October is recognized as ‘Domestic Violence Awareness Month.’ The subject of domestic violence has for too long been a taboo subject in our society. And if the perpetrator is of ‘high stature and status, ’ economically, politically, or socially, you dare to even think about bringing their violent behaviors to light. Many of these perpetrators of domestic violence are like Jekyll and Hyde. When they are with their mate behind closed doors (and sometimes in public), they are very abusive, disrespectful, and violent. However, when they are around others, family, friends, and colleagues, they can be as ‘sweet as pie.’ Basically, the perpetrator wears two faces (and sometimes more)…good and evil.
Over the past few months, I am sure you’ve witnessed the flurry of media coverage and other conversations about the issue of domestic violence in the NFL and other sports. And then you begin to wonder, ‘why now?’ Domestic Violence is not a new phenomenon. It’s been around forever and a day. For some, it has always been a way of life, with the survivor crying in silence on a daily basis. Although there are men who are or who have been involved in domestic violence situations, one in three women will face domestic violence at some point in their life. Sadly, too often in America, until a situation becomes an issue for certain people, it is not an important enough issue to discuss or to take action about.
Although the abusive behaviors by many athletes have been uncovered, you must be careful to not stereotype all men who play sports as abusers of their mates. In all actuality, one abuser is too many, no matter what the profession! Most certainly, the violence perpetuated by many of our athletes is only a continuation and extension of the violence perpetuated in homes across America. It’s the man who commits the violence; the sport and the money seem to make many athletes believe they have the right to be violent off the field or out of the arena, as well as on the field or in the arena.
Domestic violence is not just an issue for some athletes, it’s an issue for people in general and society as a whole! In reality, domestic violence is a crisis of national proportion. It affects EVERYONE, not only the survivor who is hurt physically, emotionally, psychologically, and economically. There are children, family members, friends, colleagues, and other significant people who pay a dear price as a result of domestic violence. It affects the rich and the poor and people of all races, creed, and cultures.
Unfortunately, there are too many women who stay in situations involving domestic violence! You wonder why they stay, and the abused wonder why they stay also!!! Too often, many survivors of domestic violence and many who sadly did not survive, believed that the perpetrator would change. Unlike the leaves on the trees, the new hairstyle you adopted, the clothes you took off after work, the different direction your life took, the new decision you made…all involving change, PEOPLE DON’T CHANGE!!!! So the question is, why do you stay in a situation (it’s truly not a relationship) where you are being punched, slapped, or kicked? A true relationship espouses love, not violence.
Although the perpetrator will probably not change because of his violent mindset, violent beliefs, violent attitude, and violent behaviors, you must realize that his abuse has nothing to do with you as a female. The perpetrators’ problems are related to their unresolved current and past issues. However, as a survivor, you must want to change your situation and make the decision to change your situation. You will not be able to make any changes until you decide to love yourself, respect yourself, accept yourself, and above all, be yourself! You must get to the point of being sick and tired of being sick and tired.
It is important to understand that any form of abuse and violence is an act of control and unacceptable. The perpetrator doesn’t feel in control of himself or anything else in his life. Therefore, he decides to use violent tactics in an effort to take control of the person he deems the weakest link in his life…you, the woman who loves him immensely. Also recognize that the domestic abuser has problems with women in general, and they probably started with his mother. He usually has low self-esteem, low self-confidence, and he would never stand up to a another man the way he steps on a woman. He is selfish and believes that his penis, his fists, his hands, and his feet are what make him a man!
The abuse put forth by the abuser is done in order to strip you of your power! Once you are in a powerless position, he renders more abuse and more violence against you. Forcing you to stay home and not work, fostering financial dependency on him, renders him more powerful.
Domestic violence is a vicious cycle of manipulation, control (physical, verbal, economic, emotional, psychological), isolation, blame, anger, deceit, and misuse of loved ones. And if there was a way into this abusive situation, there must be a way out of it. And as women, many of you saw that the perpetrator was abusive from the onset, but you ignored the red flags and thought you could ‘change’ him. Unfortunately, what you accepted is what you got!!!
As a woman, in order for you to avoid an abusive situation, get out of an abusive situation, or help a friend, colleague, or family member who is currently in or approaching an abusive situation, it is imperative that you are aware of and recognize abusive behaviors put forth by abusers. And if you are a male reading this blog and you happen to be an abuser or know of someone who is an abuser, being aware of and recognizing these behaviors will hopefully empower you to confront him to get some help.
· He verbally abuses you; calls you names
· He physically abuses you; hits, shoves, punches, slaps, and/or kicks you; throws things at you or on you (hot or cold beverages)
· He forces you to lie about your noticeable physical scars
· He embarrasses you in front of family, friends, children, personally and publicly
· He forces you to have unwanted or painful sex and then apologizes for his abusive behavior; the honeymoon period…you see it as love making
· He emotionally abuses you…makes you believe no one else wants you and that you disserve his mistreatment and maltreatment
· He withholds finances from you, including credit cards, rendering you incapable of effectively managing the household expenses
· He makes you believe you have no voice…nothing to say and no one wants to hear you…you have too much mouth/lip
· He makes you believe that you need to ‘remember your place’
· He makes you believe you can’t spend time with male or female friends
· He isolates you from family members and friends by making you feel guilty
· He curses and yells at you and makes you believe it’s okay
· You are made to believe that you are not capable of choosing your clothes or freely going about your day without having to give him a minute by minute, hour by hour, or day by day account of your location; making you believe he is showing you love
· You do as he says and he does what he wants to do; what is good for the goose is NOT good for the gander
· He is very critical of you; finds fault in everything you do
· He lies to you and dares you to question him
· He blames you for his behaviors and all of his problems and shortcomings
· His seeming acts of jealousy are control mechanisms
· He is a ‘POWER STRIPPER’
We many times wonder why a woman stays in situations of abuse and violence. She often believes that she doesn’t have a choice in the matter and that she has nowhere to go. Also, during the cycle of abuse and violence, the perpetrator will apologize for his behaviors, use sex as a way to show that he is sorry, giving you a false sense of security. These acts of false affection are called honeymoon periods. The honeymoon period is another control tactic put forth by the perpetrator to continue the cycle of control, abuse and violence against you.
The way you start a situation is the way it will end. Also, remember, you can’t make a situation a relationship, you can’t control anyone, and you can’t make someone love you who doesn’t know how to love himself or anyone else. And then there are many of you who are afraid to make changes because you cannot see any farther than your current abusive situation. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and the sunshine always comes after the rain. THERE IS A WAY OUT! You must have the will to get out!
You must stop seeing yourself as a victim. Turn in your ‘victim’ membership card and start saying today, ‘I AM A SURVIVOR.’ GET THE HELL OUT WHILE YOU CAN!
It is imperative that as an abused woman, you seek help in order for you to break the cycle of abuse and domestic violence by speaking with a trusted family member or friend regarding your mistreatment and maltreatment by your abuser. Seeking a battered women’s shelter in your town, a professional psychotherapist, or contacting the national abuse/domestic violence hotline are always options.
As abused and battered women, you need to know that there is a way out of your negative situation and that you were born to grow, blossom, and contribute favorably to society. You don’t have to relinquish your control to anyone! As a matter of fact, YOU DO have a choice in the matter!! Take it!!!