Trauma, healing and inclusion: 4 reflections for #IWD24

Inspire Inclusion Woman Banner
Inspire Inclusion Woman Banner

One25 posted this on 01/03/2024

This week, we’ve been reflecting on the theme of International Women’s Day 2024: ‘Inspire Inclusion’.

We’ve been considering what true inclusion could mean for the women we support – and what we can all learn from their experiences as courageous, resilient survivors of trauma.

The women we meet are some of the most marginalised in Bristol. They face barriers to accessing support services that could help them and often experience judgement about street sex working.

They are often not included.

Last year we worked with 271 women. 93% were survivors of domestic or sexual violence and 55% told us they experienced childhood abuse. Half were homeless.

For One25, inclusion goes hand in hand with equity: the recognition that, in order for everyone to have equal access to opportunities, some groups may need extra support.

So: how can we support women facing disadvantages to live safer, more fulfilled lives? How can we challenge discrimination and injustice so fewer women have to endure these experiences in the future?

We’ve learned a lot since our founding volunteers headed onto Bristol’s streets nearly 30 years ago – and we continue to learn from the courageous women we support today.

This International Women’s Day, we’re sharing four reflections on the theme of ‘Inspire Inclusion’:

#1: Inclusive services are trauma-informed services

Inspire Inclusion Blog - Trauma

For us, being trauma-informed means being mindful that traumatic life experiences can influence the way someone reacts to situations, particularly situations they perceive to be threatening. For example: a routine cervical cancer screening could be anything but ‘routine’ for a woman who has experienced sexual violence: it could bring back traumatic memories of the event itself.

#2: ‘Expertise’ comes in many forms

Inspire Inclusion Blog - Lived Experience

There is professional expertise, such as medical knowledge or knowing how to help someone experiencing mental health crisis, and there is also the wisdom that comes from living through something and feeling it first-hand. We call this ‘lived experience’ and any service working with people who have experienced a particular challenge needs to listen and respond to their insights.

The women we support helped us shape our health hub service when it was set up last summer, telling us which aspects of our previous healthcare provision they most valued and wanted to see continue. Women have also been part of recruiting One25 staff, including caseworkers and our Chief Executive Officer.

#3: Examine the role you play in exclusion

Inspire Inclusion Blog - Self Reflection

Organisations need to continually challenge themselves to be more inclusive. One25 exists to support women who street sex work, whatever their background and wherever they are in their journey. We don’t intend to exclude anyone but there may be barriers to accessing our support that we haven’t thought about: sadly, some women may not feel that One25 is for them.

As well as holding others to account for excluding the women we work with, we need to keep learning and reflecting on the way we do things. We’re committed to doing this through our Anti-Racism and Equality, Diversity & Inclusion working groups.

#4: Healing from trauma is not linear

Inspire Inclusion - Healing Updated

We know that the journey of healing is full of ups and downs, steps forward and steps back. We shouldn’t expect women to follow a fixed pathway of recovery set out by us.

We aim to be person-centred in our interactions with women: we are there for her when she experiences a relapse and when she is completing drug rehab. We are there when she is in an abusive relationship and when she has escaped.

Log in

Forgotten password?

Back to log in

©2024 - Registered in England. Reg. No. 3362644. It is registered as a charity. Reg. No. 1062391

Website: Atomic Smash