Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Why do women stay?

Now that you've read the myths and facts of domestic violence, you may be left wondering why women stay in relationships that are violent. First of all, you must understand that sometimes it's dangerous for a woman to leave her abuser. Sometimes leaving can cause additional problems for the woman. This is especially true when and if the abuser has all of the economic and social status. Other women fear that leaving would mean losing child custody, losing financial support, and experiencing harassment at work. You must understand that when a woman is in a violent relationship, she may experience shame, embarrassment, and isolation. Here are some other simple, logical reasons why women don't leave their abusers.
(1.) Some women are afraid that the batterer will become more violent and harm her, even fatally, if she attempts to leave.
(2.) The woman's friends and family may not support her leaving.
(3.) The woman may be afraid of facing the difficulties of single parenting in reduced financial circumstances.
(4.) The woman may be facing a mix of good times, love and hope, along with the manipulation, intimidation, and fear.
(5.) The woman may not know about or have access to safety and support.


=^..^= Reverend Brenda Hoffman
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"Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars." - Les Brown (American Songwriter, 1912-2001)


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Friday, August 26, 2005

Effects of domestic violence on children

More than 3.3 million children are exposed to physical and verbal spousal abuse each year. Exposure means seeing or hearing the actual abuse or dealing with the aftermath of the abuse. It is important to note that domestic violence and child abuse are often present in the same families. In fact, studies have shown that in in 60% to 75% of those homes wherein domestic violence occurs, children are physically abused and neglected at a rate 15 times higher than the national average. These children are also at a higher risk for sexual abuse. Of course the effects that the domestic violence has on children varies depending mainly upon a child's intellectual development and interpersonal skills. These children are also either extremely introverted or extremely extroverted. Of course they often have other emotional responses too (i.e. anger, rage, misery, guilt, intense terror, fear of dying, fear of the loss of a parent). Many of these children are forced to grow up faster than their peers, often taking on the responsibility of cooking, cleaning and caring for younger children. They're not allowed to have a real childhood because they're isolated. It is impossible for them to engage in typical activities (ie having friends over to their house) due to the chaotic atmosphere. Yet, their school performance isn't always obviously affected since some children may respond by being overachievers. With all of this in mind, here is what to look for...

Academic problems
Agitation - feeling "jumpy"
Aggression
Behavior problems
Clinginess to caregivers
Depression
Distractibility
Emotional numbing
Feeling scared
Feelings of guilt
Feelings of not belonging
Flashbacks
General emotional distress
Intrusive thoughts
Insomnia
Irritability
Low levels of empathy
Low self-esteem
Nightmares
Obsessive behaviors
Phobias
Poor problem-solving skills
PTSD
Revenge seeking
Social problems
Suicidal behaviors
Truancy
Withdrawal from activities
Alcohol abuse
Violence
Criminal behavior
Sexual problems
Substance abuse


=^..^= Reverend Brenda Hoffman
Independent Executive
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"Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars." - Les Brown (American Songwriter, 1912-2001)


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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Ask, Don't Tell

It is important to remember that battering is not only physical abuse, but it is also emotional abuse in that a batterer takes away all of a person's control in life, sinking his emotional hooks deeply into her, and assuring her that it's all her fault. So everything that you want to say to the battered woman, the woman already knows. You don't need to tell it to her all over again! Sure she is confused and struggling to work through some tough emotional decisions but she knows the answers. There's just a lot of emotional baggage there that she has to work through. Just offer to be there to talk about it. Let her ramble, say dumb things, and work through all of her baggage. You shouldn't do more than 10% of the talking! Your job is to look interested and concerned, to nod, and to say "Tell me more." Of course you can also ask leading, thought-provoking questions (ie "Do you think he'll ever change?"). Of that 10% of the talking that you do actually get to do, you need to make sure that 90% of it is in the form of questions. Don't tell her. Ask her.


=^..^= Brenda Hoffman
Independent Executive
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"Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars." - Les Brown (American Songwriter, 1912-2001)


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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

When you have to get out...

You must realize that this is not going to be easy! In fact, this is going to hurt a lot! This pain is good though because it lets you know that you're not in a good place. Now, you just need to use this pain to help you realize that you need help to get healthy.

Develop a safety plan! You really need to know what you're going to do if you end up in a problematic situation. This is why it is so important to look at all possible scenarios and develop ways
to get out of each of them as quickly as you possibly can. Don't worry if it's messy! Messy is better than dead!

Here is how...

Take a few minutes to locate the important documents that you need (ie social security card, health insurance cards, if you own a car the title to it, medical records for yourself and your kids, if you can manage it a copy of your latest taxes, etc) and make copies of them. You should then find a safe place to keep these items, in a place that is away from your house, in a place where you can get hold of them quickly.

If you are able to, you should get the credit cards away from him and hide them somewhere he won't be able to find them. This way he won't be able to charge up more bills.

Get a simple cell phone with just the minimal minutes on it so that you have something to use if you get into a dangerous situation. (Remember! Angry men often cut the phone lines to the house, leaving you without any way to call for help.) If you can't get yourself a cell phone, then contact the local women's shelter. Some of them take old cell phones and refurbish them to give to abused women. These phones are collected especially for the women's group by businesses, scout troops, confirmation classes, and others.

