Sisterhood, cooperation, empowerment
Autism WenDo are three women brought together by feminism and friendship. Gośka is a WenDo trainer, Ewa and Asia are self-advocates on the spectrum who have worked in the autistic persons’ community for years. They met during One Billion Rising: “Four or five persons came, so it was easy to make friends”, laughs Asia. They have cooperated for a few years, acting upon feminist values: sisterhood, cooperation and empowerment. Now, they want to adapt WenDo to the needs of persons on the autism spectrum.
“Almost every day we meet autistic girls who have been hurt and experienced violence. This has to change!”
Aśka, Gośka and Ewa know, both from research and their own experience, that autistic women are particularly vulnerable to violence: they often find it difficult to recognize violent intentions and stay in relationships in which they are being used. Socialization to be obedient aggravates this: “Since early childhood, girls on the spectrum are scolded for being different and taught to meet everyone’s expectations”, explain the members of the group. “Every one of us, almost every day, meets autistic girls who have been hurt and experienced violence. This has to change!”.
WenDo – more accessible and efficient
With the money from the minigrant, the group will draft guidelines about work with persons on the spectrum for trainers of feminist self defense and assertiveness WenDo. As the group’s members stress, despite WenDo being seemingly a great tool to support women on the spectrum, it has to be adapted to their needs. “I know from my own experience that not all WenDo techniques work in such situations – working with visualizations, close physical contact with strangers…”, says Asia. “Actions taken in other areas of social life, such as culture, show that a lot can be done to improve accessibility. Developmental characteristics should not prevent anyone from benefiting from activities that are accessible to other women!”, says the group.
The girls will organize a test workshop, gather the participants’ opinions and feelings and, based on this, will create a brochure for WenDo trainers. They believe that this way, they will fill an existing gap and create a successful tool for preventing violence against girl, women and nonbinary persons on the autism spectrum.
Grant amount: PLN 4,400
Image credit: Autism WenDo