One Billion Rising: Healing After Sexual Violence
On February 14, 2013 (F-14) I danced and marched with One Billion Rising, a global action to demand an end to violence against women and girls. A reported one in three women and girls will be abused or raped in her lifetime. On this day we created a global community, empowered to create change. Together, we danced in "flash mobs", shared stories, and peacefully marched. Our motto was Strike. Dance. Rise. In Portland, Oregon we gathered with a reported 600 people and marched the streets of downtown. On this day women, men and children of more than 160 countries, of diverse race, class, gender, sexual orientation and religion came together and took action. There was mass media coverage, and thus, the world is responding. This day left me inspired and empowered.
My response as a healthcare provider, a woman, a sister, and a birth doula:
In response to F-14 and my commitment to promoting awareness of human rights for women, I have decided to more actively integrate my work as a healthcare provider with this passion for change. My current work as a gentle birth doula is very much related to human rights in birth. Now, with the intention of supporting this community, I am inviting women and girls affected by violence into my Chinese medicine practice. This includes survivors and women who have experienced physical or verbal violence, birth trauma, childhood abuse, etc. Anyone emotionally, physically or spiritually effected by violence and seeking support while healing.
Incorporating an element of therapy and energetic medicine (acupuncture, intuitive healing, energetic clearings, body work, etc.) into the wellness plan seems to be the most therapeutic during the healing process. Healing is a process, there are growth periods, transitions and often times new perspectives as old stagnant energy and beliefs move out. It is important to have a support system in place when beginning your acupuncture treatments. Often times as we peel back layers energy or beliefs that are no longer serving us, we reveal new states and perspectives. Have a trusting relationship with a practitioner or friend/family member is helpful in moving through these stages.
Resources in Portland OR.-
- Portland Women's Crisis Line- resources and support
- Deborah High, M.A., LMFT- therapy
- Lisa Willaims N.D.- pelvic floor therapy
How Does Chinese Medicine Promote Healing After Sexual Abuse?
Acupuncture has the ability to promote the reconnection of physical, emotional and spiritual bodies. It is a gentle and effective way to balance the emotions and aide in the digestion (or processing) of experiences, including trauma.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is founded in the theory that Qi (chee) harmoniously flows throughout pathways called channels and meridians. Each meridian is related to a specific organ with many functions and associations. The spleen for example is responsible for transforming and transporting food and nutrients throughout the body. Therefore it is related to digestion and nourishment of the entire body. When the spleen is out of balance there may be poor digestion, loose stool, and general lassitude. The element associated with the spleen is Earth, which is our grounding. Our ability to manage tasks that require concentration is dependent on the spleen because it houses the thought. When out of balance we worry, ruminate and often experience anxiety and disturbed sleep. The emotions tell us a story, they reveal what organs are involved and what imbalances are underlying. Each organ is related to an emotion, the kidneys to fear, the spleen to worry, the lungs to grief, the gallbladder to timidity, the liver to anger, and the heart to joy. If you think about where we feel these emotions in our physical body, you can begin to see the connection. For example, it is extremely common for people to express a sense of anxiety or worry in the solar plexus which is related to the spleen.
Based on your constitution, health history, emotions, symptoms and diagnosis, your acupuncturist will select acupoints. Acupuncture causes the release of endorphins and thus, people often experience a state of deep relaxation. We playfully refer to this as "acubliss". Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine promote a healing response and influence harmony in the emotional, physical, and spiritual bodies. I aim to inspire and empower you as you move toward the light and out of the shadow.
Check out this blog written by a survivor and student of Chinese Medicine. She beautifully writes of her experience with Chinese medicine during her healing journey. "Survivor Manual: inspiring and empowering survivors to lead joyful lives."
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Kat Starbird, M.Ac.O.M., L.Ac., birth doula