Expat Feminine Support Association


(stella wood) #21

Sorry Diana… I’m trying to find out if you felt the Association helped French folk or does it fail them as well…??? :thinking:

(I realize you feel it is unsuitable for Expats …although perhaps it is a language problem for them ???)

(Mary Wolcott) #22


An old dear friend once reminded me to ‘know whom you are talking to.’ I would add that you need to know a lot more about what you are talking about, before bringing such a huge concept to a discussion forum.

So far, out of the starting gate so to speak, you sound like you are well-intentioned but not solidly grounded.

Other important things for a prospective leader of an organization such as you propose, to consider:

Don’t make spelling mistakes.

Don’t ever blame someone else for your mistakes.

Never create something (an organization or a retort), based on emotional reactions/desires to right a social injustice.

And, research the difference between nonprofit, and charitable organization.

(Teresa Shipley) #23

Good luck. I hope you get up and running. It sounds like a worthwhile project.

(Diana Gafter) #24

There is no need to be sorry. In my experience, these associations don’t really help the French either… but they help a bit more. Of course the culture is different, something that many French just accept as a given many expat would not accept and find shocking.

If you have broken ribs or bones and such … you can get some help and possibly would not lose out in court completely either. If not, the story is different. The people that actually know how it works, understand that it does not. What is considered wrong and shocking in some other countries is considered nothing unusual here. Only of course, no one actually tells you that and you waste time and nerves and worries on nothing.

Laws have to be changed and people need to be educated, but for now it’s how it is, so if you want to accomplish something, you certainly won’t if you go by the usual routes… which by the way are all not connected to each other in any way .

Secondly, yes, for many there is a language problem in addition.

(Diana Gafter) #25

Dear Mary,

Thank you very much. It was suggested to me to post here by someone who knows how these things work in other countries but she does not live in France. I took the well meant advice believing that it’s not going to hurt. Perhaps, I was wrong. Spelling mistakes happen.

Nonprofit organization . A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non -business entity, not-for - profit organization , or nonprofit institution, is dedicated to furthering a particular social cause or advocating for a shared point of view.

Charitable organizations are a kind of business that fits within the nonprofit organization (NPO) category. In general, this type of entity is sometimes referred to as a charity or foundation, which can be run publicly or privately.

I fully meant non-profit organization. The reason for the post, was to find someone else who would feel passionate about the cause. There was no hidden purpose of any kind.

(Anna Watson) #26

I may be misreading this, but I trust you’re not falling into the classic expat pitfall of thinking that France does things differently because it is not as advanced/not as clever as the country they left, and it needs to be brought into line.
It is a different culture from some other countries. In some ways it’s better. It’s not perfect, there are things that could be improved, but before saying that “laws have to be changed” I think it is essential to understand in depth how things work, and the reasons why they are as they are, before you start talking about changing them. For that reason, expats aren’t usually best placed to decide what French laws need changing.

I’m wondering, from comments you’ve made about legal action and not losing out in court, whether one group of victims you have in mind might be accident victims who in a different culture would routinely go the blame and sue route - have an accident, look around for someone to pin the blame on, and lawyer up. France explicitly does not want that kind of culture, that’s why lawyers here are not allowed to work on a no-win-no-fee basis. There is a recognition that accidents do happen, it’s not always a third party’s fault, and a better solution is for individuals to take out “accidents de la vie” insurance which will provide the support they need after the accident. The people who need to be educated in this case would be the expats so that they know it’s their responsibility to insure against accidents, to avoid a situation where they find out too late, after an accident has happened.

I realise you don’t want to give too much information on a public forum but I think it’s going to be hard for forumites to feel passionate about a cause when they’re not clear what that cause is, and also what it isn’t. For instance, if part of the cause is to change France’s culture and laws because some expats don’t accept it and find it shocking, and they want to make it more like, say, the US culture, well TBH I think many people would find it hard to feel passionate about that.

(Véronique Langlands) #27

I thought it was re domestic violence and as it happens French law is very clear about that, the perpetrator can be slung out of the family home etc and it allows for victims not having papers without sanctioning them. Any form of domestic violence (so not necessarily physical) is illegal.

(Anna Watson) #28

Ah OK, thanks, I missed that.

(Véronique Langlands) #29

You might be more effective if rather than starting a new asso, you were to join one which already exists and improve it, you would hit the ground running, as it were since a lot of the groundwork and all of the admin (so tedious ) would already have been done.
I am reposting the questions I asked earlier which maybe you didn’t notice.

(Diana Gafter) #30

I was not talking about accidents.

