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It takes strength, courage, and boldness to face your truth about the trauma you have experienced. Domestic violence is one of the most common forms of violence against women. One online source describes domestic violence as, “also being named domestic abuse, battering, or family violence is a pattern of behavior which involves violence or other abuse by one person against another in a domestic setting, such as in marriage or cohabitation.” This type of violence not only causes physical injury but also has a seriously negative impact on women’s mental and physical health, as well as their psychological, spiritual and emotional well-being. We can no longer tolerate this type of abuse; we must “break the silence.” We can no longer have a “family secret” or believe that “what happens behind closed doors, stays behind closed doors” or ignore the issue and “sweep it under the rug.”
Often times, women will find it difficult to classify as abused for a variety of reasons. It could be that they have experienced trauma from physical fights witnessed in their households, consequently causing an acceptance of abuse as the norm in which a mindset develops that equivalates abuse with love. Some have believed the following lies: “I’ll never hit you again.” “I do it because I love you so much and I can’t be without you.”
One of the most significant questions that still remains: Why do you stay? There are many reasons why women stay in this type of trauma. Many times, there is a fear of losing their lives, fear of losing custody of their children, a threat of physical harm to them or their children, as well as feeling responsible for the abuse. In addition, there is a feeling of helplessness, hopelessness and of being trapped, a belief that their abusive partner will change, or a lack of information and resources to get help.
However, support is critical and the more abuse victims feel supported by people who care about them, the easier it will be for them to take the necessary steps to get help. We all remember the tragic story about the wife of Ray Rice and his abusive behavior towards her, as mentioned in an article that was written called “Why Black Women Struggle More With Domestic Violence.” “Since Ray Rice, former Baltimore Ravens running back was indefinitely suspended because a video was released of him punching his then-fiancée Janay until she was unconscious, there have been many conversations about violence between partners, and about the particular vulnerability of Black female victims. Much of the discussion has centered around the level of empathy and compassion shown toward victims like Janay, who choose to remain with their abusers.” Many of us saw this broadcasted on television, however, if there were no cameras inside that elevator we would have never suspected Ray Rice as an abuser. You must read this article for yourself. However, this doesn’t just happen to black women, and this isn’t just about the fact that we struggle more. It’s the fact that it HAPPENED… PERIOD.
Sometimes it’s very hard to pick up the pieces of your life and just leave, especially when there are children involved. Have you ever seen the movie “Enough”, starring Jennifer Lopez? The purpose of this movie is not just for enjoyment, but for people to open their eyes, to be more aware of the realities we are faced with. Women that have been abused or are still being abused need our help. Many feel scared, shame, guilt, devastated and alone. It has to be clear: leaving is a painful choice, but you must face your reality, if not for yourself then for your children.
Domestic violence can cause an adverse ripple effect on the emotional and psychological state of a survivor. Even after the cycle has been broken, some may still have panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and battle with the reality of the devastation. In other words, as a survivor, there will be scars, but they should only serve as reminders of why breaking free is vital. One thing is for sure, you cannot keep silent; you must give yourself a chance. There are hotlines that you can call and safety precautions and steps for you to follow. There are many hotlines that will have the local police pick you and your children up and take you to an undisclosed location for victims.
I know, this may not be a reality for some, but everyone should be aware of the signs of abuse. It’s always good to know the “signs” especially if you have daughter(s). Some of our children are suffering in silence, and we don’t even know it. However, “silence” can be deadly and is one of the biggest reasons why some women die before they even get the opportunity to live. So, let’s help change the world by helping women break the silence and heal the pain.
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