Tuesday, October 16, 2012

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month Day 16

If you or know someone in need of information and resources call 800-799-7233 or 800-787-3224 or visit www.safe4all.org     

               OCTOBER IS NATIONAL 

        The WMGS program is organizing its First Ever student run      organization! 

             What? You are all invited to come watch the film Crime After Crime, a discussion will follow afterwards. 
 “The story of the battle to free Debbie Peagler, an incarcerated survivor of brutal domestic violence. Her story takes an unexpected turn two decades later when a pair of rookie land-use attorneys cut their teeth on her case -- and attract global attention to the troubled intersection of domestic violence and criminal justice”. (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1746153/plotsummary) 

                                 When? October 16, 2012 2:00-5:00 PM UN2010. 

                      Who? Come one and all! 
                     (Free snacks and drinks!) 

Monday, October 15, 2012

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month Day 15

If you or know someone in need of information and resources call 800-799-7233 or 800-787-3224 or visit www.safe4all.org

One woman answered my call for stories about their experience in a marriage rife with domestic violence. I thank her again for her strength and courage by allowing me to share her story from a firsthand perspective. I still believe storytelling is the most effective way for survivors (and friends/family members too) not only to heal, but make domestic violence/intimate partner violence real so law and policy makers take notice when writing laws and implementing programs. We still have a long way to go, so I ask that you please take the time to share and continue to raise awareness to this issue. Remember domestic violence happens to any1 anywhere @anytime.

This is her story.

“Yes......! At first you think the falling in love stage is "falling in love" when in fact in some cases it is a control weapon....so it first starts out as grab the emotions....! So when that's rooted sooooo deep....and that seed is planted...sooooo deep that is what makes the victim confused and wants so much to stay sometimes to "fix" the problem....because what we thought was love was not it was called "control"! The man I was married to.....the man who has the record....the man who did everything was and still friends with everyone we went to school with! When I came out about the story and what was happening I needed to move out of county because of his power...money and friends and family! So....I would love to write something tell my story maybe from an unknown or in a way to protect my identity....! I would love to shout out how the children and I survived the "system" and went on and still fighting Demons it would help so many!”

 If you would like to add your story, please go to my facebook page and message me privately.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Domestic Violence Awareness Month Day 13

If you or know someone in need of information and resources call 800-799-7233 or 800-787-3224 or visit www.safe4all.org You are probably wondering why I did not post yesterday, well it was to honor the one woman who did not survive her abusers abuse. She could have been a wife, mother, sister, aunt, cousin, friend, neighbor, co-worker, business owner, teacher, doctor, nurse, and so on. Statistics show 1 in 4 women are being abused. You never knew what she was experiencing behind closed doors as she never shared with anyone the hell she was living in at home. She felt ashamed, she had hoped her abuser was going to change, she stayed because of the kids, she did not think she was being abused. Abusers have considerable control over their victims. It never feels like abuse when the abuser is sorry and remorseful afterwards. They leave you flowers, take you out to dinner, tell you they love you. Until it happens again, you begin to doubt them, question yourself and hope it is not the same old song being played again. For a lot of us this is what it feels like when we are in this cycle. Through my facebook page and this blog, I have been encouraging readers to share their stories in ways they feel safe and comfortable. At first I thought maybe it’s best to tell the story through pictures, but I felt that only shows one dimension of abuse: the physical. By now, I hope you recognize that abuse is more than just that. I then solicited written pieces. I recognize that there are risks when doing that in fear of being identified or recognized. This is why you will never see names or locations of where these posts are from unless they express otherwise. I also acknowledge as one reader wrote “how hard it was to read” about as they could never see themselves engaging in the same abusive ways abusers do. That made me question, what is an effective way of bringing awareness to domestic/intimate partner violence? Is my page too graphic or explicit? Should I tone it down? I am still unsure of the answer, but I appreciate the feedback.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month Day 11

Just a brief diversion from Domestic Violence Awareness Month today.
Remember if you or know someone in need of help and resources, call 1-800-799-7233,  1.800.787.3224 (TTY) or visit the website www.safe4all.org.

 National Coming Out Day--In Solidarity

Today is National Coming Out Day here and around the world. I am writing in support of individuals who are taking that step. I want you to know that I am accepting of you no matter what. I applaud your strength and courage as I know this world is still rather unfriendly to anyone that is different than the norm.

