As many of you have probably heard, this beautiful young woman named Yeardly Love was found dead in her apartment Monday by a neighbor, lying face down in a pool of her own blood. She was a "star" in her town for her excellent abilities as a Lacrosse player for her college.
Her boyfriend was a hometown star too, he also played Lacrosse. The public would see two good looking, talented young people and think they had the world at their fingertips. But what they didn't know is he had a history of hitting her, and she had a history of staying.
This time, something happened and the couple ended their relationship. He angrily went to her apartment, (her front door was unlocked but she was in her bedroom with the door locked), tried to kick in her bedroom door. At that point, she must have let him in. A physical altercation occured and he reported to the police that he doesn't know what happened but he remembers shaking her and watching her head bounce off the wall as he shook her. He killed her. And he left her there, in a pool of her own blood. He took her laptop and left the scene only later to turn himself in to the police. (All this according to CBSNews and other news media)
Ladies, this is another example of why we're here, doing what we're doing. Stop what you're doing and ask yourself "What can I do to help keep this from happening to others?". Post your ideas, however far or near they may be from coming to fruition. No better way to heal than to help others from going through what you've gone through.
With county discovered that to them Domestic Violence Victims were classified & no different then labeled "HOMELESS". I can assure you and as all of you already know. We are not the same as your average homeless person. "DISPLACED" yes, because we need to leave for our safety as well as our children if so having. If in staying with the abuser not only do you risk those dangers you are facing already but can lose your children if staying long enough without finally doing the right thing. This is where the system in some states, counties & courts are messed up.
Example of what I have found & experienced. D.V. Shelter - to stay you "have to" get county help, your not allowed to work during your residency, shelter costs per day is higher the anyone's typical monthly rent. Some start at $75 to $200 per person per day. If you don't get county help/aid you have to pay out of your own pocket for stay so a mother & daughter it could cost about or over $3000 mo. for stay in a shelter if paying out of pocket. A mother of 5 is a way over a whopping $10,000 mo. OUCH! (aha!! now you see where others view D.V., county etc as the argument of the tax payers)
There are shelters that allow you to work. Not many. Still it is an out of pocket expense for the victim or they have to seek county help. AH!! County help. Depending on their rules they won't help unless you find a job, if staying in shelter depending if they do not allow you to work then how is this supposed to work?? If staying in a shelter where you are allowed to work the costs are over what you could be spending on a new place to rent. If working and at shelter but still having to seek county help...well if you have ever had to deal with county (some call it welfare) you already know if your working how little the actually help because you get a pay check. Sound frustrating?? Understand why it is so hard for some victims now to leave the abuser if they have no friend or family for support & help?? Or why they go back to the abuser? Things others don't think about.
Here is another example. Staying in D.V. Shelter is a limited stay. Understandably so. For some stay is shorter then a mo, others a little longer. Where I was at the limited stay was 3 mo. at the end of your stay you have to have found and obtained a job & a place to live. So, was frustrated with how do I find a job if I am not allowed to work? How do I obtain safe housing if I don't have a job?? Had it not finally been for a friend to cover & say I was employed so that I could find housing before my 3 mo was up, I would have had no place to go.
What happens to victims after their stay is over if they haven't found, obtained a job & housing??? Your out! If I didn't have a place to go or family & friends to stay with in the first place what makes them think I do now after 3 mo safety stay in that shelter? So I watched a few moms with children/babies get turned then to Emergency homeless shelter. Ah! One big room with cots and your only allowed one bag & what you can carry. Does this sound right to you? Guess what that abuser is living life as normal unless in jail (usually short lived) as if none of this ever happened other then the 2 or 3 mo delay for court if required or not at all. While you the victim saving yourself & your children from harms way.
Something to think about on how the system works. You can't do one thing without the other and you can't achieve the other without first that one thing. So it's a catch, a rock & another rock your stuck between. So, wonder why even after D.V. Shelter stay the victim goes back to the abuser? Or why they chose not to do shelter in the first place? Because not enough of them to get help or safe stay so they go back to what they know the abusive home.
The dilemma of safety & D.V. Shelter stay. Why are some like this? Because there isn't enough funding. The state doesn't see reason to have more of them. Does this mean that they don't acknowledg it happens in their state or county? The tax payers are fighting the good fight about where their money is going because for them "homeless" is someone who isn't applying themselves, abusing the system, waste of their tax paying dollars. I can sympathize to a point being a tax payer but I surely now view this differently. Domestic Violence Victims should never be labeled & in the same catagory as homeless. The two are not exactly the same.
