Posted by: Ask Arden | November 22, 2009

Domestic Violence: Prevention for Teens and Women

On Friday November 13, 2009 I did a  segment on Prevention of Domestic Violence for SNN Local News 6, a 24 hour news station located in Sarasota, Florida. Adrienne Stein was both the anchor and News segment producer.

I am sure most of you know about Rihanna’s brutal beating at the hands of her former boyfriend, Chris Brown. Certainly there have been many pictures posted that were incredibly disturbing.  Chris Brown came across initially as the innocent but after so much bad press, he admitted his wrong doing. So arrogant and strangely charming. He was no Prince Charming!

Rihanna has since moved on with her life with a new boyfriend,  stepping out, and the latest big news is that she accepted the Glamour Magazine’s award for Woman of the Year! Rihanna accepted the award in behalf of women that have been victims of Domestic Violence. She dedicated the award to both her Mom and Grandmother that were proudly sitting in the audience. She spoke about her Mom’s physical abuse at the hand’s of her Dad.

So why would such a “star” put up with that kind of treatment from a man. Why would any woman for that matter? 

For Rihanna it was familiar to be with a man who lifted his hands and beat her up. She grew up with a father who abused her Mom.  Unfortunately this is not unique. There are so  many  women and men who have been  emotionally and or physically abused at the hands of their Dad’s, Mom’s, boyfriends or girlfriends.

There are times when abuse is insidiously on going and not visible to the outsider’s eye. You ask, Why wouldn’t a woman just up and leave and how is it that she puts up with it?

Most women are caretakers and feel that they can change their man. Some women have little or no voice. They feel that they do not matter. If there is an incident she feels humiliated and embarrassed. She will cover up for his wrong doings especially to the outside world.

Don’ forget, when you are living with or dating an abuser you are “used” to taking full responsibility for all of his wrong doings. He blames you for riling him up, for not completing a task, for his “bad” day. You get the picture?

Let me share with you some of the other character traits to be on the look out for especially to avoid when getting involved with the wrong kind of guy.

He will look to dominate you, tell you who you can see, what you can do, what to think and feel. He’s jealous, possessive, controlling and chronically puts you down. His goal is to make you feel worthless, and inadequateHe will verbally abuse and can physically abuse you as well. After a while a woman can feel almost brainwashed, and numb even if she knows he is wrong, she won’t fight back, mostly because there is no winning, it’s always his way. She may tippy- toe around him, especially if there are children involved. It’s living in a climate of fear and intimidation!

What’s a friend, Mom, daughter to do when faced with on going abuse? How can you help?

I believe a direct compassionate positive approach works best. “I am very concerned about you. You know how much I care about you. I so much want you to be safe and happy.”  “I love you, I am here for you when you want to talk.” “You matter so much to me. You are very special and a good person that deserves respect and loving treatment.” These are good conversation starters.

I am often asked how long does it take a person to get out of a nightmarish situation.

After many years of working with teens and women who have been victimized my task is to help extricate them from their abuser. This is not an easy task. These women are fraught with guilt, anxiety, fear and financial dependency and a general lack of confidence.  Re-building their self-esteem, and embedding in their mind, “I can do and I won’t continue to put up with this abuse,” over time needs to become their mantra. Their fear begins to turn into an anger that I help  harness and connect to a constructive action plan to help them begin to sever their ties.

I have had great success with women who have become determined to press forward and move on with their lives!

Here in Rockland County we have the Rockland Womens Family Shelter and safe homes. A wonderful web site and advocacy group that has a national help line is RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network).

I hope my posting sensitized you, my readers, to be more aware for yourself, your mothers, daughters and friends.

Love and Blessings


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