Women have a lot to worry about, but we do it. We meet things head on, we conquer, we keep going. We hold down jobs. We raise kids. We balance relationships. Often times we do all this at the expense of ourselves, our mental, physical, and emotional well being.
While Breast Cancer takes front and center in October, Domestic Violence has shared this month for decades in search of raising awareness in the hopes of keeping women safe. And while I know a few women who have struggled with breast cancer (my own grandmother passed from breast cancer back in the early 70s), I know way more women who battle domestic violence. And like cancer is often undetected and silent, many women don’t realize they are in a domestic violence relationship.
I write romance. I love happily ever afters. I believe that there is someone for everyone. I know that in order to find love we do not have to compromise. We deserve kindness, respect, truth, commitment, if that is what we are seeking.
But. There is the god-forsaken BUT.
Sometimes we think we’ve found true love, but once we become invested in the relationship we realize things aren’t as we were promised it would be.
ONE IN THREE WOMEN WILL EXPERIENCE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN HER LIFETIME.
ONE IN THREE WOMEN MURDERED WILL HAVE HER LIFE TAKEN BY HER LOVER/HUSBAND/BOYFRIEND/SIGNIFICANT OTHER.
ONE IN THREE WOMEN WILL BE SEXUALLY ASSAULTED IN HER LIFE.
We are led to believe Domestic Violence is broken bones, black eyes, busted lips, and missing teeth. That’s where that one in three statistic comes in. Most women only report the physical violence. But Domestic Violence destroys women in so many other insidious ways.
Mental, Emotional, Physical, Psychological, Verbal types of abuse are actually more common than physical abuse. These abuses usually injure women in ways that never heal. Invisible wounds that last forever can even eventually manifest in illness and disease. Mental health illnesses like depression and anxiety, physical illnesses like fibromyalgia, cancer, auto-immune diseases ravage our bodies and minds. Psychological constructs like believing we deserve the pain being inflicted on us, or that all relationships suck so this is normal, or worse, we caused the abuse, become a way of life.
If you’re unhappy, look at your life. Look at the person you think you love. Is he kind? Is he respectful? Is your relationship balanced?
He doesn’t have to hit you to be abusing you.
Here is what a healthy relationship should look like.
Communication. You talk openly about problems and listen to one another. You respect each other’s opinions.
Respect. You value each other’s opinions, feelings, and needs. You give each other the freedom to be yourself and be loved for who you are.
Trust. You believe what your partner has to say and don’t feel the need to “prove” each other’s trustworthiness.
Honesty. You’re honest with each other but can still keep some things private.
Equality. You make decisions together and hold each other to the same standards. You and your partner have equal say about major decisions within the relationship. All partners have access to the resources they need.
Boundaries. You enjoy spending time apart, alone, or with others. You respect each other’s need for time and space apart. You communicate with each other about what you are and aren’t comfortable with.
The National Hotline for Domestic Violence is: 800-799-7233
If you are in Oneida County or Herkimer County, New York give the YWCA Mohawk Valley a call on their hotline at: 315.797.7740.
Also, check out the Y’s website at http://www.ywcamv.org
Stay safe. Stay happy. Never stop believing in healthy love.