What Love Isn’t

Love isn’t physical, psychological and emotional abuse.

It isn’t threats, coercion, humiliation, harassment, intimidation and isolation.

Abuse isn’t about love…it IS about power and control.

Abusers are not born they are made.

Abusive behavior is learned.

“Every crime has a victim but every victim is not from a crime.”

Do not be silent… SPEAK OUT!!

(To teens: This means speaking to an adult.)

Everyone is affected by abuse… directly or indirectly!

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What are the characteristics of a victim?

There are NONE!!

Anyone can be a victim!

 

JUST REMEMBER…

“IT WASN’T YOUR CHOICE TO BE A VICTIM…

IT IS YOUR CHOICE WHETHER OR NOT YOU REMAIN ONE!”

26 years ago I entered into a relationship that started out like any other but I soon found out that it was not. Many of the methods listed below I found out first hand. I had considered myself to be a strong and independent woman but something changed in the course of the relationship having moved far away from my family to a place where he had lived before. About a year and a half went by and we moved back to where we had started. Events took place that made me retrieve my inner strength and I ended the relationship.

It has been 23 years this 4th of July since the night that he came over to visit our daughter and ended up holding me at gun point in my house for nearly 7 hours. During this time he threatened suicide and to kill me before and after he raped me.

I would not let this define me… I refused to remain a victim. The inner strength that I had retrieved to end the relationship grew stronger and I moved forward with my life.

We usually don’t know the reason at the time for something happening but God does. In my case,  a couple years later after moving to another state, I applied for and became the first Victim’s Advocate of the county that I lived in working with victims of violent crimes.

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MYTHS

It is your fault… You asked for it… Look how you dress… Look how you act… You put yourself in that situation… No doesn’t mean “No”… It’s your duty – honor and obey… You should have known better… I can change him/her… It will never happen to me!

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THE TRUTH

ALL of the MYTHS above are FALSE!!

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CYCLE OF VIOLENCE

(concept developed by Dr. Lenore Walker in the early 1980’s)

The Honeymoon Stage: Excuses for abusive behavior, gifts, make promises, seek pity… all to draw you back into the relationship… it is never a real honeymoon.

The Tension Building Stage: It feels like walking on eggshells, no way to predict what the abuser wants, while there may not be physical violence (or minimal) there is emotional abuse, intimidation and threats, fear of violence is often as coercive as the violence itself.

The Violence Stage: The actual violent episode that includes physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse. (then back to the Honeymoon Stage)

Note: The more times the cycle is completed the less time it takes to complete and as the cycle is repeated the violence usually increases in frequency and severity.

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POWER & CONTROL…methods used

Coercion and Threats:  includes making and/or carrying out threats to do something to hurt her/him; threatening to leave; to commit suicide, to make reports to welfare; making her drop any charges against him; making her do illegal things.

Intimidation: includes making her afraid by using looks, actions, gestures; smashes things; destroys her property; abuses pets; displays weapons.

Emotional Abuse: includes putting her down; making her feel bad about herself or guilty; calling names; making her think he’s mad; playing mind games; humiliating her.

Isolation: includes control of what she does, who she sees/talks to, what she reads, where she goes; limiting her outside involvement; using jealousy to justify actions.

Minimizing, Denying or Blaming: includes making light of the abuse and not taking her concerns about it seriously; saying the abuse didn’t happen; shifting responsibility (excuses) for abusive behavior; saying she caused it.

Children (if any): includes making her feel guilty about the children; threatening to abuse them if she doesn’t take it; using them to relay messages; using access visits to harass her; threatening to take them away from her.

Male Privilege: includes treating her like a servant; making all the big decisions; acting like the master of the house; being the one to define roles and rules; putting her down because of gender, race or disability.

Economic Abuse: includes preventing her from getting or keeping a job; making her ask for money; giving her an allowance; taking her money; not letting her know about or have access to the family income.

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TEENS – POWER & CONTROL … methods used

Intimidation: includes trying to scare you by smashing things, yelling, driving recklessly, with looks or gestures; threatening to get you in trouble with family, friends or school.

Violates Your Privacy: includes reading your notes/messages to or from other people; going through your purse, locker or book bag without permission; forcing unwanted “intimacy”: refusing to stop “wrestling” when asked.

Threats: includes threatening to harm you, your friends or family; threatening suicide if you leave him or don’t do what he wants; threatening to break up with you.

Male Privilege: includes acting like as the boss and what he says goes; telling you that men make all the decisions; demanding you get his permission to go somewhere/do something.

Limiting Independence: includes wanting to control what you wear/how you look; pressuring you to use cigarettes, alcohol or drugs; wanting to make all the decisions in the relationship (sometimes even above your parents).

Isolation: includes pressuring you to choose between him and your friends and/or family; pressuring you to quit your job or extra-curricular activities.

Humiliation: includes calling you names privately or in front of others; putting you down or making fun of your race, gender, class, religion or family; inappropriately grabbing you or showing off your personal items in public.

Harassment: includes following you and frequently showing up uninvited; spreading rumors about you; trying to have contact after you ended the relationship.

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SOME THINGS THAT YOU CAN DO

Have an emergency contact # on your phone home page

Always keep your phone within reach

Always carry some money with you (many don’t with the use of debit cards)

Pay attention to your surroundings – BE AWARE

Meet at public places

Always know where you are…if you find yourself in an unfamiliar area…look for landmarks, street signs, etc.

Out with friends or with a group – stay with your group… this is not the movies so if you meet someone DO NOT stray from the group and ask the person to join

Never leave a drink unattended and then drink it… alcohol and drugs are used to chemically impair one’s mental or physical state

If you choose to drink alcohol – BE RESPONSIBLE!

Respect any curfew that you may have & call if you will be late

Don’t change your plans without notifying a parent/adult of it

Keep some sort of record of the abuse if possible without endangering yourself

Make a documentation trail…police reports, arrest records, convictions

Protective orders do serve a purpose… can be cause for an immediate arrest but you MUST take additional safety precautions because it is a piece of paper not a shield

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GETTING OUT…

THIS IS MORE DIFFICULT THAN IT SOUNDS

IT CAN BE THE MOST VOLATILE TIME

YOU NEED TO HAVE OF A PLAN

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