…Insiders call them guilt trips. All those teenagers heading off on gap years, fired up with enthusiasm. Those middle-aged professionals spending a small fortune to give something back to society. And those new retirees determined to spend their downtime spreading a little happiness.
Now the flipside of these well-intentioned dreams has been laid bare in an incendiary report by South African and British academics which focuses on “Aids orphan tourism” in southern Africa, but challenges many cherished beliefs.
The study reveals that short-term volunteer projects can do more harm than good. Wealthy tourists prevent local workers from getting much-needed jobs, especially when they pay to volunteer; hard-pressed institutions waste time looking after them and money upgrading facilities; and abused or abandoned children form emotional attachments to the visitors, who increase their trauma by disappearing back home.” —Before you pay to volunteer abroad, think of the harm you might do by Ian Birrell at the Observer (via ourcatastrophe)
You have the right to have manual search procedures performed by an officer who is of the same gender as the gender you are currently presenting yourself as. This does not depend on the gender listed on your ID, or on any other factor. If TSA officials are unsure who should pat you down, ask to speak to a supervisor and calmly insist on the appropriate officer.” —What transgender people need to know about TSA’s procedures
Start with ‘This is terrible. I am so sorry to hear that this happened to you.’ Or some variation on this phrasing. It’s important to emphasize that you recognise this thing that you are being told about as a wrong. And that you recognise that this wrong happened to the person you are talking to.
Follow with ‘Is there anything I can do to help?’ ETA: It’s worth noting that this framing can be problematic, because it can put pressure on the person, who may feel an obligation to come up with something for you to do. You can say ‘I’m here to help,’ or ‘I’m here to listen, if you like.’ (end edit)
And stop right there.
That is all you need to say. What this person needs from you right now, what this person is asking for by coming forward, whether it’s talking about a molestation that occurred 30 years ago or a phone call in the middle of the night asking for a ride home from a party, is your support. Is your unconditional love. Is a reinforcement that yes, this happened, and it was wrong and awful and horrible and not the victim’s fault. It should not have happened. And you are in this person’s court. You are there. You are listening.
The Spiral of Silence is some theory about people not piping up for fear of social ostracism or reprisal. It sounds badass and has twelve conditions:
- People have a fear of being rejected by those in their social environment, which is called “fear of isolation.”
- People are constantly observing the behaviors of those around them, and seeing which gain approval and disapproval from society.
- People unconsciously issue their own threats of isolation by showing signals of approval or disapproval.
- Threats of isolation are avoided by a person’s tendency to refrain from making a statement about something they think might attract objections.
- People are more willing to publicly state things that they believe will be accepted positively.
- The spiral effect begins because when people speak out confidently, the opposition feels a greater sense of fear of isolation and is further convinced to stay silent, since they are in the minority. The feelings continue to grow in either direction exponentially.
- A strong moral component is necessary for the issue to activate the spiral.
- If there is a social consensus, the spiral will not be activated. There must be two opposing forces.
- The mass media has a strong influence on this process.
- Fear and threat of isolation are subconscious processes.
- The spiral of silence only “holds a sway” over the public for a limited time.
- If a topic activates the spiral of silence, this means that the issue is a great threat to social cohesion.