So when speaking out for your right to be safe as well as your children. Remember that speaking out just isn't saying your story, supporting others, etc. you need to speak out to your state representatives or county on how D.V. Safe Housing is needed & more of them or bigger so not so many are turned away. Sadly how many of them not getting the safe housing they were searching didn't make it out of that abusive situation without now more mental or health issues. Or worse didn't make it out alive. Why? Because there was no room in the safe house. Funding isn't there as it should be, city, state & county budget were cut for local shelters because on their list those that vote on these things for what gets cut, axed isn't a concern because someone voting wasn't a victim themselves to know the urgency on why they are needed.
There is only so much a safe housing domestic violence shelter can do without proper funding. There are many out there that are good ones but they still have room shortage and it breaks their hearts to have to send others away. Even legal help services from my own experience were cut while Bush was in office. Leaving me to as the courts say, 'represent yourself or hire an attorney'. While giving him the free court appointed attorney because he was in lue of incarsaration & the courts needed to protect themselves from being sued by lack of representation if facing jail for the abuser. How is any of this right?
I know I am not the only one whose dealt with the delimma's of help from county, state, court or safe housing shelters. I didn't give up and found a safe shelter stay. If not for a friend to help me when my stay was up where would I have ended up? I didn't give up hope. Neither should you. I am a survivor. We can't do this alone.
Sunday night’s historic vote on health care reform helps women across the board.
A greater percentage of women are more likely than men to be uninsured or underinsured and to struggle to make ends meet. In addition, those women who manage to get coverage are more likely to pay higher premiums than men. Women who suffer from preexisting conditions are often denied coverage altogether.
For all women, the advent of health care reform is a victory. For domestic violence victims, it is a lifeline.
Domestic violence causes 2 million injuries and more than 1,200 deaths every year . These women are not strangers - they are our daughters, our mothers, our sisters, our co-workers, and our neighbors. For victims of domestic violence, access to health care is critical. They need treatment for immediate injuries and ongoing care for related health problems. They need to be able to talk to their health care provider about the cause of their injuries without fear of losing their health insurance. Most importantly, they need our compassion and support.
Yet until last night, insurance companies in eight states and the District of Columbia could still discriminate against victims by declaring domestic violence a preexisting condition. Domestic violence victims in those states faced the real risk of being denied health care at the very time when they needed it the most. Because of last night’s vote, domestic violence victims in those states will no longer face discrimination.
All across the country, this bill will help domestic violence victims get the health care they need. They will not face gender discrimination or lifetime caps on benefits. They will not face the struggle of paying too much for health care while trying to rebuild their lives after suffering domestic violence.
Victims of domestic violence should not have to worry about access to health care. Because of last night, we can make sure that they won’t.
Lynn Rosenthal is the White House Advisor on Violence Against Women
This is a poem by Carol Kaplan:
Today another woman died
and not on a foreign field
and not with a rifle strapped to her back,
and not with a large defense of tanks
rumbling and rolling behind her.
She died without CNN covering her war.
She died without talk of intelligent bombs
and strategic targets
The target was simply her face, her back
her pregnant belly.
The target was her precious flesh
that was once composed like music
in her mothers body and sung
in the anthem of birth.
The target was this life
that had lived its own dear wildness,
had been loved and not loved,
had danced and not danced.
A life like yours or mine
that had stumbled up
from a beginning
and had learned to walk
and had learned to read.
and had learned to sing.
Another woman died today.
not far from where you live;
Just there, next door where the tall light
falls across the pavement.
Just there, a few steps away
where youve often heard shouting,
Another woman died today.
She was the same girl
her mother used to kiss;
the same child you dreamed
beside in school.
The same baby her parents
walked in the night with
and listened and listened and listened
For her cries even while they slept.
And someone has confused his rage
with this womans only life.
-Carol Geneya Kaplan
Current mood: worried
I use to wonder that myself.
I watched my mother be abused in two separate marriages.
I thought the same thing. Why? Get out! I would never put myself in that situation.
How wrong I was to think that until I found myself in that kind of relationship three different times.
What a fool, thought by my friends asking the same questions.
I use to ask myself about my Mom when I was a kid. Then I knew why.
One because growing up in that house it became apparent to the child as normal relationship behavior.
Boys tend to grow up finding themselves the abuser or abuse victim in some cases.
Girls well, sometimes the abuser themselves & as adults find themselves being the victim.
Children learn from the life their parents show them and tend to fall into it
themselves once adults, no matter how hard they might try or say they would never.