In solidarity I walk with you and will do my best to be an ally to a community that still struggles as a group as do the individuals within it. I pledge to speak up whether in writing or in casual conversation when I read or hear something I know may be offensive. I will write to law and policy makers to ensure one day you will be part of a protective class that has rights that if violated, that you have remedies available to restore them. I will not only educate others, but myself on the issues. I will be and am your friend.

Since we know domestic violence affects any1 anywhere @anytime I ask that you visit my facebook page for information and resources. If you feel safe enough to share your story, you may add it there too. Or in a private message.  http://www.facebook.com/DomesticVIolenceAffectsEvery1

In solidarity and peace,


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Domestic Violence Awareness Month Day 10

Today I am blogging for World Mental Health Day. It is also Day 10 of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Remember if you or know someone in need of help and resources, call 1-800-799-7233,  1.800.787.3224 (TTY) or visit the website www.safe4all.org.

Judging from the feedback I have been receiving from this blog and facebook page, I am thrilled to know this message is getting out there. I will attempt to answer any questions you may have, or be an "ear" should you need someone to "talk" to. All I ask in return, that you keep sharing this blog and facebook page with others as you never know the life (lives) it saves. http://www.facebook.com/DomesticVIolenceAffectsEvery1

The most popular question so far has been, why are you so passionate?

Short answer: 

Besides feeling fortunate that I lived to tell about my experience, I feel I did so I can tell my story so others aren't feeling alone or ashamed. Feelings that were real and how I was made to feel by those I reached out to for help. I also created the page and blog to allow others in an abusive situation know there is help out there, need not to feel alone, and how sharing one's story helps in healing the hurt.

When I first tried to leave my abuser, the first people I turned to were my family. Namely my mother and sister. We had been dubbed The "Three Musketeers" as we bonded over our love for the New York Mets, baseball team. I found the doors locked. Their response to me was that I had "made your bed, now lie in it." 

Granted I was 19 years and a grown woman, I should have been able to sustain myself, but the truth is that I couldn't. Or maybe I was disempowerd not to be able to. My mother and my sister were equally abusive in their own ways that presented themselves in the man I married. While my sister was physically abusive, my mother permitted it to continue despite my cries. My mother was emotionally and financially abusive. Any money I earned from part jobs had to be turned over to her despite her receiving child support and earnings of her own. She always called me lazy  and said I "could do better." Mind you, I was already publishing articles and winning essay contests well before I graduated high school.

I was not encouraged or supported to see my goals and ambitions of becoming a journalist by this woman who I feel should have been. It was only natural that I would marry a man who was equally, if not more abusive. He succeeded in isolating me from my family and much of the outside world too. For instance, when our youngest son died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (http://sids.org/) 
I was not allowed to attend a support group for newly bereaved parents. Yet he demanded I return back to work in two weeks as we needed to pay the rent and put food on the table.

Years later I have become much more empowered to know the life I was living is not the one I wanted to continue living in. I have taken steps to travel the path these people put me on. I do no regret these experiences as they have opened my eyes and ears to the plights others have.Some die without ever being able to get out, while others live and get out. I was one of the fortunate ones. I may not have visible scars, but I do have emotional ones that from time to time reveal themselves. Instead of hiding or crying about how they look, I share my story with others to let them know they are not alone and there is help available. It's not a one size fits all kind of thing in that is up to you to find what works and stick to it.  But as you travel that path, know that I am here for you.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month Day 9

Remember if you or know someone in need of help and resources, call 1-800-799-7233,  1.800.787.3224 (TTY) or visit the website www.safe4all.org.

 Domestic Violence/ Intimate Partner Violence affects any1 anywhere @anytime.

  A woman I indirectly know grew up in the same neighborhood as I did at different times years apart lost her daughter to domestic violence. I will spare you the gory details on how she was killed, but no matter how you look at it domestic violence/ intimate partner violence affects any1 anywhere @anytime.

This woman and I became "friends" on a social networking site after I reached out to her. I sent her virtual hugs and let her know I was there for her as I understood. The story broke at a time I was taking a family law class where this was a topic of a few discussions. I had begun to share my story with others. First in an article I wrote, then out loud with my classes and then eventually to anyone who would listen.

