Love is not supposed to hurt

When you walk into my office my books pretty much tell you what I am interested in and passionate about. There is a pile on meditation and relaxation, others on leadership, some on conquering stress and how to overcome Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and books on spirituality, however the books that seem to pique the most interest are the ones on a middle shelf that have titles such as “But I Love him”, “The General Theory of Love” and “Why does he do That? – Inside the minds of angry and controlling men”. In fact they don’t so much elicit an open inquiry as they produce a screwed up nose, a step back and a questioning look.

Quite simply among my other roles I am a Certified California State Advocate for those affected by Domestic Violence and those books are a very useful resource to share. My advocacy is inclusive of teen abuse and elder abuse too; sadly it seems that both are very prevalent in our society. If you know or suspect that someone is in a situation that involves being verbally or physically abused you can pass on my details and I will listen and give them information on the many resources available to them.

I say listen very deliberately. Often these women (and while this does affect some men too the majority of victims are women) are no longer listened to by their friends or their families because from the outside it may seem that they really have no intent to leave the situation that they are in; so today I wanted to share a fact with you that may help you understand why continuing to be supportive is very important. On average it will take 7 attempts to leave an abuser. Please note this is an average, depending on personal beliefs and the situation it can take more so being there for that person through each attempt could be what makes the difference.

The women who do their homework will know that leaving an abuser and going into a shelter will most likely involve giving up living in the same neighborhood, taking her children out of their schools and having to give up her employment. She will be asked to do these things for her own protection and with this context I am sure you can begin to see why the decision to finally make the break can be a challenge. Then there is the cycle of violence to consider, it starts with a period of tension, then the abuse occurs followed by what is known as the ‘honeymoon’ period where things can appear to be OK, and often will come with gifts and promises of ‘never again’. The frequency and length of the cycle of violence is variable from couple to couple but it is a cycle and for some a vicious trap.

I want to be clear about the definition of Domestic Violence – ‘DV is a pattern of behavior that exerts power and control by one person over another that may include; physical abuse, psychological abuse, sexual abuse or economic abuse’ and unfortunately even today DV is rarely discussed primarily because we have been socially conditioned not to interfere even though the U.S statistics are staggering –

– 35% of all E.R visits by women are caused by their intimate partners
– 25% of victims are pregnant
– 35% of female homocide victims are killed by their partner
– Domestic Violence happens in two thirds of all marriages
– 50% of homeless women and children are fleeing from domestic violence
– There are 3 times more animal shelters than battered women shelters
– In California 3.3 million children are exposed to violence against their mothers or female caretakers
– 80% of violent offenders come from homes where domestic violence occurred

If you want more information on Domestic Violence please feel free to contact me or contact the USA National Shelter hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), the UK the Women’s Aid at 0808 2000 247 and for Canada please call Canada 1-866-331-3933 which is the number for the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters who will help you find resources in your area.

Hoping that you will consider the benefits of some positive, well intentioned interference.
Be safe
Candice

© The Red Barn Cooperative – Working together to nourish lives
A Red Barn Coaching initiative www.redbarncoaching.com

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