Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Domestic Violence...Why do They Stay? by Olivia Seymour

I can sit and talk about many domestic violent situations I have seen with my own eyes. I have also known people who were being abused and they tell me, they don't know how to get out of it. In listening to their personal stories, I realized they all had different reason for feeling "why" they wanted or needed to stay.

Picture this..............You are introduced to a new group of people by a mutual friend. Within an hour of meeting these people, a couple within the group is having an argument. The male then grabs the female by the arm and pushes her upstairs. She is falling and crying for him to let her go. Everyone else is just standing around, not saying anything. What would you do? Well, I was in that situation and I asked a very open ended question...Is somebody going to stop him or something? Everyone of those people who were with me said "That is none of my business!" Ok, really, none of your business eh! Well, that couple would fight and I would venture to say that he would literally beta her up almost everyday. When I'd talk to her I would ask "why are you staying!" I felt like my hands were tied. It was one of the most frustrating times in my life.  I knew she deserved better. I knew she could do better... but she still would stay! What would you do?

In talking to her and reflecting on my experience, I could imagine that there are many reasons why a person in an abusive relationship many not feel free enough to leave. But I've compiled a list of some things that I think may be the cause. 

1. Fear – Many abusers threaten to harm themselves, their partners, or the children. I'm sure that would play a part in keeping someone in a relationship that they want to get out of. But after being manipulated into thinking that their family would be harmed, it would literally make them feel like they were "forced" to stay.  Where fear is bigger than the realization of needing to protect yourself or children, a victim can feel weakened.

2. Love – Victims are more often in love with the abuser and want the relationships to work. But is it truly Love??? True LOVE like we mentioned in one of the previous posts.....SHOULDN'T HURT!!! If someone makes you feel like you are not who they want to be with, gather yourself and leave them to find that person. Anyone can say "I love you" until they are blue in the face. But baby girl, their actions speak louder than their words.  At the end of the day, love should not leave you with black and blue bruises.

3. Economics – People may not have the money or the job skills to become independent enough to make it on their own. A victim might feel they will not make it without the abuser providing for them. Believe it or not, there is some good news.  If the victim doesn't have the money or means to move out or leave, there are resources and places a victim can go to get help and begin to build themselves back up.

4. Faith – Sadly some victims believe the abuser will change. Please understand you can not change a person, they have to want it themselves!! A person can say they have or will change.  The facts are, they may actually show this alleged change but that may last only for a little while. If this person hasn't made up in their mind or heart they are serious about change, their old ways eventually come back. Don't put all your faith and trust in man....period

5. Self-esteem – Victims often feel like a helpless or not able to make a decision to want to leave. I've seen strong independent women get with the wrong person and their lives change. Their mindsets change.  Now you find yourself having to follow "rules" that say that you can't come around family, hangout or even talk to friends. You have been confined to the walls in your home and you do what he says or else. You walk around with your head hanging down. You don't speak up, and you jump at hearing anyone who raises their voice. You have lost yourself. Remember, you can't love anyone more than you love yourself.  Don't get to the place when you look in the mirror, you don't even know whose looking at.

6. Children – Many victims believe that it’s better to keep the family together, particularly if the children are not being abused. This can be very damaging to children, they may not be physically abused but mentally it is steering the course of their lives. Do you really want your child growing up thinking it's ok to be abused or abuse others?    

 Although this is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, domestic violence happens everyday!! Between 600,000 and 6 million women are abused every year. Between 100,000 and 6 million men are abused every year. Women 20-24 years of age have the greatest risk. And even about 2.2 million people have called a domestic violence crisis or hotline seeking advice or assistance. To be honest with you, those numbers make me nauseous when I think about them.  Literally! But at the end of the day, you have be able to trust your gut.  Trust that intuition that was planted in you. If you feel like you are in a situation that just "doesn't feel right" that feeling is there for a reason.  The sad part about all of this is that those numbers may actually be higher if  everyone reported it.

At the end of the day, life is too precious to be treated like a punching bag physically, mentally, verbally or financially! Trust your gut. It's ok to put you first...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Silence hides violence...Love shouldn't hurt.

This is the second blog for the month of October in our "I Rock!" series. This week, we'll be discussing domestic violence.  Unfortunately, like Breast Cancer, many of us have known someone who has been a victim of domestic violence. According to there are some shocking statistics most recently.  These I admit have shocked me too!

Here are a few that I have found.
*   Every 9 seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten.
*  1 in 3 women have been beaten during her lifetime where the abuser is a member of her family.
*  Up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.
* 16% of adult men who reported being raped and/or physically assaulted were assaulted by a current or former spouse, cohabitating partner, boyfriend/girlfriend or date
* It is estimated that 835,000 men are physically assaulted by and intimate partner annually

This had my jaw dropping! The thing is, that not all abuse is created equal. Since the boom of technology over the years, different types of abuse have been added to the list of the most common types.

1. Emotional or Verbal abuse is non-physical behaviors such as threats, insults, constant monitoring or “checking in,” excessive texting, humiliation, intimidation or isolation.

2. Stalking. This abuse is a person being watched repeatedly, harassed or followed.

3.Financial abuse. This happens when money or assets are used to keep or hold control over another person.

4. Physical abuse is the use of force with the intent to cause fear or injury, like hitting, shoving, biting, strangling, kicking.

5. Sexual abuse is where a person is forced to have sexual activities or any action that impacts a person's ability to control their own sexual activity.

6. Digital abuse, the use of technology such as texting and social networking is used to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a partner. Often this behavior is a form of verbal or emotional abuse perpetrated through technology.

Regardless of the type, it all leaves a scar.  This is one of the hardest topics to talk about right now for many different reasons. But in all of that, I want to challenge each of you reading this to this one thing. All this month, be an voice of encouragement, a ear to hear and not to judge, and a source of comfort for someone that you may know that is dealing or has dealt with any form of abuse.  You may be the only peace they have. So show love, strength, and remind them that love shouldn't hurt.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tackling Myths About Breast Cancer.

Welcome to the first blog that begins the "I Rock!" series of events geared to empower, inspire, and educate you this month!  October is both Breast Cancer Awareness and Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  These are two topics that are dear to LaJule, so this entire month we are dedicating these series of blog posts to touch on some things that have been a constant source of conversation.  October is most recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so I'm going to tackle that topic first.  Those who support people who have been affected by Breast Cancer is represented and displayed with a light pink ribbon. I would venture to say that most of us know someone with either breast cancer or some other form of cancer. The most current statistic states that, ......1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer.
 There are two categories for cancer. The first is Noninvasive, this is where the cancer stays in one location. The second is Invasive, this is where the cancer spreads throughout the body.

But even with that overwhelming statistic, there are even more myths out there.  Right now, I'm going to tackle a few of those myths.

1.  Myth:  If you find a lump in your breast then you have cancer.
Truth: Only a small percentage of breast lumps turn into cancer. It is very important to see a physician for a clinical breast exam. He or she may possibly order breast imaging studies to determine if this lump is of concern or not.
2.  Myth: Only women get breast cancer
Truth: Every year it is estimated that approximately 2,190 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 410 will die. Breast cancer in men is usually detected as a hard lump underneath the nipple and areola.  Men carry a higher mortality than women do, primarily because awareness among men is less and they are less likely to assume a lump is breast cancer, which can cause a delay in seeking treatment.

3. Getting a Mammogram spreads the cancer.
Truth: A mammogram, or x-ray of the breast, currently remains the gold standard for the early detection of breast cancer. Breast compression while getting a mammogram cannot cause cancer to spread.

4.  Breast cancer is contagious.
Truth: You cannot catch breast cancer or transfer it to someone else's body. Breast cancer is the result of uncontrolled cell growth of mutated cells that begin to spread into other tissues within the breast.

I want you to take self-examinations, clinical examinations and mammograms. They are the cornerstone to early detection and early resolution if you should find yourself facing or having to tackle breast cancer.  The sad part about it is I just recently heard someone say "I will never get a mammogram because they will smash my breast in a big machine."  In engaging further in the conversation, this person has a sister that just had surgery to have both of her breast removed because of breast cancer! I couldn't believe it.

At the end of the day, please don't let myths, hear-say or fear prevent you from saving a life of someone else or even your own.