For Immediate Release
Series released for October National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Austin, TX – October 8, 2018 – Avon, the Avon Foundation for Women, and The National Domestic Violence Hotline have joined with financial expert Suze Orman to produce a video series featuring empowering stories of women overcoming domestic violence – including one of the least discussed forms of abuse, financial abuse. Women Breaking Free: Stories of Strength from Survivors of Domestic Violence will begin playing on TheHotline.org the first weekend in October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
The seven part series is designed to raise awareness of the signs of financial abuse for both victims, as well as friends and family members of victims, and provide tips to overcome it. Financial abuse can have the most devastating and long-lasting impact on the lives of survivors and their families. Financial abuse keeps victims tied to their abusers even when there is nothing physically preventing them from leaving, and can take many different forms. Stories include partners who control their partner’s spending habits, preventing a partner from accessing bank accounts and keeping a partner from having a credit card. TheHotline.org lists ways a partner extends power and control into the area of finances here.
The videos are hosted by Suze Orman, two-time Emmy Award-winning television host, author and motivational speaker. The women, who come from all walks of life, courageously share intimate details of abuse they endured by husbands or boyfriends. Orman provides expert advice and insights that will help all women become strong, smart and secure.
Orman said, “When Avon joined forces with The Hotline and they asked me to interview women who have survived abusive relationships, I said, ‘Count me in!’ NOW is the time for women to stand up for themselves, know who they are, and never, ever, ever be at the hands of an abuser.”
“As the company for women, Avon is committed to inspiring the financial independence, health and wellbeing of women and their families. With one in four women shown to be a victim of domestic violence sometime in her life, that means we all know a mother, a sister, a friend, a daughter who has experienced abuse,” shared Debbie Coffey, Vice President, Corporate Communications, New Avon LLC. “Without adequate economic resources, women are often incapable of breaking free of abusive relationships. Given Avon’s focus on providing economic opportunities, it is only natural that the company is passionate about ending violence against women. We are so proud to partner with The Hotline and Avon Foundation on this project which will inspire women who have been abused to take positive steps forward in financial and physical security.”
The Hotline receives between 1,600 and 2,000 contacts a day from people across the United States seeking support or resources relating to domestic violence. Financial abuse is playing an ever-increasing role in a woman’s inability to leave a relationship. Katie Ray-Jones, Chief Executive Officer of the National Domestic Violence Hotline said, “We wanted to share how pervasive financial abuse is in domestic violence relationships and we felt Suze Orman was the perfect partner to examine this, offer solutions, and show that anything is possible if you believe in yourself. In this video series, we see incredibly brave women come forward and tell their stories of abuse with the hope that by sharing their experience they will help change someone else’s life.”
The series produced by Ten22 Films and Postmodern will post on TheHotline.org. Viewers are encouraged to watch and share the videos via their social media channels using the hashtag #WomenBreakingFree.
For more information on the National Domestic Violence Hotline, please visit www.thehotline.org. Facebook: NationalDomesticViolenceHotline, Twitter: @NDVH, or Instagram: National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Contact: Lisa Lawrence
About Suze Orman
Suze Orman has been called “a force in the world of personal finance” and a “one-woman financial advice powerhouse” by USA Today. She is a two-time Emmy Award-winning television host and one of the top motivational speakers in the world today.
The single most successful fundraiser in the history of PBS, Orman has received an unprecedented eight Gracie awards, which recognize the nation’s best radio, television, and cable programming by, for, and about women. Twice named to the Time 100 and ranked among the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women by Forbes, Orman was the host of The Suze Orman Show on CNBC for 13 years and a contributing editor to O: The Oprah Magazine for sixteen. She recently released her updated and revised best-seller, Women & Money and is currently a contributing editor to The Costco Connection and the host of the Women & Money podcast.
In 2016, Orman was appointed as the official personal-finance educator for the United States Army and Army Reserve. She also serves as a Special Advocate for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, bringing her message of awareness and empowerment to women who have suffered financial abuse. She grew up on the South Side of Chicago, earned a bachelor’s degree in social work at the University of Illinois and at the age of 30 was still a waitress making $400 a month.
