Offering a Helping Hand

Here is a story of a student from Africa who came to see me this past week to “ask my advice” about something that was bothering her.  She had learned that her aunt, back home in Africa, had suffered domestic violence and was hiding from her husband, who had threatened to kill her and her two children.  The children were safe with a relative, and the aunt was hiding with one of her sisters.  The student, whom I will call Muadi (not her real name), was in tears, crying throughout our conversation, saying that she felt terribly guilty being here in California, a student at Stanford, while her aunt was suffering back home.  She felt helpless; she had no idea what to do, and her concern had been heightened because during the previous week we had been discussing all of the readings on violence against women in our class on critical issues in international women’s health.  The family back home had little sympathy for Muadi’s aunt: after all, she had married the guy.  Maybe she needed to be a better wife?  Maybe the violence was her fault?  But Muadi knew from the many readings she had done for the class, that domestic violence is a complicated matter and does not have to do with a woman’s “fault.”

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Highlighting Loving Organizations

This week in our discussion circle on love, a couple of colleagues and I are leading a two-hour session focusing on the topic of “love in action.”  We will highlight several organizations that we think are based on love and that foment love through their activities.

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