Give and take

The give and take rules and conventions


Becoming a member of any society or community requires learning a specific set of behaviours and customs. The shared rules and conventions of give and take, both apparent and subtle, take a long time to master and apply with success. All the more so if one has been betrayed, wounded, abused or rejected by that same society- either by one person representing the whole community in the form of a parent (for a child) or minister or teacher, or in the form of an institution (psychiatric, educational, religious) - or as is the case for most of the women who come to La Rue des Femmes by both, repeatedly. How then do we tempt, encourage, help, support these same women into a relationship with the very society that has so badly used and mistreated them? For that is the answer to homelessness and exclusion.

Inclusion and connection. Re connection with the same elemental cause of betrayal, abuse and hurt-other human beings.
At La Rue Des Femmes we work constantly at creating and perfecting a community which allows homeless women to re experience connection with others as a means of healing and re connecting to life with dignity and a sense of empowerment. To that end our therapeutic process is constantly evolving and expanding. The basic fondation and principles remain constant.

These include a belief that a person is more than the sum total of her behaviour. It is in fact the essence of the person that we seek to know and to whom we relate. The part of her which still responds to the energy of love, of hearing her truth, of recognizing other people's humanity, and in being able to feel the full range of human emotions. This despite years of defensive posturing and being cut off from herself and others. In knowing with absolute certainty that this part of every person remains intact no matter what her history we are able to connect with the women in a manner which promotes and encourages them to re experience themselves and others as part of an integral living community, giving and receiving loving connection. The pillars of this therapy are acceptance, conscious awareness, experiencing(and giving to others) the absolute right to exist, awareness of life as a vibrational or sensory movement (breath, feelings, sensations, thoughts, bodily functions), the right to determine aspects of one's own reality, empowerment, the ability and right to make choices, the necessity for security, the ability to de code and relive one's life story from a new perspective and the ability to create, to dance, sing and play. These are some of the primary values and principles which continue to guide us in our ongoing passionate experience with homeless women and to make possible the satisfying challenge of creating community with the most disenfranchised group in society.


Shulamit Lechtman, mai 2007