Category Archives: Family

The wholeness of a Family.

Victims of Sexual Abuse are both Male and Females

Since 2004 I work for BC Society for male survivors of sexual abuse, where we have the most silent and stigmatized individuals who would indeed need years of therapy.

Prior to working for this agency I had no idea how much men could suffer from such crime and always related sexual abuse to women-only- problem. It is significant to recognize that sexual abuse occurs everywhere, among all communities, all nations, all races, all ethnic groups and it is a pervasive problem in every society.

In the position of a victim service worker and a clinical counselor, I believe that sexual abuse as well as other form of abuse; emotional and physical can be prevented if we educate our children, women, and men, public in general and also if we try to impact our politics and governments.

Sexual abuse as a power related problem that should be discussed openly and respectfully in our communities. The excruciating pain that victims of such crimes live with and the silence around the problem, are all damaging individuals, families, and communities.

In eastern cultures sexual abuse is not only being hidden and covered for but also the shame and guilt is being carried out in generations. Sexual abuse and sexual assault on boys and girls, males and females has to be stopped and prevented. It is the case that sexual abuse causes pain and life long traumas for individuals, families, and communities. The level of burden and blame on victims is often the case in what we know of the problem in our Persian culture.

The topic of sexual abuse is a highly stigmatized and misrepresented topic in my Persian cultural group.

The impact and level of victimization from such horrible crime is huge in many communities and healing only comes along with a cultural sensitive community support.

I share this with my readers, because I like to raise awareness about one important issue; the issue of child sexual abuse that happens to both male and female children can be prevented if we open our eyes.

It is my experience that victims of sexual abuse live with years of shame, guilt, blame, and self-hatred, while they keep silent. nity.

Clearly, when we talk about sexual abuse we mostly relate the issue to a women-only- problem.

Although most victims of sexual abuse are young girls and women, however male children are a silent target for this horrible crime, while no one talks about it.

Sadly many victims of sexual abuse in my community, whether male or female never come forward to seek help, even if they do, many family members minimize the problem or underestimate the psychological impact on the victim.

If we educate our children both male and female about the existence of pedophiles who are not always strangers, then we can protect our children better. Pedophiles are manipulative individuals who are always around our children and they try to get the child’s trust before violating him or her.

I would like to emphasize the fact that here in B.C. there are many organizations that are helping victims of sexual abuse or sexual harassment. 

Undoubtedly, male and female survivors of sexual abuse come from various multicultural groups where sexual abuse is not only a taboo, but also a great disgrace on their communities.

Consequently it is important to recognize that sexual abuse is damaging individuals, communities and group of people while these victims need support and help.  Years of psychotherapy if sought, support and understanding from their loved ones, and permission to openly discuss their pain are the proper ways to help male and female survivors of sexual abuse.

Surely, it is going to take a long time for our Persian culture to start talking about this issue and other problems around inappropriate sexual behaviors.   

Sexual abuse is a crime here in Canada and this criminal offense hurts people for a life time.
We can be the messengers of hope and help our communities live healthier.
Help is available and no one needs to suffer.

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Gang Life Style & Untreated Trauma

Surely, with the general knowledge of our human history, we can recognize the fact that there have always been groups of people, mostly men, who created their own “gangs” by “ganging up” against the norms, while crimes and violence are intertwined with this life style.
We have to discuss the psychological components of a gang life, in order to explore how gangs can be attractive to some young people. For helping our young people in staying away from this dangerous path, It is important to recognize the mental health factors play role in how young people are recruited to this dangerous experience.

A Gang culture has to be understood in the light of distorted beliefs and dysfunctional families.
In talking about gangs, we are not referring to the big gang bosses who choose to create this criminal, illegal, and scary world where they victimize regular citizens with their actions.
We are focusing on the regular young men who are discouraged, distracted, and delusional. The illusion of having access to fast money, luxury, power, and excitement.

