Auroara Leigh is a Metis woman, working as the Stopping the Violence Wellness Worker for the Fireweed Collective Society in Fort St. James. You can contact Leigh at 250-996-1214 or via email at fire.or@telus.net. (Submitted photo)

What is Safety?

Stopping the Violence Wellness Worker in Fort St. James writes about safety and why it matters.

We tend to look at safety when it comes to defence against immediate dangers, and the elimination of chances towards those dangers.

Safety becomes an interesting concept when it is considered beyond just physical safety. Safeopedia states that “Safety is a concept that includes all measures and practices taken to preserve the life, health, and bodily integrity of an individual.”

What about psychological, emotional, and spiritual safety?

Based on the current rates of addictions, suicides, domestic violence, and mental health issues, we can see that safety means much more than just physical well-being. If it were just about physical safety to maintain people’s livelihoods, we would not have the national emergency that we do.

Safety matters:

• Physically

• Mentally

• Sexually

• Emotionally

• Financially

• Culturally

• Spiritually

• Systemically

• Environmentally

Overall, community safety is determined by pillars of strength that provide collective psychological safety across it.

One of the strongest ways to weave psychological safety in a community, is to celebrate and uplift one another, building encouragement, acceptance, trust and appreciation for the roles and actions people partake in…big or small. This boosts morale, feelings of worthiness, value, and a desire to contribute.

The bottom line — it feels safe, welcoming, and supportive to live in a community that sees YOU!

What about safety within a family/friend circle unit?

The quality of relationships in our lives have a huge impact on our overall sense of well-being.

While there may be numerous reasons for challenges in all types of relationships, (friends, lovers, co-workers, family members) basic understanding of how to create safety amongst one another is crucial.

Most challenges arise from breakdowns in communication, overuse of power, inadequate boundaries, and assumptions made without taking time and effort to become clear.

When there is more aptitude or knowledge in these areas, lines no longer get blurred and relationships can be restored to a more harmonious state with a lot less stress than the alternative — the drama triangle.

The Karpman Drama Triangle models conflict amongst people. In the triangle there is a perpetrator, a victim, and a rescuer.

We can see how this triangle plays out in most gossip threads, movie plots, and even political campaigns. The issue with us collectively staying within the social model of a drama triangle, is that it never leads to true resolution with better skills to inform action, safety, and possibilities for change.

Basically, it keeps us stuck and does not allow for real responsibility in defining and creating real safe spaces in our own circles.

It is all our responsibility to create what safety is in our community.

Notice blue bins going up in the grocery stores and Red Apple? These are asking for members of the community to nominate and share stories of people who made you feel safe, respected, and/or valued. Please share your stories and we will be giving prizes near the end of November.

Auroara Leigh is a Metis woman, working as the Stopping the Violence Wellness Worker for the Fireweed Collective Society in Fort St. James. You can contact Leigh at 250-996-1214 or via email at fire.or@telus.net.

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