Every October I've made it my mission to participate in something involving Breast Cancer Awareness. This topic is near and dear to my heart due to personal family loss as well as several friend's battle with it. However, something that you may not know is that October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Often overshadowed by other worthy causes, but deserving of much greater attention. Domestic Violence has captured the life of so many innocent people and many others are still suffering in fear.
According to the Common Myths, it does not just happen to poor women. Domestic violence happens in all kinds of families and relationships. Persons of any class, culture, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, age, and sex can be victims or perpetrators of domestic violence. No one is exempt and no one is safe from it.
I likened domestic violence to a hidden disease waiting to consume its victim. The main difference is that this disease, people often don't want to talk about. We perceive it as shameful, but its time to do something different to save the lives of people who are suffering everywhere.
[Tweet "Abuse is never a one time event"]
Below we'll go through the cycle of abuse:
Verbal Abuse – So, they call you names and belittle you. You don’t like it, but you think it’s no big deal. Your friends and loved ones tell you that its abusive behavior that, over time, can often lead to more dangerous and threatening behavior. #RealTalk? There's no fake news in this statement. Abuse often starts verbally and if it isn't checked, it can become more.
Verbal abuse can be the first indication of domestic violence and often comes in different forms. Among these forms are bullying, put-downs, name calling, belittling, threats and intimidation. Choose your wellbeing above all else and protect the energy that's in your life. If you notice it early on make moves to get away from the negative energy before it becomes something more.
After Verbal Abuse, the abuser often begins trying to control their victims. This control can come is various forms such as, checking cellphone history and photos, constant calling to check-up. Sometimes going as far as changing your passwords to electronic devices or logins to social media profiles in order to block other's communication with you.
The greatest words of wisdom that I've ever received is the fact that you cannot stop a person from doing what they want to do. There's no way that being a good wife will stop a cheater nor being on your "best behavior" will ever be enough for someone that exemplifies controlling behavior. Get beyond why this person is displaying this behavior and realize that until they heal they aren't going to be what you want them to be.
I do believe in healthy relationships. There’s a major difference between being a partner and yielding to that person and vice versa. However, allowing a person to dictate where you go, who with and for how long is a type of control that can easily escalate to instances of domestic violence.
Isolation is often the last stage before physical violence is in full force. Refusing family and friend visits, forbidding outside work, eliminating partner’s outside world are just some of the possible forms of Isolation that can take place. In Texas alone, 158 women were killed by their partner in 2015 but like I mentioned before - Domestic Violence doesn't discriminate, it can happen in any race, ethnicity, gender or community.
Physical Abuse and Violence
Physical abuse and violence can be terrifying. This form of Domestic Violence can lead to the victim requiring serious medical attention or, in the most extreme cases can lead to death. It’s important for everyone to recognize the patterns of domestic violence. It really is a matter of life and death.
Domestic violence - This often hidden crime will affect 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men at some point in their lives. If you want to help a friend or loved one, start by not judging them but showing them love. Avoid telling them they need to leave, instead discuss a safety plan with them in the event that they are ready to leave. Lastly, don’t insult the abuser, this may drive the victim to feel the need to defend the abuser and stay longer in a situation that does not serve them. These ties are not easily broken, but your love and support will be a life saver.
This is the outcome no one ever wants and the one that many may or may not see coming. This is also the outcome we need to do everything we can to prevent. This is the outcome that no person should ever have to experience.
Notice the patterns of behavior that may appear in your own life and in the life of friends/family members. Do what you can as a community to educate, and end the silence and misconception around this disease that's hiding within our lives and the lives of those we love. Link up with your community to get educated and know what resource are available so that as a community we are able to combat and end this highly misunderstood pervasive, violent and hidden crime.
[Tweet "Don't forget: Abuse is never a one time event. Get help #DomesticViolenceAwareness"]