Sometimes, it's the little things that count.
That's no less true for reaching a women-in-crisis, especially in a critical moment in which she's considering abortion.
This week, we thought we'd share with you a few little tidbits to keep with you on the sidewalk in order to make yourself more approachable to an abortion-bound woman...
- Be a person, not a protester -- This is the main thing we want you to remember: be someone she feels she can talk to. Be a "safe person." Think about it this way -- if you were caught in a desperate situation, who would you want to talk to? The person yelling at you? Or possibly, a person who looks like you and simply says,"Good morning ...how can we help you?" It's really something to think about.
- Avoid "ganging up" on someone -- Even the best sidewalk counselors sometimes miss the opportunity to look around them and say, would this setting be intimidating to a woman-in-crisis? She's not going to want to talk about her business with a huge group of people around, so try to separate yourself from the group a bit and create a more personal, confidential space for you to converse with someone and share vital information. A car naturally creates this, but think about the setting for someone who might approach you on foot.
- Don't be a billboard -- Peaceful messages are fine, but avoiding looking like a pin board for a bunch of angry messages meant for the culture. Remember: your audience is the heart of a woman-in-crisis; your main goal at an abortion center is to reach her. You want to be a safe, approachable person. You don't want a woman to dismiss an opportunity to talk to you because you are "preaching at" them through your clothes. Be someone who looks professional and approachable.
- Project your voice, but don't yell -- I still remember the day I called out to a woman across the parking lot of an abortion facility -- I naturally had to project my voice, otherwise, she wouldn't have been able to hear me. Unfortunately, she went in anyway. However, she came out about 30 minutes later and came over to talk to me at the fence. She said, "I decided to come talk to you because you weren't yelling at me." I marveled at that because I naturally had to call out to her in order to reach her. Again, there is a difference: if I had yelled out, "Hey, you, what do you think you're doing?!" or related, we would've never had the conversation. But because I said, "Hi, I'm Lauren! We'd like you to know that we have real help available ...You can come talk to me at anytime..." and projected my voice in a friendly manner, that made all the difference.