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Why Does She Stay?

It’s a question that always gets asked when the subject of domestic violence comes around.  Why does she stay, if it’s so horrible?  If she does stay, doesn’t that mean she wants it on some level?  Signs of Domestic Violence

No, no, and NO.

The reasons someone might stay in an abusive relationship are myriad, crippling, confusing to the victim, and sadly consistent.  Domestic abuse and violence is a cycle, widely recognized, with distinct and documented components.

Why does she stay?

  • Is she afraid he will kill her if she leaves?
  • Has he isolated her from her friends and her family, all other support except him?
  • Does he tell her nobody will ever want her?
  • Would he threaten to take away her children?
  • How about telling her he will call immigration on her – if she is in the country without papers – and have her deported?  Would he do that?
  • Maybe he’d threaten to kill himself if she dared take a step away from him, and his death would be on her head?
  • Could he rob her of her self-esteem, her confidence, her belief in herself and in the possibility of aid?

Yes, yes and YES.

Part of being a bystander – a helpful, active bystander – in this world is knowing some of the answers to hard questions, difficult questions, scary and threatening and challenging questions.  It is so easy to have the best of intentions, and yet wound a survivor terribly by a misplaced demand of, “WHY DID YOU STAY?”

There are reasons.  So many reasons.  But rather than have me tell you all of them in bulleted lists, black and white on the screen and oh-so-analytical, I will instead give you this link to a TED talk, delivered by an amazing, courageous, accomplished, smart, dignified woman.  A survivor of domestic violence.  Why did she stay?

Here, let her tell you:

* Why do I keep using “he”?  Sadly, because the majority of abuse perpetrators are men.  Does that mean most men are abusers?  Absolutely not.  Are men also victims sometimes?  Absolutely yes.  Do they deserve support and respect and aid?  Again, absolutely yes.

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Strike! Dance! Rise!

OBR-logo-englishWell, I posted a while back on the movement called One Billion Rising and I posted a link to a wonderful short film promoting the international day of awareness.  And then I managed to NOT keep posting about it (which I wanted to do, because this whole thing is pretty awesome in my opinion) and go on to other topics which are also important.  But I CAN’T STAND IT!  I have to post again!  There’s a couple reasons why I am so excited:

#1 – My organization, Tri-Valley Haven, is hosting a One Billion Rising event in our home town of Livermore, California!  So I’m putting out a link to the event here.  I know not all of you (or even necessarily most of you) who read my blog are my real-life neighbors, but SOME of you might be.  And so, in that off-hand chance… you should totally come to Panama Red Coffee Company on February 14th to celebrate with us!

#2 — Ok, I think we all love inspiring, uplifting and amazing dance music, am I right?  Do we love it more when it’s not only inspiring, uplifting and amazing but… international?  How about inspiring, uplifting, amazing, international and for an INCREDIBLE cause?  Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about!

So… here are links to some beautiful art that people around the world are creating in honor of the One Billion Rising event!

Want to dance?  Check out the One Billion Rising theme song–Break the Chain!  I guarantee it will be stuck in your head, and that’s a good thing!  It’s been in mine all day!

Want to dance… en español?  Si, se puede!

For a bunch of wonderful videos–some from the United States, some from Mexico, India, South Africa and so many other countries, go to the VDay YouTube channel and be inspired!

And when you’re done dancing around your home, your office, or wherever you are when you plunge into this amazing outpouring of art and spirit, consider joining up with a One Billion Rising event in your area.  There are tons out there and you can even do an easy search by city, State, zip or country!v_day-page2437

Because sometimes being a bystander can be challenging, hard or lonely work.  But sometimes, being an active bystander means to sing, to dance, to be visible, to raise your voice… and to be part of something magical!  Strike!  Dance!  Rise!

Doing Bystander Intervention the Right Way! (Thanks to the Kiwis!)

Some weeks, I struggle to come up with a blog post I am happy with.  Sometimes, blog posts fall into my lap, video and all.  This time, my coworker Samantha found this gem from  New Zealand.  It is a short, direct, well-filmed and amazing spot on how to be a good bystander… and how much of a difference a small act at the right place and time can make.  (And besides, I love Kiwi accents.)

Check this out!  Let me know what you think–good, bad or indifferent.  And then pass it on!

“Hello… Are You All Right?”

tumblr_m0bepo6OMA1r8u69vI have a cold today—I’ve had it since Saturday.  I didn’t sleep well last night due to impersonating a human faucet.  But I need to be at work for my late shift—in at 1 PM and out at 8 PM.  So, in order to cheer myself up, I go to a local diner for lunch.  I eat alone, reading my Kindle on my iPhone and when I am finished, I have about ten minutes to spare before I have to drive the rest of the way to work.

