Direttrice di centro anti-violenza rivela perché si è dimessa

I centri anti-violenza sono circondati da un’ombra di segretezza. Abbiamo già pubblicato testimonianze di donne che rimpiangono di esserci andate, e bambini che rimpiangono di esserci stati portati. Ora la direttrice di uno di questi centri racconta che quando il centro è progressivamente caduto nel femminismo (lesbismo, aborto, immigrazione clandestina) ha preferito dimettersi.

L’intervista è tratta da MediaRadar, che informa che la signora ha chiesto l’anonimato temendo di poter subire ritorsioni personali:

Il centro non aiutava gli uomini vittime di violenza, anche quando subivano abusi simili a quelli subiti dalle donne; gli uomini venivano indirizzati alla locale stazione di polizia.
Il nostro personale era composto di una trentina di persone; avevamo un numero simile di volontarie, soprattutto donne con precedenti storie di abuso. A volte erano più un problema che un aiuto in quanto ancora coinvolte nei loro problemi personali. Non le pagavamo, ma il centro riceveva fondi per i loro servizi.
Si crede che le donne in un centro anti-violenza siano vittime di gravi abusi, sanguinanti e ammaccate. Da noi solo una donna su 10 aveva avuto problemi di violenza fisica. Una simile piccola frazione aveva subito minacce.
La grande maggioranza erano lì perché sostenevano di aver subito abusi verbali o psicologici. Non verificavamo le loro storie, credevamo a quello che dicevano. Senza dubbio alcune donne, molte sostenute dall’assistenza sociale, ingannavano il sistema per beneficiare dei molti servizi che offrivamo.
Quando iniziai a lavorare il centro rispondeva a standard professionali ed i servizi offerti erano valutati con regolarità. C’era un’atmosfera di altruismo, di aiutare vittime.
Ma con gli anni ho visto un grosso cambiamento.
Il centro è diventato più orientato ideologicamente. Abbiamo iniziato a sponsorizzare questioni lesbiche. Le residenti che aspettavano un bambino venivano edotte delle difficoltà ed incoraggiate ad abortire. Per accogliere immigrate illegali, smettemmo di richiedere documenti di identità. Ma a questo punto uno inizia a chiedersi con chi ha a che fare.
Il personale aumentò, ed aumentarono le loro enumerazioni. Calcolai che media erano assenti 60 giorni all’anno, fra vacanze, feste, malattie. Dopo un po’era impossibile avere un gruppo coeso.
I controlli diminuirono, il centro perse la sua attrattiva. C’era poca professionalità.
Fu a quel punto che mi dimisi.


Testo originale completo in inglese:

I worked at an abuse shelter located in the mid-Atlantic area for over 10 years. I first worked as a counselor and was eventually promoted to the position of shelter director. Our shelter had 8 rooms, with a capacity of up to 30 women and children.

Our shelter received funding from a variety of private and government sources at the federal, state, and local levels. A large share of our budget came from the state Child and Protective Services program to pay for abused children and mothers who resided at our facility.

Our shelter provided a broad range of services, including shelter residency for up to 2 months, 3 meals a day, counseling, advocacy, and transportation to arrange for local services. When necessary, we connected our residents with nearby welfare, immigration, and pro bono legal services. And we provided transitional services for former residents. Counseling was based on Lenore Walker’s battered woman syndrome and the Duluth model’s power and control wheel.

The shelter did not provide services to male victims of domestic violence, even when the men had suffered physical abuse similar to what women had experienced. Instead the men were referred to a local police station to request a restraining order.

Our staff consisted of about 30 persons, who did administration, counseling, transportation, child care, and other activities. We had a similar number of volunteers, who were generally women with previous histories of abuse. The volunteers were sometimes more of a problem than they were worth because they were still dealing with their own personal issues. Even though the volunteers were not paid anything, the shelter received funding for their services.

Most persons think of women in an abuse shelter as victims of severe physical abuse, bloodied and broken. In our shelter, however, only about one in 10 women had experienced any kind of physical injury. A similarly small number had been threatened with any physical harm, although they may have been involved in a previous incident of physical abuse.

So the great majority of women were there because they claimed to have been subjected to verbal or psychological abuse. We did not verify the claims of new residents — if the woman answered the questions correctly, we basically believed what she said. There is no question that some women, many of whom were on welfare, were gaming the system to benefit from the many services our shelter provided.

When I first started working at the shelter, the staff was held accountable to professional standards and services were regularly audited. We shared a feeling of altruism, of helping needy victims. But over the years, I saw a big change.

The shelter became more ideologically oriented. We began to sponsor workshops and training on lesbian issues. Shelter residents who were pregnant were advised of the difficulties of raising a child alone, and were encouraged to get an abortion. In order to service illegal immigrants, we stopped requesting any form of personal identification. But then you began to wonder who you are really dealing with.

Around the same time, the number of staff increased and employee benefits expanded. I once calculated that the average staff member was away from work 60 days out of the year — 5 weeks on vacation, plus holidays and sick days. After a while it became impossible to have a cohesive staff.

In the end, we would refer the women to other programs, and they would refer clients to us. It became a self-serving numbers game.

The staff became less accountable in their work and began to see their job more as an entitlement. The shelter lost its grass roots appeal and began to feel like an employment center. There was little professionalism or accountability.

That’s when I resigned my position as shelter director.

Letto :3794
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