We are focusing on our own “Persian Culture” we are hearing about “Persian Gangs”, whom we do not know of. We can just imagine that these are regular youth or young people who may find a gang life style attractive just because they lack rational belief about the self and others. Although cultural strains are important in analyzing a person’s choices, however gang life style has it’s own culture according to many research out there. It is significant to recognize the patterns in which people fall out of the circle of society and reach the edges or beyond that.

Many parents are furious of the idea that their teens and youth might fall for one or another criminal activity. Thus, it is important to educate families about how they can be part of the solutions because they are part of the problem undoubtedly.

Surely, there are misconceptions, miscommunication, and misunderstanding among the members of every single family, yet the need to fit in, the loss of self, and the loss of identity has a big part in the dynamics of dysfunctional-ism and irregularities.

In every community, there are many dysfunctional families whose members have lost connection to the real world. In particular when superstitious beliefs, rigidity, and emotional triangulations are the rule of laws for many parents, youth who are tired of the lack of connections; and they rebel.

In our Persian community it is very common that when women leaves abusive husbands their children are often left behind in terms of feeling to have access to both parents.

Sometimes young men are left off wondering why their father never cared for them.

There are men who enters new martial life time after time and bring children to the world without caring for them.

There are boys and sons who never have the pleasure of a father playing games with them or loving them, as expressing emotions or listening to the kids are not like what most Iranian men are raised with.

The more traditional a family is the less chance that people are allowed to show feelings moreover the emotions are often considered to be “sinful” or “problematic” or just too much, while the hardships in some people’s life may not leave room for any experiencing joy.

We Iranian families are good at grieving anyways, shedding tears, and loving death instead of life, are somehow part of our culture, however showing gratitude and joy has a negative connotation.

Certainly, there are many other factors involved in how some families miss to support their boys into a real confident person.

While the need for having education are at times overly exaggerated and overly emphasized, some real human factors such as self-dependency, open world view, social knowledge, and interest of others are ignored or never attended to.

Dysfunctional families tend to force their children to fail, as they set up for failure early on by not letting children particularly their boys feel they belong somewhere.

Rebellious kids who have failed the high expectations of their parents, will try anything that helps them keep up their face.

Who joins a gang?

A person who has the distorted belief that he (most probably males) can be rich in no time.

A person who has mistaken views on the self taking him to the point that he feels more respected while in a gang or when he succeeds in disobeying the laws.

A Person who believes that by becoming rich he can be found more attractive, powerful, significant or glamorous.

A person who lacks judgments about how to deal with his own shortcomings in life.

A person who has most probably experienced one or another form of trauma in their family.

What kind of trauma you may ask? What about trauma of losing a mother, a father, a family, or trauma of not having experienced any love and connection?

What about the trauma of not having been heard or seen as a child?

How about the trauma of having been bullied, abused, neglected, and abandoned?

What about the trauma of becoming a new immigrant and trying to fit in a culture you do not know of?

And what about trauma of not knowing how to fit in?

Traumas, tragedies, separations, and losses are some factors in how many Iranian families are struggling with life in general, although stigma plays a major role in how some families silently are suffering. Despite all, culturally we put up our masks on and pretend nothing is going on.

Migration, immigration, lack of stability, dislocation, addiction, and mental health issues are more factors that impact our Iranian life every single day.

Trauma of not having a family to go back to, trauma of having lost a home due to forced immigration / separation; These are all painful experiences that numerous youth are dealing with daily.

The anxiety of not having a community who accepts you as who you are, with all the failures, shortcomings, weaknesses, and irregularities.

A Gang culture have to be studied in the light of the need for respect.

We have seen in the Hollywood movies that individuals who feel they are not being respected in their daily life, they are drawn to gangs because there is a hierarchy for being respected.

If you reach a certain level, if you have the money, if you have sold this much of drugs or if you have power then you have reached a rank in the gang, then you will be more and more respected by no one being able to question you anything, by people being scared of you, or by having a luxurious life.

In opening up this discussion, we can not let go of the discouraging and dysfunctional parenting style that many of our Iranian families have.

Parents who either pamper their boys or ignore them, parents who are emotionally, physically, sexually, psychologically abusive towards their sons.

