I see Sheila’s Shawls as an indirect and more subtle way to teach others about issues of domestic safety, and especially those who are in denial or others who might more immediately benefit from info and knowledge. We know that education is empowerment. But I do it by providing written info in handout form when I’m working with outside groups so they can read it at another time.At RSVP here in Tulsa, we ask our volunteer knitters and crocheters who meet together each Friday to either make shawls and scarves for survivors, or scarves and hats for foster, impoverished, and at-risk children, or hats for the homeless. Those who choose to make shawls do very often influence others to do so also, and all the volunteers pass on the stories and tell others outside RSVP what they’re doing and for whom and why. Every once in a while, I introduce a new story about the impact the gift of a shawl had on a survivor and if someone wants to know more about the situation, I ease into the details.
Tulsa University Law School professors started a knitting group and have been spreading the word to others. I know the two family law professors will tell their students throughout the year about the group and the impact a shawl will provide to a survivor (as well as give respite and some peace to stressed law students!).
We’re also taking the teaching to kids groups as a way to teach the craft and teach about dating safety and bullying.
Our Families and Communities Empowered for Safety (faces) organization includes my Sheila’s Shawls activities that are always directed on both healing and community empowerment through education, collaboration, and community building.
Should any of you have other thoughts about how to bring people together to learn and help heal survivors and families, please share; we’re always waayyyy open!
I decided yesterday that Mother’s Day is my favorite holiday. Seeing my daughters so happy and enjoying their babies, and all the mothers in our family and extended-family together and enjoying one another’s company, was wonderfully peaceful and joyous.