Recently, I got an email response about the soon-to-be-launched private Exhale Online Community for women who have had abortions, from a woman who worried that a “private online space” created more shame, not less. I shared with her Exhale’s belief that nonjudgmental support for women post-abortion is the best antidote to shame. Literally, within minutes I took the time to watch the following speech given by Melissa Harris-Lacewell, Princeton professor, about Race, Shame and Stigma.
In her speech Melissa says: Respect Counter Shames
She also gives the following directions for how to counter the feeling of shame:
– We should not force people to be open about their personal experiences, but instead soothe them.
– We should create communities of respect and knowledge across difference.
– And that to push people to speak out, to be public, in fact creates more anxiety and increases the need to withdraw.
– Our goals should be not to prove that we are right, but to listen carefully to what people are saying.
And finally, we must encourage and allow for Voice.
A strong case for Exhale’s Pro-Voice mission, I’d say.
Thank you Melissa!