Sexual harassment of boys, sexually intimidating names, threats are problems that happen in some families, issues that are contaminating minds of everyone, however no one wants to talk about that.

Lack of respect for children do exist in our Persian culture big time and no one can deny that.

Having said all above, still we can not suggest that anyone who feels being disrespected in his family of origin will join a gang, no, people make choices to deal with our issues.

Finally, it may be fair to say that youth who have rarely been treated with respect, empathy, tolerance, or fairness, will search for their place of belonging and identity somewhere.

Here at this point, the under world might attract those who are the weakest ones, those who hope for a better life without knowing about self-dependency and self-control.

If this young person has the distorted belief that her or she can be rich, accepted, and respected by joining a group then the society has lost one another member to exclusion.

In other side of this puzzle about why people are drawn to gang life styles, we may need to look at the distorted lief about excitement. Youth who do not find any joy and excitement of being part of a family can be in danger of being drawn to gangs.
Sure enough that this article miss many points about how else is a youth fall for gang life style, however what is the message of this note is to help families to help their youth.

We have to help our youth to feel good about who they are and how they are.

This education has life saving effects. We have to take emotional health of our youth and their families seriously by offering them support programs.

Traumatized young people among dysfunctional families are many and they have to be seen, heard, and cared for.
We have to strengthen our youth to understand their inferiority and to compensate in positive ways.
Several untreated traumas leave young people with few choices around positive coping mechanisms. Youth today needs most support in a holistic way.
Tomorrow is late.

Poran Poregbal, MA, RSW, RCC

 

 

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دید به زندگی‌

اگر مجلات روزانه ونکوور را مطالعه کنید، به طرز فکر و فرهنگ حاکم در کانادا بیشتر پی‌ میبریم. در روزنامه امروز دسامبر ۶ میخواندام که مطالعات جدید بر زندگی‌ افراد مسن نشان داده که این افراد چه خطرات طبیعی از قبیل زمین خوردن و آسیب‌های بدنی تهدیدشان می‌کند. لحظه‌ای به این فکر رفتم که در جامعه‌ای که جان انسان ارزشمند است مردم را از کوچکترین مسائلی‌ که میتواند ناراحت کننده باشد با اطلاع میکنند و راه‌های پیشگیری را ارائه میدهند. در ادامه اخبار شهری و استانی را که بررسی‌ می‌کنیم باز هم میبینیم که دید ارزش گذاری به زندگی‌ قالب است. اینجاست که افسوس خوردم و آرزو کردم که‌ای کاش روزی دوباره مردم ما هم از این موهبت و همدردی برخوردار شوند.

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امروز مقاله‌ای میخواندم که ارتباط ازدواج و رابطه مخرب را با سلامتی‌ و یا بهتر بگوییم بیماری نشان میدهدد. ثابت شده است که افرادی که در ارتباط با همسر خود از راه‌های مکالمه و بحث‌های خسته کننده و هر روزی استفاده میکنند، ایشان در معرض بروز بیماری های مختلف قرار میگیرند، چرا که هورمون‌های مقاوم در بدن افرادی که دیدگاه مثبت و سازنده به زندگی‌ دارند، بیشتر ساخته میشود. در اینجا بود که فکرم رفت بطرف وجود بیماری در فرزندان‌ای که در این خانواده‌ها زندگی‌ میکنند، چگونه روابط نا‌ سالم بین پدر و مادر میتواند وجود فیزکی، روحی، روانی‌، و دنیای این کودکان و نو جوانان را به طرف تخریب و نگرانی ببرد
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In Raising Awareness & Showing Support to Victims of Crime and Trauma

Today, we heard of two upsetting news about two different non-related Iranian families who have lost their children in two different situations.
The first story of loss: one Iranian family who lost their ten year old child in a car accident this past weekend, the news that this family do not even have the money for the child’s funeral was heartbreaking, however as I write this note, people are raising funds.

