16 October 2014

Domestic Violence-- Bully No More

Okay, so you may think that since I only wear purple-- as in wears purple every day to work or play-- that I would not be grade school girl giddy to see others wearing purple!  Well, I am! 

I am excited about #SpiritDay purple wearing people who don this color of healing to show solidarity in acting out against bullying.  Sure, #spiritday was conceived to protect LGBT youth again bullying; however being queer has never been a one-issue burden (pay attention here marriage defenders who act as if gay marriage is the only thing we live for).  No, #SpiritDay pulls the covers off of bullying happening to anyone, at anytime, in any place.  

Bullying is everybody's business! 
Won't you stand for peace and against bullying?

15 October 2014

Domestic Violence Month -- Spotting an Abuser

"A leopard never changes his spots." 
--so states the idiom and which holds true regarding the character of an abuser.

As much as theology and spirituality extends grace towards all, grace is a gift to the repentant -- one who turns away from, ceases to cause harm, and seeks to restore the injured. And then, there is the reality of choices that an abuser makes that makes repentance seem to be a part of the cycle of abuse.  Repentance is not done in words.  Repentance is done through action.

For your abuser to say he's sorry, or for your abuser to tell you she loves you, after putting their fist through your face or your head through the wall -- well, truthfully, that is not repentance.  This is simply the abuser buying time until the next time.  And, you have learned, there is always a next time.  That is, until it is the last time.

You are worth so much more than to be used as a human punching bag.  Whether the abuse comes at you physically, emotionally, sexually, financially, psychologically, or socially, there is a network of providers who are here to help you stay calm, get out, get help, move swiftly, and never look back.

Sure, we are raising awareness, that is to say, training persons not in an abusive relationship to believe you, help you, and equip you to live and thrive and survive abuse.  We have learned, many of us who are survivors, that a leopard never changes his spots.  She just pursues other prey and leaves a trail of brokenness and death in her path.

I hope the last paragraph did not confuse you by interchanging the masculine and feminine pronouns.  I did this intentionally.  Abusers are most often male in a heterosexual relationship; and abusers are comparably equal in same gender relationships.  The harsh truth-- men and women commit abuse and abusive traits are common.

However, this does not have to be your epitaph. 

Call today.  We believe you.

14 October 2014

Domestic Violence Month - Four Letter Word, Part 2

The universal word for present actions to cease is STOP!  Traffic lights. Traffic signs. Proctored exams. Medical instructions. STOP means to cease the present action; that, which if continued, would probably prove harmful or even fatal.  So, why is it that when you say STOP! to your partner who is abusing you, nothing happens?  It is as if they keep running the red lights of your boundaries!  
STOP! is an awful four letter word when used as a plea for your life, your sanity, your esteem or your children.  When was the first time you said, STOP!? When was the last time you said, STOP!? How many times have you said STOP!? or any form of a plea for your life in between the first time and the last time?  Abusers usually don't stop.  As a matter of fact, abusers tend to escalate in their abuse.  The incidences get more frequent. The pain leaves more bruises.  Fear becomes all pervasive.  You may feel depressed and cannot clearly state why.  And in way too many incidences when STOP! is not heard or heeded, the abused person is killed-- by the abuser who did not STOP!

You are worth so much more. 
Using the four letter word STOP should be instructions for learning a new line dance
 -- not for pleading for your life and freedom to be!

Domestic Violence Month -- Four Letter Word. Part 1

…and, if you find yourself saying this dreadful four letter word as a reaction or plea to your partner, you are being abused.  For some this might seem logical and simple.  However, if you have found yourself trapped in the cycle of abuse, you may have become desensitized to the psychological impact of using words to prevent harm-- yet, no relief comes.  Instead you may be taunted and tormented all the more.  But, we hear you!

…is an offensive word.  Keep using it.  Use it louder if you have, too; if it's safe, too.  While we are doing everything we can this month to raise awareness to end Domestic Violence, we hope you reclaim the intent and impact of this four letter word.  

