Treating yourself shouldn’t be a privilege! Rest and recovery shouldn’t be a luxury.
But it is.
Self love, treats and rest are so needed to build our resilience but they are not always accessible. The words self-care are thrown around or forced on people making us feel guilty when we don’t have the money, time, ability, health, access or opportunity to do the things that we would actually like or need.
Ownership is so often put on us by society and support services to self-care, which is such a cop out, because actually what we need is basic access to human rights like a working benefit system, childcare, housing, accessible healthcare, legal help and immigration support before we can even CONSIDER self-care and dealing with trauma!! We don’t all have spare money or time for self care when we have bills to pay, health problems, immigration problems, housing etc. So it is very problematic when we are told to just do a bit of mindfulness, try positive thinking or expect us to be able to fund self-care activities like so many support organisations do.
While this fund is a tiny step towards giving us all more control back as survivors… we also will be challenging the systems that are in place that have created these problems in the first place.
Privilege is not spoken about enough in organisations and that needs to change. We all need to check our privilege more and understand how it effects everything around us.
Rather than focusing on survivors individual oppressions and vulnerabilities and creating outreach programs for ‘minority groups’ or empty ‘inclusion policies’ we need to completly restructure how we operate as organisations and look at the privileges we have and power within our support structures and how that distances, isolates and excludes certain people.
Rather than focusing on why certain people aren’t ‘engaging’ with services, we need to ask why aren’t services fully ‘engaging’ with us? Why are society and services completely failing certain people and excluding us and our needs?
Our own privilege:
We acknowledge we have privelege to be able to even do this project, in many ways. We are white, cis and able bodied which immediately creates more opportunities and makes things easier for us. We are also at a stage in our recovery from trauma and lives where we have better mental health, more free time and we have found and can access ways to support ourselves enough to actually do this too, hopefully without burn out. Despite having some shit experiences with support services we still had privelege within accessing that support because of how we were treated by society and services due to our privilege. This has enabled us to get where we are now. We need to not just aknowlege this but be aware of how that allows us to operate and speak out.
We want to use our privelege in the best way possible. We also want to check our privelege regularly and we encourage you to too.
We will make mistakes, we have made many in the past and are constantly learning and trying to unlearn but we welcome being called out by anyone that feels able to – we will listen fully and not get defensive.
Privilege has an impact on all of us and we need to find ways to keep addressing the inbalances that are everywhere, especially in accessing support.
We need to remember privilege isn’t about seeing that some groups find things harder, it is knowing that WE actively make things harder and less fair for some groups. Our society is set up to benefit a select few and fail so many others. It is our collective responsibility to own this.
It is only when we are all prepared to start actually giving up power and sharing some of the privileges we are used to, to enable more equal rights and fairer access to opportunities, that we will start to see changes.