Tag Archives: awareness

A Little Ditty About Domestic Violence…

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abuseIt’s Domestic Violence Awareness month so allow me to Aware you. So many people think of DV as some scummy dude beating the crap out of his girlfriend in some shack. When they think of a woman who “allows” herself to be in that sort of relationship they think of a weak, unwashed, poor, overwhelmed, ignorant woman who was probably born into poverty. I’m here to tell you that those perceptions couldn’t be farther from the truth.  DV is NOT just about being hit. It encompasses emotional. mental, sexual and financial abuse. Abuse is about control. One person wants to control another. When they can’t control, they get very angry. They take their anger out on the victim. It’s not right, it is not the way “normal” people go about having their needs met, but an abuser is not “normal”.

Abusers are not just men and they are not just “bad boys”. Most abusers appear to the rest of society as normal, upstanding citizens. It can’t be said enough, abuse is about control (or the illusion of control). The abuser wants TOTAL control over their partner. It stems from a personality disorder which may or may not be connected to a mental illness or an addiction. It has some to do with their upbringing, possibly a trauma, possibly their environment, but definitely a “screw up” in the wiring of their brain. As far as the person who becomes involved with an abuser, sometimes it is a person who’s own upbringing, environment or personal mental health/addiction issues make being with an abuser feel comfortable and familiar. It is a complicated issue. And not one easily remedied.

Statistics show that an abuser, with professional help, has about a 5% chance of changing and those that DO show signs of change actually only change abuse tactics. They might go from being overt to covert, they might stop physical abuse but switch to emotional abuse, or stop sexually abusing their partner only to financially abuse their partner. Most of the abusers I know ARE “nice guys”. Young people need to be taught, both boys AND girls, how to treat others. They need to see it modeled by ALL the adults in their life. Their parents, school officials, church, coaches, medical professionals, every single adult. Controlling another human being is basically impossible. We all have choices. Sometimes we need help to make the best choice for ourselves. Support and education are going to help…but not just for the person in the abusive relationship, for ALL of society.

I have heard recently that I don’t look like someone who would have been in an abusive relationship. That I don’t seem like the type who would have “allowed” that. Yes, well, I’m not sure how to take that. I know it is meant as a compliment or because the person telling me that sees me as “strong” or not that “type”. This is further evidence that there is no “type” of person who becomes a victim of an abuser. It can and does happen to anyone. There are only two outcomes to being in an abusive relationship : freedom or death. We always have a choice. Always. The choice might be between life or death, it may be between homelessness or warmth, it may be between poverty or comfortability. I’m not saying they are easy choices by any means. That is where we, as a society, can step up and help and support. We can ease the transitions, we can support the choices that will lead to lives being free from abuse.

The most dangerous time for a person in an abusive relationship is when they are trying to leave. On average, it takes a person 8 attempts before they finally break free. That might look like the victim leaving, demanding change from their partner, seeing some change, going back, having the abuse start again, leaving, demanding change, seeing change, going back, having the abuse start again…it looks like insanity to the rest of us. But make no mistake, a person involved with an abuser is invested in the relationship. The abuser truly is a powerful person in the life of the person they are abusing. No victim wants to be abused. They don’t. They don’t ask for it. They want what we all want. To be respected, loved, treated with kindness, trusted. An abuser knows that. And an abuser uses that to their advantage to stay in control of the relationship and ultimately the victim. 70% of DV murders occur when the victim is leaving or has left the relationship. Many of those murders are committed by a partner who had NO history of physical violence against the victim. He may never have hit her, but as soon as he knows he has lost all control over her, he has nothing left to lose.

Some people leave after the first punch. Some people leave after the first rage. Some people leave after hearing rumors. Those people are not better than those who stay. They are just less invested. They are not stronger or smarter than those who stay. They just have a different path. I hope that those people who have had a brush with DV would be able to be compassionate and kind rather than condescending and that they would use their experience to really look inside themselves and find a way to help those who need it. Never underestimate the power of isolation. But never underestimate the power of support. We are only as sick as our secrets. DV is a dangerous thing. For the victim, the family, the friends and for all of society. We can change. We do have the power, it lies within our choices. We are not weak, we are not helpless, we are brave and we can do this, together.

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The Benefits of Having a Stalker

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How productive! Insted of throwing it, she made it into a clock!!

Some things seem so random to me.

 I have successfully left alot of unhealthy behaviors in my past and moved on. It has not been easy but I work hard on becoming the woman I want to be. The mother I want to be. So, when I am attacked from behind, I have to stop and wonder if the attacker truly spends their days and nights thinking about me. I guess that’s what stalkers do.

I told you about my first stalker. Now, my second stalker is different. She is not a pedophile, I don’t think… and she is not stalking me for me. She is obsessed with me and my family. I guess I should be flattered, but really I find it disconcerting and very insane not to mention annoying. I suppose it is naive of me to believe that just because I have grown and changed that other people have also. That’s not how it works. Otherwise, I would have surrounded myself with healthy people and then instantly been transformed into a healthy person myself without any hard work.

Now, my current stalker utilizes all the modern technologies. She has hacked my email and followed me to message boards. She has called a few times but for the most part has taken a shine to the Facebook. It’s one thing to stalk me, but stalking my kids is just ridiculous. I suppose that stalkers in general are so filled with a sense of self-importance that they truly believe that the people they turn their attentions to will feel gratitude. They do not understand that their attentions are unwanted and unappreciated. Who can really understand the mind of a stalker?

