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Generation Peace:It Could Be You or Someone You Love

9 February 2012 No Comment

Abby with her Valentine, her husband Grant

- by Abby Smith

Welcome February, the month of love! During this month we will celebrate Valentine’s Day, a day spent with the one you love. For some of us this is a great day and a much-needed break from the mundane of the day to day relationship, a chance to renew that spark. For some it is a day when we are reminded of painful memories of abuse and pain associated with the person we love. This month in PeaceTimes we are discussing violence against women, a topic I never hoped to have much knowledge of outside what I read on the internet. All of that changed recently when a person very dear to me was a victim of domestic violence.

I received a call a few weeks ago telling me that a woman who I love and have been close with for most of my life had suffered abuse at the hand of her boyfriend. He had punched her, choked her, and kicked her in her 8-month-pregnant stomach. By the time the police arrived he had a box cutter to her throat threatening to kill her. My first reaction was anger and confusion. How could she stay? This wasn’t the first time. How could he do that to her?

I decided it was time to educate myself and find resources to help her and other women out there who are facing the same abuse. There are so many resources available to help you leave the situation you are in! You deserve better. No one deserves to be abused. In order to understand the resources I first had to understand the cycle of abuse.

There is a great chart on Heart 2 Heart describing how the cycle of abuse will erode your self-image over time, making it even more difficult to leave the situation. The relationship becomes all about the abuser being able to control the abused in every aspect of life. As I began my research I was shocked to see how far that control is sometimes taken, from physical, mental, and emotional abuse to phone tapping.

The first step to ending abuse is to realize that it IS abuse.  Do not allow yourself to make excuses or buy into the excuses given to you by your abuser. HelpGuide.org has a chart that can help you identify if you are in fact in an abusive relationship. If you are, I encourage you to take the first step and admit it to yourself. From that admission, there are many resources you can use to break the cycle.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a safe place you can call 24/7/365 to receive the help you need. They provide resources on their website to educate and inform you about domestic violence. The number for the hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE.

While these resources are great, many feel as though they cannot use these resources because of phone tapping or someone checking their internet usage. At this point, contact a friend or family member who can get you help. You can even contact a neighbor. People are willing to help, so do NOT be afraid to ask.

As a friend to an abused woman, I wish I would have known sooner or taken action sooner to help end the cycle of violence. As a woman, I value myself, but that is not always the case. Please know that you are an amazing woman and you can rise above any situation. Do not allow someone to tear you down and abuse you. Reach out to whoever you can to pull yourself up and out of the abusive relationship.

We must put an end to violence against women in its many forms, from violence in conflict areas to violence right here at home in the US. We will never achieve peace in the world in there is no peace in our hearts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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