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Sunday April 30 , 2017
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Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence, Part 1: The Abuser

I started out wanting to write an article about abuse.  I studied all of the information that I needed for the article.  I decided that there was way too much information that had to be taken in; and it would be overwhelming to some.  I wanted to pay homage to the countless number of women who have lost their lives to this cycle called abuse and to all the women who lay awake at night crying, trying to figure out how they came to be in this situation and help them safely get out through the courage and strength of others.  If you are in an abusive relationship or know of someone that is please seek help right away.  I strongly urge you and any children of abuse to seek counseling immediately.

There will be multiple series on this subject, and I am doing this in a blog format so that people can comment and you can also go into a chat room if you wish to tell your story; and I pray that it helps your healing process.  I have prayed that God would give me the strength that I need to write this, because with every word I write I think about the women who have lost their struggle and have died a violent death.  I will include places to go to seek help, both phone numbers and websites.  I will also list places to donate to, as they need both money and items to help women while they stay at a shelter.  If I help just one person out, my goal has been met.  I chose this subject because it is dear to my heart; it has been around for centuries and still exists; and it is non-bias, it does not discriminate against anyone.  It affects all.  We all draw a line for ourselves, a line signifying what we will accept and what we won’t.  Sometimes through life’s dramatic experiences this line becomes distorted.  Let’s learn more about why and how this happens.  The 1st part of this blog is about the Abuser.

What is Domestic Violence? “Domestic violence or intimate partner violence occurs when one person causes physical or psychological harm to a current or former intimate partner,” (Illinois Department of Public Health). It is a pattern of behavior in which the abuser exerts power and control over the partner. Domestic violence (DV) is the leading cause of injury to women and children. It is a matter of concern to health care systems, to the legal community, to educational institutions, and to agencies which address issues of poverty and homelessness.

If you are looking for the typical signs of what an abuser might look like, it is not the typical thought that you might have.  The abuser is the “person” that lives next door.  The abuser is both male and female, they are heterosexual and homosexual and bisexual.  The abuser is probably well respected within the community.  Here are the facts about the abuser:

Controlling: This is the number one trait.  They buy presents to appear “nice” by getting their own way.   The abuser will tell the survivor what to do, choose their friends, activities, the food they eat, what the survivor wears, their make-up.  The abuser is insistent about making all the important decisions about their lives.

Jealous: Batters are very jealous and promote jealousy as a sign of love.  The abuser is jealous of potential affairs as well as friends, family and even children.  The abuser will question the victim repeatedly and call them very often wanting to know their where abouts at all times.

Isolate Partner: Batters will isolate their partners by controlling who they see, talk to, where they go, if they work, etc. The batterer will try and destroy social supports and ruin relationships with family and friends, increasing the survivor’s dependence on the batterer.  The batterer may accuse their partner of having affairs or of being a lesbian to isolate from friends.

Jekyll and Hyde Personality: Many abusers are very nice and charming one minute, abusive the next.  The survivor never knows when an outbreak may occur.  This changing behavior is confusing for survivors.

Claims to Be the Victim: Batterers frequently claim to be mistreated by their partners, usually accusing their partners of being abusive, unfaithful, and a “B___”, etc.  They will say they were defending themselves when they hit their partner.

Blames Others for Problems, Feelings, and Actions: Many batterers place the blame on their partners; for their problems, feelings and actions.  The fail to take responsibility for their actions, behaviors, feelings, or problems; they blame others.  Batterers deny they are abusive, blaming the survivor for the abuse.  “You made me so mad.”

Overly Sensitive: Many batterers are overly sensitive; becoming upset and angry at the least discomfort or the littlest thing that goes wrong, and blames others for their feelings.

Unrealistic Expectations: The batterer expects their partner to meet all of their emotional and physical needs.  The batterer expects perfection from their partner.  Some batterers expect perfection from themselves and blame others, especially their partner, when their unrealistic expectation is not met.

Quick Romantic Involvement: Many survivors felt like they were “swept right off their feet” by the batterer.  They need someone immediately and will pressure the survivor to commit quickly.