Another family lost their 15 year old boy committing suicide a couple of weeks ago (in January 2010) due to the act of bullying.   A friend of mine sends me this article published today, Feb 4, 2010:

http://www2.canada.com/nanaimodailynews/index.html

Ashkan Sultani was the victim of bullying in school.  His parents told the reporter that they wish their son’s suicide serve as an act of kindness or help others knowing about the ways of preventing these tragedies.
Let’s give our prayers to this family as well as send our condolences to both families who are in pain.

In order to help Ashkan Sultani’s family in raising awareness about the issue of bullying, we have to know many things.
As these parents said, they do not like to point to someone or blame someone.   We could not disagree with the parents, while adding that the issue of bullying is not about blaming,
it is about knowing the borders and the limitations in all relationships.

We need to help our children understand the mechanism of bullying while help the offenders change their ways of interacting in schools and out there.

We need to know and to teach our children and help them to understand that bullying is a serious problem while help the offenders change their ways of interacting in schools and out there.
We may be parent of a child who is a bully or bullying someone.  In either way, it is significant to not take the act of bullying as a victim’s low self-esteem type of blame.
Sometime in our culture, the act of bullying is mixed with the notion of “joking.” The offender always excuses its act by saying: “I was just joking.” Numerous times I have met those families whose children bully behaviour has been noticed,
while parents excuse their children’ behaviour by relating this to act of being childish or else.  Bullying may be childish still this is a serious problem, affecting our children’s physical, mental, psychological, and social health in all aspects.

For the same reason, we have to teach our children that never take any type of teasing, picking on, ridiculing, laughing at, name calling, belittling, threatening, forcing, and making the other feel less. These are all the behaviours that the bullies do in order to take control over the bully.  As parents we have to be aware of what is going on with our children while teaching them to never accepting someone taking control over their mind in this way.

What do we know about bullying?

The Persian translation of the word “bully” gives us: ???? ????? ? ???? ?????

When we are checking in with the English to English translation of the world “bully” we will find these explanations:

A Bully: If someone bullies you into doing something, they make you do it by using force or threats.
If someone bullies you, they use their strength or power to hurt or frighten you.  A bully is someone who uses their strength or power to hurt or frighten people.

About Bullying, there are many good articles out there and I found this one of particular interest, as it talks a little bit about the brain of the person who bullies:

http://www.physorg.com/news145252980.html

As a community, we in our Iranian community have never spoken about bullying and the signs of it.
In order to raise awareness we in the Iranian Educators Society for Families are organizing two public workshops in April 2010, to raise awareness about the victims of crime: Every Victim Matters.
This is part of a plan that is recognized and accepted while it will be funded by the Department of Justice Canada.

On this note, we will talk about bullying as a serious issue and how families can help their children not become a victim for bullying.
We invite all families who are interested to know about this serious issue and we hope we could see Ashkan Sultani and other parents of victims of bully to join us in exploring this issue in our community.
These two public seminars will be held in North Vancouver and Coquitlam as advertised and we invite all families who have been victimized for any reason due to any act of crime or trauma.  This is about: Every Victim Matters.
Please see our website/ News & Events: http://iranianeducators.com/?page_id=265

We like to help our communities grow. Let’s help saving lives by raising awareness.

Poran Poregbal, RSW, RCC
Iranian Educators Society for Families
Feb 4, 2010

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اعتراضات دانشجویی

پس از سرکوب‌های خونین چند ماه اخیر، این روزها دانشجویان در دانشگاه‌های تهران و دیگر نقاط کشور، برای ابراز مخالفت خود با شرایط موجود، سعی‌ بر عرض اندامی دوباره میکنند.

ایشان با شجاعت و عزمی راسخ دوباره به میدان آماده تا بگویند که آرزوی تغییر شرایط و بهبودی اوضاع را دارند، در صورتی‌ که با دولت کودتا هم کنار نخواهند آمد.

