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Sex, Shame, and Violence: A Revolutionary Practice of Public Storytelling in Poor Communities Paperback – July 19, 2016
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"Numerous approaches have been proposed and employed to address illnesses and violence in impoverished communities within contexts of sexuality and intimate relationships. Yet Cash's work is a fresh and welcome addition. In clear prose and illustrative examples of materials used, the book provides an ethnographically and theoretically grounded challenge to rethink goals, methods, and messages. . . . This is not a light read, but its depth, clear writing, and practicality make it essential reading for anyone with an interest in women's lives and relationships in contexts of vulnerability."
"In close-knit, impoverished communities, avoiding social stigma may mean the difference between life and death. Drawing pragmatic insights from the lived experience of the poor in Haiti, Thailand, Bangladesh, Uganda, and the United States, Kathleen Cash developed the narrative practice--strategies for engaging people and for stirring up empathy, through storytelling--described in Sex, Shame, and Violence. Cash offers a powerful means of transforming shame into solidarity, and addressing a key barrier to accessing care."
--Dr. Paul Farmer
"[The book] describes a magnificently complex system of narrative process, revolutionary at heart, for community education, laying out every step of how the work is done. Cash builds all her work from real situations, using both the lived experience and actual language of the particular community to help the people through issues of cause and effect, problem and solution.
"Cash has done an amazing job in the field in many countries, helping people learn new ways of being and doing and now she is telling the story of what she has done and how. The book makes it clear that it is her approach--painstaking, people-centered, determined to make a difference for real people--that works.
"Cash makes it clear: education is a conversation; when people share stories they are educating each other, they are the experts. She builds on their stories, creates a complex narrative practice and uses it to change lives."
--Ruth W. Messinger, President, American Jewish World Service
"I worked with Kathy in the mid-1990s conducting sexual and reproductive health research in villages of Bangladesh. I was amazed at her immense patience and capacity to listen to people's experiences and to internalize what they said. . . . Through Kathy's methods, the shame people feel about, for example, their sexuality could be transformed into effective policies and programs. Kathy narrates socio-cultural and religiously silent, sensitive topics through a cultural prism of storytelling. Narrative practice is an incredible strategy to transform underprivileged people's pain into power for social change."
--Sharful Islam Khan, Project Director, The Global Fund Project, Center for HIV and AIDS, Dhaka, Bangladesh
About the Author
Kathleen Cash, EdD, has worked with vulnerable communities in Ethiopia, Indonesia, Malawi, Thailand, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Uganda, and the United States. She has received two Fulbright Fellowships and a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship.
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Narrative practice respects and incorporates the culture of the program participants. It engages community members in the development of the narratives. The participants identify with the stories because they see their own personal and community lives reflected in them. The stories then are used as the basis for discussion.The author believes that education is a conversation; she states that the ultimate goal of the narrative practice is "to change the nature and extent of conversations about program topics" and thereby to bring about behavioral change that leads to healthier individuals and communities.
The book, although a detailed description of the method, is far from dry; the author uses her interesting and colorful narratives throughout her clear descriptions.
The author lists her probable readers as planners, practitioners and/or evaluators of programs, researchers and students. I personally am none of these. Nonetheless, I found reading the book a rich experience. I especially enjoyed being exposed to cultures quite different from my own and to the author's reflections on the role of narratives in all of our lives.
On the book cover there is a photograph of a watercolor painted by the author. Readers should be sure to spend time taking that in, too.