Domestic

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month, which first began in 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. It was designed to raise awareness and empower others to speak up, speak out, and get help. Nearly three out of four Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. Now is time to take a stand. Support survivors and speak out against domestic violence.
Domestic violence is more than physical violence. It is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. Ending the harm, shame, and stigma of domestic violence requires an understanding of the behaviors that define it. It affects millions of every gender, race, religion, culture and status. It’s not just punches and black eyes — it’s yelling, humiliation, stalking, manipulation, coercion, threats and isolation. It’s stealing a paycheck, keeping tabs online, non-stop texting, constant use the silent treatment, or calling someone stupid so often they believe it. The mental wounds of Domestic Violence are invisible and run deep, with recovery often taking years of therapy.
Domestic Violence is:
Physical
Psychological
Financial
Verbal
Sexual
Digital
Stalking
Spiritual/Cultural
Damage to property
There are so many other forms of abuse and control, many that utilize the children. Once a victim has the courage to leave, they are often not safe and nor free, especially if there are children involved. Abusers use the children and the family court system in a variety of ways to continue the abuse.  The family court system is slow to change, thinking that ordering the abuser to attend anger management classes will address any issues thus correcting the abuser’s behavior. This only angers the abuser more thus empowering them in new ways.
To be clear, abusers never start out that way. They slowly, insidiously destroy the boundaries and self esteem of the victim. In a relationship with an abusive partner, the future-abuser has an agenda. And future-victim will not be aware until it’s too late. Those who abuse others are skilled manipulators who play on the fears and insecurities of others. They feed on the victims need for love and acceptance. They dish out kibbles here and there to keep the victim in line and coming back for more…..just like a casino! Lose every time you visit the casino? You stop going. You need the hope and promise of a win to continue going back. Victims always hold out hope that the abuser will change. Abusers groom victims to trust them, they learn the victims’ weaknesses and use that knowledge as fuel for further control.
What does Domestic Violence look like? It looks like the neighbor who wears a lot of makeup and long sleeves to cover bruises and then lies about how she got those injuries. It looks like the friend that never can go out with friends or when he does, he has to share a location with his partner at all times all the while his phone is blowing up. It looks like the lady in the checkout line who will not speak without looking at her partner first. It looks like a teenager who changes their whole personality for a partner. It looks like the friend who is isolated from friends and family by their partner. It looks like the depressed anxious person who can nor seem to focus, fearful of doing/saying the wrong thing, forever walking on eggshells. It looks like the one that is posting about how perfect life is…..It looks like me.
People who haven’t lived through this kind of trauma will always ask, “Why don’t they just leave?” It’s not that easy — if it was, they would. Choosing to leave an abusive partner is arguably the most life-changing and empowering decisions a person can make, especially if children are involved. Finally, the victim chooses to become a survivor. Victims live in fear and shame. The decision to leave is one that they will ponder many times before actually being courageous enough to actually leave. A nonjudgmental place of safety is what every victim craves. .
What can others do to support victims of Domestic Violence?
Watch for the signs. Start a conversation. Listen to them. Just listen. Do not pressure them. Do not tell them what to do. Do not blame them. Although your natural impulse may be to “rescue” someone from domestic violence, the person being abused needs to make the ultimate decision whether and when to leave and get help. Support them no matter their decision and continue to provide them with a loving and safe place. Once they do feel supported and safe, they will eventually make a life-changing choice. Always…
LISTEN TO THEM!
LOVE THEM!
BELIEVE THEM!
BELIEVE THEM!
BELIEVE THEM!
BELIEVE THEM!
We need to break the cycle of violence. We need to continue sharing stories, listening, supporting and loving, all the while raising awareness, empowering victims to become survivors and thrivers. Lives depend on it!
Peace.
#tutulady
#forwardisapace





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