The Reason for Establishing a Positive Behavioral System (PBS) in a Woman’s Shelter- A PBS is a way to organize all participants in a campaign to accomplish a common goal such as “Insure that all residents have the opportunity to heal, grow and have access to a life free of fear.” Residents often bring their past pain, experience of trauma and fear of the future to their new situation. Instituting a PBS insures that all people associated with the residence are working toward the same goal, believe in the same values (such as “no violence”), and work to provide a safe environment for residents to heal and find their way into a better future.
Understanding and implementing a PBS, gives you and your staff the tools to make a positive change in your resident’s behavior whether it is increased self-confidence, less depression and anger or the capacity to earn a living. (contact Dr. Norm Gustavson for more details about PARSA’s psychosocial training programs)
Note: Workshop trainers introduce fictional characters to use as examples for discussion during the workshop. Four will be residents and four will be caretakers or WPC workers. This method is an alternative to role-plays, and useful for reflective discussion for workshop participants who may be unfamiliar with self-reflective workshop training techniques. Dolls are useful to use during discussions where the workshop leader is demonstrating different ideas using examples. The caretaker’s help the participants learn without putting them in a position where they may feel confronted and become defensive about their work.
“Roses of Allah House”
Khadija: Khadija is 19 years old and has been in the WPC since she was 17 years old. She is from Badghis province and her family arranged for her to marry her cousin at age 16. She does not have any children. She is now in a shelter in Kabul because she discovered that her husband is a drug addict. He was trying to prostitute her in order to get money. Even though she told her family about this they insisted that she stay with her husband. At one point her husband beat her very badly and she sought help through the local DOWA. They referred her to Kabul. She has never been out of Badghis, is illiterate and her behavior is very dependent, passive, and quiet. She does not like to participate in any residence activities, and she eats very little.
Qudsia: Qudsia is 35 years old and she is from Farah. She was married and has five children. Her husband died, and then her family insisted that she marry his brother. She is the second wife. The first wife and her new husband did not want her children so they are now in an orphanage. She is recently arrived to the shelter because her mother-in-law and the first wife have beaten her almost every day. The husband will not intervene and her family will not take her back. She was accused of stealing from the family and the family threatened to kill her. She is now in a shelter in Balkh. She cries a lot, misses her children and she has a bad temper. She tends to shout at others when she is unhappy. She likes to watch TV all day and does not let others change the channel or choose the program.
Mariam: Mariam is from Paktya. She is 24 years old. She is educated, returned from Pakistan with her family. She fell in love with a young man she hoped to marry and asked her family to arrange this. Her father became very angry and refused saying that he has had a marriage arrangement for her with a distant cousin since she was born. Mariam rebelled and tried to run away from her family, back to Pakistan to meet up with the young man she wanted to marry. Her brother found her and broke her arm and her nose. He has threatened to kill her. The police became involved and a kind policeman referred her to DOWA. Mariam is glad to be in the shelter and hoping to leave to join her boyfriend to become married. But she tends to break the rules as she feels that she is different or better than other residents, because of her education. She does not like to help others, constantly begs to get access to a cell phone, wears cosmetics if she can and the staff and other residents find her unpleasant and offensive.
Muzhghan: Muzhghan is 28 years old and her family abandoned her because she has psychosocial problems. She has had these problems since she was a child. The MOWA has required the shelter to take her in because they do not know what else to do with her. She seems to not understand directions, has outbursts of violent behavior, and she does what ever she feels like doing in the moment. The staff is frightened of her. She also periodically, will take her clothes off in the shelter in the middle of the group and be inappropriate sexually. The doctor has come and prescribed medication, but it is difficult to get her to take the medication on a regular basis. When she takes her medication she behaves much more normally.
Arezo: Arezo is a very well educated manager and has worked at the WPC for many years. She does resident intake and works on problems with the family and community. She is very good at problem solving so she gets a lot of work because other staff comes to her to solve their work problems. She works too hard, and when she goes home she is expected to make dinner and to do all of the household chores as well. She has had chronic headaches for two years *(and has been postponing getting married because it is too much work.)
Somaya: Somaya was recommended to the WPC by a high level MOWA official. Somaya only has a 3rd grade education and she is responsible for managing the shelter during the daytime. She has a kind heart but does not know what to do in her job so she spends most of her time at the desk drinking tea and talking to her friends who come by the shelter.
Suzan: Suzan is an orphan and responsible for raising her brother and sister. She is a good worker at the shelter, very intelligent and helpful but her older brother is very conservative and is upset that she works, even though she is the only one in the family bringing in money. He does not like her WPC work because he thinks that the residence is a place for bad women. He makes her stay home often because of this. She is depressed and has a lot of stress because of her home situation.
Nasrine: Nasrine is 40 years old, with four children. Her husband was killed by local Taliban, and her oldest daughter stolen by them 8 years ago in Nuristan. Nasrine is a good teacher, and learns very quickly. She is also constantly sad and depressed and does not talk much. It is hard for her to talk to residents because of her past. She is responsible for teaching literacy and tailoring in the residence.