And they did listen. They asked questions too. I felt compelled to keep on talking and putting my story out there. I just did not know what would be the best platform. I thought about a blog, a website or a Facebook page. None seemed right at the time.

A class I am taking this semester is Global Feminism. We are required to start an activist project in an area of which we are most passionate about. I guess by now you would be correct if you assumed domestic violence awareness.We have guidelines to follow, but the manner in which we present it was our choice.

I started a Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/DomesticVIolenceAffectsEvery1 that allows me to do that and much more. I post resources I think may be helpful and highlight legislative initiatives, policy efforts all aimed to benefit survivors. I also share my story there and here hoping to encourage others to share theirs as well.

Putting a face on domestic violence is very important as for so long this was considered a private matter between the husband and wife. We now (hopefully) evolved to realize domestic violence is not just something occurs in marriage. It is also a crime and should treated under the law the same way assault from a stranger is.

We have a long way to go, especially in educating our youngsters that violence is not a way to solve problems. Nor is it right to be subjected to someone else's abuse. It is imperative we let the abused know there is help, just as we let the abusers know they wont be able to get away with their actions.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Domestic Violence Awareness Month Day 8-

Remember if you or know someone in need of help and resources, call 1-800-799-7233,  1.800.787.3224 (TTY) or visit the website www.safe4all.org.
Letter to My Abuser

I am writing this as I am on break between classes. You know similar to the ones you prevented me from taking when I shared with you my goals of obtaining a college degree. We argued incessantly over it. If I remember correctly, it was because I was not interested in pursuing business degree or something like that. I was much more interested in a liberal arts or English-type of degree. If you recall it was because I struggled with math beyond division. We eventually came to a compromise, I would work during the day and go to school at night, but only at the institution, you chose for me. I grudgingly gave in. 

My first semester was awesome. I excelled and thrived despite being tired after a long day at work and putting up with your unwanted sexual advances at home. I even made the Dean’s List. I remember how proud you were of me beaming ear to ear at the ceremony. You even brought our son along who was probably not old enough to remember any of that day, but saw something great happen for his mother for once. Then you took it away from me.

By the time, I was ready to start the second semester you became much more demanding. Crying how I made no time for you anymore. “You’re not being a wife or mother,” you exclaimed. Well how could I be? I mean I was holding down a full time job in the city, going to school, and on my off days dragged off to run errands with you, as you would not go alone. Nor would you allow me to have alone time with my son at the playground or some activity outside the house. Nor could we make noise when you were sleeping during the day.

The only time I was outdoors was to and from work or school. Or especially when I accompanied you anywhere and spending my hard-earned money either on video games or on clothes for me that you had to approve of. I could have saved that money for a rainy day. Alternatively, in my case when I was trying to flee this abusive relationship so many times before.

I sensed there was some jealousy over me going to college. It seemed to have inspired you to go to back to school as well. Once you did, you made it clear I could not go anymore. “Someone will have to work,” you said. I lost once again. My dreams once again deferred. Just as they were when my mother told me she would not pay for the college of my choice and accepted to.

I did not return to school until after I finally left you for good. It was there I learned of a fabulous program that would not only interest me, but helped me legally. I enrolled in a paralegal program. I thrived again as I learned about courses such as family and criminal law. Both of which I had only previously known about after our numerous appearances in the courtrooms. I was close to graduating, but could not pass the required math and accounting classes. I put college on hold again, but not because of you. I learned what I needed to should you have decided to re-enter our lives again.

Eventually you were smart enough to stay away and follow the court orders that required you to pay child support. I learned from class that there was a support enforcement unit in our city. There was no excuse for you not to pay, as that is what responsible non-custodial parents do. That threat you made about killing yourself years before if you had to pay, well by then I knew otherwise that you would not do it.

Despite receiving a late in life diagnosis of dyscalculia (a math learning disability)  (http://www.ncld.org/types-learning-disabilities/dyscalculia/what-is-dyscalculia) I have since passed the required classes to graduate with my Associate’s but did not stop there. I am now pursuing my bachelor’s degree in a program that has empowered me in ways I do not think you would ever understand, but know would intimidate you. Not that is my intention, but when I learn about how patriarchy has dominated the world and its citizens for so long I think of you. Maybe you could not help feeling powerless and by exerting you control over me, it made you feel powerful. After all, history granted you and others permission to do just that until I (along with others) had the courage to speak up and out against our unjust situations.