For those of you who didn't know of me last year, this lovely lady above is my cousin. She was murdered by her husband on this date one year ago. Why am I sharing this? In some small way I want to contribute to helping stop the cycle of domestic violence in the world.
Ginger was like a lot of us, she came from a family with a varied backround of experiences and history. Unfortunately some of that included domestic violence. She was a beautiful, smart, tough, creative and very hard working person. Able to turn any venture she undertook into a profitable one, she wasn't what most people think of when they think of a DV victim.
The fact is, there are no real stereotypes, DV victims come from all walks of life and back rounds.
So how do we help break the cycle of abuse? Well here are my thoughts on this, gleaned from my life experiences and the wisdom of those who know more than I about life. First, we need to teach our youth to have self respect. I'm talking both male and female. First off we need to teach our children the value of human life. That honesty, integrity, modesty, and virtue are key to being a good person. Teach them that nothing is more important than treating people with respect, and expecting them to treat us with the same. We need to teach our youth that virtue, and I mean chastity and the correct behavior to keep chaste will go a long way toward keeping us from getting into an abusive relationship. If someone doesn't respect your standards before marriage, afterward it only gets worse.
If your son or daughter is dating someone, make sure they are seeing them with wide open eyes, not star struck vision of the person they want them to be. People have a bad habit of thinking that any flaw they see in a potential mate can be changed if they just love them enough. What's the saying, date with your eyes wide open and then after marriage keep them half shut. There is more that I can say but you get my drift hopefully. I know I may sound old fashioned, but honestly, when I look around me at folks who have made less than stellar choices, and I fit into that category as well, a lot of misery could have been avoided by following the so called "old fashioned" standards.
A case in point. When my mother became divorced from my first stepfather, she met my second stepfather. If mom hadn't already been a sex abuse victim as a tiny girl at the hands of her real father, she would never have dated her second husband. She was easy prey for this man as she was sweet and forgiving, and thought that she deserved what she got in the way of abuse. I know he hit her before they got married, but she would say that they had an accident or something to cover up the abuse. He could be very charming when in public, and was with us before they got married, but afterward it started right away. He was gone all week logging and she was a stay at home mom, pregnant with my little brother. He would come home on the weekend, go to the bar and get drunk, then come home and beat her brutally. We would lay in the dark, fearful that he would start on us next, or kill her it sounded so awful. I can still to this day, after 37 years, hear her cries when I think about it. In talking to my stepsister she said that he would abuse her mother as well. So it wasn't something mom did, it was him. This shaped the way I reacted to men, and thought about myself as well. I was also a rape victim during all this, almost killed, and so that also had an impact on the boys/men I dated. Luckily for me, as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I found the love and healing power I needed to eventually get beyond that. Unfortunately mom committed suicide and never found the healing power of God.
I was going to go through the signs of an abuser and so forth, but here is a link to domesticviolence.org where you can find out more. They say it much better than I could. Please, if you know someone who may be in an abusive relationship get them help. As someone who has lived through it the abuse victim often feels ashamed and hopeless. They need support! There is a number to call: National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224. Help stop the cycle!