More and more, violence and abuse against women are occurring at an alarming rate in the United States. According to the CDC, one out of three women is abused in domestic relationships and one out of ten men are abused. Whatever the figures, abuse is NEVER okay in any relationship!
You have probably heard quite a bit about the admitted abuse by Ray Rice, NFL running back for the Baltimore Ravens, against his then fiancée, Janay Palmer. Sadly and unfortunately, many people (including a preponderance of men) believe that the abuse lodged by Ray against Janay was right, appropriate, and ‘the way men should treat women who don’t know when to keep their mouths shut,’ or women who ‘can’t be controlled.’ Ironically, the NFL seems to agree with these supporters of abuse and violence against women by men, with their meager two game suspension of Ray.
The negative comments made about African-American women in response to Janay’s abuse by Ray have been even more distasteful and downright disgusting. To add insult to injury, African-American men whose mothers and sisters are African-American, have made many of these disparaging comments.
There should be no situation that warrants any type of violence or abuse against another. If the relationship is not in your best interest or it becomes toxic, you must recognize that you have a choice and you have options. If you are being abused, you can choose to continue to drink from the abuse bottle with the skull and crossbones, or you can demand changes in how you are being treated. And if you are not being treated the way you believe you should be treated, like the human being, man or woman that you are…you have options, and one of the options is to end the relationship or situation.
Women, the longer you stay in an abusive situation, the weaker you become. Staying stuck in the mud of abuse does not make your relationship stronger. All you are doing is enabling your abuser and engaging in codependent behaviors with him.
It’s time for you to stop blaming yourself for being abused and stop making excuses for his abusive behaviors. ‘I should have been quiet’; ‘I made him angry’; ‘it’s all my fault’; ‘he was drinking’; ‘the kids were making too much noise’; ‘I made him do it.’ You are in denial…Don’t Even kNow It’s All A Lie! You want him to man up? WHY DON’T YOU WOMAN UP and stop participating in the madness and cancel your membership in the club of insanity! He won’t and he doesn’t love you any more because you are his punching bag, physically, verbally, mentally, spiritually, financially, etc. As a matter of fact, he doesn’t love you at all; if he ever did!
Men, it is time for you to take a stand against abuse of any kind, especially abuse against women. Just as there were men (and a few women) who condoned Ray Rice’s abuse of Janay, there were many men who condemned his behavior. I commend you! To those men who stood or stand against abuse and domestic violence against women, kudos to you. Always remember, your mother was/is a woman. When you show disrespect and hatred toward the woman you sleep with, you are showing an extension of disrespect and hatred to and for the woman who carried you for nine months and made the decision to bring you into this world. Even if she did not rear you, she gave you life. Either way, whatever happened between you and your mother, it’s not your mate’s fault or her responsibility to take the blame for or to try to fix the situation. Get some professional help and get over it!
Abuse has been used as a form of control for too long. When you come to realize that the only person you have control over is yourself, you will stop trying to control others. And not having things go your way in your relationship doesn’t give you permission or the right to abuse your mate in any way. Being a man of physical strength doesn’t make you stronger when you abuse women. As a matter of fact, as an abuser, you display your weaknesses. Here is your opportunity to STAND UP AND MAN UP! Stop the violence and stop abusing your mate and other women! And if you are not an abuser, take a stand against abuse by calling your boys our when they engage in abusive behaviors. Let them see how big you truly are. Model for the abuser what being strong is rally like!
To the women who raise your hands against your mates, and hurt with your words, because you feel emotionally bankrupt and don’t believe you can harm with your hands (which is not an option), there is no right in your wrong actions and violence and abuse have never healed hurt or mended a broken heart. Self-love is the start and love toward others is the next step. When you come to love yourself, you will see that you don’t have to fight in order to be loved. Love attracts love! Hurt people hurt!
As men and women, you must come to recognize that hands are made for holding and helping; they were never made for hitting or hurting! Further, if you expect dignity ad respect from your children, it is time for you to model these characteristics for them. Abuse and violence are learned behaviors, especially against women. You can then throw out the old adage, ‘do as I say and not as I do.’ You should be congruent in what you say and what you do…stop trying to control your mate and others with your abuse and violence. Don’t be afraid to speak out against such destructive behaviors!
Doormats are made for walking on…NOT PEOPLE. Light switches are made for flicking on and off…NOT PEOPLE. Doorknobs are made for turning…NOT PEOPLE. Drums are made for beating on…NOT PEOPLE! Clearly, if you are an abuser or you use violence to control your relationships, you have much deeper problems than you know or are willing to admit! If you are constantly submitting yourself to abuse, as a man or woman, you also have deep problems within yourself. For both the abuser and the abused, self-esteem is a serious issue, but it is never an excuse for abuse, as a giver or receiver!