In recognition of her revolutionary contribution to the way Americans think about personal finance, she has received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the University of Illinois and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the University of Illinois and an honorary Doctor of Commercial Science degree from Bentley University. She has also received the National Equality Award from the Human Rights Campaign. Visit suzeorman.com and follow her on Facebook.com/suzeorman and on Twitter: @SuzeOrmanShow.
About New Avon LLC
New Avon LLC (“Avon”) is the leading social selling beauty company in North America, with independent sales Representatives throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. Avon’s portfolio includes award-winning skincare, color cosmetics, fragrance, personal care and health and wellness products featuring brands such as ANEW, Avon True Color, Espira, and Skin So Soft, as well as fashion and accessories. Avon has a 130-year history of empowering women through economic opportunity, and supporting the causes that matter most to women. Avon philanthropy has contributed over $1 billion globally toward eradicating breast cancer and domestic violence. Learn more about Avon and its products at www.avon.com.
About Avon Foundation for Women
The Avon Foundation for Women is committed to supporting issues that matter most to women. Since its inception in 1955, the Avon Foundation has promoted or aided charitable, scientific, educational, and humanitarian activities, with a special emphasis on activities that improve the lives of women and their families. Through 2017, Avon and the Avon Foundation for Women have contributed over $1 billion in over 50 countries to support its efforts to eradicate breast cancer and to help end violence against women and girls worldwide. Today, Avon global cause programs focus on breast health awareness and prevention through the Avon Breast Cancer Promise, and to help end violence through the Avon Promise to Help End Violence Against Women and Girls. Visit www.avonfoundation.org for more information.
About the National Domestic Violence Hotline
The National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) is a vital service that answers the call to support and shift power back to victims and survivors of relationship abuse through human connection and practical assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The Hotline’s highly-trained, expert advocates provide compassionate support to anyone who reaches out for help with lifesaving resources, safety planning and hope. The Hotline is a non-profit established in 1996 as a component of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
loveisrespect is a project of The Hotline. Its purpose is to engage, educate and empower young people to prevent and end abusive relationships. The organization provides information and support to concerned friends and family members, teachers, counselors, service providers and members of law enforcement. Free and confidential phone, live chat and texting services are available 24/7/365. Advocates provide support through online chat at loveisrespect.org, text (send loveis to 22522*) or phone, 1-866-331-9474.
The Hotline relies on the generous support of individuals, private gifts from corporations and foundations and federal grants. It is funded in part by Grant Number 90EV0407/03 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)/Administration for Children and Families. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Administration for Children and Families or the U.S. Department of HHS.
The post National Domestic Violence Hotline and Avon Partner with Suze Orman to Shed Light on Financial Abuse in Special Video Series “Women Breaking Free: Stories of Strength from Survivors of Domestic Violence” appeared first on The National Domestic Violence Hotline.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, October 1, 2018
CONTACT: Renée Gamela – 202.225.5121
WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives recently approved U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson’s bill to reauthorize services and support for victims of domestic violence. The House approved the bill just in time for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
H.R. 6014, the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) of 2018, is the primary source of federal funding to support emergency shelter and related assistance for victims of domestic violence and their families. Since it was enacted in 1984, FVPSA has addressed domestic violence through community-driven solutions and a network of programs and services dedicated to responding to domestic violence across the country.
“I am pleased the House reauthorized these life-saving services for victims of domestic violence,” Rep. Thompson said. “Domestic violence has no place in American society, and this legislation is essential to ensuring we are not only standing up for victims of domestic violence but we are also doing everything in our power to stand against it. This bill ensures that when victims feel helpless they have somewhere to turn.”
The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) and the National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) praised the passage of the bill.
“We thank Congressman Thompson for championing H.R. 6014 and we’re grateful for his steadfast commitment to ensuring its passage,” said Kim Gandy, President and CEO of NNEDV. “When victims and their children are forced to escape from their homes, FVPSA is there for them. As the only federal funding solely dedicated to supporting survivors of domestic violence, FVPSA allows communities to provide a safe place to go and the essential services needed in the times of crisis.”
