Domestic Violence is a Choice

Let’s be clear on the issue of Violence Against Women. 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. I posted an article on this issue in 2011 titled, Domestic Violence: But He Really is a Good Person. Here’s an excerpt:

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.

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.” Read Full Article

Every woman, every person, deserves to live their life to its fullness. Free from fear, free from torment, free from abuse, and the list goes on. Everyone deserves to love and be loved fully and freely. Take the first step to love yourself enough to be free. You are worth it!

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

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

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Freedom Series: Abuse to Favor

 “For me, my dreams were shaped out of a childhood that was fenced in by fear”

Abuse to Favor is a 96-page minibook that is a part of the Freedom Series created by popular author and speaker, Michelle Borquez. Each booklet shares a woman’s true story about her journey from brokenness to freedom.

In Abuse to Favor, Jo Ann Aleman shares her story, struggles, and triumph over abuse.  It begins with her father, a man she recalls as generous and loving with his children, but extremely abusive to their mother.  Her “normal” was a violently abuse home life fueled by alcohol binges. A home (a life) that healthy families would see as filled with fear-invoking, pain-inducing, spirit-shattering chaos.  Time and again, her mother would pack the children up and flee for safety, then return when things seemed more settled, and so it went on and on.

The cycle brought on by her father’s rage and abuse directed at her mother caused her to go to a place she felt more secure–her mind–a place that no one could touch, a place that seemed safe. Like so many others in her situation, she dreamed about how her life would be different. She fantasized about someone coming to rescue and protect her: a savior.

But, as with any story of abuse, there’s always more than what appears on the surface. Why did her mother stay in that abusive situation? Her mother stayed because of her own experience with abuse. She and her siblings experienced great physical, emotional and mental abuse by their stepfather.  So she promised herself that her future children would never be subjected to a stepfather. But it wasn’t that he was a stepfather. It was that he was a broken abusive man.

“Many times we think of abuse as being only physical; however, abuse takes on many forms. Sexual abuse, verbal abuse, and emotional abuse—even neglect–are all perversions of real, unconditional love.”

Fast forward to Jo Ann Aleman’s adult life… with her childhood promises to herself still with her, she married someone she thought would take her in a direction that was new and better. To a place she could only recognize in her dreams. But he didn’t.  She shares about his abuse and the ultimate disintegration of the marriage.  So longing to be loved, she quickly found herself in another marriage, this time to an older man. She hoped he would bring the security she so desperately wanted. Again, it was not to be found. He too, abused her both physically and emotionally.

“Many nights I was awakened by his fists pummeling my face. He would get so drunk that he would black out, and the next morning we would wake up to a house that looked like a tornado had ripped through it… He was bent on compete destruction.”

As you may have noticed in your own life, there is this resilience about human nature. No matter how bad things get, no matter how improbable the odds, in our little broken torn-apart state, we still somehow find a way to reach out like a flower in the shadows, straining toward the sunshine, hoping against hope for something good.  Jo Ann Aleman was no different. Her heart reached out yet again, longing for love. She spent twelve years in “prison” with her third husband. A man who abused her through fear and intimidation, lashing out through physical, sexual, emotional and verbal abuse. But this time, it spilled over onto her daughter.

That’s when something shifted. This time, she didn’t reach out to a man, but to God. She writes, “Although we are all somewhat conditioned by our environment, something deep inside of us reveals the truth.” There was more for her.  She wanted once and for all, to be free.

Sharon Kay Ball (a professional counselor) uses biblical illustrations to define healthy and unhealthy thinking and behaviors, and speaks to the issues of conflict, power, authority, power struggles, and abuse that can affect any type of relationship. She also walks readers through common abuser behavior:  using rage, silence, intimidation, altering your sense of reality, criticizing, and blame-shifting to control their victim.

“His words only confirmed my feelings. They shaped me, took root in my heart, and I believed the things he said.”

Ball breaks down the phases in the cycle of abuse and talks about making a “safe plan.” Although it’s crucial to get out of an abusive relationship physically, it’s not enough. Victims need to purge themselves from the damaging affects of abuse that are left embedded in their minds and spirits. That means talking about trust, low self-image, forgiveness, anger, and learning how to move forward.

Aleman writes, “I was free on the surface, yet broken and deeply wounded inside.” That was, until she decided to no longer allow herself to be defined by abusive men, but by a loving God who offered hope and healing.

