These posts are excerpts from Julie's monthly email newsletter, where she shares updates, info, resources and food for thought about violence against women, human trafficking and other related issues. Click below to subscribe.
"What you thought before has led to every choice you have made, and this adds up to you at this moment. If you want to change who you are physically, mentally, and spiritually, you will have to change what you THINK." - Dr. Patrick Gentempo
I believe there is much wisdom in the above statement. Major shifts in thinking - both personal and societal - are difficult, but these are the essential first steps to ending domestic violence.
ABUSERS think they can keep their partners in their lives by using control and intimidation and instilling fear in their partners, but instead, it is this very behavior that drives them away.
VICTIMS, on the other hand, think if they can just get their partners some kind of mental health or medical help, or change their own behavior, the abuse will stop.
This month I have been pondering how misunderstood and marginalized DV victims are. Crimes against women are unique, as they are the only criminal acts for which the victims are consistently blamed, directly and indirectly. (Have you ever heard the victim of a holdup asked, “What were you wearing when he robbed you?”, “What did you do to provoke him?”, or “Were you ever robbed as a child?”) Women are routinely accused of provoking the crimes committed against them, especially those involving sexual or physical assault. It makes the accusers feel smarter and safer in the world. In 2018, victim blaming is still very much part and parcel of our society’s response.
For years the evangelical Christian church denied and covered up the abuse of women by church-going men and pastors. In the last few years, though, particularly especially since the emergence of #TimesUp and #MeToo, Christian survivors have found their voices, and recently a #ChurchToo movement has developed.
This past week I came across a newly published article by a DV lecturer. I heaved a huge sigh of disappointment. It was all about "the cycle of abuse". I decided to post about the cycle on Facebook and hundreds of people responded. Most did not have correct information about current DV theory. I am always concerned when those who train others in this vital topic are not themselves well trained, so I want to share a bit about that here.
The "Cycle of Violence" is a psychological theory of how DV abuse occurs in a relationship. It was developed in the 1970's by Dr. Lenore Walker, who wrote the book "The Battered Woman" and coined that term. Although the theory is not scientific, is outdated and is no longer used by experts in this field, it is still widely taught and referenced.
March brought beautiful blossoming dogwood, cherry and redbud trees to N.C., but freezing temperatures, cold rain and sleet soon followed. April is here, but the chaotic weather patterns mean many buds will never bloom. Likewise, #timesup and#metoo have recently moved the dial towards a new season of believing victims, but has been followed by an angry backlash by those uncomfortable with changing the status quo. (See this article to learn about these movements.) We are headed in the right direction but have a long way to go towards full gender equality and ending violence against women.
Welcome to my first newsletter. My goal is provide you with up-to-date information, resources, training opportunities, current events and food for thought on issues surrounding violence against women, human trafficking and other forms of interpersonal violence. I also plan to provide information on aspects of trauma, victim advocacy, and self-care. I'll keep you in the loop, too, about my latest projects and upcoming events.