“The National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) and its dating abuse, prevention, and education project for youth, loveisrespect, is authorized through FVPSA. For more than 21 years, FVPSA has provided much of the funding that has allowed us to answer more than four million calls, texts, and chats from people affected by domestic and dating abuse,” said Katie Ray Jones, chief executive officer of The Hotline. “Millions of survivors depend on our organization for resources and support, and the successful reauthorization will ensure that we are able to continue to provide this critical support to survivors. We commend Congress for moving quickly to pass the reauthorization of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act.”
– Coordinating statewide improvements within local communities, social service systems, and programming regarding the prevention and intervention of domestic violence through the leadership of State Domestic Violence Coalitions and FVPSA State Administrators.
– Supporting the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which provides crisis intervention, counseling, and safety planning and can directly connect calls to a seamless referral system of more than 4,500 community programs across the U.S. The Hotline operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is available in 170 languages.
– Increasing public awareness about the prevalence of domestic violence, dating violence and family violence.
– Supporting local and community-based domestic violence programs with specialized technical assistance addressing emerging issues such as trauma-informed care, the co-occurrence of domestic violence and child maltreatment, culturally-specific domestic violence services, and effective interventions for children exposed to domestic violence.
by Chris Mountzouris
It was to be a night like most others, connecting with family after work, and maybe catching a favorite television show before preparing for the next day. Unexpectedly, this mundane evening was shattered when my wife received a call from a friend reaching out for help. The person on the other end of the line was terrified of the abuse they could no longer endure at home from their spouse. I consider myself to generally be a prepared individual, able to handle any situation that may come my way, but I was wholly unprepared for what I was to witness this night.
Luckily, my wife was aware of The Hotline as a resource that could be marshaled immediately to address our friend’s needs. Little did I know that I was about to witness efforts of anonymous individuals committed to the care and well-being of a total stranger to them, yet a friend to us. The power was in the completeness of the approach and the swiftness of its execution.
Let me pause here and suggest that if you or someone you care for is experiencing domestic abuse, no matter their gender, do not hesitate to reach out to The Hotline. You can begin by visiting their website at www.thehotline.org or calling their 24/7 support line (1-800-799-7233) and speaking to an advocate dedicated and trained to help in these difficult times. Advocates are also available to chat online at www.thehotline.org.
With our situation, I made a mistake that I moved quickly to correct. Being a capable 49-year-old man, I thought I would speak to the issues at hand instead of listening to our friend. While it was a defense mechanism at the time to show concern and empathy, I came to realize that it was an effort to control a situation that was not mine to control. Fortunately, The Hotline not only provides signs of what to look for if you suspect a friend or family member is experiencing an abusive relationship, but also gives tips on how to handle the situation. Their first suggestion is to listen.
Once I corrected my behavior and begin to listen, the process sped up. Our friend recognized their own sense of need, empowered through a sympathetic ear, and they were quick to advance through the next steps, first calling The Hotline to work with an advocate on identifying immediate needs and the steps to address them. For their ongoing protection, I will not provide further details of all the events of that night other than to say that I knew then I needed to be more informed of the issues surrounding domestic violence, as I was woefully unprepared to effectively handle our friend’s cry for help, a need that might be shared by others.
The most basic form of information is statistics, and little did I know about the epidemic levels our society is experiencing when it comes to domestic violence:
As I reflect on this issue as both a husband and a father, I feel better knowing that if I need more assistance helping someone, or at the very least, recommending a resource for someone to call upon, The Hotline is there. It could be someone close to our family or yours that could benefit, and I want to be effective in my help.
The Hotline is a strong network of individuals highly-trained to help in a person’s time of need, ranging from a conversation with an advocate, to referrals to local resources, to lobbying efforts with federal officials to secure resources for continuing these efforts. They have listened and heard the calling to address this societal need, and we are all better prepared for it. I should know—I have witnessed its powerful effect.
Chris Mountzouris is a writer, business owner, husband, and stepfather to his wife’s 16-year-old daughter. He lives in Texas and has volunteered for the National Domestic Violence Hotline as a strategic advisor.
The post The Hotline Witness: Getting Help for a Friend in Need appeared first on The National Domestic Violence Hotline.
by Chris Mountzouris
Perhaps you knew this already, but I didn’t: 1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. That means that when I think of my world of friends and family, odds are that someone I know has experienced relationship abuse.
