I attended the BHW Meet & Greet here in Austin yesterday and found it absolutely enthralling! While I have been a member on this site for some time, I haven't interacted on it much lately.
Love, love, love the idea of tribes....
I'm a dv survivor (twice over) and currently working as a DV advocate at the National Domestic Violence Hotline since 2006 after being out of the DV situations for more than 10 years now. Love my job because it can present itself with interesting challenges from time to time, but I'm also getting an opportunity to try to make sure that no one else has to walk in my shoes ever again.
I have worked in a DV shelter for 2 years prior being a DV Hotline advocate at NDVH, been a paralegal for 15 years, a CASA advocate for 5 years, Guardian ad litem for 2 years, a Victims Advocate at a small town police station for 4 yrs, and so much more.
Member of - * Texas Council of Family Violence's Survivors' Caucus * Texas Council of Family Violence's Legal Advocacy Network * SafePlace's Survivors' Voices
I am also a mother and grandmother -- and loving every bit of that.
I love painting, listening to music, doing calligraphy, djing on the internet, writing, arts & crafts, playing the piano, gardening, and so much more.
Because I have lymphedema in my legs since an auto accident in 2004, life can be a little more challenging for me at times since it's a fairly severe case of it. Depression can hit from time to time and give me a funked state of mine where I end up struggling with my self worth at times.
Outside of my regular work, I'm active on FB with my Domestic Violence Voices fb page, Lymphedema in the News fb page, and my Beyond Words Live fb page which emphasizes my radio show on blog talk radio (http://blogtalkradio.com/oralhistory) which is designed to emphasize survivors stories.
Lastly, I have a producer's membership at a Community TV station here in Austin - Channel Austin. I'm hoping to spring more into that media piece by piece in the next few years.
I am really looking forward to getting to know the other Brave Heart Women on this site, as well as working on defining what is my AQ!. Let me know, if you want to know more and/or you would like to collaborate on things. I have many ideas and projects too myself, but sometimes need a little extra encouragement to catapult them into motion.
While I do work at a domestic violence hotline, my passion for ending domestic violence extends far beyond that, I am a survivor of domestic violence twice over, worked as a CASA advocate and more.
I've been involved in survivors groups and a complaint that was received often was that they had no voice to tell their story. Media seems to twist the story that they are telling to meet their own demographics. It's funny though, if the demographic is 20 yr olds for instance, it may not be safe when a survivor is still in their 20s to tell their story until they are removed from the situation and now in their 30s or 40s, but then they don't fit the demographics, even if the event happened in their 20s.
Too, one of the things that has happened is that the prior awareness programs, the Silent Witness Intitiative isn't as well supported because coalitions are taking a different focus.
Putting on my thinking cap, I came up with the idea of collecting survivor stories and documenting them in an oral history format. Unfortunately, because of the way the economy has been, I've run into stumbling blocks of looking for funding sources to get the proper equipment and traveling expenses to travel and gather my stories in an oral history type format.
Economy struggles led me to the Blog Talk Radio where I have been able to gather a lot of stories; however, I am still wanting to take it further.
I want to have a book created with domestic violence survivor stories in it.
Are you such a survivor? Would you be willing to share your story with me?
The concept is to share the survival stories so that others may not have to walk down the same paths as we might have had to.
PS I wanted to start a community on this as well; however, I don't have the permissions to do so at this time. Perhaps I'm too new on this site? I don't know.
More soon. Please let me hear more ideas/suggestions and/or your willingness to share your story with me.
This is a question that we get all the time on the hotline from many, many callers. Sometimes, it isn't phrased exactly in so many words; however, the question remains the same.
If one really wants an education on "why he does that?", they can certainly read Lundy Bancroft's book called (very simply), "Why Does He Do That?" It's a great book that details many of the reasons why he may be doing the things that he is doing: but, the underlining things to remember is that abusive personalities are illogical (making it very hard for a logical person to truly 'figure' them out) and they are basically desiring power and control. That very innate and heated desire to have that power and control over another person that is close to them.
The important thing to remember is, for whatever reason they are doing the things that they do, it is all about power and control. It is critical that one doesn't get too wrapped up into trying to figure them out. You might spend a lifetime of trying to figure them out, and is that really how you wish to spend your life so focused on the past and not being able to enjoy the journey ahead of you?
There are just too many factors involved in why they do the things that they do; but the healthy stance is to understand that it is what it is and begin your own journey of healing (whether he accepts accountability for his own actions or not, and whether or not he decides to get help or not) and start:
* getting involved in a DV support group * getting involved in a DV counseling * journaling * mapping out some goals for yourself that you want to head towards in the next month, next year, and possibly within the next 5 years * getting involved with some things that you haven't been able to do (if separated and/or living in separate housing to begin with) * reconnecting with old friends * adding 2-3 things in your calendar for your "Me Time" etc., etc.
This is also a very popular question on the DV hotline. One would think only victims would call, but we do get abusers calling us too, which was probably one of the more shocking things that I was learning when I started working on this hotline going on 6 years ago.
My answer is an immediate, "Yes", followed by "How bad is that you want to change?"
I think that this takes them back a bit oftentimes because there will inevitably be that bit of a silent pause. What they say helps me to determine the direction of the call and an idea of how serious the caller truly is about wanting help.
We then talk about...
* some ideas for communication skills -- "I feel" for example to take ownership of the feelings
* some ideas for exit strategies when feeling the anger/rage coming on
* battering intervention programs out there available as a resource to them to relearn the bad behaviors that may be taking them to the anger/rage modes
* some ideas to try before getting into the battering intervention program (sometimes there may be a few days or weeks before they can step into a program)
* the desire to do this regardless of whether their spouse is seeking counseling for themselves or not
* the desire to do this regardless of whether the result is staying with this partner or not (the idea is for a long term change so that, even if not continuing with this partner, this pattern of behavior doesn't continue into other relationships in the future
* ect. etc.
It really moves me when we get these type of callers because, when they are truly having that deep seeded desire to change, there just might be hope in this world for ending domestic violence.
Yesterday, I had the extreme pleasure and honor of interviewing, author, Maxine Schnall.
It has taken some time to catch up with her, but she started out being an advocate for women's rights in Pennsylvania long before many things were done for domestic violence. She's written many books, but the book I'm often recommending to those needing to move forward in their lives called WHAT DOESN'T KILL YOU WON'T HURT YOU: TURNING BAD BREAKS INTO BLESSINGS. Now, she is the author of an upcoming book, a spy novel that will be officially out in July of this year, utilizing Jacqueline Onasis Kennedy as her main character, PARIS TO DIE FOR. You'll just have to tune in to find out more about this phenomenal lady.
This is a very inspirational interview that I had, which is certaily motivational for me to continue forward making sure my broadcasts continue. Let me know what you think!