Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Womens Studies

Major Professor

Michelle Hughes Miller

Keywords

advocacy work, domestic violence, feminist research, self-care

Abstract

Despite victim advocates' missions of helping survivors of abuse, advocacy work takes a toll on workers. Advocates perform a multitude of tasks in their jobs including care work, emotional labor, and empowerment counseling which may subject them to consequences such as burnout, compassion fatigue, and compassion satisfaction. As such, this thesis details the work I conducted with the Butterfly Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault agency shelter advocates. The purpose of my thesis was to (1) document and review advocates' self-identified work-related needs and to (2) co-construct an educational intervention with the advocates using feminist participatory action research that would help them manage these aspects of their work. I argue that advocacy work impacts the Butterfly advocates across relational and wellness dimensions which inspired advocates' need to implement individual and organizational self-care practices. Furthermore, I contend that the process of feminist participatory action research constructed sustainable individual and organizational self-care interventions with the shelter advocates. The findings have implications for employees in advocacy work and for the larger discourse regarding the relationship between women and care work. Furthermore, findings reveal that creating a culture of self-care may serve as a way to reinforce and resist hegemonic Western notions of work culture in trauma related and non-trauma related fields.

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