Recognize that there are many forms of abuse. Here is your opportunity to become aware of them, gain insight about them, understand them, and take a stand against them!
· Domestic abuse/violence—Abuse and violence committed against your mate in order for you to control him/her. More often than not, domestic abuse/violence is committed by men against women and children. Domestic violence usually encompasses all of the abuses below, but focuses more on physical abuse. It occurs in cycles. He beats the hell out of you and then he wants to have sex, after he has beaten you, cursed you, called you names, and given you a false apology, cried, begged for your forgiveness, and made you believe everything is alright…until the next time; the next out break of abuse. During domestic abuse/violence, more women are killed by physical violence, including guns.
· Economic abuse--Stripping your mate of financial means for her to effectively care for herself and the children. Withholding credit cards, taking money from bank accounts to deny her access; forcing her and the children out of the home, especially after a divorce; depriving your mate of the basic needs for daily survival, causing her to struggle to stay afloat and to get ahead in life through financial and material means and needs
· Emotional abuse—Saying or doing things to and/or against your mate, which affect his/her mood; it’s tugging at his/her heart, bringing sadness and tears; deflating him/her, causing low emotions, depressed moods, stress, and distraught. Usually coupled with other forms of abuse, physical, verbal, spiritual, etc.
Financial abuse—Withholding money in order to deflate and/or control your mate and cause dependency on you for survival. Forcing your mate to give you money or forcibly taking money from your mate, rending her financially impaired or devastated.
· Physical abuse—Violence and abuse on your mate’s body by beating, hitting, shoving, slapping, cutting, scratching, or any other form of physical harm. This harm can be done with your hand, fist, or other material instruments or weapons.
· Psychological abuse—Affecting the mind of your mate through physical, emotional, spiritual, and other forms of abuse. Your mate begins to believe she is ‘going crazy,’ with erratic thinking, confusion, forgetfulness, distress, etc.
· Social abuse—Using verbal, physical and/or spiritual forms of abuse to embarrass your mate in front of others, in public, or through social media; denigrating her in public; putting her down in front of others, especially at parties or other social engagements.
· Spiritual abuse—Using the Bible and spiritual approaches to control your mate. Making him/her believe that he/she is headed for damnation; quoting scriptures to embarrass your mate, embarrassing in front of church members, having a Bible in your hands while having horns on your head and a tail sticking out of your behind. Making yourself seem self-righteous, while condemning your mate. Using your spiritual leader to ‘tell on your mate.’
· Verbal abuse—Using your words to hurt your mate; entails name-calling, yelling & screaming, cursing, abusive language, denigrating, and embarrassing in front of others with words; using put downs, deflating your mate as you inflate yourself. Public humiliation and ridicule with your words; can also be done by phone, emails, or other forms of social media.
For your sake and the sake of your children, remember, abuse and violence kills! Women, if there is a way in, there is always a way out…you must be ready to see it. You also must begin to love yourself, accept yourself, and above all respect yourself. And don’t be afraid to get therapy to help yourself. When the situation is too rough and too toxic, don’t feel embarrassed about the abuse, reach out to family and friends to help you to get out of the situation. If you don’t see a door, find a window!
Never stay in an abusive and violent relationship ‘for the children.’ This is an unhealthy situation. Your children are better off in a healthy home with one parent, rather than in an unhealthy house with two parents; one abusive and violent and the other afraid. Men, you are more likely to kill your mate, your children, other family members, and yourself, in order to control and seek revenge, or because you believe you have lost control somewhere along the way. And guess what? You blame everyone except you for your problems, especially your mate and your children! Just leave; everyone deserves to live. It’s okay for you to get some help to deal with your pain!
Women, you are more likely to kill yourself and sometimes your children in order to escape the control, the abuse, and the violence, and the pain. You see no way out and you have often lost hope and been isolated from family and friends. There is hope, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Run…and run as fast as you can to save yourself and your children. Get some professional help for you and your children. Abused children can become adult abusers.
WHEN PEOPLE SHOW YOU WHO THEY ARE, BELIEVE THEM!! You can live with someone and still not truly know him/her. It is better to live with embarrassment than it is to not live at all!! There is help for you!
Morley & Associate, Inc.-Individual, marriage, and family psychotherapy. 770-808-657o; www.doctorjoyce.com
The Women’s Resource Center Crisis Line--404-688-9436 The Center reads the names of women in Georgia who have died since 1990 due to domestic violence during domestic violence month in October, in the Decatur Square
Men Stopping Violence—404-270-9894 Program for men engaged in domestic abuse and violence.
National Domestic Violence Hotline—1-800-79-SAFE (1-800-797-7233—1-800-787-3224-TTY)