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Voices Against Violence September 30, 2011

Posted by Alicia in Domestic Abuse, Education, help a friend.
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Voices Against Violence

My alma mater, the University of Texas is a beautiful, sprawling campus that holds great memories for me.  However, my freshmen year I was oblivious to the services that were available to me regarding safety on campus and stalking.  Had I known, I may have stopped in the campus Counseling and Mental Health Resource Center to ask what to do about a stranger who showed up after my classes, asked me out, and after I declined, followed me on campus for three days.  I think of all the women who aren’t as fortunate to have it end with the perpetrator just stopping the behavior. Today on the campus, programs like Voices Against Violence are raising awareness that help is available.

This year, UT is celebrating the tenth year of its program Voices Against Violence, sponsored by the Counseling and Mental Health Resource Center.  They have an extensive program that assists students with a variety of mental health concerns including dating relationships, sexual violence, and stalking.  Check out Building a Healthy Relationships from the Start.

CMHC’s biggest event to raise awareness occurs in October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  If you walk through what we call the West Mall of the campus on awareness day, chances are you will be handed a carnation with a slip of paper attached to it.  Written on the paper is the story of a Texan who died that year due to domestic violence.  In 2008, program coordinators and volunteers passed out 2000 carnations.  Also at the event are students reading aloud some of the stories, calling out the warning signs of abusive relationships, and performing spoken word dialogues.

Voices Against Violence Theatre for Dialogue   is a program that uses theatre as a medium to involve students in learning about realistic scenarios in unhealthy relationships and healthy ways to respond to them. They give performances to student groups, faculty and community outreach programs.  The audience is an active participant in the performances.  Check out the video in the link!

The Counseling and Mental Health Resource Center also has reading materials that appeal to college students, offering realistic dialogue between someone in an unhealthy relationship and the friends who try to help.  Here is one example, the story of Kris and Franky, told in comic book style format.

Katy wrote about and posted the power and control wheel, an excellent visual educational tool for dating violence. The University of Texas takes pride in the degrees offered in its college of liberal arts for students who wish to be counselors  to the GLBT community, so I’d like to share with you the  GLBT power wheel, designed by the NYC Gay and Lesbian Anti Violence Project and posted at UT’s  CMHC site.  It has scenarios I wasn’t really conscious of until I saw the wheel, but now I know I’ve seen the type of control they are describing.

I encourage you to look at the links, there’s a comic,  a video,  a power wheel, and lots of great info on the healthy progression of relationships.


Am I Being Abused? September 21, 2011

Posted by Kate in Domestic Abuse, help a friend.
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Am I Being Abused?

Look over the following questions. Think about how you are being treated and how you treat your partner. Remember, when one person scares, hurts or continually puts down the other person, it’s abuse.

Does your partner…
____ Embarrass or make fun of you in front of your friends or family?
____ Put down your accomplishments or goals?
____ Make you feel like you are unable to make decisions?
____ Use intimidation or threats to gain compliance?
____ Tell you that you are nothing without them?
____ Treat you roughly – grab, push, pinch, shove or hit you?
____ Call, text, or email you several times a day or show up to make sure you are where you said you would be?
____ Use drugs or alcohol as an excuse for saying hurtful things or abusing you?
____ Blame you for how they feel or act?
____ Pressure you sexually for things you don’t want to do?
____ Make you feel like there “is no way out” of the relationship?
____ Prevent you from doing things you want – like spending time with your friends or family?
____ Try to keep you from leaving after a fight or leave you somewhere after a fight to “teach you a lesson”?

Do you…
____ Sometimes feel scared of how your partner will act?
____ Constantly make excuses to other people for your partner’s behavior?
____ Believe that you can help your partner change if only you changed something about yourself?
____ Try not to do anything that would cause conflict or make your partner angry?
____ Always do what your partner wants you to do instead of what you want?
____ Stay with your partner because you are afraid of what your partner would do if you broke-up?

If any of these are happening in your relationship, talk to someone. Without some help, the abuse will continue.  National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or (TTY) 1-800-787-3224

(Adapted from Reading and Teaching Teens to Stop Violence, Nebraska Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition, Lincoln, NE).

