WIP Wednesday update

At the beginning of May, I wrote about the amazing women I came to know during my time working for the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association. If you didn't get the chance to read it or need a refresher, you can find the post here. I said that I planned to write more about the issues these women have and continue to deal with and share information about violence against women, especially as it relates to women in prison.

There is a saying for those who work with survivors of intimate partner violence; "Nothing about her without her." With that in mind, I felt that before I moved forward, it was very important to personally reconnect with some of the women who are still incarcerated and learn from them what they feel needs to be said about this issue. They are the experts of their situations and while I certainly have my perspective on injustices they have experienced, it is definitely not the same as seeing it through their eyes.

I made an attempt to contact two of the women I worked with for several reasons. Personally, I just want to stay in touch with them and keep up with how they are doing. Also, knowing how much they love hearing about Addie and how she's growing, I wanted to give them some updates on her. My, there are so many! But perhaps the most important reason was that I wanted to let them know that I am here, with no agenda or ulterior motive, with no one paying me to help them, with only the hope that somehow my small voice can raise awareness about them and other women who are in similar situations.

I don't know if you have ever tried to correspond with someone who is in prison. Let me tell you, it is a pain in the ass. There are so many restrictions... what you can send, how you can send it, where specific things must be sent. There's also the knowledge that whatever you do send will be opened by some sort of prison official and read or at the very least looked through. It changes how you write things, it changes what you choose to send and quite frankly, it makes you feel vulnerable and in some ways violated.

A few weeks ago, I received this in the mail:

The very letters I sent out were returned to me letting me know that the women had been moved to another prison. It didn't say where and it didn't say how I could contact them at their new location. Thankfully, I have close enough ties to my former workplace that they were able to share that vital information with me. Who knew that the very small and simple luxury of mail forwarding is not something that you are afforded in prison?

My small packages have once again been sent out and I continue to play the waiting game. It pains me to think that an exchange which normally would have taken only a few weeks at most will end up taking months at this point. But rest assured, once I do hear back, I will be sure to let you know. This is most certainly a project in process. Slow but steady. Frustrating but not forgotten.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you've done some amazing work with KDVA and the WIP project. Can't wait to hear the updates... hopefully the legal system will soon work in their favor.

sara said...

Your words warm my heart. As soon as I get any updates or information, I will surely pass it along. These women need all the love and thoughtfulness available. Thank you for your support!!!