You may also be interested in:

Domestic Violence: But He Really is a Good Person

What is Emotional Abuse?

Quotes From Women Who Have Suffered Emotional Abuse

Sexual Violence Against Women: Rape, Abuse and Incest

Innocence Lost: Women and Childhood Sexual Abuse

Note: Rose Publishing provided me with an advanced reader copy of this booklet.

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

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

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New Book by International Justice Mission: The Just Church

 

Millions of people around the world are living in the grip of injustice today. Who will be their voice?  Who will see and hear them? Who will help bring them to a place of wholeness? Who will defend their cause?

International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. Although the concept of political advocacy can be a challenge for many churches, IJM takes the scriptures offer as a clear call for the church to become a voice for those living in the grip of oppression and injustice.

“Speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all the destitute. Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” -Proverbs 31:8-9

The fact is that child victims of rape, slaves, and widows whose land has been stolen from them need others to advocate for them. IJM believes that churches, Christian leaders, pastors, and congregations can—and should—play a vital role in advocating for the voiceless.  While you may agree, you (or your church) may not know how to engage. 

Here’s the good news! Today, IJM released “The Just Church: Becoming a risk-taking, justice-seeking, disciple-making congregation” by Jim Martin.  Finally, a “roadmap” filled with practical and relevant insights and information applicable and critical for any church’s justice mission. The author asks and answers: “Why is it that the glaring global justice issues of our day—issues such as sex trafficking, modern slavery, illegal property seizure and sexual assault—are so seldom addressed in our churches? Why is it that the widows, orphans, aliens, and strangers so often mentioned in the Scriptures are so seldom mentioned (or present) in our churches?”

Author Jim Martin

Jim Martin is the VP of church mobilization for International Justice Mission. He has been on the front lines of the battle for justice in the world’s darkest and most dangerous places.

He (along with IJM) has “been there and done that”. They don’t just talk about the issues, they live the issues. The Just Church will challenge and equip any individual or church committed to justice!

Donations enable IJM to bring rescue and restoration to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. 100% of author royalties will support the work of IJM.

What have you found to be the biggest obstacle or fear when engaging in justice in your church or community?  Are you ready to be a voice for the voiceless by becoming a risk-taking, justice-seeking church? 

Related Articles:

When We Call Evil Good

International Justice Mission: Making Public Justice Systems Work for Victims of Oppression 

Bay area churches called ‘justice-seekers’ in book from anti-trafficking leader 

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

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

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Shadows in the Sun: A Book Celebrating Womanhood

 

It seems impossible that babies are still being killed in the womb, and even after birth, just because they are a specific gender, but it is a reality.  Female infanticide, or “gendercide” is still happening in the 21st century. It is the reason Bangladesh-born author, Rukhsana Hasib, decided to write the book, “Shadows in the Sun”.

From firsthand experience she writes, “Being from an Eastern culture, I am acutely aware of the abuses and oppression of women in Eastern societies, particularly among the poor. The birth of a daughter is still considered a misfortune by a vast number of people.” According to a 2011 report, 50,000 female fetuses are aborted every month in India alone. 

“It’s a reminder of how horrible life still is for many women and why we need to support one another and the freedom of all women to be full human beings” –Reader

In some cultures, the birth of a boy is widely celebrated, while the discovery that a mother is carrying a girl in her womb is not. In fact, it is cause for grave disappointment, shame and even murder. The mindset changes from carrying a baby, to a nameless, faceless, “it”.  A girl.  A thing to be discarded and destroyed, just because of the gender. Countless news reports tell harrowing stories of mothers who throw their baby daughters out of hospital rooms, into rivers, or onto garbage heaps.

While India has outlawed selective abortions of female fetuses, it has not stopped the crime. Females in many parts of the culture are still considered inferior to males, and gendercide continues. A 2012 article by The Economist: The War on Baby Girls: Gendercide states, “for millions of couples, the answer is: abort the daughter, try for a son.”  Worse still, research reveals the belief and practice is not limited to the poor and uneducated, and is found on almost every continent.