That circle is about to become bigger as my startup company grows, and I hire more employees. There are many intangible things that go along with employment to not only attract quality individuals, but also to retain them. Workplace culture is a big one, and while some might focus on the mundane tangibles like free soda and specialty coffees, I want to focus on developing a productive and safe environment, one that helps to address the needs of employees beyond the standards of salary and benefits.
With the growing odds that one of my employees is or could be a victim of domestic abuse, I am grateful that there is an organization like The Hotline that I can lean on should one of my employees have a need to speak to someone.
I was introduced to The Hotline through my wife’s professional relationship with the organization, and I have taken it upon myself to learn about this epidemic. Primarily, I want to be sure that I can identify when one of my staff members might be experiencing domestic abuse, so that I can connect them with this invaluable organization that has shown me what to look for that someone may be in an abusive relationship.
KNOW THE SIGNS
Some of the signs of an abusive relationship include a partner who:
I have also learned that abuse is not just physical. There are other forms of abuse including:
As I will depend on my employees to help the company grow, the least that I can do is be counted upon to help them in times of crisis. The Hotline has better prepared me to deal with any issues of domestic abuse that may arise for any of my employees, first by helping to identify, and then to be a resource to address those issues should the employee wish to seek help.
You deserve to live free of abuse. The Hotline provides immediate assistance to anyone affected by relationship violence, including survivors, perpetrators and friends and family who are trying to help. Support can be found by calling 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). You can also visit their website at https://www.thehotline.org and chat with an advocate online.
Chris Mountzouris is a writer, business owner, husband, and stepfather to his wife’s 16-year-old daughter. He lives in Texas and has volunteered for the National Domestic Violence Hotline as a strategic advisor.
by Aris R., an advocate at The Hotline
At The Hotline, we often hear from survivors who are astonished at the level the abuse has just reached in their relationship. Something finally happened that made them feel scared for their lives, their children’s lives or their pets’ lives, and it is this fear that led them to reach out to us, “I have got to get out of this situation before that happens again, or before anything worse happens.” It is important to know that this fear is valid—people who are being abused know when their situation has taken a dangerous turn. It is an instinctive moment that changes everything. If you feel that the abuse in your relationship has escalated, understanding escalation can prevent further harm to you or your family.
What is Escalation?
Escalation is when abuse gets worse, either suddenly or gradually. Escalation can be a transition from one type of abuse to another, or it can be similar types of behaviors increasing in severity.
Over the course of an abusive relationship, it is common for abuse to escalate, and oftentimes survivors find themselves experiencing something they never thought their partner would, or even could, do.
Why is Escalation So Dangerous?
The reason why escalation is so dangerous is because the abuser is showing their partner that they can use new and more damaging tactics to continue to hoard power and control in the relationship. An abuser may test out whether they can get away with crossing a line that has never been crossed before, with the intention of creating a new and deeper level of power and control when they fear they are losing it.
Abusers typically escalate when they feel they are losing control over the relationship, often because they feel that the independence of their partner has increased in some way or that their partner will leave. The escalation may be intended as a warning or a demonstration of what could happen if their partner decides to become independent. This warning is not to be taken lightly—leaving an abusive relationship is a dangerous thing to do. In fact, 75% of all serious injuries in abusive relationships occur when the survivor ends the relationship. This does not mean that the survivor should stay if they want to leave, but it does mean that any plan to leave should be a good, solid safety plan that takes into account the unique barriers specific to each survivor’s situation.
Escalation is not your fault. You deserve independence and individualism in your relationship. If your partner responds to your request for independence by escalating their abusive behavior, it is a clear sign that you are with someone that seeks to gain power and control over you, which is abusive and never okay. Healthy relationships nurture independence, and nobody feels threatened by their partner seeking friends, safety, happiness, individualism or anything that brings them joy. Abuse is a choice—nobody is forcing your partner to take away your independence. Therefore, the fault of abusing (and escalating abuse) can lie only with the person making that choice—the abusive partner.
