2006: Issue 4
Finding ways to respond to those who have enacted violence and abuse against others has long been a challenge to the field of family therapy and community work – and it continues to be. This journal issue explores some of these challenges.
It begins with interviews with Nancy Gray and Amanda Reddick, and documents from Afro-Canadian communities in Nova Scotia, Canada. These pieces describe individual work, group work and community engagement, and convey how a team of workers, from differing cultural backgrounds, are working in partnership with local communities to respond to men’s violence.
These pieces are then followed by an interview with Tod Augusta-Scott, also from Canada, about his work with men who have enacted violence in intimate relationships.
Then the journal changes tack, with a paper from New Zealand by Julie Sach entitled ‘Conversations in groups with women about their experiences of using anger, abuse & violence’. Talking about women’s use of anger and violence is a complicated topic, and we hope to invite you into considering these complexities.
The final paper relating to responding to violence is by Mimi Kim, a Korean-American woman, and founding member of Incite: Women of Color against Violence, an organisation in the USA which is committed to addressing violence against women while also questioning and challenging the violence of the state. Mimi’s paper ‘Alternative interventions to violence: Creative interventions’ poses significant questions and dilemmas about ways forward in addressing family, intimate and other forms of interpersonal violence.
It is a thoughtful, challenging and hopeful collection of papers and we look forward to hearing from readers about your views, perspectives and stories on these issues.
The second part of this journal consists of a paper on a different, yet similarly important issue – ways of understanding and responding to drug and alcohol ‘addiction’. The paper ‘Deconstructing addiction & reclaiming joy’ consists of extracts from discussions on the Deconstructing Addiction League E-list. It includes correspondence between members, theoretical and practical considerations, celebrations, a virtual interview and definitional ceremony, as well as the first story in what is hoped to become an archive of practices of joy and connection – free from substances. It is, we believe, a joyful and rigorous piece. And again we look forward to your comments.
As this is the final journal issue for this year, we now look back over 2006. It has been a full year. Perhaps the paper that has attracted the most attention and enthusiasm has been ‘The Tree of Life’ by Ncazelo Ncube, published in the first journal issue of the year. Since then, it has been taken up and applied in a wide range of contexts and countries, and we continue to hear delightful feedback about it. As we send this edition of the journal to the printer, a number of us are about to travel to Uganda to meet up with Ncazelo and her colleagues who are now trying to support local workers in responding to the violence that has been occurring in that part of the world.
Thank you for your readership and support during 2006. We look forward to joining you again next year!
Documents of Knowledge About Violence from African Nova Scotian Communities
Members of North End Halifax and East Preston, two African Nova Scotian communities, have been meeting together to talk about violence and ways of addressing it in their context, and in their ways. Included here are key documents that have been created from these conversations.
• ‘Some key knowledge and ideas about violence in African Nova Scotian communities’ from women representing North End Halifax and East Preston
• ‘Principles in relation to responding to violence in African Nova Scotian Communities’
• ‘Men speaking out to prevent abuse’ & ‘A Brother’s food for thought’ from the men of the communities of East Preston and North Preston.
These documents have been circulated throughout the communities to spark further conversation and action on these issues.
Caring about Violence and Our Communities— Amanda Reddick
Developing meaningful partnerships and relationships between workers responding to violence and communities affected by these issues requires considerable care and thoughtfulness. In this piece, Amanda Reddick describes some of the thinking that is informing the community engagement she is involved in and the histories upon which this is based.
Talking with Men Who Have Used Violence in Intimate Relationships: An interview with Tod Augusta-Scott
Tod Augusta-Scott works with men who have used violence in their intimate relationships. This interview considers a number of key themes in this work, including ways of inviting men to consider the effects of their violence; ways of exploring expressions of shame and remorse; the importance of developing alternative story-lines of respect and responsibility; approaches to group work; and the use of documentation. The interview also provides Tod with the opportunity to reflect upon his own work practices and performance of masculinity. The interviewer was David Denborough.
Conversations in Groups with Women About Their Experiences of Using Anger, Abuse and Violence— Julie Sach
This paper considers gendered constructions of anger and how women’s experiences of using anger, abuse and violence may be shaped by these. It also examines the contribution of difficult life experiences like trauma and abuse in shaping women’s anger responses. The article describes an evolving approach to group work with women that seeks to address some of these complexities.
Talking About Women’s Violence: An editor’s note
Alternative Interventions to Violence: Creative Interventions— Mimi Kim
Are the solutions to violence against women and children to be found via state interventions – through the police, prosecution and imprisonment? Or are alternative, grassroots, communitybased responses required? These are questions being asked by many women of colour in the USA. Creative Interventions is an organisation based in Oakland, California, which seeks to empower families and communities to resolve family, intimate partner and other forms of interpersonal violence. It is hoped that this piece will spark conversations about ways of supporting community initiatives to address violence against women. Practitioners and community members working on similar issues in other countries are invited to contribute their ideas and stories.
Deconstructing Addiction and Reclaiming Joy— The Deconstructing Addiction League
This paper consists of extracts from discussions on the Deconstructing Addiction League E-list. It includes correspondence between members, theoretical and practical considerations, celebrations, a virtual interview and definitional ceremony, as well as the first story in what is hoped to become an archive of practices of joy and connection – free from substances. This collection also demonstrates the ethic of community that is central to the League’s work.