Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Dark Side of Advocacy

For the last few weeks I have been conducting a domestic homicide study at Jane Doe and providing case summaries to Wendy Murphy's Sexual Violence Legal News. Although the work is meaningful, it weighs heavily on my spirit and I have been having a hard time finding joy. So much so that I'm questioning my lifetime commitment to such work. Can I do this full-time and be a happy healthy person? I'm not so sure. So, I've endeavored to not completely immerse myself in the "dark side" of the work and to seek balance by seeking out positive messages, material and programming. Before Jane Doe, I would watch alot of crime programs, surf relevant websites/blogs and read books on victims advocacy and such. Total immersion. Not anymore. Even though I find myself drawn to those programs when channel surfing, I've denied myself the opportunity to watch them and sink into depression or the gloom that ensues. I want to have a happy, joyful summer on my time off. I want to be there for my loved ones. And by there, I mean my joyful, spirited, true self not one who is preoccupied or silent and reserved. I'm learning to relax and to leave the heartwrenching stories at work at the end of the day. Already I feel better and more hopeful even though I still question if I have the strength and wherewithal to do it long-term. I work with women who have been doing this type of work for years and years and I am amazed at their continued commitment. They are heroines for women and survivors everywhere.