Ways to Prevent Escalation
Each person’s experience is unique and every relationship is different, so preventing escalation will never look the same in every situation. Preventing escalation usually consists of repeating behaviors that have calmed things down in the past. It might help to ask yourself, “What did I do last time my partner started to become violent? How did they react to that? What usually helps calm them down?” Some survivors report that submitting to their abusers for a short time keeps them safer. While it might feel terrible to submit to your partner’s control, there is no shame in doing what is necessary to keep you or your family safe. So even if preventing escalation means allowing the abuser to “win a small battle” in order to prevent a full-blown attack, it could be worth your while to stay safe for the time being. You are the expert in your own situation, so you know best how your partner might react to your behavior.
It’s important to think of any escalation prevention method as a temporary way to stay safer for a limited period of time. Why?
An Object in Motion Tends to Stay In Motion
What this means is that if a certain behavior begins to ramp up, it is very likely to continue to escalate in the same direction. If there is a trend in new behaviors or a new set of threats, it is not likely to stop without significant intervention, or very clear signs that your partner is taking steps to change their behavior. Think of it like a ramp that leads up and begins to limit the ways in which someone can jump off to safety. The ramp is headed in a certain clear direction, so even if jumping to the ground doesn’t look safe now, it is important to consider that it could be safer now than later. Many survivors report taking a “wait and see” approach to the abuse, saying that if the abuse gets worse, it will lessen their feelings towards their abuser and cause them to want to leave. However, this can be a dangerous trap. The longer a survivor stays, the more power and control the abuser may gain, the more dangerous the situation can become, and the harder it may be to leave.
Some abusive partners will stop at absolutely nothing to gain power and control over their partners, and one of the most irrevocable things they can do is end your life. If you’re experiencing escalation and your partner has threatened to kill you, it is important to take this threat seriously and develop a safety plan that can help you and your family survive. The following can be signs that an abusive partner might kill you:
The Point of No Return
If you’re worried about escalation in your relationship, it might help to think critically about your own limits. What is the point of no return for you? What behaviors are you unwilling to put up with? How far up on that ramp are you willing to go? Knowing what is absolutely unacceptable to you and where you draw the line can be an important step in safety planning. It is always up to you whether you choose to stay in or leave an abusive relationship, but knowing your limits may prevent you from gradually accepting more and more dangerous behaviors as a normal part of life. You deserve to be safe and happy in your relationship.
If you need to brainstorm about keeping yourself safe in the face of escalating abuse, our advocates are here for you, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Chat at www.thehotline.org or call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) when you’re ready to talk it over.
For Immediate Release
Austin, TX – September 28, 2018 – The National Domestic Violence Hotline is inviting the public to participate in a special campaign this October during Domestic Violence Awareness Month by committing to do “one thing” to end relationship abuse. In partnership with advocacy organizations across the U.S., The Hotline is calling on members of the media, advocates, partners, supporters, survivors, and others to make a collective difference in the ongoing effort to end relationship abuse.
Anyone can become a part of the #1Thing campaign by sharing what they’re doing or what they plan to do to end the epidemic of domestic violence. According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, about 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime.
To join, participants are asked to tape a short message, 30-60 seconds on their smartphone and to answer the question, “What is the one thing you are doing, or plan to do, to end domestic violence?” and then share their video on social media using the hashtags #1Thing and #NDVH.
Many people care and understand that domestic violence is a serious public health problem, but they don’t take action. They want to do something but believe their actions can’t make a difference. Just imagine if each of us committed to doing one thing – this collective action could create real social transformation.
“Every day for the past 22 years, our advocates at The Hotline have answered calls from people seeking support, information, and resources. We hope that one day our services will no longer be needed, but until that day comes we look for solutions and we offer hope to anyone affected by abuse,” said Katie Ray-Jones, chief executive officer of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. “It’s important that we continue to be there for victims and survivors and to work as a collective to end domestic violence once and for all.”
BACKGROUND ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
The Hotline’s recently released 2017 Impact Report shows 323,356 calls, chats, and texts were answered by its advocates, but 98,159 went unanswered due to a lack of resources. Additionally, the reports revealed the following:
The types of domestic violence most discussed during these contacts included:
About the National Domestic Violence Hotline
The National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) is a vital service that answers the call to support and shift power back to victims and survivors of relationship abuse through human connection and practical assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The Hotline’s highly-trained, expert advocates provide compassionate support to anyone who reaches out for help with lifesaving resources, safety planning, and hope. The Hotline is a non-profit organization established in 1996 as a component of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and has been supported each year thereafter with funding under the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act. For more information, visit TheHotline.org or to speak with an advocate, call 1-800-799-SAFE.