I walk to my car, unlock it, and get in, closing the door.  I notice vaguely that my car is facing an old, battered white pickup in the parking lot and that there is an older man sitting in it.  Then I pull out my iPhone, fire up the Kindle, and work on finishing my chapter.  Sometime in the reading, I pause.  Because I feel fairly crummy and my eyes have that tired, burning I-have-a-cold feeling to them, I shut them briefly and slump, leaning my head back against the head-rest.  I sigh.

I straighten a bit and go back to reading from my Kindle app.  And a moment later, there is movement to my left and a soft tapping at the glass of my driver-side window.  I glance up, surprised, and see that it is the old man who had been in the pickup truck.  He smiles carefully—I am sure that any man approaching a single woman in a parking lot must be acutely aware that he might be perceived as possibly a threat—and says, “Hello… are you all right?”  His voice is kind.  His teeth are false.

I realize suddenly that I must have looked deeply unhappy—head bowed (you can’t see I am reading from the outside), then resting my head back against the seat and slumping.  Alone in the car, aimless, after being alone in the restaurant.

I open the window a little and smile.  “Oh, thank you!” I say.  “I’m fine, really, I just have a cold and so I’m a little draggy.  But thank you so much for checking on me.  That was really kind of you!”

He lingers a moment to be sure I am not putting on a brave face.  He says, “You just seemed… worried.”

I show him my iPhone Kindle book. He smiles, relieved.  I smile back and thank him again.

He heads back to his battered old white pick-up and starts it up.  I wave and he waves and we smile again before he pulls away, off to do whatever was part of his day.

Apart from having an annoying cold, I am okay today.  But what if I had not been?  What if I had been sitting in that parking lot because I was afraid to go home, because my partner abused me?  What if I was dealing with a death or a severe illness, or fear for a child who was in trouble with drugs?  The possibilities are so limitless—and fortunately for me, I was really okay.

But if I had not been, that moment of kindness could have literally been a lifesaver.

Thank you, old man in the white pickup.  I don’t even know your name.  And you don’t know mine.  But I think I will remember you for a long time.

Sometimes, being an active bystander isn’t about intervening in a huge, scary fight or stopping a date rape cold or helping someone struck by a car.  Sometimes, being an active bystander is simply being… kind.  Simply noticing other people and then having the courage to go up to them and ask…

“Hello… are you all right?”

Awesome People Being Awesome – Thanks, “Bill The Librarian” for this great post!

484991_10151099306816879_963690422_nHey… do you have your OWN blog?  Are you on Facebook?  Twitter?  How about talking about being an active bystander in your own blog?  I just ran across this EXCELLENT post by “Bill Drew The Librarian” who has his blog on WordPress as well!  Here is what Bill has to say and I couldn’t have said it better, myself.  Thank you, Bill, for this excellent post and advice and for being out there, helping to make the world a better place, a blog post at a time! 🙂  As I run across other people speaking up about being an active bystander or offering advice… I will try to post about them as well.  We need to support the folks around us who are raising their voices to help others.

A Free Gift to Share with your Loved Ones

With the holiday season upon us, some of us eat a little more and drink a little more than we normally do. Don’t let drinking lower your inhibitions and ruin your or another’s life. Watch out for others’ out-of-control behaviors, too. Please share this information with your children and loved ones.

Be an Active Bystander!

What?
– Active Bystanders take the initiative to help someone who may be targeted for a sexual assault by a predator
– Active Bystanders also take the initiative to help friends who aren’t thinking clearly from becoming perpetrators of crime – Intervention doesn’t mean that you only step in to stop a crime in progress. These steps are “early intervention” BEFORE the crime begins

How? ABCs of Active Bystander Intervention.
– Assess for safety. Ensure that all parties are safe, and assess whether the situation requires calling proper authorities. When deciding to intervene, your personal safety should be the #1 priority. When in doubt, call for help.
– Be with others. If safe to intervene, you’re likely to have a greater influence on the parties involved when you work together with someone or several people. Your safety may increase when you stay with a group of friends who you know well.
– Care for the victim. Ask if the victim of the unwanted sexual advance, attention or behavior is okay? Does he/she need medical care? Does he/she want to talk to a Victim Advocate to see about reporting the matter? Ask if someone he/she trusts can help to get them home safely.

Strategies for Active Bystander Intervention

– Calmly and politely talk directly to the person who is acting inappropriately, or to the potential victim
– Suggest that someone observing the situation might be concerned about the person’s conduct
– Tell them that you are looking out for them. You would not want someone to misinterpret what they said, it could be taken the wrong way
– Ask them if they thought how their words or actions might make the other person feel
– Utilize creative options to distract the people involved in order to de-escalate the situation. This may involve humor or appealing to other interests of the people involved
– Tell them you don’t think the comment of joke is funny – Find his/her friends and implore them to intervene. Remember, there is strength in numbers
– Report what you observed “up the chain” and seek guidance on how to respond

If a problem occurs, call 911 or your local rape and domestic violence agency.

Let this be a happy, healthy holiday season for everyone.

Here’s a link:

http://billdrewlibrarian.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/a-free-gift-to-share-with-your-loved-ones/

 

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