شعار‌هایی‌ که این دانشجویان استفاده میکنند، عمق درک ایشان را به نیاز مبرم عدالت، آزادی، دمکراسی، و زندگی انسانی‌ را گویا میشود. اعتراضات دانشجویی در ایران بخوبی نمایانگر یک طیف روشنفکر و جوان است، در حالی‌ که این جوانان به هیچ ایدئولوژی و حزب سیاسی غیر از جنبش سبز اعتقادی ندارند. در اصل جنبش سبز برامده از نیاز‌های نسل جوان ایرانی‌ است که خسته از عقاید سیاسی پدران و مادران خود، در جستجوی یافتن راهی‌ تازه به سوی آینده‌ای روشن برای ایران هستند.

شعار: “شکنجه – تجاوز دیگر اثر ندارد” به گونه‌ای ابراز همدردی با جوانانی است که مورد تجاوز جنسی‌ قرار گرفته اند، و از طرف دیگر، صحه گذاشتن به جرمی‌ است که حاکمیت آن را نفی می‌کند. شعار دیگر: “دولت کودتا استعفا، استعفا” خود درخواست دیگری است که بر هیچ ایرانی‌ آزادی خواهی‌ پوشیده نیست. در هر صورت امروز، ما در گذرگاه تاریخی‌ بسر می‌بریم که برای عبور سالم و بدون خطر، ما محتاج حمایت،همدردی و همنوازی با مردمی هستیم، که قیمت زیادی برای درخواست‌های خود داده و میدهد.

به امید همدلی هر چه بیشتر با جوانان وطن در بند.

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Green Movement

Past couple of months Iran and Iranians experienced a new era of social feeling (Adlerian terminology), a new sense of solidarity, and a new notion of fellowman ship due to many horrible events that occurred.  Thirty years ago after 1979 social shift in Iran, many of us feared that Iran’s next generation would be brainwashed and raised with ideas that are not in any ways close to our Persian heritage. However we all were wrong.

Our younger generation born after 1979 shows to be most democratic groups of us, who will build a new Iran away from ideology, racism, hatred, and sexism.  Most of us, however could not comprehend what this younger generation is capable of until the preparation for June 12, 2009 presidential election.  Here we could witness a new Iran and a new group of us coming to the play arena of Iran’s politic.  Although they experienced most horrible crack down after the election coup, still today these most intelligent group of us are fighting back for their rights.  This was how the green movement came to be about a new life for Iran.

Green has become the color for change in Iran. Green has turned out to be the color of dreams for a nation that has a long time been suffering in the hands of extremists and Islamic fundamentalists.  Green is now the color of peace for Iranians who ask for human rights and democracy.  Finally, freedom, justice, and respect for human life for Iranians are now highlighted in green.

Inside Iran: These days the green movement of Iranians asking for change is taking a new route.  With the opening of universities students are re-structuring their resiliency, their strengths, and their fight with a repressive government that is cruel and unpredictable.

Listening to the students demonstrations in Tehran’s universities, you can hear they chant: Torture-rape has no effect anymore.  Watching all the video clips and images covering the news about the green movement from all over Iran, you cannot distract the tears running your cheeks.

Outside Iran:  Everywhere Iranians are, those who can let go of own agendas and self-righteous type of behaviors, join all others who will in solidarity with our brave younger generation fight the darkest and most dangerous regime of our history.

Praying for peace is all the green movement does particularly these days when repressive regime of Iran is working hard to get the world into a war because this regime survives only in war and hatred.

Therefore:  Green is about appreciation of new life for Iran and Iranians in peace.

September 29, 2009
www.middlepeace.com

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Rape In Iran Prisons

The disturbing news about the rape of inmates in Iran prisons has now made the hardliners in Islamic regime to gaurd against the truth more than ever.   The controversial news however has shaken the foundation of the whole structure of this regime.  Those who fight to stay in power with any means still use denial, rejection, and intimidation as their usual way of silencing people.  Stealing the evidence, oppressing the witnesses, and threatening the victims are also what the oppressors in Iran do.  None of these are new to any of us Iranians, not any more.

Still, what is innovative is the shocking disclosure of rape, torture, and sexual assault on inmates all over the Iranian media.  Discussing or complaining about sexual assault allegedly offended by the prison guards in the Islamic regime has never been this easy.

