Utilizing the NCCW Women Healing The Wounds Resource
Presenter: Kathy Bonner
Good Evening I thank all of you that have taken the time to be with us this evening.
NCCW has been ahead of the curve on many issues, including Domestic Violence.
• We passed a resolution in 1993 to educate about the issue, utilize church documents, give our support to helping those affected, and help promote legislation that would create awareness and support.
• We designated the first Saturday of every month as a day of prayer for Women’ s Concerns and Domestic Violence.
Many would like us to believe it is just a woman’s issue.
• Domestic Abuse and Violence is against God’s teachings.
• It is an issue that affects our families: women, men, children, all close family members, and their neighbors.
• It is a health care issue.
• It affects the workplace when a person cannot do their job or the abuser enters the workspace to do harm.
• It is an issue that affects our courts and legal system.
• It can cause financial disaster.
• It also puts our first responders at risk.
• It can put our future generations in jeopardy.
• It is a right to life issue when pregnant women are abused and either lose the baby or he/she are born with problems.
Tonight we are going to share some thoughts and examples of getting the most out of the NCCW Women Healing The Wounds resource.
The approach we will be using may seem a little different than you are used to but I hope in the end you will see the practicality.
Think about the your personality and that of your members:
Choosing where you want to be involved and how often may depend on your personality. If a member is asked to take on a program that will be continuous for all year that might be great. What if you are the personality that likes to begin a project, accomplish your goal, and move on to something else, then you are not a candidate for a year long project.
If you are a morning person do you want to work on something that requires you to always meet at night? Same thing if you are a night owl you really do not want a commitment that requires you to be in ‘go’ mode early in the day.
Each of us has an area of interest or skills where we feel comfortable.
We should try once in a while to expand our horizons but choosing or accepting certain jobs might not be the place to do that.
We should be very aware of this when committing to or asking someone to take on a job. The answer might be NO but not because they don’t want to be involved but the timing might not be right or the area or length of commitment isn’t the best for them.
It is important to be aware of these issues so you can approach them again with a different request for involvement.
This is why we include in the Women Healing The Wounds resource the What We Can Do sheet Section 2 page 15-16. It has ideas for many different areas of involvement and passion. There are 5 different areas listed: Educate, Host/Sponsor, Provide, Advocate, and Support
Here is a snapshot of how it can help you.
The What We Can Do has something for everyone depending on your interest, capabilities, and passion, for example
• If you want to be involved just once or long term;
• If you like to write letters;
• If you like to do research;
• If you like to collect things to donate;
• If you like to be physically involved; or
• If you have a gift for understanding the legislation side of the issue.
Here are a few ideas that any level of council can achieve and you will see that there is a place for the many different styles.
Sponsor a Women Healing The Wounds event: It could be a panel at a prayer breakfast, a workshop at your convention, or a day long seminar.
The panel could include:
• A victim survivor;
Resource personnel such as
• A law enforcement person (or several from different departments that deal with different aspects of the problem;
• A judge (ask the local shelter for a recommendation as they are familiar with the Judges that truly understand the issue.);
• Clergy that has been trained in the complexities of the issue;
• Someone from the shelter (one who can explain the opportunities to assist, one who can explain the complexities of the different needs they deal with);
• Someone that understands the connection between Domestic Violence and pornography, human trafficking and abortion as they can intermingle;
• This approach can provide an opportunity to involve your A/DCCW, Diocesan offices of Respect Life, Family Life, Social justice and Catholic Charities.
Ground Rules for a successful and smooth running panel:
Each speaker should be given a limited amount of time to concisely explain his/her area and the effect on the issue. Some speakers may need a little more or less time depending on the goal of your event.
• Be sure to inform the speakers so they can plan their material according to that time frame. Strictly adhere to the time limits. Have a time keeper and make the speakers aware of them.
• Allow time at the end for questions to any of the speakers. It should be made clear that no individual situations can be addressed, just questions relating to the information that was
discussed during the panels presentations.)
• (It might sound crazy but it would not hurt to have some people in the audience with prepared questions just in case the audience does not come forward or to highlight some of the areas that you want them to take home the information.
• Be sure to ask and then plan for any of the AV or other equipment the speakers may need for their part of the presentation.