OUCH! means "stop hurting me."  
OUCH! means "I prefer you to stop harming me."  
OUCH! means "I do not give you permission to hurt me." 
OUCH! means "I am aware that what you are doing to me is wrong."  
OUCH! means "I must take steps to keep you from abusing me."

Believe in yourself and learn to live again without using this four letter word-- unless you accidentally stub your little toe on the corner of the dresser. 

10 October 2014

Domestic Violence Month -- From a House to a Home

When Luther Vandros croons, "…but a house is not a home when the two of us are far apart and one of us has a broken heart," he speaks the truest example of what makes a house a home, what prevents a house from being home.  Can I get a witness?

I am not calling for a witness to swoon when Luther croons, I am calling for the witness of women (and some men) who conjured strength and executed safety to get out of abusive relationships -- some of which shared the same house.  

If you are in an abusive relationship, then your greatest advocate and source to escape to safety is YOU!

In no way am I blaming you for the predicament in which you struggle to survive; nor am I suggesting that you mete violence upon your abuser to get out of the relationship.  What I am saying, however, is that your power to leave begins with equipping yourself with this truth -- you deserve a home.  You deserve safety.  You deserve a peace of mind.  You deserve to make up your mind. You deserve to come and go as you please.  You deserve to reserve long sleeves for winters and stunner shades for summers instead of wearing them as  off season camouflage.

You deserve a house AND a home! 

This month, so many are investing in the first step on The Spectrum of Prevention of domestic violence:  strengthening individual knowledge and skills.  You have advocates up and down the spectrum who take your survival seriously, and perhaps, even personally.  Some of us are advocates for basic human rights.  Others of us are survivors ourselves.  Even those with requiems of fatality, even they, are educators in their epitaphs.  

You are not alone. 
You have the strength, inside and in numbers,
to live in a house that is also a home. 

09 October 2014

Domestic Violence Month -- In Striking Distance No More

As the weekend approaches, abused partners often do not have respite from living in striking distance of their abusers.  For many, Friday after work until commuter time on Monday is a blur of walking on eggshells, barely breathing, and staying alive by any means necessary.  This often includes being blamed for saying or doing or not doing something that displeases their partner and thereby find themselves in striking distance and feeling the impact of being struck. With no respite. Until Monday morning. If they are lucky enough to work outside the home.

This post is to simply put on your mind that you can begin asserting your own survival.  You are strong enough indeed to take small steps to moving out of striking distance of your abuser's words, moods, and fists.  And, know that for some, this process will be set into motion as soon as you read this.  For others, this process will take however long it will take for you to see yourself safe, secure your children to stability, and simply conjure the courage to walk out of striking distance.

NOW is the best time to begin creating your safety plan
and getting familiar with the legal process.  

Contrary to what you might have been told, 
you have options and a way out of striking distance!

08 October 2014

Domestic Violence -- Mind Fucks & Mental Illnes

No, you are not crazy; or as my abuser would call me "cray-cray". However, the person you love may very well master the art of crazy-making.  The insidious subtlety of mental abuse may have you on the couch, on meds, or volunteering for a 72-hour hold just to get a break from your abuser.

No, you are not crazy.  You are being emotionally / mentally abused. And, you can be restored. 

To determine if you are being abused answer the following questions:  When was the last time your partner:

  1. told you that 'you can't take a joke' or that 'you are too damn sensitive'?
  2. reminded you of your past failures you intimated to them while being transparent?
  3. dismissed your accomplishments, goals, plans, or definition of who you are?
  4. made you feel that they are wiser, smarter, always right in all matters?
  5. laughed at you; but do not find it funny to laugh at them?
  6. justified not apologizing for an offense instead of just apologizing to you?
  7. gave you the silent treatment, withheld sex (except for health reasons), or use affection to get sex?
  8. did not notice or care how you feel; and did not show empathy or ask questions about your feelings, illness, worry or sudden change of plans?
  9. told your personal business and shared intimate information about you that you have not approved?
  10. refused to be accountable with their time and travel, but demands to know your interactions and future plans?