Victims and their families are telling stories that change our communities forever.  The details of described sadistic act of crime offended by the guards and the interrogators in the prisons are finding ways to people’s everyday life now more than ever before in our history.

The public discussion about rape and sexual abuse in our prisons are leaking out in a broad scale and from different sources, something that opens up a discussion about the act itself.

While the act itself have been occurring  in the Iran prisons, at least to our collective knowledge during past 30 years, yet the impact of this violent crime on communities are not known.

Disgracing the inmates with rape while ridiculing their belief has been reported as used treatments by the guards in many of the prisons across Iran.  It is significant to realize that many victims of rape, torture, and harassments in jails are too fragile to come forward for telling their stories.  Beside the damages of such act on people are too harsh why their trusts in any justice are under question.  This all happens while the trust to any justice under the umbrella of current regime of Iran is impossible.

Unfortunately as there are no statistic or correct information about how many incarcerated individuals who have been victimized this way.

The clinical damages and the debilitating impact of these horrible crimes on individuals are to be discussed.  On one hand these victims and their families are brave to handle a very unbearable situation while on the other hand we can just imagine the cultural embarrassments and barriers for Iranian families to help these victims.  All these problems seem to challenge a nation in a country where justice is an illusion.

Peace and healing comes with acknowledgment and serious steps to help the victims and their families. Still hard to believe such an action is under the Iranian regimes of hate and terror of its own people.

May peace,healing, and happiness for our people be intertwined with freedom and democracy in a near future.

September 14, 2009
www.middlepeace.com

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The Whole World to Support Iranians


The world has to stand up today to support Iranian people who ask for their rights.  Every single individual in the modern and peaceful world should stand up for the rights of a people who are imprisoned by a very despicable situation. If any time our human agencies in the world has a responsibility for the well being of their fellow world’s citizen, it is now.

Iranian people voted for change, yet their votes have been miscued.   God knows how much this current president of Iran, who is a new Hitler of our time, has betrayed our great nation. This man has a twisted mind who has one main goal.  If the Holocaust was led by Hitler, this man can do more.  If any time in our modern time the larger community of humanism can help one another, is now.  People in Iran are pushed to the edges of helplessness and powerlessness. They are being beaten to death in the streets of Tehran while the so called president of Iran is celebrating his so called victory.

The cheated votes for this man called Iran’s president is a threat for our world.

This is a disaster more damaging than any natural catastrophe. People who have voted want their votes back or have their votes fairly counted.

The world has to come together to support a great nation like Iran.  Right now, our Iranian people are imprisoned throughout a coup that not only is a threat for our home country but also for peace in the world.

Democracy and mental health are hand in hand while the absence of democracy are real reason for madness.

We Iranian people who voted for reform and those who hoped for reform knows this factor for sure. Depression is killing every one of us who wish nothing but freedom. What is for sure is that our Iranian people need all the support they can have, from every one of us around the world.

August 18, 2009
www.middlepeace.com

Original article was published in June 14,2009;  EzineArticles in http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Whole-World-to-Support-Iranians&id=2474169

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Bullying

In our Iranian community we have no discussion about bullying.  Translation of this word in our language does not show the seriousness of this topic.  Bullying is mostly misunderstood as “jokes” or as “just being funny” type of action.  In our culture it is easy to laugh at or ignore many hard topics such as bullying.  Victims of bullying could be anyone who is considered to be less than others.   Our exaggerated respect for social status does allow bullying becoming a top to down way of ordering orders.  Our jokes definitely reflect our way of thinking, acting, and feeling. Just to remind us of how bullying look like in our culture, take a moment to think of how we call one another based on the person’s personal attributes. We choose words and they have a meaning. This is a conscious way of bullying, even if we think it is a funny way of calling another person a name.

There are people who will argue with this write and say I am taking things too seriously. However we have to think of how we are victimizing others on a daily basis just by some minimal actions that are called: bullying.  It is time to learn what is right and what is wrong.

May 21, 2009

www.middlepeace.com

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