Often Believes in Rigid Sex Roles: The vast majority of heterosexual batterers are male.  They frequently have rigid sex roles, feeling male entitlement to being taken care of by a woman.  Heterosexual male batterers generally see women as inferior.

Verbally and Emotionally Abusive: Batterers frequently start with verbal or emotional abuse, put downs, degrading comments, and belittling behavior earlier, adding physical violence later in the relationship.

Intimidating Tactics and Cruelty: the batterer will use intimidating looks, threats, breaking and throwing things, hurting children, and abusing pets.

May Use “Playful” Force During Sex: A batterer might use “playful” force during sex; especially when it makes their partner feel uncomfortable or afraid.

Charming and Persuasive: Some batterers are charming and persuasive.  The batterer feels like the perfect dating partner in the beginning, only to become abusive when the partner becomes more dependent on the relationship.  Many batterers seem like wonderful people to family, co-workers, and friends.

Use of Force in an Argument: Any use of force in an argument is an early sign of an abusive relationship.  Behaviors include restraint during an argument, pushing, twisting an arm, or not allowing the survivor to get out of the car, or house.  These types of physically abusive behaviors frequently proceed hitting and may not be recognized as abusive behaviors.

Promises: Batterers frequently make promises that they do not keep.  The biggest of these promises is the promise that they will not do it again.

From Any Socio-Economic Status, Educational Level, Race, or Ethnicity: Batterers are found in all socio-economic levels, educational levels, races, religions, ethnicities, neighborhoods, professions-all walks of life.

 

 

 

Domestic Violence, Part 2: The Victim

Thank you for reading the second part of a four part series on Domestic Violence.  This portion is about the victim.  I have read books, I have listened to well known advisors regarding Domestic Violence.  A large majority of what I have heard has been so helpful.  It is more of an “I wish I knew then, what I know now” effect on me. My life would have been so different.  Not just my life, but my children’s life as well.  I had heard an expert on Domestic Violence on The Oprah Winfrey show, and he discussed everything in detail.  I had heard him say the phrase “the first time you are a victim, the second time you are a volunteer” pierced my heart like a knife.  My immediate thought was I never volunteered to be beaten!  This man has no idea what it’s like to have to play dead so the beating would stop!  He has never gone through what I have had to endure!  He has never walked in my shoes and how dare he say that!  Well, I was so angry. The flood of emotions I felt with that statement seemed like they would never stop.  I thought about how disrespectful that statement was to all the women who are lying in their graves, how much they had endured, how brutal their deaths must have been.

After a few hours I settled down and I started to dissect what this man had said.  After all, he did hit everything else that he said on target, all his other facts were correct.  After contemplating so much about this that this is the realization that I came up with.  To everyone that has experienced Domestic Violence, your story is unique.  It is unique to you, it is personally owned by you.  The sad part is that everyone’s story has an end result. You either leave or you stay or you die.  You have choices.  Let’s talk about your choices.  When you are dissecting your choices and you compare plan A to plan B, you have to remember; come up with plan C if plan A or B doesn’t work for you.  Sometimes you feel like to have to choose between one of two evils. Let me tell you, pick a different way.  You have more options than you probably ever realized.  I don’t want you living in hell without realizing that there is a Plan C out there for you.  If you stay and think, “He’ll kill me if I leave” well, he is killing you every single day that you are in that relationship.  The other important thing is you need help ensuring your safety!!!  I cannot stress this enough.  It has to be a well devised plan. Leave the planning to the experts.  No one will judge you. You are a strong person that was made weak. Get your strength back and seek help immediately, not only for you but for your children if you have them.  This has such a profound effect on them as well.  Get counseling for all involved immediately.  Get your mind healthy again.

I wrote this next part in the first person.  The reason I did this was because just for a moment, I want you to walk in his/her shoes.  If you’ve never experienced Domestic Violence this will help you understand how distorted his/her perception of things really are.  Again, this is not for you to ever judge the victim of Domestic Violence, but to get a better understanding of it.  And you have to think; if someone threatened to kill you, how serious would you take it?  Here are some of the barriers that a victim of domestic violence faces when he/she contemplates leaving her hellacious situation.  This is how the victim of abuse thinks.