To determine if you are abusing answer the following questions:  When was the last time you said:
  1. But, I have never hit her / him?
No, you are not crazy.  You are being emotionally / mentally abused. And, you can be restored. 
  • Tell somebody:  primary care physician, gynecologist, minister, spiritual leader, a good for you friend, therapist…
  • Keep a journal:  of feelings, dates, incidents, their actions, your reactions…
  • Remember:  who you were before being in this relationship, what brought you joy, enjoyment, happiness, fulfillment, peace, pleasure…
  • Imagine:  set intentions for the life you want to live when you survive leaving…
  • Strategize:  what does it take for you to walk free -- time, money, relocation, restraining order, speaking up, walking away, volunteering, spiritual practices…
  • Attend:  give attention to your intentions, every day do something that moves you closer to your whole and stronger self. 
What is the first step you will take for yourself, your sanity, and your emotional safety?

07 October 2014

Domestic Violence -- The Other Closet

Just when we thought it was safe to come out of the closet we discover there is another closet in the LGBTQI community -- and it's mighty crowded behind that closed door.

Same sex / same gender Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), aka Domestic Violence (DV) is real and is comparably tragic in dynamics, occurrences, and deaths to that of non-LGBTQI people.

Abuse shows up in various ways.  All abuse is centered around one partner taking power from and controlling the other partner.  Below are eight common ways in which IPV/DV show up in a relationship.  If you are courageous, can you admit which are present in your current-- or was present in your last tragically ending-- relationship?  Are you being abused? Are you the abuser? Awareness is the first step in eradicating this behavior from your life and your love life.

As I thrive beyond being in an abusive relationship in which seven of the eight factors were present, and with her continuing to use two of them at a distance, the straw that broke the camel's back for me was "Using Children."  You may be in love, in lust, in convenience, in the in crowd, a pillow princess, or an OG stud; but if your partner, girlfriend, boo, bae, or next ex does any of these-- you are in an abusive relationship!:
  • If you are a woman, partner tells you that your male child cannot live in or visit her her home. 
  • Demands you send your child to live with the other parent, family member, or out on the street. 
  • Threatens to call police to remove your child from the home just because she doesn't want him there. 
  • Makes you feel guilty about being queer and having had hetero performed sex to conceive.
  • Interferes with court-ordered visitation and/or child support arrangements.
  • Criticizes you for how you raise your children; except if you are indeed negligent. 

Whether you are being victimized-- or if you are the perpetrator-- know that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and you don't have to be silent anymore!

You will be believed.

There is help available for you to strategize, get out, get reestablished, and to thrive.

24-Hour Hotline: 1.800.832.1901

06 October 2014

Domestic Violence Month -- Hashtag and Help

#whyIstayed is a victim's buy-in to being blamed for her own abuse.  #whyIstayed demands a person in an abusive relationship justify am implied complicity in their own abuse.  #whyIstayed is victim shaming veiled as awareness giving.

#whydoyouhither places appropriate blame and responsibility upon the abuser.  #whydoyouhither demands an abuser articulate in his own words the insanity he has normalized and justified.  #whydoyouhither could be the first step in transforming an abuser to being repentant with reparations to go and sin no more.

Next time you are aware of an abuser abusing, ask this, "why do you hit her / him?"  Hold their attention long enough for them to answer.  You may be uncomfortable, but she may get to live another day.

If his answer begins with, "Because she …." that is an indicator that the abuser has drank his own kool-aid of delusion -- as if anyone can make him do anything that he does not willfully and want to do.   "Because she…" is a veiled attempt to absolve himself from being responsible for his emotional health and stability.  "Because she…" has been his mental escape hatch when the awfulness of bone breaking is felt under fist.

When he begins to explain, "Because she…" interrupt with a very clear repeat of the question, "But, why do YOU hit her?" Each time.  All the time. As many times as it takes to make a new groove in his consciousness that his choice to hit her is HIS choice.  And that making that choice will come with increasing consequences because now YOU are aware that he / she is an abuser.

