Safety, Empowerment, Love, Advocacy and Hope
WRITTEN BY: MOTHER JUSTICE / January 22, 2022
Safety, Empowerment, Love, Advocacy and Hope – these are five factors that transform the lives of victims of interpersonal violence to survivors, and beyond. Victim + Survivor = Victor. SELAH.
“Selah” is a word found in the old testament books of Psalms and Habakkuk. There is no consensus on the meaning or purpose of the word; some believe it is a directive signifying a change in musical dynamics, while others surmise it is an instruction loosely translated to mean “weigh carefully, or reflect” on the previously written words. In either context, this is Mother Justice Network‘s purpose: to change the dynamics of lives broken by domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, child maltreatment and trafficking, and encourage the community – especially the faith community – to “weigh carefully and reflect” on how it can more effectively respond to families in crisis.
Targets of abusers have very difficult decisions to make, more than a few with life-and-death consequences if chosen unwisely. “Faith-full” survivors look to their faith communities for sanctuary, for guidance and for hope. A study titled, “Divine Intervention: The Ethics of Religion, Spirituality and Clergy Collaboration in Legal Counseling” speaks to the fact that, “ … religion and spirituality are lenses through which most [people] view their problems. For many, it is literally impossible to separate religious concerns from relational or legal ones; religion is infused with the client’s identity as an embedded framework for problem-solving.” Decision-making capacity is regularly interwoven with one’s values and beliefs, making it necessary for spiritual concerns to be addressed before safety issues will even be considered. Mother Justice Network is committed to helping victims of any faith access their beliefs as resources to safety.
Traditional crisis centers will ask service-users what their financial, medical, housing and legal needs were, but restrict inquiry about their spiritual needs. Many victims identify that they will not be able to take next steps for safety until their moral concerns are addressed.
SELAH (Safety, Empowerment, Love, Advocacy and Hope) represents the five guiding principles by which the Mother Justice Network provides “outside-the-box” services to individual victims and to community systems and professionals. At the heart of our mission is the recognition that every victim/survivor of domestic violence deserves zealous advocacy, tailored services to meet individual needs, and full support in accessing ALL potential resources for healing, both secular and spiritual.
You need not choose between your safety and your beliefs, values or faith. Selah.
The 5 Guiding Principles of Mother Justice Network:
- Safety: Adult victim/survivors are the experts on their partners and relationships, and are in the best position to know their safety needs. Mother Justice is committed to utilizing survivor knowledge to routinely and regularly safety plan with victimized adults and/or children.
- Empowerment: Mother Justice recognizes, promotes and respects all victim/survivors’ rights to make choices and decisions about available options for themselves. We advocate and believe in the power of faith, peer support, self-help and self-determination; and make no distinction between program advocates and those served.
- Love: Mother Justice mentors each member to build healthy relationships by educating victim/survivors on the warning signs of abusive personalities, coaching on effective personal boundaries, and demonstrating how to engage in interpersonal relationships that build well-being. We promote stronger family units by helping protective parents understand the counter-parenting of abusers, and how to build resiliency within the family to counteract the negative influence and impact of abusive parents.
- Advocacy: Mother Justice advocates for social and political change to promote victim/survivors’ rights within any system, agency, or organization with which they interact. To advance personal justice, Mother Justice will not give advice, makes no judgment as to what a survivor should/should not do, and seeks the wisdom of persons of vulnerable populations who have experienced systemic and social oppression. Because we cannot ensure the safety or well-being of members, Mother Justice advocacy has four goals:
- Increase victim/survivors’ sense of safety;
- Connect clients to information, services, and community;
- Support adult victim/survivors in their efforts to establish safety for themselves (and their children); and
- Pursue all reasonable avenues to reduce or eliminate barriers to eligible families receiving DVSur5r Network services.
- Hope: Mother Justice facilitates a victim’s sense of dignity, power, control and voice by providing peer support*, including: advocacy, validation, encouragement, information and referral, and respect for a client’s decision-making process. The hope of Mother Justice is, in part, the example to other victim/ survivors of a journey hard-fought and ultimately won, with faith, family and future restored.
* Mother Justice is not, and does not represent to be, a credentialed mental health provider, social worker or legal professional.
Mother Justice is committed to providing services to victims/survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, child maltreatment, stalking and sex trafficking, regardless of gender, age, health status (including HIV-positive), physical, mental or emotional ability, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, socio-economic status, race, national origin, immigration status, or religious or political affiliation.
Because Mother Justice legal supports are FREE, all potential clients are screened for eligibility, as neither time nor capacity allows for services outside of defined clientele. Mother Justice reserves the right to refuse services to anyone who is not a victim or survivor of domestic/family violence (as defined on this website), or whose primary need for service is not family violence; an ongoing screening process is utilized to ensure that only victims/survivors receive our services. Service may also be limited by scope of member need, consultant expertise, and reasonable boundaries as needed for member and advocate safety and well-being.