimate partner violence. So that's also a limitation.
Yeah. And I think that kind of goes back to Danny's earlier point, right? Like we have to define it in the right way so we can get to the terms in the policy. I think it's important to shed light on the fact that tribal law does sometimes conflict with federal law or state law for that matter. And I think it's important to sort of bringing parties together, to see where we can actually reduce, the acts of violence and ways that we can have a productive conversation, productive policies and laws around it. I feel like there are probably some synergies that we could probably find internationally as well in terms of the gaps that are there for tribal nations. Have you noticed anything from your perspective, or are there strategies that you've incorporated with the grassroots organizations that work with indigenous people?
Danny Bradley (MADRE) (28:19):
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, everything that, that Lolly's saying, I think definitely resonates, with the experience of indigenous groups globally. I think if we think about, what is a global policy, we often have to talk about human rights law. And so I might get a little legally wonky. So, so stop me if I go too far. But basically, one thing that Madre has been very involved with our partners is, there is a treaty in the human rights system, it's seeded off for short, and many people have heard of it. It's the committee on the elimination of discrimination of all forms of discrimination against women. So essentially it's the women's treaty. But indigenous women were not included in the text of that treaty, which is a significant gap. Throughout the years, the committee of experts who kind of oversee this treaty, can submit general recommendations or general comments that kind of dive a little bit deeper into specific topics.
Danny Bradley (MADRE) (29:21):
So Madre and our partners are really involved in getting a general recommendation specific to indigenous women to ensure that they are officially included in the treaty, opposed to the US where we kind of write off international law. Many countries have systems in place that they're international, that they're a part of and have come first and even above their national law. So it would be a huge moment to have indigenous women or just indigenous communities included in general under this treaty. So that's one type of policy. I think if you zoom into the more local level, we've had reports, from organizations that, they kind of had to make their own messaging because the language that they speak in their communities was not the language of COVID messaging or domestic violence testimony. So maybe they're in Latin America and the country's predominant language is Spanish, but many people in their community do not speak Spanish in a way that would allow them to really know that COVID even exists.
Danny Bradley (MADRE) (30:27):
So a lot of organizations really mobilized and did some amazing radio programs, kind of old school back to basics messaging of, of radio programs to get the information out to people. A tech thing that we've seen in, in rural communities, not necessarily indigenous specifically, but the use of Bluetooth. So many people across the world have mobile phones, but they might not have internet access to download something from a computer, but a short audio clip that you can send on Bluetooth, you don't have to be close to that person. You basically need to be within 30 feet of them. You can make a little podcast episode, you can make a meme or whatever, and kind of have this rapid-fire passing from person to person just via mobile phone. So a lot of really innovative things have come to fill in these gaps of policies that might not affect them.
Danny Bradley (MADRE) (31:25):
I'm sure there are conversations starting about vaccines and how we're going to make sure that indigenous communities actually receive vaccines globally because they are probably so often overlooked. So there are so many similarities to what Lolly was saying. And I think it is just so crucial to remember all of these marginalized groups. I'm sure we can have the same conversation about groups across the country and world people with disabilities, undocumented, etc. And many of our partners work with women in displacement camps. We've seen some really innovative, groups of girls get together to make a song or a rap where they can perform in their displacement camp and share the information they can talk about COVID and domestic violence in the same song. It's catchy, and then they can go home and they can share it on their phones as well. So it's really these clever, amazing things that are happening to fill these gaps because so many policies don't cover what
communities need around the world.
I think the creativity around outreach and I, and sort of breaking that isolation has also been very interesting, and so effective. I'm not going to talk about what they are because obviously for many reasons, the efficacy of them would go away. But, you know, I am very impressed in talking to organizations cause I have the privilege of reaching out to so many of you guys. The outreach has just been amazing around this and, you know, the policy can do one thing. And I don't think that one technology, one policy or one strategy is ever going to solve this. There are so many different things that we need in place. And, you know, I feel having these types of dialogues that we're having today, having conversations with peers, spreading the word, talking about the issue is very important to how to a discussion this morning with gentlemen from, Telaviv.
And he was telling me about how in Telaviv, you know, there was a woman sitting on the bus and I guess her spouse or father, basically elbowed her. And three women jumped in and pulled her out of that situation and put her to a safe part of the bus. And he's like in the United States I would have seen people just kind of like being in their zone. We don't want to talk about it. And I think it's important now after a year now, as you all have mentioned, right. But we get to a point where we feel uncomfortable with talking about it, but just do it. Like, that's the whole point of this. This is an uncomfortable topic. We do need to have discussions around this. We can't drive policy without having discussions. So I'm really, really grateful to have all of you here today to talk about this. And I guess we'll just go around and do sort of last thoughts before we wrap up. Kavita, why don't we start with you any last parting thoughts that you want to have for our audience?
