One of the trap victims of domestic violence may fall into is believing the abuse they suffer is their fault. Abusers seldom take responsibility for their actions. Instead they deflect the blame to the victim. In a conversation once with a man who constantly abused his girlfriend, he said to me “I really love her.” I asked, “Then why do you abuse her?” His answer was, “To tell you the truth I don’t know. Sometimes she makes me so mad.” I was not at all surprised that he chose to blame her for his inability to control his anger.
Victims of domestic violence need to know it is not their fault. You do not deserve abuse. You should never accept abuse. Do not keep silent about abuse or feel ashamed it is happening to you. Instead speak up. Seek help.
The statistics regarding domestic violence globally is alarming. Women die every day at the hands of intimate partners. Prevention is the single most important way to avoid becoming a victim. You might ask what is the strategy for prevention, and the answer to that is awareness. Learn to recognize the signs that a partner or a potential partner may be an abuser. Most women never believe a partner will go too far until it happens. Few recognize an abusive relationship it for what it is…a matter of life and death situation. Do not ignore threats. Do not ignore abusive language. Do not ignore acts of violence such as hitting, shoving and kicking. Do not fall for apologies and believe when he tells you it won’t happen again. The truth is that not only will it continue but it could get worse. Be aware, know the signs. Leave before it’s too late.
Abusive men are like chameleons, you never know whether you are going or coming with them. They can be sweet one moment and violent the next. When a partner hits you, no matter how remorseful they are afterwards just know that it won’t be the last time he hits you.
Accept his apology but do not remain in the same situation where he can do it again. If he has no control of over his anger that is a red flag that you shouldn’t stay. The moment he strikes you is the moment you need to leave. Don’t give an abusive partner a second chance; just go.
In many abusive relationships the abuse doesn’t start right away. In fact when he is pursuing you he may be so charming that you feel you have won a prize. It is when he gets comfortable with you and he believes he has you hooked that you may begin to see his true colors.
If he objects to you having a relationship with your former friends and even family members, he may not have your best interest at heart. Abusers love to have their victims isolated. That way when he begins to abuse you there is no one for you to turn to.
If he hits you, tells you he is sorry and it won’t happen again, do not believe him. If he couldn’t control his anger that time what’s to stop him from losing control again? Each time you forgive him you give him more power over you. Slowly over time he will groom you to accept abuse in the relationship.
In today’s society the emphasis is often on getting a good education. We teach our children that this is important. You got to do well in high school; you have to do well in college, we tell them. However ever so often we don’t tell them how to cope in a world where all is not what it seems to be. We don’t tell them what they should never accept in relationships.
They go out there all dewy eyed and innocent thinking that being in love is nothing short of paradise and they can dive in without even questioning how deep the water is. Let’s have the conversation. Talk to your children about domestic abuse. Let them know that love is not supposed to hurt.
No one can envision him or herself in an abusive relationship. Most people feel it can never happen to them. So when they see the signs they ignore them or make excuses. However domestic violence is too serious an issue not to pay attention to the signs.
One of the first signs that your partner may be abusive is if he or she wants to alienate you from your family and friends. An abusive partner wants to know that you have no one to turn to for help when the abuse starts and alienating you from the people you care about is the first step in achieving that go. Watch out for this sign!
Domestic violence is nasty, it is ugly and ever so often children become victims. It is sad when the lives of children are cut short because they are dragged into situations that have nothing to do with them.
Earlier this month another angel went home. A three year old girl was burnt alive in a car with the doors chained shut, in Queens. According to reports both parents were in a custody battle. Against the mother’s wishes the court granted the father a weekend visit with the child. It is reported that he told the mother, “You will never see your daughter again.” She however did not think he would have hurt the child. In what was apparently intended as a murder suicide, at the last minute he got out of the car and left his daughter to perish.
There has to be another way to resolve problems in relationships. This type of violence and vindictiveness has to stop. No one owns anyone. If a relationship is not working out it is best to walk away, go separate ways. Inflicting pain is never the answer.
Your silence is the greatest weapon your abuser has to use against you. The longer you keep silent and accept abuse the more he will break you down and rob you of your self-esteem. Soon you will believe you can’t do any better, no one else is going to love you and a little love with abuse is better than no love at all. Stop! Do not believe his lies. You deserve better!
Domestic violence is a global issue. It affects women all over the world and despite efforts many women lose their lives to domestic violence each year. According to a UN report over 50,000 women lost their lives to intimate partners or family members in 2018. This tells us that a solution is nowhere in sight. A part of the problem is that the approach to domestic violence is somewhat like trying to put a bandaid on a wound that need stitches. Many people wait until their situation becomes unbearable before they seek help.
We must begin to take a more proactive approach to the fight against domestic violence. We must take domestic violence awareness into the classrooms. We have to start educating our young people of the ills of domestic violence before they engage in relationships. We have to teach our girls as well as boys that abuse is not an acceptable behavior in a relationship.
Women alone cannot bring about change. The police alone are not going to bring about change. The government alone cannot bring about change. Everyone has to get involved. We have to get more men on board. Many are against domestic violence. We need them to speak to other men about this issue. We also need to talk about in church and in the workplace. Let us rewrite the script. Abuse in a relationship is not okay. Let us with a collective voice say NO to domestic abuse.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Let us take a moment to reflect on the women who have lost their lives to domestic violence. Most of us know at least one person who was a victim of domestic violence.
As I reflect, a former classmate immediately comes to mind. She was a sweet beautiful soul who lost her life in her early twenties. She was in a relationship and broke up with the guy. Her ex got back in contact with her and asked her to meet him to talk things over; they had a child together.
Naively she went with him to a hotel room where her forced her to drink poison and later checked out leaving her dead body behind. This promising young woman’s life ended before it even began. She was the last person I expected to die that way. Her ex was charged and convicted for her murder.
As you reflect think of anyone know who is presently in an abusive relationship and encourage them to seek help.