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July 29, 2008

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: THE READERS SPEAK OUT

I've received several comments following my last post on domestic violence and wanted to address some of them.  FIrst and foremost I want to thank all my readers for taking the time to write in on this topic.  I also want to thank several of you for reminding me that women are not the only ones who are physically abused.  Although domestic violence is more common for women than men, men are also the victims of physical abuse by thier partners and subsequently deal with many of the same painful issues as women who are abused.

 It is difficult to get an accurate statistic on the frequency however due to the low level of reporting by men.  Men often don't report the violence due to several factors including: the stigma of a man being hit by a woman, not believing they will be believed, the physical damage is often much less than when the man is the perpetrator, lack of community support and knowledge of violence by women toward thier partners.

Many readers also commented on the difficulty of leaving violent relationships.  Leaving violent relationships is one of the most difficult things to do.  Often there has been years of abuse on top of isolation and a break down of the person's spirit; these are not easy obstacles to overcome.  If they are able to overcome these obstacles and actually make the decision to leave, then they have to deal with the fact that they are the greatest risk of violence when they leave...not an easy feat for anyone to overcome let alone someone who has been beaten down emotionally and physically for years. 

However, it is a feat that needs to be done just the same.  I admire those of you who have left violent relationships and thank you for sharing your stories on this blog.  My hope is that your stories will give other women and men who are in violent relationships the strength to leave.  The cost is too high for them not to.  Violence is like a cancer that is ravaging families and only those whoare being abused can stop it...no matter how hard that is to do.

CHALLENGE:  If you or someone you know is in a violent relationship. please call the number below for help.  No romantic relationship is ever worth your life or the lives of your children.

Comments

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WOW, I CAN'T EVEN BEGIN TO TELL YOU ABOUT MY MARRIGE! I NEVER THOUGHT THAT A MAN WOULD HIT A WOMAN LIKE MY EX HUSBAND HIT ME. EVEN NOW IT IS STILL HARD TO KEEP HIM AWAY FROM ME, PLAYING GAMES AND DOING ANYTHING IN HIS POWER TO KILL MY SPIRIT OF LIVING. I LOVED HIM SO MUCH HE WAS MY FIRST AND ONLY HUSBAND AND I FEEL LIKE I WILL NEVER GET MARRIED AGAIN! FURTHER MORE; I DON'T BELIEVE THAT I WANT ANOTHER MAN PERIOD. GOD PLEASE HELP ME BECAUSE I DON'T WANT TO GO TO HELL FOR DOING SOMETHING THAT YOU DON'T APPROVE OFF! IF ANYBODY COULD HELP ME FIND SOMEONE THAT I CAN TALK TO BEFORE I END UP DEAD, OR IN PRISION FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!

LISA'S REPLY: Dear Passion, You need to get in touch with the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) NOW. Your ex is not worth your life...or prison.

"only those who are being abused can stop it" I have never read a more true statement regarding domestic violence. There is help and hope for those who are living with an abusive partner. It comes in the form of non-judgemental friends. Those who are capable of listening, without criticizing the abuser. When you criticise the partner, it feels like criticism to the the one who stays with him. And may prevent her from being able to open up to you. A friend like that gave me the emotional strength to leave. She already knows that leaving is what she should do, no need to convince her.

I understand your comments and your efforts to defeat DV and it's effects on society. My point is simply there are NO restrictions on false allegations of abuse and the current laws encourage people to make false allegations. Just look at the recent news. Time after time a person walks in to a magestrates office makes a claim, without evidence and immediately gets everything, with NO repercusions if the allegation is false. WE NEED TO REFORM DV LAWS NOW.

I just wanted to say thank you for talking about domestic violence at all. I dont think the word is out there enough for either sex to feel ok about reporting it. My mother works for Safe Horisons which is a domestic violence shelter for women and I know there are many more women and men out there. Hopefully someday it will stop, not keep getting worse!!!!!!!!!

Allah hates a kanood, or an ungrateful person, and punishes him."kanood" is one who remembers the disasters which befall him and always forgets to mention the favors upon him. This quality is more apparent in women; for example, a woman's husband is kind to her for many years, but as soon as she experiences a minor shortcoming from him, she will immediately tell him that she has never seen anything good from him. This is a form of oppressing the husband, and thus the majority of the dwellers of Hell are women, the reason being that they are ungrateful to their husbands. If being ungrateful to one's husband results in punishment in Hell, how will the case be for those who are ungrateful to Allah?
Thank you very much. I realy admire your sense.
yours Hany

DEAR HANY: This perhaps may be a difference in faith however I believe that God does not "hate" anyone. I don't believe that God or Allah, want men or women hurting one another. Men too often justify thier rage on the actions of women and women justify thier actions on the behaviors of men; there is no justification for abuse, meanness, or contempt. I don't know who is in hell and nor do I believe anyone knows that except the One making that decision (God, Allah or ... what ever your name is for God). When you assume hell is filled by mainly women you run the risk of acting as if all women are bad; inherent in that belief is the belief that all men are good and or better than women. This belief has led to much pain, destruction, and loss of lives throughout the world.

I choose to believe all men and women are equal and worthy of being treated with love, respect, and dignity. To think one sex is not deserving of this ignites the fuel of hate and the subsequent justifed abuse that comes along with it.
Take care-Lisa

As head of one of the family rights groups in the state of Alabama and as a radio talk show on family law, I can tell you without reservation that the domestic violence system is out of control and serves to do nothing but destroy families and turns the most simplest of arguments into monumental disasters. Any women across the country can simply walk into a magestrates office and claim fear of their spouse, lie, and get a PFA on the spot. This gives the accuser all assets and children immediately see www.mediaradar.org and get the truth. DV laws are the single most disasterous act this country has ever done.

LISA'S REPLY: First off, thank you for taking the time to comment. It's helpful to hear both sides of an issue.

Unfortunately we live in a world where there will always be those people who will act out of integrity, no matter what the issue. Making false charges and creating lies is a horrendous act that harms individuals and families. I personally believe that when false charges are made, that individual should be legally and criminally held accountable. However, to use a cliche, I believe we have to be careful about not throwing the baby out with the bathwater because of glitches in the system.

There are definately women and men who are being abused daily, who are not making it up, exaggerating, or falsely accusing thier partners. In fact, in many abuse cases, the victims actually minimize and rationalize the abuse. Consequently law enforcement and mandated reporters struggle because the abused do not press charges out of fear of repercussions.

As with anything, I believe it is important to be aware of both sides of an issue--not to argue your case but to better understand the intricasies of very difficult, complicated issues. To say the entire domestic violence system serves to do nothing but destroy families leads me to believe that you are taking an extreme position. This position fails to recognize the thousands of families who have in fact been helped and saved by this very system you believe destroys. Seldom is anything truly all or nothing and I encourage you to look at the pros and cons of the system you say you work with and try to make effective changes in it rather than bashing the entire thing.

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