Why Can’t My Friend Leave The Abuse? July 27, 2011

Posted by Kate in Domestic Abuse, help a friend.
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It doesn’t make sense – you see your best friend, brother, sister, daughter, son, cousin, relative in tears constantly because of their relationship. You’ve heard their partner call them names, threaten them and then blame your friend or loved one for their harmful behavior. Your friend has become a shell of who they used to be. It is simple to you- break up with the partner and the problem is solved. No more tears, bruises, or heartbreak.
It’s just not that easy.

There are many reasons your friend or loved one may be resisting your heartfelt encouragement to break it off with his or her partner:

  • Their partner wasn’t always this way. Keep in mind, your friend or loved one didn’t get into the relationship with someone who said “I am going to call you names, obsessively text you and slaughter your self-esteem.” The relationship probably started off with an awesome first date, but the red flags started showing after your friend or loved one had already developed feelings for their abusive partner. Your friend may still be holding on to an image of their abusive partner from the beginning of the relationship.
  • They think their abusive partner will change. He’s just stressed right now, her parents are really getting to her, it’s only when he’s drunk, she’ll change when things are better. After your friend or loved one is slapped or screamed at, their partner may be coming back and apologizing, promising it will never happen again. Your friend or loved one has invested time and feelings into this relationship and wants it to work out. Your friend may believe that their partner is going to become a different partner and the abuse will stop.
  • They are afraid what’s going to happen after they leave. Abusers, in desperation mode when they sense their partner is going to leave, will escalate the intimidation and violence; even threaten suicide if your friend leaves. The most dangerous time for someone in an abusive relationship is when they are leaving.  It takes, on average, seven or eight attempts for someone to leave their abusive partner.
  • They are still financially or legally tied to their abuser. If your friend lives with the abusive partner, has a child with them or is married to them, then making the decision to cut off the relationship can be even more heart-wrenching. Even if your friend just goes to the same high school or college as their partner, they may still have to see the person who punched them, called them a ‘slut,’ and terrorized them daily again.  No matter what, your friend will have to see the abuser again to sort these matters out- this is terrifying.
  • They still love their partner. This may be the hardest for you to swallow. It doesn’t make sense, but your friend may still have feelings for their abuser. As we said above, their partner wasn’t always this way, and there may be times when the abuser resembles the nicer, gentler person whom your friend or loved one wants to be with.  The emotional ties will still be there, even after the relationship ends.
  • They feel like they have nowhere to turn. You’re frustrated. Your other friends are frustrated. Your friend’s family is frustrated. No one wants to be the shoulder to cry on, when you have already said more times than you count that he or she just needs to move on. You’re sick of it- we get it. But, look, this is when your friend or loved one needs you the most- this is a serious emotional crisis for them, and no one can get through it alone. Start the conversation with “I’m sorry about the things I’ve said in the past, but I want to be here for you in every way that I can. I support and care about you, and this is where I’m coming from.” When they are ready to make the choice to break things off, they will know they can turn to you.

Remember: it takes tremendous amounts of courage to leave an abusive relationship- your friend or loved one needs all the support they can get.

You may have more questions, or you may just need to vent about the situation you’re in with your friend. Call Love Is Respect at 1-866-331-9474.

SOURCE: Love Is Respect

Personal Story From Friend of unfollowcharlie April 1, 2011

Posted by kelllo in Domestic Abuse, help a friend, Personal Stories, Women Who Rock.
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We were sent this heartbreaking, yet inspiring story by one of our dear unfollowcharlie friends and co-founders.

Please. If you are in a similar situation, please seek help. From a friend. From an expert. From family. From the police. From an anonymous source. Anyone.

Call 1-800-787-SAFE for immediate help.

I didnt share any personal stories in the last thread about my ex husband, but I will here. He thought that if he didnt hit me with his hands, it could not be called abuse. He would hit me with a bat, pans, break glass over my head. Lock me in closets. I had a 5 month old baby and was living far from home. When I left Modesto to live in TX I gave everyone my new address in Dallas. When we drove through Dallas, I realized we werent going to live there after all. When we got to our new place 3 hours past Dallas, it occurred to me I might be in trouble. The phone was locked with a code so I could not call anyone. I started stealing nickels and dimes from him so I could use the pay phone near the corner. I didnt want to steal quarters b/c I knew he would notice those missing. He also enjoyed doing this new thing called “digging a grave” where he had a tiny grave and a bigger grave dug out in the back yard. (more…)