–submitted by Kay Schwichtenberg; photo by Mary Ellen O’Brien
Stephanie Ortiz, a Prevention and Public Awareness Coordinator at End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin has a unique perspective on the dynamics of power that present themselves in both our work spaces and personal lives. Her work with rape prevention and programming for Native youth informs her intimate view of these power dynamics.
She opened her dialogue with the hope that the topic makes us all a bit uncomfortable. In her view, the ‘groan zone’ will yield a ‘growth zone’.
The topic of power and its misuse has saturated our reading, news viewing and discussions over the past many months.
The video from Time magazine’s person of the year laid out the raw nature of self-blame, manipulation and shame felt by those impacted by abuse. Ortiz emphasized the need for ‘turning these moments into movements’.
Ortiz laid out two areas where power dynamics can be understood and changed.
In our home lives, she said that consent is about shared and equal power. To facilitate that discussion at home, Ortiz encouraged open dialogue on the nuances of consent, the need for all of us to speak up, and teach people how to treat us.
Work life is the second prominent place that needs a cultural change. Ortiz suggests the following actions that can positively influence that shift.
- Clear policies for gender based violence
- Ensure that Human Resources has a level of autonomy to address the issues
- Provide a complete list of resources available in your community
- Create a culture of accountability
Individuals in the workplace should be encouraged to share knowledge and information, watch documentaries and read books with groups.
Ortiz presented a passionate discussion about the need for engaging all of us to address changing any unhealthy power dynamics that may occur in our personal and work lives.
For each of us these issues are personal and framed by our individual experiences. What matters now is that this is the perfect time for having these conversations.
If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here.