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Jun 17, 2019

Banks too

Eve of the Factory has become very popular in factoires that it started a movment.

This is why, Not Guilty has decided to extend this projects into work spaces beyond factories.

Harassment in the work place is a taboo subject in Egypt, not tackled at all in any of the social media.

This is why Not Guilty decided to step over all taboos and start marketing the Eve of the Factory program to banks and other work places.

We have encountered severe resistance. Somehow places we approach, are very defensive telling us that they have no harassment in their workplace.

We shared with the bank the results of all the factories wehre we applied the curriculum and they started opening up to implementing in their own banks.

We are waiting to hear from the National Bank of Egypt which has 20,000 employees.

May 14, 2019

It is never too early

Training in the nursery Happy Kids (Al Obour City on Wednesday, the 7th of May 2019)

Our team was composed by Mary (Head of Projects), Marianne (Assistant Head of Projects), Germaine (coordinator), Lisa (trainer), Johnny (photographer) and Naomi (intern/volunteer).

We had to train about forty children and seven teachers of the nursery. The children were separated in two different groups according to their age.

The first one was a baby class kids (three and a half years old) and four teachers were with them and in the second group, the children were older (four or five years old) and there were five teachers with them, in which two of them were already in the first group. Each training lasted an hour.

The nursery Happy Kids is situated in C class neighborhood. Since Al Obour City is a new industrial city, most of the mothers and the fathers of the children work in factories.

The training with the first group started and Farah (Germaine) greeted the children at the door. Most of them were excited, except one boy who cried and didn’t want to greet Farah. The teachers explained that he always cried when he left a classroom. When all the kids had arrived, Lisa presented herself in a dynamic way and she played a game that the kids enjoyed and they started to cooperate. Then we turned the Not Guilty song on and Farah joined Lisa in front of the children to sing and do the dance with her.

(At first, the children didn’t sing nor did the gestures with Farah and Lisa, but with the music going on they started imitating Farah and Lisa). When the music was finished, Lisa took the big hand and showed the kids the private parts: where other people couldn’t touch them (the mouth, the chest, the buttocks and the genital area).

Then she gave them a mirror box and they had to see what was in it. In the mirror box they saw themselves and Lisa told them that they are very precious because God created them and he loves them.

After they all saw what was in the box, we gave each kids one red and one green flag. Lisa presented situations with good and bad touches and the children had to raise one or the other flag to say if the situation was good or bad. The red one was for “no” and the green one for “yes”. The children gladly took part in the game and enjoyed it.

At the end of the training, a child could go in the front and Lisa would ask him what his/ her reaction would be if someone tried to touch his or her mouth, chest, buttocks or genital area and the child had to shout “no” and run in the other direction.

In the second group, the program was pretty much the same, but Lisa played another game with a houla hoop. The houla hoop represents our boundaries. It shows who can get into our circle and who can’t. It’s our personal space and if someone crosses the boundaries it is bad.

The other game was the traffic lights. It shows the four steps the children need to take if they are about to be abused or bullied (stop, run, tell, tell). During the whole training session, the group was pretty agitated and noisy.

After each of the two trainings, Johnny took some pictures of the children, with the teacher and our team and after the second training he made some videos of the teachers talking to Germaine.

Finally, we had a talk with the school director.

 

 

Stories the kids told

Several kids of this group shared their experience.

1)     One girl (Marly) said that once, her friend (boy) hugged her really tight, but she didn’t like it, so she told her mother.

èWe told her she was right and that it is good she told someone older than her. If that would happen again she has to say “no” each time.

 

2)     Another girl said that her mother forces her to take showers with her sister, but the girl doesn’t like it, so she told her mother. Unfortunately, her mother didn’t listen and she keeps on showering the two sisters together.

èWe told the nursery to call her mother and to advice her, because the daughter doesn’t like it.

 

3)     Another girl said that her mother, a teacher among the nursery, usually kisses her on the mouth. After the session, the mother wanted to kiss her daughter on the mouth to see if she had remembered what we had said during the session and the daughter said that she didn’t want to because she had learned it in the session.

