By Lisa Matsumoto, Public Relations & Communications Intern
Harassment is not an easy topic to grasp. It can have so many different faces said, Sachi Nakajima on March 9th, the day following International Women’s Day– a day to celebrate our victories, but also to stand together and support each other. Sachi is the founder of Resilience, a nonprofit organization supporting victims of domestic violence and abuse in Japan.
Sachi is a survivor. She came up with the idea of running a drop-in class for victims of harassment in 2003. What she initially thought would be a side project quickly grew over the years, and now she gives over 100 talks a year all over Japan! From small-scale workshops to training hospital personnel and prefectural police to coaching juvenile delinquents, Sachi believes that sharing victims’ stories and providing a platform for questions and exchanges gradually offers a path towards safer lives and greater awareness about harassment. Although Sachi Nakajima herself still battles the effects of her own story to this day, she works tirelessly to support victims and to share their stories with the goal of contributing to a better tomorrow in Japan. It is certainly not an easy task. But there are encouraging signs, such as more and more people attending Sachi’s events, speaking up about this topic, and getting more involved – including FEW’s own members.
For example, Sarajean Rossitto is not only widely engaged in non-profit work supporting the marginalized in Japan, but she is the one who first connected Resilience to FEW. She has hosted marches in hopes of spreading awareness of the reality of domestic violence. Last year, she produced the play “Seven” in Tokyo about domestic violence and abuse illustrated through seven stories of women. Sarah Furuya has also been making a point to involve Resilience at her clothes swaps to help women who have been able to leave their abusive relationships to start a new life with new clothes, while also offering a platform to discuss the topic among a large group of women. And Jennifer Shinkai has raised money through sponsors by participating in the recent Tokyo Marathon for Resilience, helping them distribute booklets and host peer support groups and presentations. These are just a few of the many ways that you can also support Resilience’s cause.
What can you do if you know someone is experiencing an abusive relationship? It is hard to determine what is right and, as Sachi stated, there is “no specific formula to fix everything.” However, you can let them know that you will be there for them if they need anything, that they have somewhere to go, someone to depend on and that you will be waiting for them. Having said that, listening to abuse stories is emotionally draining, according to Sachi. You should not deal with it alone and get a professional involved to help.
We hope to see more of Sachi and the Resilience team’s work, hope more action will be taken, and hope that we will all #BeBoldForChange. You can plant a seed anywhere. Raising awareness starts with you.
Learn more about Resilience here: http://resilience.jp/
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