Conversations with Myself: I have spoken . . .

St Marks Womens Day2013 Workbook Cover_St Marks Church Ladies Tea 09.08.2013

As part of my training as a Facilitator, I offered my services to speak at an event via our local community newspaper. This talk was to form part of my Portfolio of Evidence (PoE) for evaluation by my trainer.

A local church saw my advert in the Community Newspaper and invited me to speak at their Women’s Day Ladies Afternoon Tea and the topic was Gender Violence and how we can make a difference. Their theme for the day was “Thanksgiving”.

What made this task daunting was the fact that the Rector who introduced these Women’s Day teas and was very passionate about it taking place every year, had died in April this year after being part of this particular parish for many years. Gender Violence is a very serious topic, not to be taken lightly, and yet, I needed to somehow tie this in with being “thankful”. Wow, quite a tall order from where I stood.

Nevertheless, armed with four pages of notes, I made my way to the stage as confidently as I could pretend to be. Prior to the event starting, with the help of my Mentor, I made sure that everyone received a specially prepared workbook containing important useful information which the audience could take home with them for further reference just in case I did not manage to get through all my material. The workbook also contained my contact details so there was no need for anybody to scurry around for my business card (which I made sure I had just in case anybody asked).

As I took the microphone and greeted everyone, I could hear the tremble in my voice but, brave soldier that I am, I continued pretending that I had done this a million times before. I was given 15 – 20 minutes to speak, and so I began . . .

I was taught the best place to start was with a definition of the topic/subject at hand and because I was determined to get the audience involved, I came prepared with an activity I created called the Gender Violence Bingo game (on the first page of the workbook). I also came prepared with a “spot prize” for the first person to shout “Bingo”. This went down well with the audience.

From here I went directly into the content i.e. what can we do when we experience Gender Violence, the cycle of violence and where we can go for help (detailed on page 2 and 3 of the workbook they were given).

I urged those present who are thinking of leaving their partners, not to do so without a Personal Safety Plan which would help them think through the process of leaving and ensure that they are fully prepared for every eventuality. This Personal Safety Plan is available at http://www.womendemanddignity.wordpress.com (under the Resources tab). Alternatively, you could send an e-mail to nataliejohnson041@gmail.com and request a copy.

I ended my talk with how we can be thankful in spite of our circumstances. Examples of what we could be thankful for was listed on page four of the workbook to help the audience along in their thinking process. They were encouraged to continue this thinking process once they reached home. For example:

• Thank you for having the knowledge and ability to get out of this bad situation and seek a better life for myself
• Thank you for the people who can help and support me to get out of this bad situation
• The good years/good times – I will miss it but I’m glad I had it
• Thank you for the children born during the good years/good times
• Thank you that there is a way out of this bad situation

I managed to do all of this in exactly 15 minutes without looking at my watch while I was speaking and without anybody having to stop me which I thought was quite impressive [back pat to me – Yay!].

After my talk, during tea break a few people came up to me to thank me for the talk and said how much they appreciated me talking on the subject.

As I left the venue at the end, one woman grabbed my hand, said “thank you for being here and talking about this subject. I need to talk to you after this because my mom needs help”.

We can change the world – one person at a time!

Feedback received:

From: Vivien Shah
11 August 2013 at 3:49pm

Yes it’s fine. The talk was measured. You waited until the attention was present. I like the way you linked the solemn topic with the theme of thanksgiving. A challenge indeed.

People were silent as you showed your desire to help others. This was poignant as you yourself must deal with issues affecting disabled people on a daily basis, women to seek their rights.

You encouraged women to seek their rights.

It was the right length.

Afterwards people appreciated your message and said the booklet was something to keep and hand on.

I thought the leaflet was a stroke of genius.

Well done!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Feedback from various members of the church present at the event:

Yes the topic was most appropriate and relevant – women have used the safe place to talk about the sensitive topic; for many

So very useful and informative – the booklet is most valuable – as the lady and her mother I invited called me the next day to share how they could use the info.
I relearnt the value of sharing what you know with those in your circle and the powerful effect it has as a life changing opportunity. Thank you!

You could have talked louder – you did well!

The talk is close to my hear (the issue) and I didn’t realise you were going to be there talking about it – so it was welcoming to my intellect and appreciated that we women can be talking about anything over a cup of tea with clear guidelines of what to do and where to go when we get up from the tea and the talk. God bless you!

I’m well Natalie and pray your work will continue. God bless you. Susan Hoorn de Vos.

MJ – Talk was very inspiring bringing awareness to people of situation they not aware of. The Bingo lesson was also very helpful to identify one’s situation.

A suggestion is to leave the gift presentation for after your talk, because more time was needed for the last page of the leaflet.

The information was very useful and one could take the leaflet as well as the message to family and friend who did not attend the function.

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