On Monday I was unable to run my session and once again came close to the realisation of the pain that is experiences by those in prison. The latest figures by ‘women in prison’ have shown that;
In the year leading up to March 2013, six women died in custody.
There were 94 self-inflicted deaths of women prisoners between 1990 and 2012.
Women account for a disproportionate amount of self-harm in prison; despite making up only 5% of the population, women account for 28% of self-harm incidents.
This is why I am thankful for starting the self-esteem course next week again! I wrote GLOW last year and we have run two courses. Glow is a course which helps build self-esteem and encourage women to know who they are. The past courses have been so amazing. We start by looking at beauty and what beauty truly is. This leads onto looking at health and relationships, discussing life skills such as healthy living and eating and love languages to help relationships. On the third week we link with ‘The Wedding Angels’ and they bring in wedding dresses, we do the girls hair and makeup to help them feel that care has been taken over them and how much worth they have that they could wear an expensive dress.
One girl pictured below (face hidden to protect identity) who really struggled with self-harm always walks hiding herself. She has her head down and has visibly no confidence. When she had on a wedding dress and was all done-up, she walked into the room and exclaimed “Look at me-I’m Beautiful!”
Needless to say..everyone was crying! They each chose a word which they wanted to express in their photo to tell the world who they were. As we discussed, often prisoners can all be viewed together in a certain negative way, so this was their way to say something different. This lady wants you to know that for the first time, on this day, she felt beautiful.
I wish I could show you how big her smile is! This was a good day. A day where we were able to show her the value and significance her life is. It is not about physical beauty it is all about inward confidence and them knowing their own worth. This was such a positive step for each of the women. Especially as the end of the course sees them write a letter to someone, a letter in which they warn their own children not to follow in their footsteps. One woman wrote to her little sister who has started in gang life and was asking for her sister to stop and apologised for the example she had been but wrote beautifully about the dreams she had for her sister to find a new way and express the values she had found within the course.
The final week we look more into what hold us back-the roots of anger/harming/addictions. There are so many special bits in this course, for example each woman gets a beautiful leather-bound notebook with affirming words on the front (pictured below) to write down everything they learn and think and feel. In the past we have been blessed with a deal for these books;
This course therefore costs money. We could do with some help in order to maintain the Glow Course as well as my role within the prison generally. I need supporters, people who value what I do and feel they want to really be a part of this transformation! If you feel you could give financially (either a one-off gift or something monthly) however much or little I would be so appreciated!
Please follow the link and when it asks if you’d like it to go to something specific please just write Hannah Bettany or Women’s Prison or Glow and it will come specifically to my work with the women in prison and this course.
I have never asked for money on my blog before and rarely ask in life, but next thursday I hope to start this course in prison and in order to do this-I need help! I know the impact it will have on these women and would love you to be a part of it! So please get in touch and be praying for it! Many thanks, Hannah xx