Why this topic
You cannot be emotionally fit, what some call emotionally intelligent, if you are constantly battered and bruised or living in fear. October is domestic violence month and this is a reminder to all that staying safe is the pathway to staying emotionally healthy. But first the picture; it is not a pretty one.
This is a blogging of an article by Suzanne Joblonski. She is one of the strongest women I know and I am grateful to be a friend and to support her efforts to make the world a better place. The article appeared in the Montclarion, the student news paper of Montclair State University where Suzanne is pursuing a long deferred college education.
NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH
By Suzanne Joblonski, Staff Writer
You may ask what domestic violence is. People often believe domestic violence is usually an isolated one-time incident that affects only poor and uneducated people, where abusers are only men who are also alcohol abusers and that it is the fault of the women for staying in these relationships.
The myths are far from true. Because of the way domestic violence laws were originally written, victims were females and batterers were males. Make no mistake: women can be the abuser and men the abused. It also occurs in same-sex relationships, as well as where there are people living with disabilities in intimate relations. There is a great website that is filled with national and worldwide resources at : www.safe4all.org.
Getting help means acknowledging there is a problem. Assistance can be found in the United States by calling 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3244 (TTY) for referrals for help in a given area. In New Jersey, one can call 1-800-572-SAFE (SAFE). There is also information on the Internet, but be careful, as web browsing on a computer you and your abuser share can be tracked. If you find yourself in this situation, find another computer to use, such as one belonging to a trusted friend or at the library. This holds true for your cell phone, too. Delete phone numbers or assign false names in the contact list.
Once you are ready to take the steps to leave the abusive situation, you need a plan. The safety plan below comes from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. (NCADV)
During the planning stages of leaving, there is helpful but often overlooked advice. The Coalition also suggests, “You should take important papers and documents with you to enable you to apply for benefits or take legal action. Important papers you should take include social security cards and birth certificates for you and your children, your marriage license, leases or deeds in your name or both yours and your partner’s names, your checkbook, your charge cards, bank statements and charge account statements, insurance policies, proof of income for you and your spouse (pay stubs or W-2’s) and any documentation of past incidents of abuse (photos, police reports, medical records, etc.).”
If you find yourself looking for help here on campus, visit the Women’s Center in Student Center Room 421. Speak with the director, Esmilda Abreu-Hornbostel.
This semester, the Center is conducting a series of conversations on this issue, such as Cycle Breakers. This is a conversation group aimed to combat domestic violence and discuss thoughts and feelings on this issue. It is held on Tuesdays from 2 to 3 p.m. in Student Center Room 421.
In addition, the newly formed Women’s and Gender Studies club will be hosting an event on Oct. 16 from 2:30 to 5:00 in UN 2010. There will be a screening of the film Crime After Crime, followed by a discussion, and presentation by yours truly.
Sometimes we watch our loved ones who we suspect are experiencing domestic violence from afar and we wish and beg them to get out, but it is not always that easy, especially when there are children involved or their immigration status is dependent on the spouse or partner. However, there are steps you can take while encouraging empowering friends and loved ones in this difficult and emotional situation. Be supportive of whether they wish to stay or not, but if they are willing, help them develop a safety plan, sit with them as they call the hotline and offer to do Internet research. Most of all, though, remember it is their decision to make, not yours.
If you have left the relationship:
- Change your phone number and screen calls.
- Save and document all contacts, messages, injuries or other incidents involving the batterer.
- Change locks if the batterer has a key.
- Avoid staying alone.
- Plan how to get away if confronted by an abusive partner.
- If you have to meet your partner, do so in a public place.
- Vary your routine.
- Notify school and work contacts.
- Call a shelter for battered women.
- Think of a safe place to go if an argument occurs – avoid rooms with no exits (bathroom) or rooms with weapons (kitchen).
- Think about and make a list of safe people to contact.
- Keep change with you at all times.
- Memorize all important numbers.
- Establish a “code word” or “sign” so that family, friends, teachers or co-workers know when to call for help.
- Think about what you will say to your partner if he or she becomes violent.
Emotional fitness tips
Tip one: Find a competent family therapist and make sure he or she is an expert on trauma and domestic violence. If you are still with a violent mate, start by attending on your own and planning with the therapist how to include the children while keeping all safe. Discuss each of the following tips with your therapist and deciding how to use them whether or not the violent person still lives with you. The life you save might be your child’s.
Tip two: Find and regularly attend a domestic violence support group. Going it alone is dangerous.
Tip three: Rehearse how to deal with family emergencies with your child.
Tip four: Carry a safety card with all your vital information on it, including the fact that you are the victim of domestic violence. Have you children carry such a card.
Tip five: Take a self-defense course and see that your children take one too.
Tip six: Strengthen your emotional fitness skills. Start by practicing the 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises.
Life is a struggle, full of pain and suffering, but also full of joy and goodness but not if you are living with violence. If you are, start taking steps to change that part of your life. There are many paths to change, make certain you are on one of them. Life can be better.
Liking, commenting, sharing are acts of social media kindness. So if you found this post helpful, do any of the above. I promise your kindness is always repaid.
DISCLAIMER ONE: EMOTIONAL FITNESS TRAINING IS NOT THERAPY
Even the most learned researchers and therapists quarrel about much. Take their advice and mine carefully. Don’t just listen to your heart, but also think; don’t just think, listen to your heart. Heart and head working together increase the odds you will find useful advice amid all the promises and hopes pushed at you be others. As others have noted, take what seems useful, leave the rest.
DISCLAIMER TWO: FORGIVE MY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS
If you need perfect posts, you will not find them here; I will understand if you don’t follow, like or share what like me. Not only am I dealing with an aging brain, but all of my life I have been plagued by dysgraphia–a learning disability, If you hang in with me, thank you; you are kind.