Posted by: joshjasper | March 2, 2011

ZaJedno (Serbian for “together”)

I just completed my first presentation to 10 delegates from Serbia on domestic violence. These individuals have traveled to the United States in the hopes of learning more about how to implement domestic violence services along with developing violence prevention strategies. Each presentation is translated for the audience.

Although we are only mid way through the first day of the training, I have learned a great deal from our guests. To begin, the violence that we experience in Dubuque is very similar to the type of violence that is experienced by women and men in Serbia. The barriers that we face when delivering services as an organization in the United States are the very same barriers that are experienced overseas. Delegates have shared their frustrations with men and boys unwilling to get involved in this work. They have shared countless examples of the patriarchal community that they live in and how that directly influences the rate of violence perpetrated. We talked of privilege. Too often I found myself simply shaking my head in agreement. We shared about the gender stereotypes that exist that portray men as ignorant and incompetent while showcasing women as a sexual object.

Men and women shared of their experiences working as a warden of a Serbian prison, in the ministry of education, and mental health agencies. Their voices were filled with pain and anguish as they talked of example after example in which women, men, and children were physically and sexually abused. They wanted to hear of the specific, concrete examples of how we have prevented these situations from happening in our communities. Their assumption was that we had this thing called violence figured out. Not even close.

The point that I have made repeatedly was the importance of engaging the ENTIRE community in this work. I shared with them that you can’t do this work alone. No one has the endurance to weather this effort individually, and alone you will not succeed. We are all in this work together.

From Dubuque to Chicago, to the United States to Serbia, we must continue to band together to end violence.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: