Thank you, Delilah for sharing your blog with me today. It is my pleasure to be with you and your readers.
Where does that fit in today’s world of #metoo and the constant barrage of negativity, violent and crass behavior anywhere from our child’s sports games to all the way to the President? We have seen OJ Simpson, Chris Brown and most recently Rob Porter in the White House.
Civility is missing. Anger is the replacement. Our environment is ripe for abuse. A sobering statistic is 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men will experience severe intimate partner physical or sexual violence or stalking by an intimate partner.
With the #metoo movement going viral, we saw the tidal wave of support for victims. Women of all races, religions and economic backgrounds received encouragement to share their stories and when the courts allowed it, prosecute their offenders. It was often the case that an offender had multiple victims. The strength and power in numbers.
The #survivorspeaks movement created by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence is a lonely journey. Domestic violence occurs in the vacuum of a consenting adult relationship. The abuse takes place over months and years. The stigma rings like church bells. “Why doesn’t she leave?” Abused men suffer a double stigma. “Why doesn’t he leave? What a weak man that a woman could do that.”
In my many lives I was a collegiate date rape victim, an Emergency Medical Services first responder, and an advocate for victims of rape and domestic violence. I am also a wife and mother of sons and daughters. Where does the conversation start? Parents want to believe everything is going to be okay in the world they grow up in. In reality, their future is a minefield. My advice is to begin at the beginning.
Awareness. It begins early with teaching your child the names of their body parts and the understanding that some parts are private. Body secrets are never okay. No one should take pictures of your body parts. Teach them they will never be in trouble for telling a body secret. Teach them how to get out of a bad situation—scream, run, find a safe adult—police officer, firefighter, postal person, teacher and even a mom with a group of kids. The rules apply to people you know too. Importantly, there is a lot of discussion about good touches and bad touches. Sometimes an inappropriate touch will tickle or feel good. Without understanding that, every stigma is enhanced by guilt. If a child grows up with the understanding about their own body, they learn to set boundaries. Knowledge is power.
Teens have a growing need for greater understanding. Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence.
Victims of abuse do not bring it on themselves. They do not necessarily lack confidence. They are not a co-abuser. Abuse occurs when the abuser feels entitled to the power and control and uses verbal, physical or sexual abuse to get there. POWER AND CONTROL. THIS IS NEVER ABOUT LOVE.
Why stay? That’s the biggest question outsiders ask. An advocate and a provider of emergency care, I have seen many reasons. All I can understand. Love. They love the abuser. He or she wasn’t always like this. Stigma. What will people think. They want the relationship but not the abuse. A nice version of the abuser is very nice. Niceness creates a false sense of security. Isolation–abuser controls all aspects of the victim’s life. Fear to reach out to old friends. Depression. Retribution. Loss of custody. Don’t want to leave a pet. Every potential bad outcome of reporting is seen on TV, online and in the movies. They are caught in a vicious cycle with law enforcement. In some states, if an incident is called in and there is evidence of abuse, the abuser will go to jail. This occurs no matter what the victim says. The police know you didn’t fall down the stairs, walk into a door, or are so flexible that you reversed your hands to leave hand prints on your upper arms or cheeks. A police officer who arrives at the same address often, easily can become less attentive each time. They are keenly aware that one in three female and one in twenty male murder victims died from an intimate partner crime. The responders feel helpless when a victim returns over and over again. The victim is so tired, and they feel their options are few, but there is light at the end of this tragedy.
One phone call. One hand reaching out. For anonymous, confidential help available 24/7, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) and Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center International Toll-Free (24/7) 1-866-USWOMEN (879-6636).
I write Romantic Suspense, often using what I know. The journey to writer took a more twisting route. A mom of four, and wife of a fellow first responder, my life was filled to the brim. In 2001, New York was victim of a heinous terrorist attack. That day, I watched my husband leave and for the first time in his law enforcement career, I thought he wouldn’t come back. My oldest son, 11 at the time lost his innocence. He realized truly what daddy did. He got off the school bus and asked will Daddy die. In 2006, a parent’s nightmare, my youngest was diagnosed with Leukemia. I’m proud he is a survivor today. In 2010, my health declined. A stent in the main coronary artery, followed by a tumor on my kidney, followed by a Lupus diagnosis and two strokes–on either side of the front of my brain left me reeling. Unable to read more than a newspaper headline, I began an arduous rehabilitation. Add mega-doses of steroids to alter dreams and play with sleep, I started to create a story. Ian Chase came to me in a wildly, wicked dream.
I’d like to introduce you to the results of that effort. Secure Desire: A Chase Group Story. The story is the opening of a series about the men and women of the Chase Group. Designed by Billionaire brothers Ian and Kieran Chase, a high octane venture capital company stakes a private security company that takes on cases where justice has been skewed. This first novel tells the story of Chase Group CEO Ian Chase, and Art Historian/FBI agent, Cassie Ellis. Six years after a first meeting, their paths cross for the second time, Ian leads his personnel to save Cassie and in turn the future of the United States. Part romance, part thriller, filled with political intrigue and modern medicine, Secure Desire is a cover to cover page-turner. Secure Again will be coming soon.
Visit me at http://www.rldunnauthor.com. Ask a question or leave a comment. Include you are from Delilah Devlin’s blog and three of you will have a chance to receive your choice of a piece of jewelry from the five (5) dollar collection at 8thaveemeralds.com (No purchase required.)