Saturday, November 12, 2016
Victim Assistance Award Winner Teaches Natural Horsmanship To Investigate Abuse
On November 17, 2016 the Virginia Victim Assistance Network will recognize Ashley Edwards, of Road To Repair, with its Award For Innovation in the provision of services to victims of crime. Ashley's revolutionary programs teach effective communication skills for those who work with people who have been severely traumatized uses natural horsemanship as its model.
Ashley survived the worse abuse that I have encountered in my nearly twenty years of prosecuting sexual assault and crimes against children. She lived essentially as a hostage in her teenage years while maintaining a GPA of 4.2. During those years her survival depended on being able to read every sound and sight around her. Her life taught her to not only understand the body language of prey animals--nor even to be fluent in it--but more, to be eloquent in interpreting and explaining that language.
Nothing could be more important for those who want to effectively communicate with traumatized people. As humans we naturally use the body language of predators--unless we have been shattered by trauma. At that point we become intimidated by the body language of predators and are instinctively drawn to the body language of prey animals--particularly that prey animal body language associated with security, leadership and trust.
And she teaches all of this by putting professionals in a round pen with a horse and showing them why it is such a horrible idea to look a traumatized child in the eye, reach out to shake their hand before developing any trust with them, sit across from them instead of beside them, and to shut the office door behind them.
She also provides direct service to survivors by teaching them how to enter the world of trust and security that can be found through horses.
In short, she teaches that everything that we naturally do gets in the way of solid communication with those whose lives would have to radically improve before it could be described as hellish.
In short, she is seeking to create a revolution in the investigation of these cases and the services the survivors receive.
We are looking at different models that will make this possible. We are considering forming a non-profit corporation to fund video production and publications to make it possible to reach a much broader audience.
For years I have said that she is the most impressive kid that I have ever known--I guess that we are reaching the point for me to concede that she is now the most impressive young lady that I have ever known.
WTKR news did a great segment on Ashley's programs. Here is the tag to google search it. If you have not seen it take a look--it shows what is possible
Posted by Steve Edwards