Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Domestic Violence Information Links and Assisants

Many events are planned and held in October around domestic violence.  We attempt to educate the public, find more answers for ourselves when working with victims and abusive people. How do we help put an end to domestic violence? While we have made progress, we are still on a long road to the eradication of violence in our homes. We must first understand the mean of the words

Domestic Violence, even the words don't go together. The dictionary defines to domesticate:
(of an animal) tame and kept as a pet or on a farm: domesticated dogs;
(of a plant) cultivate for food, naturalized, domesticated crops; and the third listed is noted as (humorous - especially of a man) fond of home life and housework, he is thoroughly domesticated.

If this is this is the way we look at this one word how do we begin to change the actions wrapped around, in and through lives where domestic violence exists?  This definition fits with the long and deeply held belief that a woman's place is at home. I remember being a young girl playing house thinking about when I would one day be a woman and have my own husband, home and family. How wonderful it was all going to be. My parents had a good marriage, and they were kind caring people. Imagine my shock when I found out not all marriages were like that. From this experience I would later in life work to end domestic violence, by assisting victims and working with abusive people to change their thinking and thereby change their behavior.

When we see violence it imprints our brain this is becoming evermore understanding as brain mapping and study of homes where there is violence are observed.  The stories shared by people who experience domestic violence can be found anywhere, any time of day or night in every sociological setting. Domestic violence know no boundaries in race, creed, religion, color, sexual orientation or economic standing. I invite you to learn about domestic violence, what it is and isn't. How to identify it, what to do if experiencing it for yourself or someone you know. There are many programs in each state that provide services for both victim and abuser.  In Indiana, Nonviolent Alternatives provides program designed to identify abusive behavior and correct it so people may live happier more fulfilling lives.  Many programs across the state provide victim assistance, I suggest Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence if you are seeking victim assistance.

As we study more and learn more it has been found the brain of children witnessing violence become "marked" with affects of the violence they hear and see.  Learning how our brain is effected with help us to deal with the problems of children living in homes where domestic violence is happening Brain changes due to domestic violence. How do we stop domestic violence, by protecting our children from it and providing them with loving caring homes. Domestic violence is a cyclical problem among families whose lives are surrounded and interwoven with domestic violence.

Changing these patterns requires we begin to address the way our society looks at violence in general, how women are treated and mistreated, accepting there is a rape culture alive and mingled in our neighborhoods, our system of education and still in many professions.

Be a part of the change. Don't standby and without speaking up. The future of our children depend on you getting involved, being a leader, a better informed parent and living as an example of a violent free lifestyle.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Domestic Violence Awareness Month-Oct 2016

Each year in October the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence holds their annual two-day conference.Officially formed in 1980 and dedicated to ending the devastating conditions that surround abusive relationships. Women and men from all over Indiana gather to learn more about how they can assist victims of domestic violence. It has been my honor to have been a member of the coalition since 2000 as well as a presenter in more than one conference. In 2014 I was honored as the recipient of their award for “Batterers Intervention Professional of the year".

In prior years intervention was the focus sharing experience and creating policies that would eventually form the coalition to its current status. In the beginning, the goal was focused on intervention and assistance to women and children needing to leave and had no idea where to go or what to do to protect themselves from the person who was supposed to love them the most. Eventually, monies became available through federal grants to build shelters and provide a structured and cohesive response to the victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.  The focus has now shifted to prevention work and how to change the cultural acceptance of violence in our families, homes, schools, and neighborhoods throughout our state which leads me to the here and now.

Giving all the work set forth by so many I find it appalling the (Indiana) Governor (now running as the possible next VP of the nation) can in good conscience support and condone the behavior of his running mate, whose actions are the very definition of intimidation and threats to achieve his goal of control over another person, a woman.  This behavior has been witnessed by anyone who has a television or internet connection. There seems to be no escaping it.  Mike Pence said he didn’t understand why Michelle Obama had so passionately condemned his running mate. This same governor will tell you he doesn't condone the behavior then offer excuses for it stating “the man apologized for his poor choice of words, but they were just words so let’s move on''. Moving on means dismissing the countless number of domestic violence and sexual assault victims everywhere. Moving on says we accept this behavior. Moving on says we are not protecting our future generations. Moving on says we still have much to learn and understand about men and women and the acceptable behavior between them.

As a teenager many years ago, I saw my cousin after her boyfriend beat her, leaving her bleeding and broken in a heap on her front porch. The neighbors called the police who came and told her there was nothing they could do, maybe she needed to stay clear of him for a few days and let him cool down. They hadn’t seen the beating and therefore couldn’t arrest him. I was around thirteen at the time and I can remember thinking, “when I get a boyfriend I won’t choose one that would hit me.”  Why had she been in a relationship like this? So three years later when my boyfriend hit me, I told no one and hid my secret and carried the shame that I too had made such a bad choice in choosing a boyfriend. I must have done something wrong, what did I do to make him so made? These are the same questions victims ask themselves on a daily basis.  Too many times believing if they change some aspect of themselves his behavior will therefore change.

