Who Are Victims of Domestic Abuse?

Victims of domestic abuse include men and women, husbands and wives, grandparents, children, the elderly, employers and employees, wealthy and poor, and more.

Even if you are not the one abused, the atmosphere of abuse and violence impacts your life, sometimes forever.

Lately much has been reported and debated by everyone via social media, newsprint, and TV surrounding recent incidences of domestic abuse by professional athletes, entertainers, and ordinary human beings against girlfriends, wives, children. Those who end up labelled victims.

However, most coverage focuses on the perpetrator of the abuse and rarely on the abused, the victim. It makes one question whether anyone is taking notice.

Because I grew up in an abusive environment, I am interested in the subject. My abuse was invisible because it was usually emotion or verbal, and sometimes physical. My mother inflicted the abuse. No one outside our family likely knew what went on at home. Mama was very careful when in society to show the loving mother, loving child scenario.

What I find so hurtful now is why no one in our family spoke up. Of course, many of them did not know either, but I’m certain some did.

Could they so easily turn a blind eye to demeaning and degrading language thrown like garbage at a child?

Could they also close their eyes to adult hands hitting a small child, belt buckles used as instruments of punishment, or hearing a child told to go and pick the switch and strip its leaves so it would hurt more?

Do you have the courage when you see bruises on a friend while having coffee to ask her about them? Or ask him about the gash on his arm from a kitchen knife?

As co-workers could we see harassment, another form of abuse, happening around us and close our minds to it? Would it be so hard to mention to your own supervisor it is disturbing to you?

Like witnesses to car accidents or burglaries, people do not want to get involved. And I understand the fear of revenge. Try, however, to fathom the fear that resides in the mind and heart of the abused.

If you knew your neighbor’s family was dysfunctional and there was abuse in the home, whether it was the children, the husband or the wife abused, would you be willing to say something to the authorities? Would you get involved?

If you were visiting a nursing home or rehabilitation facility and saw or heard an elderly patient being abused, would you speak up?

If you were walking down the street passed a homeless man or woman and by chance saw someone kicking at them to move their feet or to get off the sidewalk, would you look for the nearest law enforcement officer?

If we are not the ones who speak up for our fellow human beings, who will speak up for us when this insidious behavior strikes our own?

As members of today’s society, we must reconsider the thought process of “not getting involved.” Being involved is what we should be about. Reaching out to another by whatever means–contacting law enforcement or social services offices, helping to find shelter or food, becoming foster parents, and anything else which lifts up the victims–is what we need to once again began caring for one another.

It is not too late.

Living with Fear | Guest Post on An Untold Story with Sue Mitchell

I am honored to be with Sue Mitchell at An Untold Story sharing a portion of my story. I do hope you’ll follow me over to Sue’s blog to read the rest.Note: As Sue and I discussed this guest post and using an excerpt from my work-in-progress, I expressed thoughts about a memoir I had just read. In that life story, the writer’s experiences somewhat paralleled my own. The author’s words opened up new avenues of thought and reflection I’d never expected to experience. I’m writing my story hoping to touch others so that they too may begin to think, reflect and heal.

Living with Fear

Young children scare easily—a tough tone, a sharp reprimand, an exasperated glance,
a peeved scowl will do it. Little signs of rejection— you don’t have to
hit young children to hurt them—cut very deeply.
~ James L. Hymes, Jr.

For a child, living in fear has to be one of the worst emotional states to find in one’s environment. Living isn’t living when it’s done in fear of something or someone. And that’s how life was in my childhood home.

Fear was an everyday occurrence. Not the fear of physical harm. Instead, the fear of words, another’s emotions gone wild, punishment, the unexpected. A child is supposed to be happy, carefree. This is impossible under a cloud of fear. Like waiting for the thunder to roll, the clouds to burst open, then drenching, chilling rain falling on you.

Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines “fear” as:

a:  an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger

b (1):  an instance of this emotion (2):  a state marked by this emotion.

Imagine living with these feelings day in, day out. Never knowing what to expect. Always on guard for that moment when tensions rise, tempers flare and you become the focus of anger and temperament.

~~~~

July 3, 2012

Dear Mama,

Brad, almost age 3
Brad, almost age 3

I wonder if you remember anything special about cherry Jell-O.  Probably you remember making it quite often.  After all, it was Brad’s favorite!

BUT do you remember an afternoon when the worst thing that could have happened to a mother happened to you?

Lovingly, I’m sure, you had prepared another of those “humongous” pans of cherry Jell-O.  And you had carefully placed it in the refrigerator to do that gelling thing it was so clever at doing.

I don’t remember where you had gone after that, but little eyes were watching and big ears were listening.  As soon as they had perceived you were nowhere near the kitchen, Brad went to work.

Despite the fact that he was just passed three years old, he had somehow managed to learn how to reach up far enough to open the refrigerator door.  His eyes spied that pan of Jell-O, and Brad was going to have some.  And onto the floor it went!

As always, the minute you heard a crashing sound you were right there to see what one of us had done.  And there it was — red Jell-O all over your kitchen floor!

Read more here . . .

Hope and Fear: Inseparable Emotions

Today I am visiting with Susan Weidener at her blog, Women’s Writing Circle. I do hope you will join us for a discussion of hope and fear and what makes them inseparable as emotions. Come on over!

“Hope and fear are inseparable. There is no hope
without fear, nor any fear without hope.”
~ François de La Rochefoucauld
(French memoirist, 1613-1680)

Hope and fear are as inseparable as dormancy and life in the plant kingdom.
Hope and fear are as inseparable as dormancy and life in the plant kingdom.

What strange companions these two emotions are. Hope presents all we see as positive, and fear just the opposite showing all we believe negative. And yet, they are inseparable.

As a child growing up, I knew fear. My mother disciplined using fear in the form of verbal and emotional abuses. One of my greatest anxieties arose from the thought I might displease her. I knew too well the result of her displeasure. Because I hoped to please her, I never gave up trying despite fearing the reward for possibly failing.

An excerpt from my memoir in progress provides an example: (You can read more here . . . )

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Wednesday, 9/11, I am guest posting at Madeline Sharples’ blog, Choices. I hope you’ll come and visit me there as I write on the topic, “Too Old to Write? Proof the Answer is No!”