The day before yesterday we had Women’s workshop, and last night we had Men’s workshop… In both workshops, we had Egograms. At the Women’s workshop, a victim woman who was in the middle of the crisis participated via Skype. In spite of the vividness of her story, the participants listened attentively without being swayed.

If separation and protection, commonly defined as support in the world, can solve the problem, there is no need to connect with me. What we can do for someone like her, who is living in such a difficult situation, is to just understand their existence and situation, accept their decision, and tell them of their dignity.

Is she pathetic, ignorant, and weak, unable to escape violence, as supporters of the world would have us assume? No, not at all. Where does the strength come from to take on the hardships of a family suffering from the oppression of the world, and to survive while being tormented by suffering? It is necessary for us to learn from this energy… The workshop participants may have felt this through their attitude of listening.

Also, last night at the men’s workshop, there was another woman who is a victim of moral harassment. She was exhausted both mentally and physically because her upbringing and marital problems seemed to have imprinted anxiety and fear on her. As she became more involved with my support, she gradually gained the ability to cope with the situation. I have always advised her that she can’t solve her problems by thinking alone and that she needs to interact with others and get their acceptance to deal with her anxiety… Last night, in the midst of her anxiety, she bravely joined the Men’s workshop where domestic violence harassers gather.

JAFAREC Men's Workshop March 2021
Two women participated in the Men’s workshop, and a deep and meaningful conversation continued.

She fearfully asked the men about her husband’s irrational behavior, which was the object of her anxiety and fear, and they each explained the meaning of his words and actions to her. Then, she seemed to understand the meaning of her husband’s behavior, which she didn’t understand before, and she seemed to be relieved of some of the fear and anxiety that came from uncertainty. Finally, she thanked the men for answering her questions properly.

Her mind, which just two hours before had been frozen with anxiety and fear of moral harassers, changed dramatically after the workshop to the point where she could smile and express her gratitude to such men. She may have taken the first step to freeing herself from anxiety and fear.

The material we used was a basic psychological analysis method called Egograms. It allows you to self-analyze your psychological situation, but it doesn’t answer why you are the way you are or how you can end your problems.

By using Egograms as a guide, focusing on your own experiences and feelings, and discussing them with others, you can finally get to the bottom of your essential issues. The answer to where you come from and where you are going is only within yourself, but you cannot find it by yourself. It is only through the mirror of your mind, which is other people, that you can see your unconscious mind.

For this reason, it is essential to know diverse perspectives and diverse experiences, and it is important to have a diverse group of people rather than a categorized group such as only men or only women, only victims or only perpetrators. Furthermore, in order for these participants to be able to speak freely without bias, they do not need an expert who is a controller of knowledge and suppresses their narratives. We need a facilitator who can be in a one-down position, letting go of control. Supporters who dominate the participants by calling them “poor” or “domestic violence abusers” may cause secondary damage.

But, you know, most of the domestic violence perpetrator programs in the world are like that. I don’t know if the Cabinet Office is discussing this or that, but if those experts, who are the authority of power and control, are gathered there, well, it’s going to be like the women’s aid program all over again. My understanding is that they’ll end up spending money to reproduce secondary damage.


Originally posted on March 12, 2021

English text translated with DeepL (Japanese to English) and checked by Mina.

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