Economic Dependence:  How will my children and I be able to make it and who will support us?

Parenting:  I cannot raise these children on my own.  I need another parent for my family.

Religious Belief:  Added pressure to keep the family together.

Extended Family:  Added pressure to keep the family together.

Fear of being alone and on one’s own:  I am very afraid I will not be able to cope with everything by myself.

Loyalty:  If my partner was seriously ill, I’d stick by his/her side.

Pity:  My partner is so much worse off than I am, I feel sorry for him/her.

Rescue Complex:  I can help him/her get better.  I just need more time and he/she will change.

Fear of his/her suicide:  My partner tells me that he/she will kill him/her self if I leave.

Denial:  I really don’t think it’s that bad.

Love:  I love him/her.  He loves me so much when he’s/she’s not abusive.

Duty:  I take my wedding vows seriously and they say “till death do us part.”

Guilt:  I think it is my fault that we are having these problems.  I caused his/her problems.

Responsibility:  I have to save the marriage/relationship. I have to work things out with him/her.

Shame, embarrassment, and humiliation:  I don’t want anyone to find out or know anything.

Security:  I want to be like everyone else and live the American Dream of growing up and living happily ever after.

Identity:  I cannot make it without him/her.  He/her completes me.

Optimism:  I know things will get better, just a little bit longer.

Low self-esteem:  I know this is my fault, I must deserve it.  I will never find anyone better.  At least he/she loves me.

Sex role conditioning:  This is just the way other people are.

Survival:  I fear my own physical safety!  If I leave he/she has already threatened to find me and kill me and the kids and my family. 

She/he does not need judgment, but just to be mended as well as the children.

 

   

Domestic Violence Part 3: Friends and Family

This is the third in a four part series on my Domestic Violence series.  This segment is what family and friends feel and what they have experienced.  There are some facts that are also going to disturb a lot of people, because they don’t quite understand the whole vicious cycle of abuse.

People just don’t know what to say or do in instances of abuse.  It can be very hard on family and friends to see the victim go back and forth and to show up at their door steps all hours of the day and night, battered. The number one thing is to get the victim and his/her children out safely, make sure that you are safe as well.

   

Domestic Violence Part 4: Starting Over

A huge congratulations to you for making it out of that horrific situation!  You dug down deep and found your inner strength.  Your new life awaits you!  You are on your own personal journey to becoming whole again.  Here are some tips for you:

Learn from the past.  This is the biggest thing.  See all the signs that where there that you were truly blinded from seeing and believing.

Don’t beat yourself up.  You are human just like everyone else in this world.  And there are a whole lot of us who have traveled down your same road.

Get yourself help.  There is only one special you in this world.  Make yourself whole again.   Get you and your children into counseling as soon as you can.  It’s a good thing.

Take a deep breath.  Think back and remember all the things that you loved doing.  Do those things again.  Start bringing back the old you.  Learn to live and love and laugh again.

   

Domestic Violence Video

   

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Womens Recreation

Resources

Statistics:

Every 9 seconds a woman is beaten.
In Illinois, more than 300,000 women are abused each year.
More women are injured by domestic violence than are injured in auto accidents, muggings, or rape combined.
40% of female homicides occur as a result of domestic violence.
57% of all homeless women and children are victims of domestic violence.
97% of those reporting domestic violence are women.
60% of battered women report that their first abusive relationship began in high school.
36% of high school relationships involve some type of violence.
One in five teenage girls report to have suffered physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of a dating partner.

 

Resources:

Crisis Center of  South Suburbia or call 708-429-SAFE (7233)

Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the SSFS, South Suburban Family Shelter, Inc. at 708-335-3028 (these are hotline numbers).

Safety Tips: Keep tabs on your abuser, make sure they’re not watching or following you.  Be safe, notice your surroundings, the people, and the cars, and try to not be alone.  Carry your cell phone at all times and pre-program emergency phone numbers.

You can donate to the Crisis Center of South Suburbia by clicking on this link:

https://www.crisisctr.org/how_to_help/crisis_center_donate_online.asp