By Rita Thompson
As cases of the novel coronavirus hit unbelievable highs across the world, the majority of Americans remain in their homes as a literal safe haven from the world around us.
While domestic violence cases are known to spike during economic crises, there’s rising concern for victims of in-home abuse during a time when there is no way out. For those who cohabitate with an abuser, a “stay-at-home” order comes with a danger of its own.
This is Jane Project: A Platform for Community and Advocacy
On the front-lines of this scary issue is the This is Jane Project, a social movement aiming to advocate, and provide community and a platform for self-identified women. By organizing and documenting inclusive communities, This Is Jane provides a space for honest conversations around trauma, healing, and medicating with cannabis.
Co-founders Shannon DeGrooms and Bri Smith took a moment to inform the Emerald on the major effects that quarantine is having on those facing domestic violence.
“We’re extremely concerned [about the increase in violence]. Trauma happens disproportionately to womxn already and for those quarantined within the same walls as their abusers, [sadly] the onset of COVID-19 has brought an increase in episodes of domestic violence.” explain Smith and DeGrooms. “That’s just those reported. Our hearts are with all women in this type of situation, and we hope at a safe time, they can reach out for help.”
“Already at a 40% greater risk of intimate partner and domestic violence than those without, womxn with disabilities are especially vulnerable during these times,” they explain. “Add a global pandemic to the equation and the percentage is surely inflated.”
This Is Jane Project also focuses on furthering the conversations surrounding post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), not only as a disability but, as a catalyst for other chronic health conditions.
Smith and DeGrooms explain that patients with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and other PTSD-associated illnesses are at greater risk of relapse during global crises. “This truly is a medical, economic, social, racial, and mental health crisis that will affect womxn disproportionately.”
Healing with Cannabis
This Is Jane Project describes the journey of healing with cannabis as one that’s extremely personal.
“Healing can mean something different to each ‘Jane,’ but one thing we all have in common is that we are all survivors of trauma. From ‘little t’ trauma to ‘big T’ trauma, cannabis can be an incredible tool in confronting, managing and healing from the things that caused it.”
“The best way to start the process is by consuming in a location that is safe. If the experience isn’t alone, be sure it’s with people who are supportive. Low and slow is the best way to ensure the experience is a therapeutic one and not one that is scary.”
The project also promotes self-care, and activities that heal or sooth when consuming cannabis and processing trauma—a term they call ‘trauma-informed consumption.” That can include anything from journaling, to taking a bath, to having a good cry and “letting your mind and soul experience your feelings,” the women explain. Another important thing to keep in mind; remember that if you consume too much, you’re going to be ok. Drink plenty of water, breathe, and stay calm. This too shall pass,” they add.
Smith and DeGrooms agree that there are currently not enough programs to get safe and affordable cannabis to survivors of domestic violence of gender-based crimes. For that reason, they provide a list of resources ranging from cannabis nurses to therapist on their resources page.
Aside from the This is Jane Project, there are several resources currently available to those in these toxic situations. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, for instance, are the leading, survivor-led grassroots movement addressing domestic violence against women and children.
Help and Support
During quarantine, This Is Jane will host free, virtual events to provide community and connection to trauma survivors. Events will encompass storytelling, poetry, and a discussion with a mental health expert who will discuss, “the crossfires of toxic masculinity and domestic violence at an already terrifying time.”
This Is Jane Project is also launching a virtual U.S. tour on May 3, 2020. “We will have virtual events which “take place” in cities across the U.S., but womxn outside those specific areas are still welcome to attend any event they’d like to.”
While the transition to a virtual reality is substandard for most markets, This Is Jane found a silver lining. “[Now] we can meet and create a community with more womxn than we would be able to by physically being in any given location. Instead of visiting 10 cities around the U.S. —which would exclude a lot of womxn outside of those metropolitan locations, womxn from everywhere can participate.”
The full list of dates and locations will be available here on May 15th.
How you can help
In an effort to continue the necessary programming for women curious about healing trauma through connection and cannabis, the This Is Jane Project has created a PayPal link for donations. “We would be honored to receive any reader’s character contributes,” they note.