“This book will open up controversial discussions in many book clubs about the roles of women in society and the difficult choices they have to make to better the next generation of women” -Reader

Through the story of Shadows in the Sun, author Rukhsana Hasib adds her voice to the millions of women who have stood up and fought for women’s rights, “with the hope that eventually our collective voices will ring loudly enough to be heard in every corner of the world.”  

Many use “selective abortion” to get rid of female babies. Not just out of the womb, but out of the family structure, the society, and their place in the world, literally robbing them from their destiny. Rukhsana Hasib, along with advocates against gendercide look forward to the time when “the birth of a daughter is no longer considered a misfortune, as a mere shadow in the sun, but as valuable as the sun itself, which nurtured the earth like the mother who gave birth and sustained life.”

Long held belief systems are powerful, but not impossible to break through. As with any cultural shift, negatively embedded belief systems must first be dismantled in the mind. Life is a gift to be valued and honored, regardless of gender.

We need to protect, celebrate and empower the next generation of women. The more light that is shed on the issue of gendercide, the less room there will be for evil to propagate in the darkness. 

Author Biography

Rukhsana Hasib came to the United States in 1971, earned an MBA at Rutgers University, and went on to work as a commercial lending officer. She is the author of the novel Shackles of Time and a short story called Redemption of Red, which was published in an anthology of Diaspora writers, poets, and artists in 2011.

More Reading:

All Those Little Faces’: Elizabeth Vargas Explores India’s ‘Gendercide’  

In the third world, unwanted baby girls ‘disappear’. It’s called gendercide. And it’s happening in this country, too  

Follow Rukhsana on Twitter @rukhsanahasib, or on Facebook

Join me at @DestinysWomen on Twitter.

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”
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The Heart of MARY KAY: Enriching the Lives of Women

What do you think of when you hear “Mary Kay”?  Do you think of the symbolic Mary Kay pink Cadillac, assorted shades of pink lipstick, or a group of women friends gathering to sample new cosmetics and skincare products?  Think again.

Founder Mary Kay Ash said, “I’ve often said that we are doing something far more important than just selling cosmetics; we are changing lives.”  The tagline for the Mary Kay Foundation is, “A Legacy of Love”, born out of Mary Kay Ash’s ongoing desire to help women live better, offer opportunities to give, and bring hope to those less fortunate. The Foundation was launched in 1996 and continues today with the goal of ending the epidemic of violence against women and to end women’s cancers.

Do you know what the #1 cause of injury is for women ages 15 to 44? It is Domestic Violence. There are no boundaries for domestic violence. It affects young and old, rich and poor and reaches across all demographics. Not only do victims suffer physical harm, but psychological and emotional pain as well.

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Every October, the Mary Kay Foundation awards grants to women’s domestic violence shelters across the United States. In 2011, the Foundation awarded $20,000 grants to more than 150 women’s domestic violence shelters across the nation for a total of $3 million. Each year, an award is also given to at least one women’s shelter in every state.

Mary Kay Inc. and independent sales force members have lobbied Congress and state legislatures since the 1980s on issues including the Violence Against Women Act and most recently, teen dating violence awareness and prevention.

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

On top of that, Mary Kay has also played a partnership role in introducing preventive curriculum for teen dating violence and lending support to the Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month by joining forces with the national nonprofit, Break the Cycle to sponsor its interactive Ending Violence DVD. The film has been made available to schools nationwide since 2010, along with other program tools.

Women’s Cancers

In tandem with advocacy efforts to end violence against women, Independent Mary Kay Beauty Consultants are promoting the sixth annual Team Up for Women! ® fundraiser March 23 to May 12.

  • One in three women are diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime.
  • One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime.

In 2011, the Mary Kay Foundation awarded $1.3 million in grants to select doctors and medical scientists focused on cutting-edge research and curing cancers that affect women. Since 1996, the Foundation has given more than $14 million to support this effort.

Mary Kay Ash’s legacy of enriching women’s lives, lives on. From a $5,000 ground-breaking startup in 1963 to a global multibillion-dollar success, she has put her money where her heart is.  Have you ever noticed that there’s something a little extra special that happens when people purpose to think and give outside of themselves? “Before you ever receive the wonderful treasures of a happy life, you must first give. Give of yourself. Be of service to others. Only what you give can be multiplied back into your own life.” –Mary Kay Ash.

Mary Kay Resources & ProgramsSocial Responsibility & Giving Back

Twitter: @DestinysWomen

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