Finding My Voice…
I felt honoured to find myself attending a talk and workshop by Margot Van Slytman on Wednesday 20th May at the very welcoming St.Aidan’s college, University of Durham.
Margot is an award winning poet, writer, speaker and Arts facilitator. I found her to have a most beautiful soul, grounded in humanity and with it she helped me welcome regrowth in my own roots and unlock my own voice.
Margot shared her story of healing after violent crime and the importance of restorative justice. She very candidly spoke about the rich friendship that has developed between her and the man Glen who killed her father Theodore, in an armed robbery while living in Toronto as a young girl. Margot spoke about life and its rawness in the 30 + years between losing her father and meeting Glen and how this has informed her therapeutic writing. You can find out more about Margot on her website https://sawbonna.wordpress.com
I was seated alongside Professors, Criminology students, professionals working in Criminal Justice and men and women supporting young offenders to name but a few. At first I felt out place, I am not an Academic, my work for this project does not overtly carry a label that says who I am or why I would be attending – this came up in discussion and I was not the only person present who became physically overwhelmed by the sharing of Margot’s lived lived experiences and how this resonated with our own experiences.
In the afternoon workshop Margot read from her book ‘The Other Inmate-Mediating Justice Mediating Hope’ it is a poetry and workbook for restorative practices. The poem she shared was, ‘Let Us Listen’. Margot’s workshop inspired us to explore expressive/therapeutic writing to challenge limiting ideas of ‘good vs bad guys’ and it was here that I felt I had been given the space to find my own voice and listen to myself, an idea that felt long overdue but left me feeling weary.
I do not yet know how restorative justice works alongside Domestic Abuse – but I do know that finding your ‘voice’ being given the tools and space to listen to it and the opportunity to share it and feel ‘heard’ are things that I experienced during Margot’s talk and are shared within the aims of The Women’s Voices Project.
We will be advertising our therapeutic arts for wellbeing workshops due to be delivered in July 2015 in the next week or so…