Advocacy Groups

Saving lives is usually attributed to police, fire fighters and medical personal; but, they aren't alone. Advocacy groups are directly responsible for saving lives, both in the heart beating--lungs breathing sense and in the living part of life, for advocacy groups are built around improving the quality of our lives. As an anti-abuse advocate, my purpose and passion in life are in working toward the day when teens everywhere can go to school and know they will be protected from peer sexual abuse. I have the privilege of working alongside advocates working in this and other areas of the anti-abuse arena, whether adult to child abuse, peer abuse among children, dating violence, domestic violence, all forms of rape and all forms of animal abuse. Constantly, we work, not just to raise awareness of abuse and the laws that are already in place, but to push for better laws and better social standards. Ending all instances of abuse/violence anywhere is impossible; but, together, we will one day end the acceptance of abuse everywhere. We will create a world in which people can go to school, to work and on errands without being forced to live in fear of abuse.
 

 

Another area in which advocates are often over-looked is education. School employees are more valuable than most will ever receive credit for; but, it is often because of advocates that our schools are as good as they are. These are the people who take available opportunities to recognize teachers, rally and petition for increased funding to schools, call for stricter consequences for school/district employees who threaten children's well-being, rally against the misuse of zero-tolerance policies to harm children, push for better laws surrounding the safety of campuses from threats of violence, etc. In and outside of cases of overt abuse, these are the people whose primary focus is the physical well-being of students.   

 

 

 

 

Last, but not least, there are the mental health and special needs advocates. Mental health issues are not rare, nor are they something the rest of us can say with all certainty that we'll never have to deal with. In addition to the issues more frequently considered dangerous, like narcissism, schizophrenia, multi-personality disorder and manic-depression, there are the more common issues of adhd, autism/aspergers and depression. Then, there is the one that is often over-looked among military members/veterans and almost ignored among non-military members: post-traumatic stress disorder. This and other disorders come about from abuse, car-wrecks, battles, a loved one dying, etc. Statistics suggest that almost 25% of people have at least one mental disorder.

Mental health advocates are driven by the need to raise much-needed support for people with very real disabilities, invisible though they may be, and to change the way we, as a society, respond to people with mental disorders. The focus for many mental health advocates is defending the rights of those with special needs, whether physical or mental/psychological. Often, it's too easy for someone to abuse or otherwise neglect a person with special needs. There are people in schools who think it's okay to "discipline" special needs students in ways that we would never condone if done to non-special needs students. Likewise, there are administrators who are tough on bullying, if the victim is a non-special needs student. If the victim has special needs, it's all but ignored. Then, when the same student fights back, whether in direct self-defense or purely out of frustration, the same administrators try to expel him/her and charge him/her with assault. This of course ties back in with the cause of anti-abuse advocates, but ensuring the rights of special needs students is dependent on an additional set of laws. These advocates are the rare individuals who go to court on laws that even some school attorneys aren't completely familiar with.

As much as we as advocates would like to attend every event and speak out everywhere we go, it's simply not possible, which is why we as advocates need websites. Having a website is instrumental to expanding our reach, getting more people involved and joining hands with other advocates in our area of interest. Within a few minutes, you can update your site and let everyone know what's going on at the same time. We don't need the internet to make a difference in the lives of those around us. That can be done just by speaking up when we see/hear an injustice and by being accessible to, in my case, victims of abuse. However, we do need websites and social media to expand our reach beyond our individual neighborhoods and to get support from advocates around the world.

 

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