I said I would never and then found myself smack in the middle of it more then once.
Should I have known better? Tried harder? Seen it before it happened to me?
One would think I should have.
So why do we stay?
* She may have grown up with violence -
* May not have friends of family support if she leaves.
there are not any problems, it's her fault or all just in her head.
only for a little while.
I could go on and on on, this why we stay.
Most of us such as myself finally get fed up have had enough and find
our stronger side to make that leap to get out.
It is a very scary one, difficult decision, the insecurity of what happens next
when staying we know what to expect.
Some of us do, some don't and some even go back to what they know because
the new challenges faced for us or our children is overwhelming without support.
Support isn't always easy to find all the answers we need. WHY?
Why is society so easy to just toss this up as no big deal.
You would be amazed at what states offer little help or refuse to see it is a BIG ISSUE!
It does happen and to many of any race, color or nationality.
Believe it, it's true. Is it happening to you?
No one deserves to be abused. No one!
What so many do not understand & peeves me the most is those that see abuse as "Did he physically hurt you? Then it's not abuse."
SO NOT TRUE!
Even our court system in some areas or some judges personally to chose to not see the full picture of it.
Domestic Violence gives a sense of False Security to the Victim.
We want to believe it is easier to stay then it will be to get out.
Tell me why?
THIS IS ABUSE:
* PSYCHOLOGICAL & EMOTIONAL ABUSE -
Your blackmailed with "If you really love me, you would..."
* SOCIAL ABUSE -
* FINANCIAL ABUSE -
Forces you to hand over all your money.
* SEXUAL ABUSE -
* PHYSICAL ABUSE -
Most obvious sign of abuse but not the only one.
KNOW THE SIGNS!
Signs of abuse you need to ask yourself does this happen to me?
What are the signs?
It is hard for the abused party to realize they are being abused.
SO, How do you know?
* VERBAL -
* VIOLENT TEMPER -
Blames you & others for everything.
Gets angry in a way that scares you & other people.
* CONTROLLING BEHAVIOR -
phone use & listening to conversations, everything you do.
Obsessed and possessive - you belong to them like material objects.
Controls all finances & monitors spending.
* EXTREME JEALOUSY -
* ISOLATION -
from school, work & makes you feel guilty if you do forcing you to
chose to stay home so not to cause a fight.
* EMOTIONAL CHANGES -
You find yourself withdrawn & quite when he is around.
* BEHAVIOR OF CHILDREN -
Get quite or withdrawn when he is around, don't ask friends to come over,
make excuses for the above issues listed to protect a parent or sibling, fear they will be taken away if they say anything.
Actions become that of the abuser to others friends, siblings & attitude because to them it is normal behavior.
THESE ARE ABUSE TOO!
Then of course the obvious.
* BRUISES & INJURIES -
Blaming yourself as if you deserved it.
What is Domestic Violence? Domestic Violence is a crime!
Domestic Violence is a pattern or coercive tactics, psychological, emotional,
social, financial, physical, sexual, establishing or maintaining power & control and can happen to anyone.
I broke the chain. You can to for yourself or for your children if you have any.
Did you know if you stay you can have your children taken away from you
for keeping them in this situation?
Most do not know this. Do you want this for your children?
A question I ask my friends whom I have found in the same situation.
Imagine your child, daughter or son as an adult, picture this kind of relationship.
How would you feel about it? How would you handle it?
What advice would you give them?
Think outside to box from a window looking in at your life, their life or a friends.
Would it be GET OUT? SAVE YOURSELF? I AM SCARED FOR YOU?
Would you offer them the support you found or couldn't find?
Your take on this? I am curious to know? Are you yourself being abused?
Do you know someone who is being abused?
Do you know how to help? Do you know where to seek help?
As a "SURVIVOR", I know the pain the difficulties a "VICTIM" endures.
I also know a little help goes a long way. I AM A SURVIVOR, no longer a Victim.
I can now give what was given to me..HOPE that those I know,
can make the transition from victim to SURVIVOR as I did. Your not alone.
JUST KNOWING THAT SOMEONE CARES MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD.