• Invite the presenters to bring printed material that might be helpful to the audience. Have a place to display the handouts.
Be sure to let the attendees know about the sponsoring Organization (Your CCW)
Do not forget to have materials available about your organization:
• Flyers or posters showing your mission statement
• Your connection with thousands of Catholic Women through NCCW and WUCWO
• A list showing your financial donations to the different charitable groups
• List the groups that you have supported through assistance or prayer
(I have had some new members tell me that the reason they joined was because of the mission statement and others because they previously had no idea of the many different areas we were involved with.)
Don’t overlook the power of connecting with a nationwide event such as
• February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness month. Educate them while they are young especially before they even begin dating.
• March is Women’s History month. You are trying to help change history by helping future generations.
• October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.
• It is also the Month of the Rosary where we honor Mary and she is our role model and we need her by our side.
• October is also Respect Life Month. This issue definitely relates to the sanctity of life.
People will be hearing about these events in the news or in their parishes….the awareness will jump start your efforts. Remember your planning needs to be well in advance of the celebrated month.
If possible tie your event not only with education but a pre-advertised donation of needs from the audience.
Make sure the display area for donations is decorated in a meaningful way for the event and donated items. (a small baby crib or playpen to collect diapers, formula, and baby care items. A large child’s toy surrounded by non violent books, toys, videos. A small suitcase to fill with the items the women have to leave home without: toothpaste, makeup, etc.)
This is a great way to involve our creative, artistic, and DIY members. Also, include the high school students with artistic talents. (The art teacher may be able to assist).
Also, see if the youth will help the day of the event. Maybe they could earn extra credit.
The benefit of this approach is
1. To Connect with the youth for teamwork.
2. To Help them realize the depth of the issue and the impact on them.
3. To let them know that the CCW is more than old ladies that bake cookies (even though we are not old and we make terrific cookies).
4. To have the opportunity to recognize the youth and their talents in a positive way.
If you are good at organizing events then you might be just the person to get a panel started and bring in others with contacts or skills to make it happen.
This effort could be for a meeting but better yet, CCW could sponsor it for the entire parish, deanery (subdivision), A/DCCW, or for the community at large.
Let’s look at this method for the panel or any project.
Think about your commissions in a different way. Commissions are not an island unto themselves. Each commission centers around the needs of its area. Remember, commissions are a great way to categorize and organize your group’s efforts. Even if you do not have actual commissions, I am sure you have members that want to be active in these different areas. It does not have to be the commission chair that heads up this effort but they should be able to report on the efforts to the other levels of Council. There are many times that one commission may have a project but other commissions can rally around to help in ways that can connect with their commission area. The outcome is a well-rounded project.
BENEFIT: By everyone pulling together, no one has to do it all and you may eliminate Burned Out Berthas.
Here is an example of how it could work:
• Your Service Commission can initiate the project. Understanding the issue, they can set the tone and goals of the project.
• Your Leadership Commission team can be in charge of the space particulars and the promotion areas of the event.
• Your Spiritual Commission can prepare a meaningful opening and closing prayer, or use one from the Women Healing The Wounds Resource. They could print the prayer cards provided in Section 2 Page 12 and pass them out to the attendees.
• The members from your Service Commission team that work in the family/community area can be in charge of the donation list, giving the Leadership chair the list for advertising the needed items which can be included when sending out the promotion material.
• The Legislative Advocacy committee can research upcoming bills. A handout can be prepared with the information and easy to understand methods to act upon the bills that will make a difference in the lives of those being abused.
• This method of teamwork can produce a very productive and meaningful event without physically draining the members of your CCW.
Even though many of us might feel left behind with the social media craze DO NOT underestimate its usefulness for good. Involve members (or possible members) that are social media smart but cannot be involved in other areas of service in CCW. It is smart in so many ways. Do not forget the younger high school and college age. They could be a tremendous help. And hopefully it would peak their interest so one day they may become a Council member.
Ideas for Sharing Success:
Many of you may remember that NCCW held a nationwide Appreciation Recognition event. Groups across the country filled out the form with their project information and sent them in to NCCW. The top projects were recognized at the NCCW Convention in Orlando, Fl. The input was beyond amazing.
