The National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s (NSVRC) Newsletter, The Resource (Spring/Summer 2009) had an article titled, “Coping with Vicarious Trauma: Strategies for Advocates Working with Communities of Color” by Tatiana Diaz, M.A. The article highlighted the complexities that Advocates of Color face when working with Communities of Color as well as the additional issues of Vicarious Trauma associated with the multi-dimensional work they do.
To gain insight on this issue, Tatiana held various focus groups where a total of 18 advocates from Rape Crisis Centers in Pennsylvania participated. From these focus groups, Tatiana states:
They [advocates] shared difficult experiences, particularly related to situations where oppressions like racism, classism and immigration status intersected with victimization.
From these shared experiences, Tatiana was able to categorize the experiences into the following areas: Lack of Diverse Staff, Lack of Cultural Competency Among Current Staff, Tokenism, Other Marginalized Populations, and Other Agencies and Partners. Tatiana explains that the combination of any of these:
Placed great burden on advocates by adding extra responsibilities such as translation, transportation, and issues relating to immigration.
To learn more about this article, including some recommendations, you can download the entire article here.