After the Webinar: Concussions Caused by Domestic Violence. Q&A with Rachel Ramirez

Webinar presenter Rachel Ramirez answered a number of your questions after her webinar, Concussions Caused by Domestic Violence. Here are just a few of her responses.


Audience Question: Often domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking programs, especially shelter programs, have time limitations or requirements for progress shown. In this case, what if anything have you found provides the most motivation or assistance to survivors with concussions when these rules are in place and it’s clear the survivor’s struggling to make that progress. 

Rachel Ramirez: Well, and I will tell you this is a part of when we think about this in systems change. We have to rethink and re-examine the time limitations that we are providing and placing our people. I will let you know, I do think that there are times when people have had recent concussions, it is actually medically contra-indicated to have somebody who has just had a concussion come into our shelter and have to complete a case plan within 24 hours. That is like medically not what a survivor, or not what anybody should be doing. They say really, really doing things when you’re post-healing from a concussion that requires extensive concentration focus meant that that’s like bad for your brain. That prolongs their concussion, symptoms, and those kinds of those things and those feelings. I think really, really thinking about those accommodations for those of us who are working in supporting domestic violence survivors, thinking about how we can support people who are having problems or deficits with things like memory. How are we reminding people to do things in different ways? How are we taking tasks and breaking them down into smaller parts in ways in which, if they’re breaking them down into smaller parts, in ways that maybe we haven’t, where we’re saying, all right, go out here and just do this thing. We need to be helping people chunk those up. We might need to be meeting with people more frequently. But I think we really do need to examine that’s a part of the advocacy that we do systems advocacy with other systems all the time, but we need to really, really be thinking about, just, kind of re-examining some of those pieces. But we might have to support people in different ways. And that’s what accommodations are really thinking about, how do we help survivors be able to do what they need to do, but also provide them with additional support? I wish I had a really, really good answer to that question. But I think that the other thing, we can’t… people just need to want it more, and if you wanted it more and you cared enough about it then you do it. It is not that simple when you had a brain injury.


Audience Question: What’s your biggest piece of advice for working with survivors who may think they’re coping at a higher level or better than they actually are? How should we handle this? 

Rachel Ramirez: Are you going to give me that question? Come back to the Ask Me Anything, and I’m going to be thinking about that. I would love to know what somebody else’s advice is.

You know, I don’t think it’s our job, when we think about so many, I think, that I think has to be approached very, very, very, very gently. Because particularly when working with survivors with a lot of survivors, being told all the time that they’re not good, that they’re not good at anything, that they don’t do anything well. You know, I think that it’s one of those things sometimes for all of us, like, we need to be able to have some control and think we might be doing things that are okay. But I think, you know, when we talk about care and connection, it really is building that relationship. And I think that there are ways in which we highlight strengths. But I also think if there are some kind of ways in which we can, we have to figure out, and we’re going to do this in the connection of a relationship, is helping figure out, you know, what might be some of those challenges that they’re having. I think a lot of times, people also think that they’re. But when you think, it would be a very different conversation with me if I was like, “Oh, I have problems. Yeah. I’m great at reading, I’m so good at reading because everybody knows how to read, right?” Well, if we know that sometimes, “When I have a brain injury, it’s much harder for me to read it, and it’s not just because I’m stupid.”

I think that really thinking about how we can talk about that and how we can have those discussions on how having some ability for people to be able to understand that sometimes the limitations that they have are not their fault. They’re not because they’re crazy and stupid, and there are reasons for that. And then I think that it’s one of those things. All of us have strengths, And all of us have limitations, And that’s something, but I think that that’s a conversation that needs to be had in the context of a relationship, but I’d be thinking about that. I’d love to hear everybody else’s thoughts on that, but I hope that that’s helpful.


Click Here to Watch a Recording of Concussions Caused by Domestic Violence.

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