The Hotline relies on the generous support of individuals, private gifts from corporations and foundations and federal grants. It is funded in part by Grant Number 90EV0407/03 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)/Administration for Children and Families. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Administration for Children and Families or the U.S. Department of HHS.
Contact: Lisa Lawrence | Cell: 512-426-4904 | Email: email@example.com
For Immediate Release
Washington, DC – September 21, 2018 – Dear Chairman Alexander, Ranking Member Murray, Chairwoman Foxx, and Ranking Member Scott:
The undersigned 633 organizations urge you to swiftly reauthorize of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA), our nation’s only dedicated source of funding for domestic violence shelters and supportive services. While FVPSA has been expired since 2015, there is now bipartisan legislation in both the Senate and House to reauthorize it. We respectfully request that you take up and pass the FVPSA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (S. 2784/H.R. 6014) before Congress adjourns for the year. We thank Senators Heller (R-NV), Casey (D-PA), Grassley (R-IA), Coons (D-DE), and Cornyn (R-TX) and Representatives Thompson (R-PA), Moore (D-WI), Blunt Rochester (D-DE) and Stefanik (R-NY) for their timely leadership.
Domestic violence is pervasive, costly, and can be deadly. More than 1 in 3 women have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. In addition to emergency shelter, victims report needing medical care, housing services, counseling and supportive services, and many also report missing work or school as a direct result of the abuse. Many survivors of violence must flee their homes in order to find safety. Nationwide, an average of 3 women are killed by a current or former intimate partner every day.
FVPSA is at the heart of our nation’s response to domestic violence and was first passed into law in 1984. Funds authorized under FVPSA support formula grants to every state and territory based on population, as well as funding for Native American Tribes and Alaska Native Villages for community-based programs. FVPSA funds also support programs that enhance services to abused parents and their children, state domestic violence coalitions, and a network of capacity-building resource centers to build capacity to improve intervention and prevention efforts.
In FY 2017, FVPSA-funded over 1,600 local public, private, nonprofit and faith-based organizations across the country serving approximately 1.3 million women (71.5%), men (7.1%) and children (21.4%). These programs provided such critical services as emergency shelter, counseling, crisis lines, safety planning, legal assistance, and housing advocacy, as well as preventative education to millions of adults and children. The National Network to End Domestic Violence releases an annual report entitled Domestic Violence Counts: A 24-hr National Census of Domestic Violence Services (Census). The 2017 Census revealed that in just one day, more than 72,245 victims of domestic violence received services, and 11,441 requests for services went unmet due to lack of funding and resources. Of those unmet requests, 65% were for safe housing.
Another important element included in FVPSA is the authorization of the National Domestic Violence Hotline (‘the Hotline’), which provides free and confidential support, referrals, and connections to the most comprehensive resource database in the country, with over 4,800 service providers in the U.S, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. Over the last 21 years, the Hotline and its Loveisrespect support line for youth dealing with dating abuse have answered more than 4 million calls, texts, and chats from survivors seeking support around domestic and dating abuse.
FVPSA funding has also been critical to underserved and marginalized communities. For example, the Hotline partners with the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center to operate the StrongHearts Native Helpline. American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) communities experience some of the highest rates of domestic violence in the United States and survivors often have limited access to Native-centered supportive services. The StrongHearts provides vital culturally appropriate, confidential services for AI/AN victims of domestic violence and dating violence.
The importance of FVPSA cannot be overstated: these funds help ensure that victims have a place to turn when faced with dangerous violence and abuse from an intimate partner. Domestic violence programs are cost-effective and lifesaving programs that save and help rebuild lives. Two multi-state studies published in 2009 and 2011 documented that the nation’s domestic violence shelters and non-residential programs are addressing both urgent and long-term needs of victims of domestic violence and are helping victims protect themselves and their children. As study participant reported, “This program saved my life. I had no place to go, no money. I now have a job, apartment, and I am learning how to get over my fears. I don’t have nightmares anymore thanks to counseling.”
