Victims of Bullying

It takes courage to stand alone for your beliefs in the face of intolerance and judgment.

It takes bravery to use your voice when presented with lies and betrayal.

It takes boldness to speak out when everyone else’s silence is deafening.

It takes faith to keep believing in humanity when humans tear us down.

It takes strength to get up and face your demons, your critics, your enemies.

It takes heart to forgive when those who hurt us don’t even know they need our forgiveness.

It takes tenacity, sometimes, to simply breathe in and breathe out.

It takes resilience to take one more step, look in the mirror, face your fears and live to fight just one more day.

Those who keep on keeping on in the midst of unwarranted aggression, torment, fear and bullying are warriors. They are the ones who are strong enough to refuse ultimate defeat. They refuse to allow the smallness, ugliness and false accusation of bullies to define them or keep them pinned down. But, remember–not everyone can hold on.

It takes just one to stand, speak, be bold, have faith, take heart, be strong and resilient with us–so that we no longer have to be alone.

Stand up. Speak up. Together, we are stronger, and just a little bit braver.

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(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Domestic Violence: But He Really is a Good Person

How many times have you heard a woman say these words after she’s been abused: “But he really is a good person”. She then goes into all of the things that have been difficult in his life, all of the things that have kept him down and made him a victim.

The Victim Card

As if to say what?  He really doesn’t mean to be a bad person. Just look at his life, the cards were stacked against him. As if to say: Because of his past, he doesn’t have a personal choice in his future actions? As if to say: If those bad things didn’t happen in his life he wouldn’t be the way he is today. Wouldn’t he?

Over and over we have seen statistics and read stories about women who have been caught in the storm of violence perpetrated by a husband or lover—someone she knows intimately.  They sit on their friends’ couches, in their therapist’s office, in a bar, or at a police station, with their bruises, cuts and outward scars. They say things like: “But he really is a good person.  I know he didn’t mean to do it.  He loves me.”

The Past Does Not Dictate the Future

We have to stop and think. We have to stop and think for ourselves. We all make choices. We all have the opportunity to make good choices or bad choices–choices that will eventually affect other people for better or worse.

Have you ever known a person who had difficult or even heartbreaking circumstances growing up, that ended up being a good person who made good choices?  A person who, even under tragic or seemingly hopeless circumstances, lived a life that positively impacted others and the world around them?  In my experience, the answer is a resounding “yes!”  No one really just “ends up” being anything. We all make decisions—based on our past, present, future, or some mindset or belief—but we make them. WE make them.

I have known people whose lives were filled with experiences that anyone would consider atrocities, travesties. Some, by one choice at a time, built a life filled with garbage that they in turn, perpetrated on others. They patterned their lives after their own hurt, betrayal and rejection. I have also known people who intentionally built their lives one step at a time, on goodness and wholeness. They made conscious decisions to not pattern their lives on more of the same, rather, to decisively take back control and make something good out of something very bad. Because of their choices, they live positive lives that impact others and the world around them in constructive ways.

Mistake, Accident, or Choice?

There are people who purposely hurt other people for whatever reasons and it is never acceptable. Do people make mistakes and truly regret them? Yes. Do people hurt other people on accident? No, I don’t believe so. Inflicting harm on another person is always intentional. Whether purposely abusing someone, or by claim of mistake or accident, something in a person acts as a catalyst to reach the point of anger, rage or eventual violence.

No matter how we slice it, we don’t even need to know the reasons why or understand what that catalyst is. What we need to do is run. Run hard, run fast, and encourage our loved ones to do the same. Because today we may see a bruise, a cut or a scar outwardly that will eventually mend. But, tomorrow will most certainly reveal inner damage, psychological trauma and scarring that can last a lifetime.

No, he really isn’t a good person. Every human being has the ability to make choices and he has made very bad ones.

Can good people make bad choices sometimes? Yes, of course, but trying to analyze all of the compartments of a person only complicates things. Let’s be clear on the issue of violence and abuse.

If a man physically and/or psychologically abuses a woman, it is not by accident and it is not by mistake… It is by choice.

Statistics Don’t Lie

Statistics don’t lie. The abuse will repeat itself. Love does not choose to hurt another person we claim to love.  And never forget, it is a choice. He needs help, but you are not the one to give it.  While defending him as a victim, you will only become his victim again.

In the worst cases, the reality is that we may not see the bruises, the cuts or the scars tomorrow… because tomorrow may never come.

© by April McCallum, Destiny’s Women

(Photos by Dave Blume, Meg Yarsh, Pietro Izzo)

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Victim Advocates — Help Me, Don’t Help Me

 

How do you help someone who is being victimized but doesn’t want your help or isn’t even aware that they need help?

 

BE AVAILABLE.

It sounds way too simple, but the truth is… just maybe there will come a day when your loved one sees for herself how desperate her situation has become, and she will remember you. She will remember your openness, your kindness, a thoughtful gift, an encouraging word or that unconditional look of love and acceptance in your eyes. She will remember your availability.

Timing is Key – Don’t Push Too Hard 

Don’t push, prod, pry, or try to pull things out of her. Just love on her. When she is ready—and only she will know when that time is–she will come back around.  It is painful and wrenchingly frustrating to watch someone be marginalized and victimized. We want to step in and stop the abuse—to stand up and scream, “This is insanity!”

Unfortunately, when a victim of abuse finally comes to terms with the reality of her situation—it is so often after things have escalated far beyond any line we would have drawn hoping to prevent further pain.  She may know things aren’t right, but she’s not yet willing to admit that continuing in her present lifestyle is actually detrimental or dangerous.  She needs to make a conscious decision for her own well-being, but that rarely happens in our timing.

If we look from the outside in and jump the gun, we are liable to create more problems and that’s the last thing we want. She needs to see and to know for herself why it is time to get out of her situation.

Use Wisdom with Intervention

Too often, women return to their abusers because well-meaning friends or family intervene before she is ready, because they feel the need to made the choice for her. It is completely understandable because they love her and have legitimate concerns for her well-being.

In turn however, her abuser may clamp down more control because he is afraid of losing his dominance over her again. Or worse, try to “teach her a lesson” by inflicting more abuse in an attempt to instill even greater fear should she ever consider leaving him again.

As onlookers, we are painfully aware of the dire circumstances. We see clearly, the cause and effect unfolding before us, and before her.  Understandably, we want to play the role of victim advocates. We want to rescue, fix, and make things “all better.”

Awareness is key–but we also need to use discernment and wisdom as we try to help our sisters that are in trouble.

Be Purposeful – Keep Planting Seeds of Kindness

She may also be afraid and ashamed to talk about her abuse or disillusioned and not sure how to deal with what she’s feeling.

It costs so little to just love on our fellow human beings. The simplicity of offering a listening ear, a hug, inviting them to an event or for a cup of coffee can mean so much to someone who is longing for authentic friendship or validation.

Start with what you can do today. Your simple acts of kindness may eventually lead to a place of safety and trust for her.  In a figurative sense, leave your light on, keep that candle of hope burning.

“Walking with a Friend in the Dark is Better than Walking Alone in the Light”

–Helen Keller

Out of your thoughtfulness–your attentiveness, little gestures that say “I’m thinking about you”, and your open heart towards her–an opportunity may be birthed to move from a “don’t help me” to “help me” — simply because you purposed to make yourself available.

Then maybe, just maybe… her story will become a part of your story.

 

© by April McCallum, Destiny’s Women

(Photos by blai server, mgbrigby )

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©Destiny's Women™ is a blog founded, written and published by April McCallum -- "Championing the Life, Freedom and Destiny of Women" Creative Commons License
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