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
National Domestic Violence Hotline Website (link) or www.ndvh.org
By Lyn Twyman
Domestic Violence and Immigration
I was 5 years old when I heard one of my parents frequent arguments end with a loud smacking sound. I had just walked in the front door after the school bus had dropped me off in front of my house from a day at kindergarten to the loud yelling and arguing of my parents, unfortunately something I had grown accustomed to. If you can imagine my father was well over 6 feet with a loud bellowing voice, my mother just under 5 feet. With frustration and anger my father struck my mother, leaving a bright red hand mark on the left side of her fair, Asian face. This was the first time I saw the expression of resentment and hate in my mother’s face for everything that led to that point. That act of violence shattered the facade that my parents had built up to try to hide the truth from me, that their marriage was a sham and in no way functional. There were deeply rooted problems within their relationship and after that moment my eyes were wide open to them. Later I would realize there were great amounts of psychological and emotional abuse in my parent’s relationship that would be directed solely towards me.
My father was an American born in the south, a victim of abuse and neglect by an alcoholic father who was void of most emotion, except anger and depression spurred by the bottle. My mother, the eldest of her siblings, grew up in third-world poverty with an extremely controlling mother. In 1977, my mother started receiving pen pal letters from my father. She became enamored with the idea of a man she had never met before, a man who promised to take care of her and give her a better life, more than what she could have ever imagined. About a year later when my mother was 23, she immigrated to the United States.
The man who wrote such beautiful words on paper was not reflective of the man my mother met when she came to the U.S. and in less than a month, the fairy tale was over. The stark realities of the deception, lack of respect and obsession over my mother’s every movement was too much to endure. My mother however, was fearful to leave my father with the domestic violence taking place. My father, a man ridden with personality disorders, would admit years later that his choice to marry my mother was due to the amount of “submissiveness” women like her had for their husbands and the ability to “teach” them and make them become what he wanted.
Unfortunately the story of my parents is not unique. It bares many similarities to the stories of many immigrants who find themselves in relationships where domestic violence is present. One thing that remains consistent however, as with many instances of domestic violence, is there is one person that seeks to have control over the other who is thought to be weaker.
Women and men have shared with me their personal experiences, and those of other immigrants who were involved in domestic violence relationships that they knew. I began hearing similarities in the stories:
• Victims had little interaction with people other than their partner or lived in complete isolation.
• Victims were eventually embarrassed by their partner regarding their own language and culture.
• Communication decreased over time with their families in their homeland.
• Finances were controlled by the abusive partner.
• The partner threatened to have them deported or have their children taken away from them if they showed signs of fighting back or escaping.
So many of these stories also began sounding familiar as I realized my mother had faced the same problems with my own father.
Help for Immigrants
Immigrants who are dealing with domestic violence face many challenges unlike those around them because of language and culture barriers. Whether waiting for citizenship or seeking refugee status, immigrant victims of domestic violence do have rights and can get help to protect themselves from abuse. There are organizations like American Immigration Lawyers Association, The National Immigration Project, The Tahirih Justice Center, WomensLaw.org and specialty organizations like The Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center, that help with direct services or referrals at little or no cost. It is important that immigrant victims get trained advocates to support and assist them in the proper steps to make themselves and their children safer, whether the abuse is physical or not. Another good online resource is the following link: http://www.aardvarc.org/dv/immigration.shtml that talks more in depth about the issue and addresses aspects of the immigration process. Also the spouses and children of U.S. citizens can self-petition to obtain lawful permanent residency under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). VAWA also allows certain battered immigrants to seek safety and independence from the abuser by filing for immigration relief without the abuser’s assistance or knowledge .
Domestic violence is wrong, period. A person’s nationality does not exclude them from the physical and emotional pain that is inflicted from domestic violence. The best thing we can do as advocates is to remember the warning signs of abuse, stay informed about the issue, spread awareness and encourage our Federal immigration system to strengthen laws and distribute violence and abuse awareness materials, making them available in multiple languages to each person that comes to their offices and websites.
I am encouraged about the amount of work that has been done with this issue compared to my mother’s time as an immigrant but there is still much work to be done in raising awareness about the problem. If you see someone who displays signs of being a victim, offer them in confidence the resources they can go to for help. You will be surprised how far a bit of information and slice of humanity can go to help save a life and lead someone to new found freedom, hope and truly a much better life.
Out of the many emails I receive, there are some that really stick out in my mind. One in particular came from a lady I'll call Briana who wasn't a victim of domestic violence, but she had been affected by it. Briana wrote that she had sat on a jury for about 6 weeks for a case where a young woman, aged 29, was brutally beaten to death, hog tied and tortured by her so called soul mate. "I looked into the eyes of her killer," wrote Briana, " The trial has been over for one week and one day. I too am a young woman, and that statistics regarding domestic violence are alarming to me. As I watched this trial unfold, I couldn't help but think about all the young women out there, young girls who will be abused. Now, I pass women/girls even while grocery shopping and I count them in my mind (I'm number 1.....then 2...then 3....then 4) and I know statistically, one of us will be a victim of domestic violence at some point in our lives. While all these victims may not die as Jane did.....they all will suffer. Jane was not new to abuse....she had experienced it in other relationships. For some reason she believed she was not worth more. For some reason, she thought abuse meant love."
