and thanks for showing up
You've been given the unique opportunity to show up as an ally for someone in your life who has experienced trauma. It's both an honor and a privilege.
You'll be joining an ongoing conversation that they've been having with other survivors: acknowledging trauma, exchanging wisdom and designing justice.
But it's not just survivors that should have an ear in this room. As members of the human community, we all have a stake in responding to and preventing intimate violence and harm.
The conversation you'll be joining on November 17th is a chance to do just that: join the dialogue, ask questions, and learn how to help.
On this page you'll find resources to get you ready. Please review all the materials here so we're all on the same page on Tuesday morning. You'll find a general overview of what Consentric Circle conversations are all about, the structure of the conversation we have planned, our community norms and verbal practices, further learning resources and contact information to help you answer any questions that come up.
We are so excited to sit together, deepen our connections, enrich our understandings, and work together to design solutions.
OK, LEt's start with the basics
When and where?
November 17, 2020 at 10am-12pm PST
Technology Log In & Check-In : 9:45am
Kick-off Convo: 10am
The conversation is hosted through the online platform Zoom, and the link will be made available to registered allies a few days before the session.
You will be given access to call in from a landline or mobile device, or you can use the Zoom app on your mobile device or on a computer.
How long is the conversation?
The conversation will last 2 hours, with some breaks to take a breather throughout.
It may sound long, but you'll find it goes by more quickly than you'd like.
Who all will be there?
There will be 4 facilitators, 2 from the Consentric Circle Conversation team and 2 from Dove House Advocacy Services. They will take on the roles of facilitators, chat moderators, and mental health supporters, as well as participants, some of whom identify as survivors themselves and will have their own allies in the room.
In addition to the facilitators, between 2-5 survivor participants will be centered in the conversation, and will be joined, on a voluntary basis, by their allies.
What's expected of me as an ally?
As a group, we have defined and nurtured a safe and effective space for having a difficult conversation. In joining that space, we ask that you review and respect the CONVERSATION PRACTICES + COMMUNITY NORMS document.
Allies will have the opportunity to listen to survivor experience, impact and wisdom, and hear the powerful truths that their community members share with them. You’ll have a chance to reflect, ask questions, and ultimately, collaboratively discuss what kinds of responses and systems could exist to better help survivors.
what is okay to do and say?
All participants are encouraged to validate and acknowledge what they are hearing with their body language and words, take notes for themselves on what surprises or moves them, communicate their questions to further their understanding and honor and cultivate the authenticity and vulnerability in the room. Participants are encouraged to embrace words and tones that support, care for and empathize.
WHAT is NOT OK to do and say?
During Ally engagement, participants may not: ask intimate details about harm that was referenced in the conversation, or use words or tones that blame, shame, doubt, judge or criticize survivors or their behavior. When moments occur where myths, misunderstandings, or untrue and potentially harmful statements or questions arise, the moderator may call that in or refer to it as a resource moment. We will make a note to address this content later on with greater depth and intention, or apply further educational resources outside of the session. If something arises that is particularly dangerous, aggressive or inappropriate, the moderator may mute or remove a participant from the space, though this is extremely rare.
what if I don't want to talk, or know what to say?
All participants always have the choice to participate in ways that are most comfortable for them. You always have the choice to speak, and the choice to pass. You can turn off your video or mute yourself as needed throughout. You can type responses in the chat if you’d rather not say them aloud. You can express your validation and acknowledgement through the reactions button, or with your hands or facial expressions. For the Allies in the room, a gentle reminder that while we recognize that these conversations may feel uncomfortable, and you may not always know what to say, living with the reality of trauma is even more so. Silence can be a form of privilege, and hurtful to survivors who may have been silenced, shamed or not supported as a result of their experiences. Sometimes the simplest phrases can be the most impactful and healing. Take a breath, tap into your soft spaces and find the words. We'll help you.
now for some specifics. how is the conversation going to be structured?
We want to give everyone a chance to share, and we'll take turns intentionally to do so.
We recognize an existing power dynamic that we are attempting to correct for. Often when survivors share their stories, those listening jump to advice and action, independent of the survivor and without understanding or consent. For many this can be overwhelming, and can inhibit further discourse.
So to account for this cultural tendency, we like to put in place a structure that centers survivors, emphasizes listening, validation and acknowledgement, and allots specific time for ally engagement.
These conversations have been taking place over the last 14 weeks. We've discussed how trauma impacted our brains and bodies, what kind of responses we encountered when we disclosed to friends, family, coworkers and community members, and what it was like for us attempting to pursue the available options for healing and justice.
Week to week, we gathered and shared resources for further learning and consideration. You can explore those resources too, before and after the conversation, to better your wisdom and allyship.