One of the exercises we do in a Basic AVP workshop is a brainstorm on the topic, “What is Violence?” Participants say whatever word or short phrase comes to mind when they think of violence and it is transcribed onto a sheet of poster paper. It is a word storm of ideas. No one’s idea is censored. When the storm passes and the ideas cease, we look at what we have written, noting the things that surprise us and the things that confuse us. Usually a good discussion follows on violence and how the group has experienced it in their lives.
Sometimes a word like “babies” ends up on the page. When that word was challenged once, I defended it, even though I had not been the one to add it. From personal experience, I came to realize after the birth of my first child, that there is a very fine line between self-control and child abuse. Working full-time in a demanding, stressful job, breast feeding at night, being constantly sleep deprived, I remember the moment I realized I could see that line clearly. The scary part was recognizing how easy it would be and how perfectly capable I was of crossing that line.
Occasionally, a participant is surprised to realize that something besides physical aggression could be considered violence. I have been fortunate never to have personally experienced physical violence. However on numerous occasions over the years, I have been the giver and receiver of verbal violence. Words carelessly or intentionally spoken can do tremendous violence to a person, creating wounds that fester for years, causing harm over and over again whenever they are remembered. I have carried such wounds with me for most of my life. Through AVP, I discovered their origin and was finally able to heal. What is violence in your life?
As a life-long avoider of conflict and an acknowledged introvert, I find it ironic that I spend so much time facilitating Alternatives to Violence Project workshops. It seems so out of character to willingly go into a minimum or medium security prison and spend essentially 18-20 hours over a weekend, once a month, with a bunch of guys dealing with conflict and talking about feelings. It is difficult for me on so many levels. And yet, I keep going back.
For me, it was the power of the process that kept pulling me back. An AVP workshop is packed with interactive, immersion type experiences. It very successfully builds a sense of community and level of trust I have never experienced anywhere else before. It was the power of this community that drew me. I kept learning things about myself and changing, and even though it was challenging, everyone else was being challenged at some level at the same time. I was not alone.
I used to be afraid of doing anything that put me in a position of making mistakes in front of others. The first community workshop I helped facilitate was a baptism in fire. I made all kinds of mistakes, but the process worked so well that in spite of my mistakes, all of the participants grasped what we hoped they would. As one person said at the end of the workshop, “I realize now that non-violent resolution of conflict is inside everyone of us and what we need to do is reach down inside ourselves and pull it out.” I learned to trust the process, because it works. — Magical Miriam
Basic AVP Workshop – Plainfield Correctional Facility – January, 2017
Announcing the next Community T4F from AVP Indiana.
AVP Community Training 4 Facilitators – at West Richmond Friends Meeting.
9 am – 8 pm Saturday January 14th and , 9 am – 7 pm Sunday, January 15th. Participants should have taken Basic and Advanced Workshops to participate.
Please sign up on website: avpindiana.org under the Registration tab.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
“I feel more confident and peaceful inside when conflict arises. I don’t
feel like I just want to hide under a rock anymore when conflict is near.”
From Justice Jessica, after her AVP basic workshop.
The Core Coordinating Group of AVP Indiana has been hard at work creating the first AVP Indiana Annual Gathering. The gathering will bring together AVP facilitators from all over Indiana and the surrounding AVP Midwest Region. Participants will be sure to have a lot of laughs as well as working on how to make our community stronger and practicing a few AVP facilitation skills.
We are so excited to see old friends and new in Indiana and the surrounding region to share with each other our love of AVP and to learn together how to make our organization even stronger. We promise this will be loads of fun!!
Location: 212 South 4th Street Richmond, IN 47374
Date/Time: July 9th 11am-5pm
Food: Lunch will be provided!
Who: Anyone involved in AVP Indiana or the Midwest Region (no need to be a facilitator)
What: Practicing AVP skills, learning about the non-profit and ways to plug in, and brainstorming how to make our community stronger.
If you’re interested in coming, simply show up! Or fill out this brief RSVP form: http://goo.gl/forms/R4vVKkok0S9IBYSX2
Thanks and hope to see you there!
-Courageous Kirsten Bunner