In your monthly NCCW email Connect we have been sharing those wonderful projects. We hope you will be reading them each month and gathering inspiration and many ‘how to’ ideas.
This effort can be replicated in any of your areas.
Have your own appreciation recognition like NCCW. I will gladly share the form we used. It does not cost anything, no charge for the email address, emailing the information. The person receiving the information can be located anywhere. The recognition has amazing results. It also serves as inspiration for those not knowing where to start working on the issue.
Hats off to the Knoxville DCCW as they planned this in conjunction with their Convention last year. I had the honor of presenting at that convention and presenting the award. This project could be accomplished at any deanery, district, A/DCCW or Province level.
Easy but loving idea
One of the ideas that came from the original submissions was done by the group in Lincoln, Nebraska. They spoke to the abuse shelter in their area and obtained the FIRST names of the women and children in the shelter.
Each board member picked one of those names and became their pen pal. On note cards with a religious message each member wrote an encouraging and prayerful note to the person they chose. I think of them as Care Notes.
This is so easy to replicate and is a great way to keep those members that cannot participate in other efforts. They still have something to give and this was a wonderful way to share their love.
Council Women are the best at providing items of need: Toiletries, diapers, wipes, non violent videos and games for the children. Some shelters need help with paper products, towels, sheets, and the list goes on. With so many needs we sometimes forget what these women and families have been through. Many escaped with only the clothes on their backs.
Some niceties for the women and special treats for the children are not necessities OR are they? What a pick me up would a little basic make up, body cream, perfume, inspirational books, maybe having someone come in to do hair cuts, styling, or a manicure.
Action Hint: (The Council can cover the cost or if they have members that are in that field they might donate their services.)
Does your local shelter have a program to navigate the women to be able to move on? Do the women need nice clothing to obtain a job? Do they or the children need new underwear, socks or shoes? Imagine children leaving their home and all of their toys. Donations of non-violent books, games, and videos are a big help to keep them occupied in their new surroundings. Be sure to check with the shelter about what type of equipment they have: do they use VHS tapes, discs or something else?
See the Obvious that isn’t so obvious (organizing the closet)
Another approach to providing lent itself to those that can be physically involved. The need was something that was the elephant in the room but no one had time to take care of: The members of St. Mary Magdalen in Orlando realized that when a shelter gets donations of paper products and cleaning supplies they are placed in a special closet. It turns out that between taking care of the needs of those in the shelter no one had the time to organize the closet so they could have a better idea of what was needed. The members organized the closet and solved the problem.
Action hint: If you are an organized person that likes to have all labels facing forward on the pantry shelves then you are the best candidate to do this service if your local shelter has this need. How would you feel if someone organized your cabinets? Just imagine how something so simple could make such a difference.
Several completely different ways to provide services to the shelter are:
1. The residents at the shelter must keep appointments: doctor, lawyer, counseling, and court dates. Council members can provide either the physical transportation or the funding for such.
2. Provide funding for a ticket to a safe place (bus, train, plane). Sometimes this is an option but the funds are needed to make it happen.
Advocate Through Education, Training, and Awareness
If you are the person that has the ear of the pastor, then encourage him to have the entire parish staff trained in Domestic Violence awareness. We do not expect them to fix the problem but to be knowledgeable enough to direct them to the proper place. Too many times we have heard stories about women calling a parish for help only to be told we do not do that here. They are not being heartless, but if they have not been educated about handling calls like that they become flustered and may be sending the women to more harm.
Unfortunately some priests do not feel that issue can occur in their parish but thank goodness some do.
Share a Story: When doing a presentation at a deanery meeting on the East Coast of Florida, the Deanery Moderator was looking over the NCCW Women Healing The Wounds educational brochure. Before I began, he called me over and told me how good the brochure was and that he had to leave the meeting early but after reading the brochure he decided to wait until after my presentation. Afterwards he told me how much this information is needed. He shared with me that even though they are a fairly well-off parish, last week he had two different families approach him about this issue.
In Section 3, Page 28 The resource has good information for you to be aware of before you approach your pastor. From the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) are links for resources for Priests, Deacons, and Pastoral Staff.
