Monday, March 12, 2012

Domestic Violence

I realize my last few posts including this post, has focused on more social issues than environmental issues and green DIY's.  However as my blog description states I am, "Eco-obsessed….socially conscious with a splash of politics now and then!"

There are many issues close to my heart not just the environment, Domestic Violence being one of those issues.  Maybe it is because I was a victim of this crime or maybe because I have seen too many women abused and killed because of it.  Whatever the reason, it is on my mind this month and wish to discuss some warning signs.

Let me give you some background history.  All of my adult relationships since about age 19 or so, have been abusive in one form or another.  Each man I dated were abusive in some varying degree, some verbal, some physical, some emotional, some sexual and some purely controlling.  My last relationship being the worst and a combination of all of the above!  It was like all the men leading up to him was a practice run breaking me down little by little preparing the way for him

I went back many times to my last relationship, he had me completely broken believing it was my fault and I deserved every last abusive altercation.  I lost all contact with friends and family because he made me believed they were holding me back, they were against me growing and becoming successful and that they were against us.  I still have not recovered many of those friendships and family relationships.  I lost jobs because of his behavior, he would call my work constantly harassing my co-workers wanting to know where I am or accusing them of having an affair with me.

I would love to say some words of wisdom why it happened to me.  It would be easy to blame my parents, blame the kids at school for always teasing me and bullying me.  I can't say for sure with 100% certainty why I was attracted to this type of man or why this type of man sought me out.  All I know is this.....

I never believed it could happen to me, I was/am confident, strong, out-spoken woman and fully aware of the signs of abusive men by examples I have witnessed in my life leading up to my first abusive relationship.  I truly believed I would be able to spot an abusive man....nope, I sure didn't!  I can now that is for sure...I can spot an abusive man before he says hello and he doesn't even have to be someone I am involved with.  I digress...

Please take a look at the signs and symptoms of what abuse could look like.  If you are in an abusive relationship seek help, if you are a friend of someone whom you suspect is in an abusive relationship seek help on how to help her/him.

This is written with the man as the abuser because that is my experience but abusers can certainly be women, parents, teachers..etc.

Here are some typical signs:
  • He controls and monitors all contacts with other individuals including family.
  • He begins to slowly and systematically cut you off from family and friends.
  • He will begin to say know one loves you or knows you better than himself.
  • He refers to you as property or an object instead of a person.
  • He criticizes you and puts you down primarily when you are alone but on occasion in front of others.
  • He blames you for the abuse: "if you just behave or do what I say this wouldn't happen".
  • He does not allow you to go out alone.
  • He questions every detail of your day.
  • He is excessively jealous or possessive.
  • He limits your access to money and/or care.
  • He limits the amount of communication you have with anyone including friends and family.
  • He threatens to kill you or your children if you leave or tell anyone.
  • He threatens to kill himself if you leave or tell anyone.
  • He destroys your belongings.
  • He threatens to take your children away and keep them from you.
  • He apologizes nearly every time swearing he will never do it again followed by gifts and long periods of bliss...this is called the honeymoon period.

Here are some signs and symptoms you maybe having:
  • You feel afraid of this person much of the time.
  • He forces you to have sex.
  • You avoid certain topics in fear of getting him angry.
  • You wonder if you are the one that is crazy or if you are the cause.
  • You feel numb or helpless.
  • You feel like you cannot do a single thing right for him.
  • You feel his has a bad temper or unpredictable temper.
  • You wear clothes to hid your figure or hide marks left by your abuser.

Things you can do:

  • Call 911
  • Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
  • Domestic Violence Organization
  • National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  • National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
  • Searching on computers that he has access to can and will be dangerous even if you clean out the history.  He will become aggressive and/or violent if you cannot answer why there is not history on the computer.  So find a friend or library or work (if you work) place to search. 
  • Work can be another resource, they often have resources through your human resources.
  • Leave: hide get away money, clothes etc and just leave.
  • Let someone you know and trust what is happening.
  • If you have Facebook: remove him from friends list and remove mutual friends that may tell him things you are posting.  Put your entire Facebook page on friends only do not allow anyone that you do not know really well and trust to see anything on your FacebookFoursquare. THIS IS FOR YOUR SAFETY!!!
  • Find a local Domestic Violence shelter they will have a lot of resources for you to get safe, get independent, possibly housing, possibly legal assistance and for sure counseling.  Believe me, the counseling will be needed even if you think you do not need it, remember you thought you would never be abused so all assumptions are out the window.

Above all, don't feel ashamed or embarrassed.  It happened and it has happened to the best of us and to many of us.  Get out....Get help!  Your life and your kids life (if you have any) are important, you are worth it! 


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