"I feel it’s time to share my story with other women, by way of supporting them, empathising with them, empowering them, showing them that Domestic Violence isn’t EVER about them but about their abuser and that they ALWAYS have a choice."
This is the inspiring story of a former victim of domestic violence who gave her testimony in the Huffington Post this week. The combination of media and our new era of modern technologies have started to empower women to share their stories, in the hope to raise awareness on the issue of domestic violence, and so that their experience may help others.
At the time they may have felt they were alone to suffer abuse, when in fact one in three woman in the USA experience abuse at some point in their life and 15 millions children suffer from domestic abuse every year in the USA alone.
Leslie Morgan Steiner, former victim of domestic violence, TED
"The man that I loved more than anyone on earth held a gun to my head and threatened to kill me more times than I can even remember." Leslie Morgan Steiner has courageously described her "crazy love, a psychological trap disguised as love", and that can happen to anyone. She says she was a typical victim because she did not know anything of "its warning signs or its patterns", which she describes as follows in her inspiring talk for TED: Why domestic violence victims don't leave:
1st step: The abuser seduces and charms the victim, making her feel that she is the dominant partner in the relationship from the very beginning by idealising her, and not
displaying any hint of violence, or control.
2nd step: The abuser isolates the victim, for example by insisting on moving in a different area.
3rd step: The abuser Introduces the threat of violence, on pretext such as buying gun to feel protected.
4th step: The abuser attacks the partner and justifies one's actions, for example, invoking stress. The abuse then escalates and can take any form of emotional and physical abuse.
5th step: Possibly death. Over 70% of murders in domestic violence case occur after the victim has left the relationship, as the abuser has nothing to lose. Other damages caused may include stalking, terrifying the victim, or doing some form of financial manipulation, which makes very difficult for the victim to leave, aside from the fact that the victim may not realise for a long time (if at all) that she is a victim of domestic abuse.
The way to recovery involves the vital need to break the silence and talk to others: The police, neighbours, friends and families, and others.
The testimony of Emma, victim of domestic violence
"He was the love of my life" (5.38 mns)
Where to get help?
The National Domestic Violence helpline offers phone and chant services to anyone affected by relationship abuse, whether currently in abusive relationships, working to heal, friends or family and survivors and anyone in the community who has questions about domestic violence. They have the ability to provide phone services in more than 200 languages. Find out more: http://www.thehotline.org/
Find out more about what an abusive relationship looks like
I think I'm Abusive - is there Help for Abusers?
Who are abusers?
There seems to be a general assumption that abusers are of an easily discernable by anyone 'normal' . However, one of the main problems encountered by victims, friends, family and various agencies dealing with the consequences of an abusive relationship, is how 'normal' the perpetrators of domestic violence seem. In fact, an abuser may not himself recognise that he has a problem.
However, there are warning signs. This may include a variety of signs such as: Jealousy, controlling behaviour, verbal abuse, history of battery or sexual violence, cruelty to children or to animals, and other signs. Read more here
People who think they may have an abuse problem can access useful information on the Nelson's Abuse pages
What is a healthy relationship?
Effect on children
According to the American Society for the Positive Care of Children:
14% of all men in prison and 36% of women in prison in the USA were abused as children, about twice the frequency seen in the general population.
Children who experience child abuse & neglect are about 9 times more likely to become involved in criminal activity. More statistics here
Learn more about the moving story of Ronald, formerly a child exposed to witnessing abuse, today on death row in the USA.