èWe told the child it was very good to refuse to kiss her mother on the mouth and we adviced the mother (teacher) not to do this again because it is not good for her child.

 

4)     A child told us that when he goes back home he undresses his dolls and plays with them. He also said that he undresses his baby brother/sister and plays the doctor game with him/her while the baby is naked.

èWe told him that only the parents could undress his baby brother/sister and that he wasn’t a doctor. The doctor could undress a child only if the parents are in the room.

 

On our way back, in the Uber, Germaine and Marianne had an interesting conversation with the driver. When he saw their t-shirts he asked what job they were doing. They answered and explained them what Not Guilty was doing (sessions for kids and adults in everywhere to teach them how to protect themselves against sexual abuse). He was wondering how he could tell his two children about private parts and sexuality. Germaine answered that it is good if he talks about sex honestly and in good way with his children. She also said that if children don’t learn about sexuality from their parents, they will learn it from other sources and these might be bad. She added that it is not a problem to talk about sex with your children, but that it is better if a father talks to his son and a mother to her daughter.

If you want to learn more buy the book What Happens AFter #MeToo- Tackling The Iceberg available on amazon and kindle.

If yu want to book a training or a speaking engagement send to contact@notguiltyinc.org

Links:

Apr 1, 2019

A Pinterest World

 

2018 was the year I discovered Pinterest. Preparing for a baby shower, a bridal shower, Sunday school activities and landscaping our yard made me addicted to Pinterest. So much so that just before our grandaughter’s baby shower, my friend Debbie told me, “Laila, get off Pinterest”.

Looking at Pinterest pictures gives the impression that the world is picture perfect. It’s sort of like the pictures people post on Facebook. The message is, “Life is good, babe. I don’t have a care in the world”.

Yet, we do not really live in a Pinterest world. The world we live in is far from perfect.

Every one of us has some sort of  hurt, habit or hang-up. Yet, we try to keep it from the world.

Why are our loved ones or we reluctant or afraid to tell about our hurts? About our abuses?

I am giving you a sneak peak about the parents training we do for parents of children in schools.

There are actually 5 main reasons reasons that might keep us from opening up:

  1. There is no one to talk to or trust.
  2. Feeling embarrassed or ashamed.
  3. Being afraid my life will drastically change if I tell. (Family life, relationships).
  4. Not realizing that I am actually a victim.
  5.  feeling it was not actual abuse since there was no actual violence entailed in the abuse.

What are some signs that we need to watch out for that might tell tale that a person or loved one is trying to report abuse to me?

  1. Sentences like: What do you think of (so and so)?
  2. I don’t want to go to…(a particular place) any more.
  3. I don’t like (the name of a person) any more.
  4. Pease don’t go away. Don’t leave me with…. alone.
  5. I feel uncomfortable, scared, angry…etc when I am around    (name)
  6. I am bad.
  7. You will be angry if I tell you.
  8. I know much more about sex than what you told me. (your 8 year old child or loved one speaking).
  9. ……. Did something bad.
  10. ……..plays games with me that I do not like.
  11. … is not a nice person.
  12. ……… hurts my cat; dog.
  13. ……..hurts my mum.

How should you react?

  1. Research shows that people who find support and encouragement at the time of reporting have a greater chance of bypassing the abuse and recovering.
  2. The victim needs to understand that he/she is not a ‘bad person’ because of the abuse.
  3. The victim needs to know that it was not their fault that the abuse happened (hence the name of my non profit, Not Guilty).
  4. The victim needs to know that he/she is not alone.

What should you do?

Step 1: Listen. Telling a parent about abuse is not easy for a child or loved one. In fact, it can be terrifying, especially if the offender has conditioned him or her to think that no one will believe the child or loved one’s report.

