Once a month the ladies in my church, and all women in the area are invited and welcome, and we get together to learn, socialize – and eat of course.
At one of the meetings we were presented the same information given at a Multi Faith Leaders centered on Domestic Violence Training.
I found it so informative and pertinent, that I asked for permission to pass it onto you. I have also included other information I found while doing some research on this important subject.
I hope you will read it and pass it on to anyone and everyone you can. You never know who is suffering in silence and just does not have the information of where to turn for help. Possibly you, or someone you know is the abuser and wants to change, there is also help. This is the first in this series.
Men can be abused as well as women, and it should be taken very seriously as well. Women never, ever have the right to mistreat men physically, emotionally or verbally. “Man-bashing” is terrible in all its forms and is to be shunned. For this post, I will focus on women for ease in writing and for my purpose here.
Years ago, I was able to help with a service project, again with ladies in my church and women in my area, as we remodeled a room at our local YWCA. We took a little tour before beginning the job of cleaning, painting and such. The one aspect I was very surprised at was learning that there was also a Domestic Violence Shelters also known as a ‘safe-house’ available in the area for women who were in a life-threatening situation and running from their husband or boy-friend. They and their children could come to the special location and stay for a time and get help from police and others.
It had not occurred to me before that, how complex the woman’s choices would be when trying to leave an abusive situation; here are a few scenarios:
- If the woman seeks shelter from family or friends the partner can easily track her down – and she puts them in danger and know this.
- Going to a ‘safe-house’ there may not be room, which is a risk.
- If she were to move to her own place that would require her own money and independence, which is not common in an abusive situation.
- An abuser can keep the woman so isolated that she knows no one to go to for help.
- Many run to the streets and there are abused and violated as much or more as they were at home.
To being this series we will address understanding what abuse is and how to recognize it.
CRITICAL POINTS OF ABUSE
Domestic violence is never acceptable, it is a crime.
It is never deserved, never ok, never asked for, never to be tolerated
Domestic violence is preventable.
If we will be involved and watch out for others and what is going on around us, we can be instrumental in reporting if necessary, or at least offering support and relief to others when we can see they need help.
Victims/survivors are not to blame.
It is NEVER the fault of the wounded. No matter what they said or did, it was never deserved.
Perpetrators are responsible for their own actions.
We all come to this earth with personalities, strengths, weaknesses and tests to overcome. However I believe that each person (that are able minded of course) has a conscience of right and wrong; which includes how to correctly treat others. A person can control their actions and words and has the responsibility to do so.
RECOGNIZING TYPES OF ABUSE
Physical Abuse: Everything from shoving to hitting
Emotional Abuse: Isolating, threatening, name-calling, demeaning
Sexual Abuse: Forcing unwanted sex acts, forcing to watch pornography, use sex to demean or control
Spiritual Abuse: Using scripture, doctrine, or dogma to justify abuse and control
CONTRIBUTING TRIGGERS TO ABUSE
Certain outside forces can promote anger and other emotions in an abuser, such as:
- Alcohol & Drug Abuse (6 in 10 abuse cases are affected by these)
- Apartment Dwellers (when it is a small, cramped, no privacy or yard is a large initiator)
- Financial Problems
- Uncontrolled Anger/Rage
- Unmarried Partners with Prior Relationships (70%)
- Untreated Mental Illness
RECOGNIZING WARNING SIGNS
- Appear attentive and protective…when actually being jealous and controlling
- Make the decisions about how and when the family worships
- Have a history of violent and abusive acts, such as destroying property, harming pets, etc.
- Use the premise of the patriarchal role within the family to rationalize abusive behavior
- Seem quiet, devoted and dutiful…but may actually feel frightened, and isolated because of threats and abusive behavior
- Have injuries and/or illnesses which may increase in frequency and/or severity
- Tend to minimize the situation
- Feel uncomfortable and make excuses if you approach them about the abuse
RECOGNIZE FACTORS THAT PROMOTE OR FUEL BARRIERS HINDERING A WOMAN IN LEAVING AN ABUSIVE SITUATION, OR EVEN REPORTING IT
Here are some of the reasons a woman (or man) may not leave a situation of abuse, even when their life is in danger. Frustrating as it may be to an outsider, it makes sense to the abused:
- Money/financial dependency
- Need for companionship
- Hopes abuse will stop- that abuser will change”
- Commitment to relationship
- LOVE (or what is construed as love)
- Doesn’t want to feel like a failure. Guilt.
- Stigma of divorce
- Fear of being alone, doesn’t want to start over
- Low self-esteem
- The cycle of violence is familiar
- The unknown is scarier than the known
- Threats of suicide/harm/harassment by abuser
- Pressure from or lack of support from family, friends or church
- Wants to preserve reputation
- Single parenting an unattractive alternative
- Sex/affection is good some of the time
- Apologies/crying from abuser
- Lack of awareness that it’s ok to leave
- Victim doesn’t recognize behavior as abuse
- No support system
- Nowhere else to go
THERE ARE RED FLAGS TO WATCH FOR IN A RELATIONSHIP
From LoveIsRespect.org: It’s not always easy to tell at the beginning of a relationship if it will become abusive.
In fact, many abusers may seem absolutely perfect on the surface — as if they are the dream partner — in the early stages of a relationship. Possessive and controlling behaviors don’t always appear overnight, but rather emerge and intensify as the relationship grows.
If you’re beginning to feel as if your partner or a loved one’s partner is becoming abusive, there are a few behaviors that you can look out for. Watch out for these red flags and if you’re experiencing one or more of them in your relationship, call The Hotline to talk about what’s going on:
- Embarrassing or putting you down
- Looking at you or acting in ways that scare you
- Controlling who you see, where you go, or what you do
- Keeping you or discouraging you from seeing your friends or families
- Taking your money or refusing to give you money for expenses
- Preventing you from making your own decisions
- Telling you that you are a bad parent or threatening to harm or take away your children
- Preventing you from working or attending school
- Blaming you for the abuse, or acting like it’s not really happening
- Destroying your property or threatening to hurt or kill your pets
- Intimidating you with guns, knives or other weapons
- Shoving, slapping, choking or hitting you
- Attempting to stop you from pressing charges
- Threatening to commit suicide because of something you’ve done
- Threatening to hurt or kill you
- Pressuring you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with
- Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol
- Preventing you from using birth control or pressuring you to become pregnant when you’re not ready
Domestic violence doesn’t look the same in every relationship because every relationship is different. But one thing most abusive relationships have in common is that the abusive partner does many different kinds of things to have more power and control over their partners. If you’re concerned about some of these things happening in your relationship, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
The National Domestic Violence site has many resources to help, click HERE for more information.
How can I help my Friend? What if my friend is the Abuse and needs help?
Click HERE for informationAbuse in all of its forms is hideous and does not have a place in a loving and caring home or relationship.
Too often a person may have grown up with the same treatment and thinks it is the way to act, or to be acted upon. I will continue with this topic to give information and resources, in the hopes that suffering will stop, mistreatment and cruelty that has been perpetrated (even for generations) will cease, and coarse and harsh language and words in a relationship and family will stop all together.
Can you imagine the change if families only knew safety, love, righteous teachings and the path to true happiness? We can find our way there, I know we can! Together, as we watch out to help others, then have the courage to do what is needed so peace, calm and joy can be in the life of every child, woman and man.
Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2015
Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today