But it occurs to me, to be a stalker, one would have to spend alot of time thinking and planning a way to get to the prey. In other words, a stalker would have to spend time in the shit. The dirty, smelly, sticky, shit. Because if one is planning to hurl shit, one has to touch shit. One has to become very familiar with the properties of shit so as to be able to throw it and hit their mark. That doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun. Nor does it say alot about the type of person a stalker is. Because we all know that if you play with shit, you get shitty.

Sure, I got hit with the shit, but she had to “become one” with the shit to be able to sling it. Me? I can wipe it off and keep on keeping on. Her? Well, I am not sure if you can ever get rid of that kind of shit. Then again, everyone has the ability to change, if they really want to and seek out new ways of living. I have.

Anyway, I do have gratitude for the fact that having a stalker again has given me a chance to look at myself and my ways of being an adult. I found myself lacking and so I changed some behaviors. Having my stalker also intimidate and harass my children has made us communicate about issues that I have tried to keep from them. Like stalkers and unhealthy behaviors and what to do when hit with flying shit. So, it has been a mixed blessing and a learning experience. No one is perfect, we all just do the best that we can in this life. If I make a mistake, I have the ability to apologise and make amends and move on. No longer stuck in the shit. In the grande scheme of things, it’s all a shiny turd shower that will eventually pass and the grass will be greener for the fertilizer.

It does take a village, a town, a country, a society.

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Domestic violence is everybody’s problem. And those people who turn their heads or make excuses or point fingers are the ones who are at greatest fault. When another woman is murdered, a mother’s life taken at the hands of her husband,a partner disappears, it impacts society in a negative way. The ramifications are far reaching and inconceivable. And it is preventable.

When hearing the stories that make it to the news, and watching neighbors and friends act dumbfounded at the crime that has been committed right under their noses, it is time to come out of denial. It is time to get involved. It is time to not be  a coward and believe when a woman reaches out for help, that she needs it.

But what the general public doesn’t understand and refuses to comprehend is that denying or ignoring does not make the problem disappear. We have entered an age where privacy is valued above all else. And that is good. There has to be a line. When you hear fear, when you see abuse, notice it, report it. DO SOMETHING. Just don’t sit there.

Another mother has just “disappeared” and her husband is the key suspect. The friends of the woman have said that the woman was unhappy and scared. But those voices are being drown out by the drama. Children have lost their mother, parents have lost their daughter, what will it take for others to see the dangers? What is it going to take for society to stop allowing these abuses to exist? It seems that if a man doesn’t “look” the part of wife beater, then they get the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately, domestic violence does not have a “look”. We don’t fit a “type” and it isn’t always the woman who came from a dysfunctional home and it isn’t always the bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks.

There are so many facets to domestic violence. Why not educate yourself? Arm yourself with knowledge and reach out to those who may be to scared or beaten down to ask for help. Don’t ignore, don’t assume. Everyone needs a helping hand every once in a while, and a family suffering, a woman in danger needs your attention.

Avoiding this issue has not helped those who need it. There is no reason for domestic violence to exist. If a person is unhappy, if a relationship isn’t working, then leaving is always an option. But in a domestic violence situation, leaving can be deadly. The abuser feels threatened and reacts. It isn’t about love or passion. It is simply about control. When they feel that their illusion of control is slipping over the other person, they react violently at times. The abuser refuses to lose. They see the relationship as a game. Many times they view their partner as simply an extension of themselves. And they feel justified in taking whatever steps they need to to stay in control.

Just like rape is not about sex, abuse is not about love or relationship. It is only about control. See it. DO something. Protect those who need protection. Do not ignore a person who says they need help. It is your responsibility. As a member of society. As part of the human race.

Many of us will get behind a cause. We will be outraged at injustices in other countries, crimes against humanity, rotten dictators, our economy, H1N1, the state of our public schools. We all have plenty to be angry about. But domestic violence is pushed away as shameful or as the victim’s fault. At the very least it is looked at as a private matter. Until another woman is killed or missing never to be found. Then it is a terrible shame. Feel guilty. Change it. We have the power to disallow these abuses. Believe that it is happening. And believe that if YOU stop condoning it with YOUR silence it can and will change. Educate yourselves and your children. Every victim of domestic violence was somebody’s child. The shame is ours. We can change it.

A victim of domestic violence has legal recourse. But without support and protection, they are walking naked into a room of unseeable landmines. The consequences of a victim reporting a crime are sometimes deadly. Because we allow it to be. Victims go back time and again because they are scared, because they have hope, because they are forced to. A victim needs help. And we as a society should be obliged to give support and help to those in need. In a free society where we are all encouraged to make choices and live free, when one of our own is in bondage and suffering, we need to act. Stop ignoring, stop denying, stop being so self centered and educate yourself and those around you. It is not a happy issue. It is not like there is some cure waiting in a lab. It is not an easy fix.

Nothing worth doing is easy. It may take generations for this issue to resolve. But in the meantime we can and should be aware. We can do what we can today for those who need us. You are important in this issue. You have the power to help. There is no shame in being a victim, there is shame in being a bystander who refuses to help.