The information also references When You Preach, Remember Me, a short video produced by the USCCB. It has been around for a little while but I am afraid it is one of those tools that has been overlooked.
This is perfect to refer to when asking your pastor to have Domestic Violence education for the entire parish staff. It should also be considered to be included for the staff of your parish school. If this is not included in your school, then there is a very important piece of the puzzle that is missing which could impact the lives of some of those students.
This information is also helpful for us, as Council members, to be knowledgeable, as you never know when you might need to be aware. I spoke to a lady at a garage sale and learned that when she was going through her situation the Church was no help. I was able to inform her that our resource has the information showing what the Church says today. The Church cares and so do we.
Others might have felt the same way, that the church abandoned them and did not care. The information in section 3, pages 22 & 23 include articles on the issue from Cardinal Wuerl and Archbishop Lori. These articles can help us, especially those that are trapped in a domestic violent relationship, to understand the issue. It is up to us to help them know the Church does care and so do we as Catholic Women.
If you have a legal background or in law enforcement.
You can be a valuable resource and advocate if you have the experience of working for a lawyer or in county offices or courtrooms. You might be a perfect choice to go with the abused person to their court dates.
If you like to research, you might be able to help be a voice for public policy researching services that address domestic violence both state and federal.
You could research if your local and state laws hold the abusers/batterers accountable. Does your state mandate or just suggest that judges impose batterers’ treatment programs?
Real Life Stories Section 4 Pages 31-36: These true life stories might be just what someone needs to better understand the issue. It might help someone going through the problem to know they are not alone.
Books Section 4 Pgs. 37-39 : You will find an assortment of books, which are listed under several categories: Catholic Resources, Written by Catholics, Interfaith Resources, Secular Resources. There is also one resource for Those Who Abuse. If you are interested in learning more about the issue in order to be of assistance or you have someone you care about that is living with abuse, check out the following suggestions:
• Periodically post several of these books on your website or in your newsletters;
• A unique idea may be to start a book club using some of these resources so you can get together and learn more about this complex issue that is plastered all over the evening news.
Section 1 page 5 shows the difference between normal conflict and abusive conflict. You would be surprised how many people do not know the difference.
Section 1 page 6&7 shows the Power and Control wheel and the Equality Wheel. The Power and Control Wheel shows the constant cycle of abuse: anger, asking for forgiveness, getting upset again and then the abuse all over again. The Equality Wheel shows how a relationship should be. Print these and give family members who are just starting to date (or even before), not to preach but to help them know what to look for in choosing the best person for dating. This is a great tool for the youth groups to hand out. Many young people today are basing what a relationship should be on TV and the movies.
Section 1 page 8 The Safety Flyer When a group has a safety flyer from the local shelter that is good. When you use the one from the Resource, it not only has the information about the local shelter but the message is showing them that the Catholic Church cares and so do the Catholic Women. The Resource Safety Flyer provides two benefits instead of just one.
Section 2 pages 13 & 14 Do not try to solve this problem for a friend or relative without being aware of the complexities. Do Not re-victimize the victim.
Education and Awareness
Teen dating abuse section
Section 5 pages 42-49
• A whole section on information relating to Teen Dating Violence
• Information for parents and teens
• Many links for downloads of powerful information and even items that they can fill out to see if the are dating the right person.
• Encourage the information be used at the teen program in your parish
• CCW could sponsor a program for the group
• It is important to reach young ones before they begin to date so they are aware of what a good relationship really is, not what is put in their heads.
Included is : A Dater’s Bill of Rights
• I have the right to refuse a date without feeling guilty.
• I can ask for a date without feeling rejected or inadequate if the answer is no.
• I do not have to act macho.
• I may choose not to act seductively.
• If I don’t want physical closeness, I have the right to say so.
• I have the right to start a relationship slowly, to say, “I want to know you better before I become involved.”
• I have the right to be myself without changing to suit others.
• I have the right to change a relationship when my feelings change. I can say, “We used to be close, but I want something else now”.
• If I am told a relationship is changing, I have the right not to blame or change myself to keep it going.
• I have the right to an equal relationship with my partner.
• I have the right not to dominate or be dominated.
• I have the right to act one way with one person and a different way with someone else.
