Master of Arts (MA)
Faculty of Science
The trauma literature reveals that anti-violence work can negatively affect anti-violence workers. These effects are different from those of doing general counselling, therapy, and research. The effects include disrupted beliefs about the goodness of people, difﬁculty trusting others, emotional numbness, psychic drain, spiritual disconnectedness, and loss of meaning and purpose in life. I experienced a negative transformation while participating in feminist social change work, speciﬁcally feminist anti-violence work. I decided to investigate this transformation and share my insights. I collected the data from within myself through an intuitive, reﬂective writing process, then compared and contrasted my experience to relevant literature. I discovered that feminism, or some assumptions about feminism, in addition to the aforementioned stresses of anti-violence work, impacted negatively on my well-being. I suspect some of my assumptions about feminism are shared with other anti-violence workers, and believe these assumptions may be impeding the progress of the collective women’s movement. I propose that anti-violence workers improve their self-care efforts to reduce the negative impact of their work. I recommend self-care include self-reﬂection directed toward challenging assumptions and questioning beliefs, values, and practices to improve the effectiveness of self-care and social change efforts. I share contradictions between self-care and feminism that I experienced, and discuss how to reconcile the needs of the self and the collective within feminist social change work. I recommend the assumptions and contradictions I discuss be compared and contrasted to the experiences of other women to enhance our understanding of the impact of self-care and feminism in social change.
Telford, Wendy L., "Feminism meets self-care in social change work" (1999). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 679.