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Physical Touch

There is no reason why you should ever have your hands on a survivor other than a quick hug or handshake. In the same vein, survivors should never have their hands on another’s body. Women living in close confines and community living may develop close friendships- that part is okay; but when they adopt a “Wifey” mentality, it’s time to shut it down.

“Wifey” mentality and actions look like romantically inclined behaviors. Overt touching and sexualized behavior crops up. Caressing, lying in laps, hand holding or even constant hair play are all signs and indicators that “Wifey” status is taking over in the community of survivors. If left to evolve a “top” vs “bottom” hierarchy will be formed and mimics the structure ladies had in “The life”. This is detrimental and is extremely harmful and demonstrates severe backsliding. There can be no forward momentum if old habits and behaviors are taking place.

Be firm and be aware. This is not innocent or even attention seeking behavior. This is a sign that boundaries and rules are being violated. It may also cause other survivors to falter in their healing as well and makes many women feel very uncomfortable. It may be difficult for you to address but as an Advocate you are to be assertive and point out what past behaviors are currently being repeated and why it is not a good idea. Ask ladies why this behavior is being repeated. Suggest other ways to interact in community living. Introduce the idea of being team members on the path to healing instead of being family members. During supervised social hours you could introduce productive team building exercises, group discussions, or even game or activity sessions. Make it more of a professional environment of trauma education and growth and less of a relaxed unsupervised lackadaisical environment where anything goes.


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