Related rabble.ca story:
Issues of violence against women have been getting a lot more attention in the news than usual in the past few weeks. Amidst these conversations, you sometimes hear reference to survivors as 'educated' or a 'public figure'. The media emphasis on the class standing of survivors implies that certain lives and stories of violence are more 'believable' (just barely) -- while others can be more easily dismissed.
Harm reduction is something we all need to be talking about. It is the belief that even when someone is participating in risky behaviour, that there is still a way to minimize harm. It's a common part of everyday life, whether you realize it or not. It keeps you safer. It's wearing your seatbelt. It's putting on your bicycle helmet. It's not drinking and driving.
Those who defend human rights are often on the frontlines of the action. As a result, they see great violence and face great danger.
Caring for yourself while you are organizing for human rights is essential. It is important to keep your own safety in mind!
This workbook includes advice on how to maintain your safety and security in various activist situations as a human rights defender:
-making a security plan
-supporting other human rights defenders
-keeping your computer and phone secure
-avoiding lawsuits and defending yourself against defamation
-dealing with police
Nothing will erase from my mind's eye the picture of long lines of young women, snaking along the road, in rain or shine going to work in the many, many garment factories to be found all over Dhaka, crammed into every kind of structure, from one time apartments, to tenements to sheds.
Every now and then, colour coded plastic raincoats spoke to the small largesse of some factory management, but on the whole, if it rained they walked soaking. Quietly. Purposively.
This amazing fortitude was also demonstrated in the survival in the recent Rana Plaza tragedy -- which was particularly horrific because it was avoidable.