Re: I'd love some advice on this...

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Posted by Maureen on May 23, 2002 at 17:56:48:

In reply to: I'd love some advice on this... posted by Alissa on May 23, 2002 at 16:09:58:

Hi Alissa,

I am sure that I will be in the minority with this position with
henna artist. But I totally agree with your husband. Totally!!!
There is the henna artist part of me that can never over-ride the
part of me that has worked for years with trauma survivors...lots of
people who have been sexually and/or physically assaulted and
traumatized from babies to and women.

Opportunity and vulnerability are the two main factors necessary to
be present for these assaults to have taken place. Going into an
unknown persons home...on their turf...without knowing what is
waiting behind the door provides both opportunity and makes you

You may have a thousand appointments that all go well. But it only
takes one that does not to change the course of your life. I am sure
your instincts are good. Maybe your husband's instincts are working

When you are working with the public your safety is more important
than any design you will do. You want to survive the appointment to
design again. Every appointment you take should be run through a
safety filter in your mind. Will I be vulnerable in this situation.
Will there be an opportunity during this appointment for me to be
injured. If the answer is yes to either questions, you need to do
something to turn those answers to no. Then you can henna till your
heart is content.

I assure you that the woman you henna'd had safety issues in mind as
well as religious issues when she wanted you to come to her home...on
her turf. She lessened any opportunity of injury to herself and
created a situation where she felt safe. Good for her. You should
do the same.

For every story someone tells you of houses they entered and came out
of safely, I can tell you two of people who did not. That doesn't
mean that more people are harmed than there are people who exit
safely. Just that I have done a this kind of work with survivors
long enough to understand that trust is often misplaced with your
friends and family...It is best never placed in the hands of a
stranger. If you can't find a way to do the work in it
really worth the chance you take?

There is no way to guarantee absolute 100% safety. But there is a
way to be much more safe than you have been so far. Just from the
description of your safety precautions, I can see a lot of vulnerable
spots and opportune times for something to go wrong.

I would ditto the suggestion that you try to hook up with an existing
business that might allow you to henna on their premises. You only
seem to be doing this in home stuff infrequently. You may find
someone who will just let you come in and work those rare times for
free. Also, don't overlook the offices of people you know. Maybe
someone can allow you to use their office to henna a person
occasionally. It will be a neutral space with lots of people
around. Any customer not willing to meet you half way is not
concerned about your safety.

The red flags are good...the instincts are great. But I have met
some perps who were experts at giving off nothing to raise flags. I
have sat across the desk from some who...had I not known
better...would have made me want to polish their halo and fluff their
wings. Your instincts may be very good. But some perps are just
excellent at what they do. safe. I would be in the same place your husband is if
anyone I knew went to a strangers house day or evening to perform a
service...alone. Think about it Alissa. Think about how not
attentive to your own safety your are when you have a henna bottle or
cone in one hand, the customers hand or feet or whatever in the other
hand, are in a bent over or crouched position and totally focused on
what you are designing. You are at the mercy of the people around
you at that time. Find a way to be safe and do what you love to do.

Enough of my rant. But I am as adamant about this point as we are
here about "black henna." You never know when you are going to be
the one. And you think the effects of "black henna" are bad? I can
tell you stories.



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