Oct 16, 2005

Domestic Violence Awareness month

Don't forget everyone, October is domestic violence awareness month-And there are many ways to get involved and raise awareness in your area!
For one, There are DV shelters for women and children in peril in every state and city in the United States. There exact whereabouts are confidential for obvious reasons, but they are always in need of donations, either in the form of money or actual household and personal items. So Peruse your household items, pull out any extras you've accrued as well as any items that you don't use much-and donate them to the nearest shelter in need! Remember, these families have been ripped out of their homes, with nary a moment to pack and thus need just about everything that you and I take for granted every day. If you haven't anything from your home to donate, find out what is needed with a phone call, and go out a make a donation basket, fill it with toiletries books some modest toys,These shelters can usually use any items that will brighten their appearance; soothing artwork, an inexpensive CD player, music/relaxation cds etc. The folks at your local dv agency can fill you in on the greatest needs of your particular local shelter--and they can forward your donations to the shelter in need.
So just get out there and pitch in in whatever capacity is most needed, be it donations, volunteering your time, or starting a support group...but most importantly...get involved! And talk about Intimate and domestic violence. Educate yourself and your loved ones regarding physical and emotional abuse, and this includes teenagers who have just started dating-this means boys as well as girls! Not only do boys need to be educated about intimate violence from the perspective of not becoming potential abusers, they need to be aware that they can be victims as well. Its a very good idea to teach our young adults about the warning signs of an abusive relationship, so that they will recognize the patterns and behaviors of a potential abuser before they become involved or if they are already involved with one,the statistics for abuse among teenage dating relationships is much higher than you'd think!
Don't forget too, that domestic violence in some form occurs in one out of 4 households in the united States, and the children that witness this often grow up to repeat similar violence in their own relationships, as batterers or as victims. This is a deadly cycle that can be stopped-- this is where education, counseling and sometimes intervention, are necessary.

SAFE4all is an excellent source for information regarding every type of intimate violence, including teenage dating and elder violence, as well as being a good source for local and national activism. They can assist in increasing individual/community awareness in a number of ways and they are always in need of volunteers and members; They can be found athttp://www.safe4all.org
And remember; The number one thing that will help to eradicate this kind of violence is awareness and education. There was a time when the whole subject of domestic violence was considered a private matter, between husband and wife, or man and his woman, even by our local police departments! A collective denial, mixed with an ignorant notion that the victims of DV must not mind it,(translated; deserve it) because they were not leaving their abusive partners;this was the presiding mentality for a long time and is still prevalent even within some justice systemsWe now know that the victims of chronic d.v are in effect suffering from a kind of brainwashing, not disimilar from the experiences of kidnap victims or P.O.W's, This is called The Stockholm syndrome. In short, it is a sick symbiosis (attachment/dependency) that the victim develops for her abuser, through his/her constant use of control, fear, isolation,manipulation, and of course- force. After repeated episodes of what would seem indiscriminate physical assaults, the victim exhibits what is called "learned helplessness" all part of the batterers plan.
There is a great deal involved in the dynamics of an abusive relationship, including the fact that physical abuse is almost always precipitated by some form of emotional abuse, as well as a set of classic identifying behaviors. I heard this once summed up as ''The banality of evil", The up side of which is the fact that chronic abusers can be identified by a very commonplace set of characteristics and behaviors. You can learn about all of these things in greater depth via the many web- based information sites on intimate/domestic violence, including the SAFE4ALL.ORG link on sidebar, as well as your own counties DV helplines/agencies.

I will be happy to email anyone directly with access to available sources for specific info about intimate/domestic violence-- Just click on my profile for email link and send your questions and requests.

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