Step 2: Control your reaction. I realize that hearing such news about your child or loved one can be devastating, but his or her welfare at that moment is more important than any emotion you feel. Your reaction at the time of disclosure is crucial. It determines whether your child or loved one will feel supported and loved, and often whether he or she will suffer later from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The best reaction, in terms of your tone of voice and body language, is one of compassion, never of anger, aggression, or blame. If you take on the role of a prosecutor, bombarding your child or loved one with questions about when and where it happened, why he/she didn’t scream, why didn’t he/she remember that no one is supposed to touch their private parts, etc., you only make the situation more difficult for your child or loved one. Telling you was already hard enough. Let your child or loved one tell you at his or her own pace. More details will come out in time. Your child or loved one needs to know he or she can trust you to listen compassionately.

Do not feel that you have failed as a parent. That is one of the lies associated with abuse. Perpetrators can be master manipulators, and many parents miss the warning signs. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You can make it through this one day at a time.

Step 3: Don’t try to correct the vocabulary. Let your child or loved one report the incident to you using his or her own words. This is not the right time to teach the right terms. Just let the child or loved one blurt out all that he or she wants to tell you.

Step 4: Believe your child or loved one. It’s hard for a child or loved one to lie about such a matter. If they know about issues of this nature, they have probably experienced them. Parents need to believe what their child or loved oneren are reporting.

Step 5: Show compassion. As mentioned above, compassion is the only appropriate response in this moment. Let your child or loved one see it when he or she is telling you what happened. Show empathy.

Step 6: Thank your child or loved one for telling you. Let your child or loved one know how courageous it was to tell you something so difficult, and that telling you was the right thing to do.

Step 7: Tell the child or loved one that it’s not his/her fault. Assure your child or loved one that he or she is not guilty and that the offender is the guilty one. Becky McDonald, president of Women at Risk International, discussed the phenomenon of freezing with me and explained why it happens so often and produces feelings of shame:

I deal with so, so, so many victims who froze in the face of fear. As you know, one of the results of cortisol when the amygdala senses danger is the fight, flight, or freeze response. The body shuts down to protect. Freeze is a very common response to a sense of danger, and I especially think it is more so with a trusted person. So when the perpetrator is an authority figure, you freeze to process and may not come out of the freeze mode. Those who freeze and do not say “no” struggle for a long, long time with shame. They have been taught to say no but nothing comes out of their mouths. Then they feel that something is wrong with them. Why didn’t they fight?

I spoke at a state university, and in the bathroom was a sign that said, “No answer means NO.” It was an anti-rape poster, but it recognized that many do not say no and then are attacked by the court, community, family, etc., for not putting up a fight. In fact, the chemical cortisol (from the flight, fight, freeze place) blocks the prefrontal cortex (the seat of problem solving) so that many cannot move and go into shock and shut down. It is just so, so real. People ask all the time, “Why didn’t they run, fight back, yell, or scream?” They assume that normal people do that. Normal people also freeze in the face of danger, and the shame message becomes a resounding gong and deafening drum beat if they finally do tell. So parents need to know that saying “no” may be difficult, and it is actually normal not to. Give child or loved one the permission to come to us when they have been hurt, even when they forgot or couldn’t say no or didn’t know how to fight back. I deal with so many women who get crucified on the stand because they did not say no. They froze in the face of danger and it is viewed as their consent or fault. Not true. . . . I have dealt with thousands of survivors who were silenced very effectively and were never able to get “no” out and feel shamed for that.[i]

            Do whatever you can do to release your child or loved one from guilt or shame in the aftermath of abuse, regardless of their response at the time.

After following these steps, try to protect the child or loved one from experiencing more abuse. Let the child or loved one know that he or she will be protected, and then actually follow through with protection.

Refer your child or loved one for counseling. Be sure that the person treating your child or loved one can indeed be helpful because sometimes counselors who are unqualified to address child or loved one sexual abuse can actually make the situation worse.

If you have any questions you can reach me here.

If you would like to know more about this subject you can read my book, What Happens After #MeToo- Tackling the Iceberg. You can order it here.

Your donations and letters of encouragement mean so much to me.


[i] Personal conversation, April, 2018.

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