Kavita Mehra (Sakhi for South Asian Women) (34:27):
I really appreciated that last comment. And it made me think about something that we try to actively unpack at Sakhi, which is we talk about how shame is not for a survivor to hold, right? And so like that is for the survivors out there who are working through their healing journey at whatever stage that might be. It is not yours to hold. And as a community, the more that we can embrace that, the more that we can consciously think about how to actively and proactively support survivors, through processing the trauma that they've endured. So thank you for this conversation. It's been really great. And I love learning also about colleagues on the call, like what's happening at the international level, what's happening with the tribal community, because it's clear that, you know, there are some broad themes that bring our work together.
Yeah, absolutely. And I, I think that, the fact that shame has been sort of around, and it's almost like a social stigma to some capacity that people don't talk about these things. Um, but what I'm finding is, is more and more individuals are asking questions and are asking, to understand what are the signs to look for. And so those are all available in the national domestic violence hotline site, as well as so many other sites that are available out there. Any thoughts from your perspective, when you deal with a lot of different organizations as well. And so state your perspective before I can.
Danny Bradley (MADRE) (36:01):
I know, yeah, I think the same, and kind of taking this out of the silence or taking this out of the shadows is a really important way to think about it. Um, I think the more we do define domestic violence in this broader way to really capture all of the things that have been otherized for so long, the better off we will be. I think that in crisis and in this, you know, something we hear from so many of our partners is that in a crisis moment, you really have an opportunity to create huge change for the future as well. So these conversations of how to deal with domestic violence now can really kind of see the change for hopefully years to come. And I think, you know, if, if we start to keep these conversations going and more people talk about violence and talk about gender equality and what it takes to really bring about gender equality for everyone that we would, I think, do ourselves proud of, of seasoning this moment to really turn it from a terrible, terrible thing into something really powerful. Obviously, those acts that ask a lot about, you know, just as activists and from survivors to contribute their stories. And I think that it's a moment that we really have to seize and we can do so much good with it in the future. Sure. Yeah.
Absolutely. I mean, I think that that's the one thing that I, I, as I was saying earlier, there's just so many creative ways people have to have done outreach. Um, and you know, one of the things that we've started to look at Parasol was really to figure out how do we build a global community, right? And it, it, you know, this is a catchy term at this point, but it's a global parasol of protection, right. And we do want to get to a point where it's not just about the dialogue, but it's about supporting individuals, whether you are an advocate and want to talk to a peer about ideas, you're considering an organization that wants to figure out how you do better outreach or just a survivor that wants to make sure you're not alone. You know, those are all very, very important aspects, to rebuilding from where we started last year to where we are now. And even prior to that, this was a concern that many of us have heard and dealt with. So Lolly, any parting thoughts from you?
Lolly Be (Works with the Native American population) (38:23):
Sure. So I think that what we were just discussing, like the difference between the top-down policy changes compared to the sort of bottom-up cultural people oriented changes. I think that's really relevant for the native population because native people for so long have been left out of policy. And it is a separate nation and the US government sometimes feels far away and not applicable. And so what I have seen is a resurgence in leaders, matriarchs identifying the values that are inherent in native culture, which is a matriarchal culture. So the respect of women is very much held as an ideal, even though unfortunately, violence against women is also very prevalent. But I think that um, during the pandemic, for example, I've seen this advent of many native people coming together in digital spaces. So for example, indigenous Tik Tok, and a massive group called social distance Powwow, like social distance powwow.
Lolly Be (Works with the Native American population) (39:19):
And so it's bringing people together online from all different nations and it's giving a voice to people that might not otherwise have had voices. And there's a bunch of women that I follow who are survivors, who may be in recovery and they're sharing their stories and they're breaking the stigma and they're addressing it. And they're putting a call out to return to the cultural value system of respecting women. And I think that that's a really effective way to approach it. Then the next step would be sort of having those voices be able to impact the policies that are made so that they are relevant to that cultural context. So I think that's where we can aspire to.
I agree, a hundred percent. I mean, I think it's interesting because even though you probably can resonate with this, right. And India, we have so many deities that are women and, and such a crazy amount of violence exists there as well. I think it's important as you said, Lolly, but sharing stories as survivors, has a very powerful effect on people. It's sort of like "me too" movement, right? As soon as we saw that come through, everybody sort of had a story that they related to, but in the case of survivors, it can be complex to share that story and it could be their legal ramifications around it. There are ifferent aspects to their story that they may not be able to share or want to share. They make it re-triggered by doing something like that.
We've talked to a lot of survivors ourselves. We post survivor stories from our social channels. And, I can tell you the, my co-founder Fairuz who's is just phenomenal. She goes through and talks about these stories and goes back to her own experience to pull them forward. But, a lot of these stories are anonymous and that's also okay to share, anonymously. But I think it's, again, important.
Raise your voices, talk about it, because I think that's the only way we can really start to affect change. So I really appreciate all of you guys coming on this call. You're amazing! Ladies and gentlemen, you always are welcome to come back whenever you guys want. And we will approach a different topic, in the next episodes. So, thank you all again. I will talk to you guys next time. Thank you.