This afternoon I co-facilitated a workshop with Social Work students about the barriers facing women who are trying to leave domestic violence. 60 students were organized into 4 groups, each with two different scenarios of women trying to leave an abusive situation. The students were then asked to write each barrier on a ‘brick’ breaking down everything from not having a car, to not being able to attend prenatal appointments because of lack of transportation. With so many students who are doing practicums in a variety of social services and coming from different lived experiences, groups came up with dozens of examples-One group had 91 barriers!
We then came back as a large group to talk about these barriers and what it must feel ‘like’ to have to live with them. Students expressed feeling frustrated, hopeless, overwhelmed and demoralized with the various structural barriers that one may face. We then created a ‘wall’ of barriers, with many overlapping each other (CAS, Legal systems, social assistance, social services, lack of supports etc) and visually demonstrating how barriers intersect. It was a pleasure co-facilitating and sharing some of my own research with the students at St. Lawrence College, thanks Michelle for the invite!