Violence is a very prevalent problem in this country...
by Regina M. Windels
Violence affects people of
all nationalities and ages on a daily basis. Most often, women are the victims
but it does happen to children and even some men, too. Many view it as a private
matter between spouses, boyfriend and girlfriend or parents and children but
the reality of it is … it is a 'criminal offense' against another!
It’s a horrible thing to deal with and nobody should have to.
An abuse victim
is often treated as property or a slave than as a human being with feelings
and opinions. Their self-esteem is beaten out of them, they are
made to feel worthless, stupid, and that their whole existence is to make the
abuser happy…which you can not do. You live in denial and actually begin to
think it is normal. You are isolated from others… family and friends so no
one will know. Often your fears are used against you… you live in fear of messing
up or anyone finding out…you feel trapped and wish for a way out but are too
afraid to do so…fearful of the repercussions you would face. You fear for your
life and often for the lives of those close to you…your numb, depressed, wish
the nightmare would end…the despair is great, you really don’t care about much
anymore. You wonder how you ended up in this situation and that your only hope
is to find a way to cope. You begin to put up a wall…a safe-haven for your
thoughts, your feelings, opinions and emotions. This wall is your friend…it
helps you get through the days or from one episode to another.
The wall may help but unfortunately, does nothing to break us free from the
cycle; offers no support…no help. Many people endure these types of relationships
for years or even a lifetime. Many wonder if life is so bad why doesn’t one
just leave? There are many reasons: the fear factor of what may come if you
were to leave or perhaps financial reasons, shelters are full and nowhere else
to go are to name a few. Breaking free from this cycle doesn’t come easy…even
if the abuser decides to move on to another victim.
self-esteem is difficult and takes time, you have problems trusting, dealing
with the scars left behind can cause one nightmares, waves
of emotions and crying spells, or the occasional thing that brings the past
rushing in at the most strangest of times.
Every victim can
tell you the experiences and the horror stories they have endured that a lot
of people would find hard to fathom. Domestic abuse is often
viewed as physical violence only but this is not the case.
Domestic violence comes in many forms:
Emotional and Verbal Abuse – One is called names, told how useless and
stupid they are, told they will never amount to anything without the abuser
in their life, humiliated privately and publicly and often manipulated by
their abuser…a total loss of self respect and esteem. Even a person who is
outgoing and self-confident can become a victim of abuse becoming withdrawn,
losing their self-esteem, their individuality.
Isolation – The abuser keeps the victim from associating with family and
friends or allowing the ability to develop new friendships. Keeping the victim
from any interaction with others protects the abuser from anyone seeing what
is really going on or even suspecting there may be problems.
Threats or Intimidation – Often told how easy they can kill you or that if
you tell anyone about the abuse you will suffer the consequences and wish you
were dead and the victim is the one made out to be at fault.
Physical Abuse and Sexual Assault – The abuser inflicts pain usually starting
out with minor things such as pushing and shoving and escalating as time
goes on to things as kicking, punching and choking. Often sexual abuse is
If you are experiencing problems there are places one can look to for help.
Below is a list of some places to seek help:
A handbook on Domestic Violence - www.usda.gov/da/shmd/aware.htm#BREAK
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence – www.ncadv.org
Office on Violence Against Women, Jefferson City, Mo. 573-751-5954
Missouri Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Jefferson City, Mo. 573-634-4161
The Women’s Center, P.O. Box 51, Hotline 314-946-6854