Mar 13, 2008

So at work I recently interviewed a community court judge in Hartford who does very very cool work with prostitutes. Listen to this one thing she does:

All of our community court clients participate in a community service component. Usually it involves wearing a vest and being on the street and doing some street sweeping and going to food share, but I was able to connect these women instead into a barn here called the Ebony Horsewomen Barn that I ride at, to do horse grooming. The woman who runs it is an ex-Marine and she is also very interested in the recovery of these women and shows them movies and gives them pep talks and also shows them how to groom the horses and develop relationships with the horses. She even lets them ride at some point if they show an interest.

What kind of effect have you found that this has on the women?

It delivers a degree of instant self-esteem to women by letting them do things that are outside of the range of their imaginations, outside of anything they ever thought that they would do, especially in an inner city and urban area. But this barn is right on the edge of our largest park here in the city, and some of the woman have said that they find it ironic that they used to do tricks behind the barn down the road and never thought they’d actually become a part of what was going on in there. And also, when you’re next to an animal that weighs a ton and you’ve got a brush and you’re actually accomplishing something, it has a real impact. Some of the women were really afraid of horses at first and now they’re holding them and relating to them unconditionally the way you can do to animals, and it’s just been a very positive impact. The barn has actually hired a few of the women and a few have gone back to volunteer.