PROtection conference

The PROtection conference was a wonderful event that attracted many people who were fighting for the same goals, the presenters and participants alike could share their experiences and their best practices.

People of all kinds were united in their fight for a solution. I had the chance to participate in the event and I’d like to put into words the wonder that prompted the organization of the conference.

The presenters approached the subject from multiple sides: how can we defend ourselves, who can we ask for help and how can we protect others? How can we be there for the abused, how can we be the light in the darkness? We were presented with the greatest successes and some of the failures too, but what these things had in common was the effort and the refusal to give up despite all the difficulties. The helpers spoke up in the name of the elderly, children, women, minorities and the disabled. Staying silent is not the answer, turning a blind eye to a problem just because we cannot relate to it, will not help. We will often fail too, because we simply cannot help everyone, but trying will always be worth it because there are many who will appreciate and accept our support. As long as we can help just one person, we have to keep fighting. We are only capable of bringing about change if we stick together.

“Deeds follow ambition closely” – this was the opening line of the first presentation. It’s not enough to want something, we must act to achieve what we believe in.

Home. Everybody needs a place they can call by such a name, but all of us aren’t fortunate enough. These people and the organizations behind them are working to create homes. Sadly, not everyone can be aided, but why wouldn’t we give help when we have the ability to do so?

“A perfect marriage or a perfect lie” – quite a strong decree. Often we don’t even notice that we’re living a lie because we’re afraid. We’re afraid to ask for help, too ashamed of what others might think, we lose confidence and would rather lie to ourselves, but we always, always have the choice to make a decision, to make a change. This is what these people fight for, there is always another way, an easier way.

“A slap is not the only thing that hurts, verbal abuse kills the spirit.” People tend to forget that asking for help is not a sign of weakness. This is why the conference was created, to let people know, even if not many show up, that there is help. There is power in asking for support. Outsiders must put faith into change, must remind those that are suffering that they are capable, that they have a place in the world.

Caring for each other does make a big difference. There’s the abuser, the abused, and then there’s the observer, who often does nothing and says nothing. This also solves nothing, the observer legalizes abuse through inaction. We have to find ways to do better, either as victims or as observers.

“There’s no such thing as a bad person, only a misunderstood one.” We shouldn’t be ashamed of our roots, we have the right to fight, no matter our backgrounds.

I was particularly touched by two ideas. Plenty of people spoke about how we can keep safe from danger and aid others, but it’s also important to know how to protect ourselves from ourselves.

“Protecting ourselves from ourselves.” Sometimes, the enemy is on the inside, and building walls, living in an isolated bubble, knowing how to keep safe from what’s outside has no use. Sometimes outside forces will turn us against ourselves, so we must learn how to take measures against our own negative thoughts. We cannot be our own enemies, because that is like trying to build a fort over a ravine: it’ll never be truly stable.

The other idea: “The more hearts we save, the more we love” – means a lot to me, because I’ve loved to help others my whole life, but I was always told that giving too much will eventually deplete me. But that’s not true. Maybe being surrounded by people who knew what I knew and felt what I felt was why this idea hit so close to home.

The people and organizations who participated in the PROtection Community Formers’ conference all have one thing in common: their dream is to help others so that they can have dreams too.

Written by: Tímea Kelemen, volunteer
Translated by: Zsuzsa Kertész