Hide an extra set of keys (ie to your car and house) outside of the house. This way, if you need to make a run for it without your purse you'll be prepared.

If possible, you should get yourself a PO Box to which you start sending all of your important mail immediately. That way he can't intercept your mail.

Open up your own checking and savings accounts. While you don't need to put a lot of money in there at first, you should try to find ways to secretly put more money into them.

I encourage you to talk to your local women's shelter! They have many different resources that you can utilize to help you! They, along with advocacy groups in your area, have very valuable information that you can utilize. These groups are there to help you make your plans. They know good lawyers that will help you too. Your lawyer can protect you from numerous things, including all of the junk that your X will try throwing at you. So, in the long run, the cost of a good lawyer will be well worth it, especially if you have kids.

I wish I knew this information before I got out. I wish I had made as many plans as I possibly could have in order to get myself safe. Remember! The most important thing to do is to face your fears. Open your eyes to what you're living with and in. Look at how you're feeling. Look at how he's treating you. Look at what he's saying and/or doing to you. Sure it hurts, but it's better to hurt and deal with the problem than to wait and have it just get worse and possibly wind up dead.


=^..^= Brenda Hoffman
Independent Executive
Discover a way to increase your health and/or income!
E-mail me for more info!
"Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars." - Les Brown (American Songwriter, 1912-2001)



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Saturday, August 06, 2005

Is the church a friend to survivors of abuse?

After 6 years, I left an abusive relationship with an X partner (we were NOT married) in October 2004. He had verbally, emotionally, psychologically, and sexually abused me since the birth of my daughter in October 2001. He also had abused my daughter physically, as well as in many of the same ways that he'd abused me, since she began crawling. He also neglected her.

After leaving this relationship, I moved in with my parents and began attending church with them. I soon gained custody of my daughter and we prepared for a new life together. Then the courts decided that they were going to give my X partial/joint custody. He would have her 4 days a week while I'd only have her 3 days. The courts began transitioning and preparing my daughter for this, I grew angry with God, questioning why He would allow this to happen. Well, to make a long story short, I once again chose to leave the church. Two of the church's 4 pastors new full well what I'd gone through and what was currently going on and yet not 1 phone call.

I felt as though the church didn't care about me. I began seeing the church as my enemy. I feel as though they condemned me for having not been married because then somehow, magically, I wouldn't have gone through this abuse. Needless to say, I have yet to return to this or any other church. This church had claimed that they wanted to meet people wherever they were at and yet I found that to be a lie. This makes me wonder if any church truly wants to embrace and care for its members. I wonder if any church is truly friendly and caring.

I have found the church to be filled with toxic Christians who shoot the wounded and condemn the victim. Yet, I know that this isn't how it should be. I know that this isn't how God wants His church to behave. I am told this in 3 specific places in the Bible: Romans 15:1-7, Galatians 6:2 ("Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."), and Colossians 3:12-14. Unfortunately it has been my experience that the church doesn' behave this way though.

The church is filled with imperfect, human people, many of whom have no idea of what it feels like to have been abused. These people don't understand the scale of the pain, and thus it is easy for them to be insensitive enough to brush it aside as a minor inconvenience in a way no fellow survivor would even consider. I encourage you, my fellow church members, to consider your actions and how Christ would look upon them. I believe that you would find yourself agreeing that it is not spiritual to stand in the line of fire when you can walk away. I yearn for the day when I am able to find a church that is able to be my friend. I yearn to find a church that is able to truly forgive and accept me in all my humanness. If you're a member of such a church, praise God! If not, I encourage you to strive to help your church become the type of church that accepts and helps heal survivors of abuse in the same way as Christ Himself would accept and help these survivors to heal.


=^..^= Brenda Hoffman
Independent Executive
Discover a way to increase your health and/or income!
E-mail me for more info!
"Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars." - Les Brown (American Songwriter, 1912-2001)


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Monday, August 01, 2005

What is emotional abuse?

Emotional abuse is when an intimate partner has done any of the following things to you:
(1.) Continually criticizes you, calls you names or shouts at you - My X was great at doing this to me: telling me that I'm sexually inadequate and not a real woman
(2.) Insults or drives away your friends or family - My X separated me from my parents because he thought that my mom was mentally ill
(3.) Humiliates you in private or public
(4.) Keeps you from working, controls your money or makes all the decisions - My X wouldn't let me get a job and wouldn't let me hold onto any of my personal items (ie drivers license and social security card). In fact, the judge had to order him to give them back to me in court.
(5.) Refuses to work or to share money - My X would never go out and get a job even though I wasn't allowed to work either
(6.) Takes car keys or money from you - I would always have to ask my X if I wanted to buy anything for myself and most of the time I wasn't allowed.
(7.) Regularly threatens to leave or tells you to leave - My X use to threaten to take my daughter and disappear.
(8.) Threatens to kidnap the children when angry at you - See #7
(9.) Abuses pets to hurt you
(10.) Manipulates you with lies and contradictions - I'm starting to realize that I never really did know my ex-partner for real


=^..^= Brenda Hoffman
Independent Executive
Discover a way to increase your health and/or income!
E-mail me for more info!
"Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars." - Les Brown (American Songwriter, 1912-2001)


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