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Creating Safety Through Self-Care

A.N.B.U. Hosts “Bring an Aunty” Event in Scarborough

By Sidrah Ahmad

On July 30th 2017, A.N.B.U. (Abuse Never Becomes Us – www.anbu.ca), and IRCNFF Peer Champions Tharshiga Elankeeran and Jessica Thyriar held an event for the Tamil community in Scarborough called “Bring an Aunty”. This event was full of self-care activities for women in the Tamil community, and included a presentation by A.N.B.U. on the warning signs of domestic violence and how to help someone living with abuse.

The day started with a yoga session led by Madura, the founder of Advaita Movement. She led the group through a grounding and challenging yoga session that helped us all connect with our hearts and bodies.

Women practicing Yoga

After the yoga session was finished, we were invited to share a meal –and not just any meal! It was delicious traditional Tamil cuisine was provided by Pratheban Thurairajah from Fusion by T (@fusionbyt).

Food

After we all shared a meal and conversation, we gathered to listen to a presentation created by A.N.B.U. on intimate partner violence, in which we learned about what the different forms of domestic abuse, what the warning signs are, and how we can support someone living with abuse.

People attending conference

Workshops and conversations about domestic violence can be triggering or overwhelming to women whose lives have been touched by violence. Any community-led initiative about domestic violence should be trauma-informed and take self-care into consideration. A.N.B.U.’s “Bring an Aunty” event demonstrates the power of what a trauma-informed event focused on self-care can achieve.

There were a rich amount of choices for self-care after the presentation. For those who wanted a massage, volunteer massage therapists were on hand to loosen any knots!

Massage on the back

Ratna and Bavani from The Nallur Clinic were also present, with essential oils and Ayurvedic medicines, offering free treatments to participants at the event.

Ayurvedic medicines

For those who wanted to get glamorous, free makeovers were available, generously offered by make-up artists Jessica (@browngirllikesmakeup) and Krishanthi (@beautybykr.i.sh).

Makeover

As if all of that wasn’t great enough, participants also got to go home with gift bags generously donated by Lush, full of soaps and other self-care treats.

Bags

Importantly, resources and information on domestic violence in both Tamil and English were available for participants to take home with them.

Flyers
Women looking at flyers

Overall, the “Bring an Aunty” event showed the power of bringing community together to discuss domestic violence in a way that celebrates women’s strengths and prioritizes self-care and community care. Let’s hope more initiatives follow ANBU’s example and ensure that workshops and events about domestic violence nurture participants’ minds, bodies and spirits – so everyone can leave the event smiling!

Elder and young women portrait

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