• I have the right to change my goals whenever I want to.
ADD: If you really care about me you will not expect me to give up being with family or friends.
Section 5 Page 44
Parents: These headings are included
• There are Ten Tips To Help Your Teen
• As a parent what can I do?
• What are the warning signs?
• Ways to get involved.
The section contains much more helpful information and downloadable information.
Dealing with teens is an age-old puzzle.
Back in the day a popular television show was Leave it to Beaver Remember the character Eddie Haskell? He really played up to the parents and then was always being sneaky. He did not think parents could see through his act.
In some ways teens have not changed a lot over the year. Teens don’t normally want to agree with the parents.
Do not put down the person the teen is starting to date even if you can’t stand them. Act like you love the guy/girl, invite them to dinner and a family get-together. You will be able to witness if they are willing to be with the family. Also, your teen might just dump them. If you express concerns or put downs then they will stay with them even if they cannot stand them.
Abuse does not start with hitting and obnoxious demands, it sneaks up and builds slowly and the power and control issues increase.
The reason most of our information is geared toward the aggressor being the male is because that is the statistic but there are also women that abuse. What is so unfortunate is that rate will increase as our culture is encouraging females of today to be as aggressive as the male.
The last area on the What We Can Do sheet is the area of SUPPORT
One way to support is to see if it is possible to present an Hour Of Faith session to the women. Strengthen their belief in themselves and the true love that God has for them.
Another way is to support the staff of the shelter. Sponsor a luncheon or event for the employees and volunteers of the abuse shelters to help counteract the high level of stress and burnout associated with their positions. It should be a meal that can be enjoyed during lunch as their schedules allow. A cheerful table decoration would be delightful. A small (inexpensive ) gift would also be nice but not necessary. A note from your group (or individual ones to the staff) letting them know how much their dedication is appreciated would be very welcomed.
If you are the research personality, keep informed of any efforts by groups (e.g., the American Medical Association, the local and national TV networks) in the area of domestic violence. Let them know you appreciate the direction they have taken OR encourage another direction.
You can support in many ways if you are educated about the issue. You might consider doing what the then Director of the Province of Milwaukee, Jean Kelly, did at their board meeting. She felt that the Domestic Violence Women Healing the Wounds was an important tool and she made an investment by providing a resource booklet to all arch/diocesan
presidents, presidents-elect and invited guests, including the Spiritual Advisors from
the Superior, La Crosse, Green Bay, Madison and Milwaukee Arch/Dioceses. Encouragement was given to contact NCCW to obtain the educational brochure Women Healing the Wounds. That is taking action!
You can download the Resource from nccw.org for free. The only thing I ask is that you DO NOT place the entire resource on your website. It is a program that belongs to NCCW. You are encouraged to put a blurb about the program and the link to nccw.org on your sights or newsletters but not the entire program. This allows us to get the message out but also brings people to the NCCW website where not only can they receive the information but also see the other amazing programs the members have worked so diligently to provide for all of us. You may order the printed and spiral bound version of the program for only $15. It is user friendly and each of the sections can be utilized individually.
The Women Healing The Wounds educational brochure which provides information as follows: If you are a victim or know a victim, know the things you will need if you must exit the situation quickly, and some facts we should all be aware of pertaining to the issue, and dispelling dangerous myths associated with domestic violence.
The brochure cannot be copied and that is why you can order them at no charge. They have been and hopefully will continue to be subsidized by groups donating the funds to keep helping many individuals.
I invite you to be sure and read the NCCW Connect each month to view the efforts of the previous Appreciation Recognition winners. There is a bevy of inspirational ideas that can be utilized.
(Before I give my closing message lets open for discussion. When you wish to speak please use * 6 (better known at the asterisk) please realize that any background noise will make it difficult for everyone to hear you. When finished please use *6 again.)
Every day was to combat domestic violence:
Be sure to
• use only non-violent language;
• avoid supporting movies, songs, and television programs that devalue equal relationships, belittle parents, and do not have any solid role models.
Some of the most powerful tools we have to fight the problem of domestic violence are
kindness and education.
Our most powerful one of all is prayer: every day at home, at meetings, for victims, abusers, their families, lawyers, judges, and first responders.