Typical to all domestic violence victims, we blame ourselves hoping that we can just correct that one word that one action that made him act this way. Somehow if we could do just that it will all change, it will somehow magically go away.  I know if I just love him more, not interrupt him, be sure all his needs are met, I know if I can do this it will be different.  But it isn’t different it is the same over and over again. Eventually we become broken and defeated and too tired to fight any longer. People ask “why do you stay with someone who treats you so badly?”  It seems like such a simple question however it has a very complex answer. No one wants to be in a relationship like this but feels trapped by either him or a society that doesn’t get it or both.  I can’t begin to count the number of times I have heard women say, “If a man ever hit me that it would be the last time”. “No one is going to treat me that way and get away with it.”

The ugly truth of it is once we reach the level of being hit, other abusive tactics have beaten us down, weakened our spirit and left us feeling exposed and domed to live this horrible nightmare forever.

Now we have someone running for the highest office in our country and he is displaying the same type of behavior. There are men who run our government siding with him, excusing his actions. Clergy are stepping up to explain away his behavior, he is just using” locker room-man talk and isn’t out of line, but rather a women trying to be better, higher than a man in service is the problem. I heard a preacher speak these words, “man was not made to be directed by a woman, it is an assault to the law of nature and God’s commandments.  There are those who would take away our rights as women to have a say in our own lives, to vote, to make our own decisions about our bodies.

We must be a united front against such atrocities. We must stand shoulder to shoulder and scream it to the highest mountain and the farthest shore, I am a woman, I have rights, and I am an individual with feelings, needs and power of my own. We shall not go backwards it would be akin to a slap in the face to those who came before us. We owe this to our children both girls and boys.  Teach of children to reason, to have opinion without being abusive when sharing that opinion. To think beyond today and to reach for the stars for they are theirs to have.
I will close with this request, after reading this you will make a pledge to yourself and all the children of the world, you will not stand ideally by and do or say nothing about the violence and treatment of women and children. We owe them better than that.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Declaring My Peace

The last couple days which have been filled with the election,not really the election, but of the individual rantings of who is the worse of the two people, which one election day will be chosen as our next POTUS. I have watched and listened to the ongoing tirade of each other realizing I have also been a part of this free for all. I found myself last night thinking of the many negative and often cruel posts. This morning as I made my usual peruse of social media I realize I have allowed my thoughts to be guided by others more than by my own convictions and feelings. I allowed past experiences to creep into my here and now, triggering very old and painful memories which were the catalyst to the eventual work I would find myself very dedicated to.  I am appalled by the way women are objectified, belittled and written off as a second class and sometimes not even that, but as belongings and property. I feel I have a responsibility to myself to maintain my own character within my statements and affirming of others. I can and must speak out, but rather than doing so in away that is negative, which is what gets us pulled in, I capable of disagreeing with integrity. I can speak my truth and only my truth, I make a choice to speak a positive truth (I believe she/he is the person for the job based on their attributes and strengths) and not on mud slinging and bashing someone. If I am focused on negative, I bring more negative by participating in it.

So here we are in the mist of it. How do I speak my truth without berating someone else? By stating what I want for myself and the world rather than what I don't want.  Though many believe it is of little use and even futile in practice, I have my own evidence to the contrary how speaking the positive impacts our lives. My spirituality says "thoughts held in mind, produce light kind".  Over and over again I have evidence it is true. Over and over again when I do not stick to my truth, I step into the past with all that it held while I watch the effects of old behavior creeping back to wreck havoc on my present. For nearly two decades I have also worked in the field of domestic violence providing my learning and understanding to others seeking to find a better way. I not only owe it myself to continue to seek truth, I also owe it to those I counsel and future generations. It can most assuredly be a challenging quest but one worth taking.

If I  go about my day blindly, randomly affirming this and denying that, at the end of the day I have to look at myself and ask what is important to me, what is mine to do, what is really at the very center of my conscience?  I have spent much of the last fifty or so years defining and refining my truth, building a good conscience to guide me.  I sit here realizing that once I step over that so very fragile line of conscience I risk loosing myself in the complicit pool of non-direction and confusion.

No matter how many times I denounce another as worse, the outcome of my reality will rest in my actions.  I have a responsibility to apply this learning and these conscience driven guidelines to my decision for the up coming election. While slogans, lies and truth about differences in the two candidates are tossed around, the final decision will be made on election day when each of us step into the voting booth expressing our voice with the vote of own conscience.

To live in peace and harmony, I must first declare it within myself.