(Diana Gafter) #31

Dear Anna,

The fact is there is a law and the way things are supposed to work… but the fact is that it does not work when it comes to fact for a huge number of reasons. The judges are not aware and do not consider all these things violence and neither does police when it comes to fact. But I was not only going to talk about this subject. I would like the organization to help expat women in various ways, not only dealing with domestic violence.

(Anna Watson) #32

Fair enough, well I don’t have any personal experience of this so will take your word for it.

I’m still uneasy with the notion of setting up an association to help expat women, rather than all women. Partly it’s a general thing that I think integration is important so I tend not to support anything that labels people as “expats” and sets them apart and treats them differently. But specifically in this case, if as you say French law is failing all women in France, wouldn’t it be fairer to offer equal help to all women in France? Or are you saying that the law is biased against them, therefore they need extra support. If so, that’s a pretty damning accusation.

(Diana Gafter) #33

There are number of reasons why. 1. Yes, the law and everyone does not treat expats or immigrants if you prefer the same way as they do other French people. Occasionally you get people who are not like that… If you have not experienced any discrimination as a foreigner, you would be the only person that has not. I don’t know anyone at all, who has not experienced it and whose children have not experienced it.

If you are talking about organizations like this… I do not know how helpful they are to French women. I only know one French woman who had difficult circumstances… I knew others who heard about the fact that basically it is impossible to accomplish anything. So, pretty much no point in trying. I heard this from various legal people, and psychologists as well. C’es comme ca… Shrug…

Of course if any French people want to come and ask for help, we won’t turn them away. I am not picky about whom to help… I am happy to help anyone who needs it and a birth certificate or skin color does not make the difference.

(Diana Gafter) #34
  1. There nothing of this sort at the moment here in France.

  2. I plan to fund raise, and hope to be able to pay some people but yes, volunteering would be required as well.

  3. This one I will have to find out… I am going through the motions of paperwork and discovering the process now. Why would it be paramedical? I don’t plan to have doctors on staff at all. I would like to have counselors and psychologists but not sure if on staff… may be. Perhaps, just to have direct connections agreement with them. This would need to be found out.

  4. I do not have any experience like this in France. I help people when I can and I find it makes me feel hopeful and optimistic about the world, which is good for everyone involved. I have worked for Red Cross in the past in the US for several years on voluntary basis helping during several disasters in several way. I have worked for Maryland Health Department also as a volunteer for about 6 months. I have worked with a Ukrainian charity helping to organize orphan adoptions in Ukraine, which is highly unpopular and looked down upon as something embarrassing.

  5. I speak 3 languages and I have started my University career in Psychology…

All of these, are not qualifications… but you can consider them for something if that is required. You do not need a qualification in order to be able to make a difference, in order to have the desire to do so especially if something drives you. People whom you help, do not care if you have a qualification or not. They just want to get help and that is all that they care about.

(Véronique Langlands) #35

"You do not need a qualification in order to be able to make a difference, "

True, but it helps in several ways

  • credibility
  • to get funding
  • efficiency
  • if you are working with vulnerable people sometimes just good will and a desire to help aren’t enough
  • weeding out the weirdoes (because there are plenty of fragile people with a messiah complex about and they do more harm than good)

Psychologists and/or therapists working for an organisation dealing with victims of violence makes it paramedical, so you would need to sort that aspect out. Social workers tend to be fonctionnaires, you might do well to talk to some before setting your asso up.

Don’t think things work the same way everywhere, make sure you are administratively spot-on or you will get nowhere. I am sorry to bang on about admin but I am a fonctionnaire d’état and if you are foreign you may not realise how important it is.

(Diana Gafter) #36

I have several people that I am talking to who have worked in some of these fields and who are interested in participating. I do need to find a second person to open the association but it’s early days yet and right before Christmas… so perhaps not the best time now.

(Diana Gafter) #37

P.S. I do have several women who interested to take part and all whom have experience working with various branches of the government, UN and embassy and one psychologist as well so far. I was hoping to find someone here too, but I guess not… that’s okay. Perhaps some point got cleared up a bit.

(Véronique Langlands) #38

Good luck with your project. Maybe it will be easier getting people on board when you have firmed things up a bit and it is less nebulous. Are you going to have an HQ for people to come to, or will you do everything online, for example, how will people get in touch with you?

How does the “experience working with various branches of the government, UN and embassy” tie in with domestic violence in France? Surely you need people with specific expertise in relevant French law?

(Diana Gafter) #39

It’s not just about domestic violence… people who worked with one government have an idea how governments work, something I’ve never done, so it is useful. And thank you