All In A Day’s Work

Despite its length, this was a really good day. First I drove to Oakland to meet with the Executive Director of the Center for Community Benefit Organizations. The purpose of our meeting was to discuss how they might revive the Hank Rosso Library, a resource collection providing information to help non-profits thrive and fulfill their missions. The library has existed for quite awhile, but due to staff changes, use of the library lapsed, and the newcomers don’t really know what was done before. My task is to do a little research on what software programs might be useful for a small library like this. I also talked about Library Thing as a possibility. She is going to develop the budget for next year soon. If you have a recommendation for a library management system (for a PC), do let me know.

Then I spent the afternoon as a panel speaker for the Northern California Youth Leadership Seminar. The theme of the panel was “Jump Into Action”, and four of us talked about the work we do, how we got into it, and why we pursue non-profit work. The room was packed with 120 high school sophomores, and they had a lot of energy. After speaking, the panel took general questions, and then the kids broke into small groups, and we speakers rotated through each group to answer additional questions. So I felt good about all this. I had a chance to convey my message about service and what it means.

What happened after all that, however, made a greater impact on me (I’ve left out details that would give identifying information). I’d mentioned I was a counselor in my presentation. A young woman approached me after to ask if she could get some advice. I asked what was on her mind, and she revealed to me a recent experience of sexual assault by an acquaintance (classmate), and mentioned subsequent behavior that indicates a stalker’s mentality. She hadn’t wanted to talk to a school counselor because she’s afraid of “ruining” the guy’s life, and also she’s fearful of backlash. She assumed if she told it would automatically set legal wheels rolling.

Wow. I hadn’t expected this. At all. So we talked about 15 minutes, and I hope I helped. I listened, I validated her experience, I encouraged her to call the rape crisis hotline to get advice, and I suggested she talk to her mother. She was reluctant to tell her mother because she thought her mother would cry. I encouraged her to approach her mother anyway and reminded her that mom would want to know and help, even if the news was upsetting. And I also reminded her that the perpetrator chose to do what he did, and if his life ends up “ruined,” then it’s the consequence he brought upon himself.

Despite advances in social dynamics, many females are socialized to be victims in that we focus on taking care of others, even when they do things that hurt us. I couldn’t do much in the short time we had, but she looked relieved to be understood. She hugged me. I hope she gets the help she needs. The encounter made me realize the I’m still a counselor at heart too, and I rather miss that work.

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One Comment on “All In A Day’s Work”

  1. Carol Sackinger Wilcox Says:

    Your council is good. The rapist is the one to reap what ever is the consequences of the offense.
    Women need to know what you said to this dear one who opened up to you.
    I am a mom who has a daughter still witholding a
    dark time and if I could cry with her and take some pain away
    this way I would be there in a minute.
    Maybe some day. In the mean time may she find kindness frome someone like you.