Be silent no more; but ask the right question, "Why do you hit her?" instead of #whydoyoustay

03 October 2014

Domestic Violence Month -- End the Silence

Abused women tend to think they are the only one.  The only woman who is being controlled, getting punched, nursing a black eye, dressed up on Sunday hiding broken ribs.

Abused women tend to go to the well alone, the biblical reference of the Samaritan woman at the well who encountered Jesus.  She was there alone, at Noon time, alone. The cultural context of her isolation is significant because one should be compelled to ask, "where were the women?" Where were her sisters and mothers? It was customary for women to go draw water for daily household use very early in the mornings, when it was cool and with a group of women.  Where were her girlfriends and neighbors?  Respectable women just didn't travel alone; and no one traveled in the heat of the day.  But this woman, was at the well, in the middle of the day, alone.

Abused women know what it is to be alone, not just in the midnight hour after being beaten over burnt biscuits.  Abused women know what it is to be alone, going through necessary motions, going about her daily business of survival, going around town as if she is invisible -- made so by her being an abused woman.  Abused women, often think, they are the only one.

But, my sister / myself, you are not.  You are not alone.  You are among many who have survived and now thrive.  You are among many more who are struggling to stay alive more than you are struggling to just stay.  You are not alone; and you need our help.  You need help from those who are not abused, men and women; those who are not abusers, men and women; and those who abhor domestic violence because they know from whence they came -- male and female, Jew and Gentile, Protestant and Catholic, Lesbian and Straight, or from the White House to the house next door.  You are not alone, and we heighten awareness and bring equipping strategies to the minds of Americans during this time every year.

We declare that just being aware is not enough.  We commit to intervening with presence.  We are getting more bold to interfere with strangers to us being abused in public.  We want to be your village of safety and be complicit no more in our silence.

You are not alone.  Believe us, more are for you that your abuser's rage against you.  Let us help.  You do not have to stay any longer.

02 October 2014

Domestic Violence Month -- Once is One Time Too Many

Once I heard a female church leader say of her new husband, "He only has the first time to hit me, then I'm gone."

Her veiled attempt at sounding empowered really revealed her inherent fears, perhaps even realities, that other forms of abuse from intimate partners had already desensitized her from even considering that anyone is to be given a 'first time' to cause bodily harm. For her to voice that being hit would motivate her to leave him (of course, after numerous times of ill-advised church people warnings about man being the head and theological misuse of wives be submissive counseling) made me aware of her lack of seeing and knowing all of the other manifestations of domestic violence BEFORE physical violence takes place.

Know the signs. They tend to escalate rather than dissipate.

I am a survivor of domestic violence -- from a female partner. Her abuse came in this order:  #4 Isolation; #3 Control; #5 Sabotage; and #1 Intensity.  However, it was sitting before a therapist and hearing her say, "I don't abuse her. I have never hit her.", catapulted me back to the feelings of dread when I heard the female church leader say those words about the 'first time' almost 30 years prior.  I did not remember anything else about that counseling session as I was clearly thinking, perhaps even honestly for the first time in a long time, about how to stay strong, get a plan, and get out of harms way.  I did not have a 'first time' clause in my emotional and spiritual make up. It took six months -- SIX MONTHS -- before I was able to get out of striking distance.  But, I did.  And you can, too.

Know you are strong enough to stay calm, get a plan, and get out BEFORE suffering a black eye or assuming the prone position in a pine box. Love, does not require a 'you get to hit me one time' clause.

01 October 2014

Domestic Violence Month -- Purple Light Nights

Awareness is the first step to taking ACTION to prevent domestic violence and to protect women and children (and even sometimes men) from their abusers.  


Purple Light Nights®– the goal is to have all residents shine a purple light on every front porch; hang a string of purple lights in every business; and decorate each downtown street tree with purple lights, to send the message that "Domestic Violence Has NO Place In Our Community," King County, WA.


If a woman tells you she is being abused Believe Her. Resist asking why she stays. Instead, give her this number -- secretly and silently help her help herself. 

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