Briana goes on to write, "I want to do something. I donated my jury pay to our local non profit organization for sexual/domestic violence. I'm attending our local "Take Back the Night" march and marching in memory of Jane. But it's not enough. I need to reach people....and it seems like all the organizations I have found are predominantly for survivors or current victims and none really focus on reaching out to young women to help PREVENT it. And that's where I found your website......and thought that perhaps you could offer me some suggestions......some encouragement.....something I can do to help."
Can you imagine, after reading an email like this, it not only touches you, not only inspires you, it IGNITES you about the work you are doing, about the cause you are fighting. It makes you realize that people other than victims and survivors really do care about this issue of domestic violence. People really do want to see change. The other part of this email that grabbed me was when Briana wrote, "...something I can do to help."
If we are to prevent domestic violence, we have to do something. It's no good to just talk about; it's no good to just write about it. You have to really be making efforts to raise awareness to protect those who could be affected or working to change existing laws and programs in order to better serve victims.
I am pleased to say that since this initial email, Briana is actively working in her community with others in a domestic violence prevention program. Within about a week's time of writing this email, she had gotten involved. Briana not only talked about doing something, she found something she could to do help prevent domestic violence in her local community.
So Briana, Thank You! And thank you to those who have chosen to share the burden in the good fight even if you are not survivors. We need you! Because to be an advocate doesn't mean you have to be a survivor, just someone with a heart to help, change lives and make a true difference.
He finally broke my glasses.
The company claimed indestructibility.
But I knew better,
Even then, years ago,
I told the saleswoman, nothing lasts forever.
Most things hardly last at all.
But she was almost right,
The glasses lasted longer than most.
When I thought my face would never hold a pair
Between the broken nose and eyes to match,
The glasses waited on the hospital tray,
For an hour or a day, once for a week.
Rising, I would put the wire rims on my shame
And he would pick me up a block away
In his blue Ford, full of apologies and promises.
The ride never lasted long enough.
As the sun rises against my blurred hospital bed,
I cradle the cracked, delicate lenses
And gradually lift them to my face.
I know forever when I see it.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, you can get help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) & 1.800.787.3224 (TTY) for ANONYMOUS and CONFIDENTIAL HELP 24/7. Calling may be safer than using your computer since computers can be monitored.
If you are a healthcare worker, your patients have experienced domestic violence. Are you screening them? Do you know that domestic violence leads to lead to over 73,000 hospitalizations and 1,500 deaths? Feel free to read more at US Dept. of Health and Human Services' page where there are programs and tools for healthcare workers on domestic violence.
If you work, encourage your employer to create a comprehensive workplace response to domestic violence. It DOES effect your workplace. Absenteeism, increased healthcare costs, reduced productivity and the fact that we are ALL human beings even at work.
If you have four friends, you may have a friend suffering from domestic violence. It happens to all races, ethnicities, sexual orientations and social statuses. Please take the time to learn, pray educate and donate.
These statistics and information are a conglomeration of the Family Violence Prevention Fund, the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Best Business Bureau, and US Department of Labor. The poem is by me. No magazines wanted it, but the poem was published in a local chapbook, 'Sound and Sense,' and my friend who runs a writing workshop for women in prison asked to use it.
We need to stay informed about proposed laws and what's happening around us with domestic violence, abuse and human rights if we are to know how to help ourselves, our loved ones and protect our families. If you want to stay informed about the latest legislative alerts and updates effecting domestic violence in the United States, go to the Family Violence Prevention Fund website by clicking here or copying and pasting this url: http://capwiz.com/fvpf/issues/ . Templates have already been designed by FVPF that can be emailed after filling in your information. The letter will be emailed directly to your representative after you click on the send message button. If you choose to mail the letter, the site will provide you mailing details based on your location.
The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) also watches the face of domestic violence and abuse policies. Visit their Public Policy page also contains the following: Policy Issues, Understanding the Legislative Process, Take Action and Action Alerts.
It is worth the few minutes to get the latest news about what's happening in the world around us. Send your letters of support for the issues affecting the safety of every person. Learn and take action!