Saturday, January 8, 2011

15th Anniversary of The National Domestic Violence Hotline

I am posting this in recognition of the great work the Hotline has done in the past 15 years. Thousands of victims have been given the start to a new life because of this organization's efforts to educate society about the signs of domestic violence. I hope everyone reads this and takes a long look at his/her relationship and of those he/she loves.

The signs can be subtle so you have to look hard. This article gives some of the things to look for and actions exhibited by victims. DO NOT turn a blind eye to the horrors of domestic violence. It can be embarrassing or scary but if you feel like that imagine how the victims feel. The pain of domestic violence is not always bruises and cuts, but also the emotional scars of low self-esteem, depression, and/or suicidal thoughts. Please help those too scared to help themselves. Many women will resist the help because of the embarrassment that her secret will be visible to the world. Many women believe they will be judged for allowing this to happen and not fighting back. The horror is this belief is mostly true. How many shows have you watched and the victim of a violent relationship continues to stay or go back and your first reaction is "Why is she going back?" or "Why doesn't she just leave?". We are all guilty of it, but through love and trust that wall can be torn down and the healing can begin. A soft word of encouragement can be all that is needed, but some instances a confidential talk where the victim feels safe and her secret will be held in complete confidence is necessary. This is the first step to dealing with the pain and starting the healing process. Having a confidant and outlet is important to the emotional and physical reconstruction of the victim's life. NEVER be judgemental, offer nothing more than an ear to listen and allow the victim to lay her story out for you. Absorb the information and make no effort to fix the problem for now. In time the victim will ask for help, but at this point a place to be safe and release the pain is most important. When the time comes to help the victim she will let you know.

I realize I have used a woman as the victim, and men are victims also, but men rarely report domestic violence. Men feel they are weak and unmanly when threatened with the prospect of opening up about their violent relationship. Men are nearly equal to women when it comes to being a victim of domestic violence in relationships, but approximately only 1 man to 100 women report domestic violence against them. That's 1%! They feel emasculated and vulnerable, two traits men fear more than anything. "A man is strong and can handle anything" is a famous idiom taught to young boys from an early age. "Real men don't cry" and "Real men don't show their feelings" have made men turn their feelings inward and hide the reality of what is happening. Helping a man is very different than I woman because many men can become violent themselves toward the person trying to help them. He will feel his manhood is being questioned or attacked and this can explode in a violent rage meant for the abuser and is released on the person coming to his aid. This is a very delicate situation that even society turns its back on. Society will look at a woman as a victim and a man as an attention getter. "A man can overpower the woman abuser." "He can just walk away." "He's lying." LYING??? Who would lie about being the victim of domestic violence? Why the double standard? Men can be victims too people.

Now on to the article published on titled "Love is…knowing the signs of abuse to help yourself or a friend"

"In October we launched The Hotline’s 15th anniversary with the debut of our “Love is” campaign. This campaign is aimed not only at raising awareness to our issue, but also ensuring people know they are not alone and help is available.
One component of raising awareness is ensuring people recognize the signs of domestic violence. Everyone needs to know what it is and how to spot it happening in their lives or in the lives of their friends.
Remember: Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.
Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone. It happens to all races, ages, sexual orientation, religion or gender. Is domestic violence something that only happens between married couples? No. While domestic violence does apply to married couples, it can also occur between people who are living together or who are dating.
We hope that by discussing what love is, we can help show what love is not – any form of abuse. Please join us in our campaign by telling us what you believe love is and by remembering these warning signs that you – or someone you know – may be in an abusive situation.
• Your partner humiliates you or puts you down

• Your partner makes you feel bad about yourself

• Your partner controls what you do, who you see, who you talk to, where the money is spent

• Your partner prevents you from getting or keeping a job

• Your partner tells you it is your fault he hurts you and if only you wouldn’t make him act this way

• Your partner uses the children to make you feel guilty or threatens to harm the children if you do not do what he says.

Also, remember we’re always here to talk at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) and 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). You are not alone. There is hope and there is help."

I hope everyone has enjoyed this article as much as I have. Please look for the signs and be aware of the subtle queues that a victim may be giving you. Good luck and GOD bless everyone.

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