We are experiencing a watershed moment in our country as survivors of gender-based violence are coming forward after living in the shadows for years, even decades. Our message to survivors must be clear: when you come forward for help and support, it will be available to you.
We urge Congress to immediately reauthorize FVPSA, by passing the bipartisan H.R. 6014/S. 2784. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Michelle Mitchell (firstname.lastname@example.org), Qudsia Raja (email@example.com), or Kiersten Stewart (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thank you for your continued leadership in keeping victims safe and healthy. We know our successes could not be achieved without your support, and we are grateful for all that you do.
100+ Women Who Care Santa Cruz Chapter
A Change Would Do You Good, LLC
A New Hope Center, Inc.
A New Leaf
Abuse & Rape Crisis Shelter of Warren County
Abuse Prevention Council
Access California Services
Adult Protective Services after hours
Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus
Advocacy & Resource Center of Sheridan, WY
Advocacy Center of Tompkins County
Advocate Safehouse Project
Advocates for Responsible Care (ARxC)
Advocates of Lake County
Advocates to End Domestic Violence
AGAPE Child Development Center
Agnes’ Centers For Domestic Solutions
Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse (AVDA)
Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center
Alaska Network On Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Alexandra House, Inc.
Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault
Alternatives to Domestic Violence
Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse
American Medical Student Association
Angela’s Piazza:Women’s Drop-In Center
Anna Marie’s Alliance
Apna Ghar, Inc. (Our Home)
Arab-American Family Support Center
Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence
Arizona South Asians For Safe Families
Ashe Community Paramedic Program
Ashe County DSS
Ashe County Partnership for Children – A Safe Home for Everyone
Ashe Family Literacy-Wilkes Community College
Asian American Psychological Association
Asian Human Services of Chicago
Asian Law Alliance
Asian Pacific Development Center
Asian Services In Action
Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence
Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project
Atascosa Family Crisis Center, Inc.
AVDA| End Abuse/Begin Again
Barren River Area Safe Space, Inc.
Bastrop County Women’s Shelter, dba Family Crisis Center
Battered Women’s Justice Project
Battered Women’s Shelter
Battered Women’s Shelter of Summit & Medina Counties
Bay Area Turning Point
Becky’s Place Haven of Hope Corp.
Bergen County N.J. Alternatives to Domestic Violence (ADV)
Bingham Crisis Center
Boston Area Rape Crisis Center
Brain Injury Association of America
Break the Cycle
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Brio Performance Solutions, LLC
Cal Family Law Group, PC
California National Organization for Women
California Partnership to End Domestic Violence
California Women’s Law Center
Calvert County Crisis Intervention Center
Cameron Housing Authority
Canyon Creek Services
Capital Area Family Violence Intervention Center
CARE of Atchison County MO
Casa de Esperanza: National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families and Communities
Casa de Misericordia
Casa Myrna Vazquez, Inc.
CASA of Oregon
Cascade County Attorney’s Office
Catherine Cobb Safe House
Catholic Community Services Yuma
CAWS North Dakota
CCS Safe House
Center for Abuse and Rape Emergencies, Inc.
Center for Civil Justice
Center for Family Violence Prevention
Center for Hope and Safety
Center for Nonviolence, Inc.
Center for Safety & Change, Inc.
Center for Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Survivors
Center for Women in Transition
Center on Halsted
Centre Co. Women’s Resource Center
Chicago Women’s AIDS Project
Child Care Services Association
Children’s Defense Fund – Texas
Christos House, Inc.
Church Women United in New York State
Church Women United of Rochester & Vicinity
Citizens Against Domestic & Sexual Abuse – Island County
Citizens Against Domestic Violence – Lake of the Ozarks
Citizens Against Spouse Abuse, Inc.
Clallam County Prosecuting Attorneys Office
Clallam County Target Zero Program
Clear Creek County Advocates
Coalition Ending Gender-Based Violence
Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF)
Coburn Place Safe Haven
Cogswell Hall, inc.
Columbus Alliance for Battered Women, Inc. d/b/a Hope Harbour
Comal County Family Violence Shelter, Inc.
Committee Against Domestic Abuse (CADA) Inc.
Community Action Agency of Somerville, Inc.
Community Against Violence (CAV)
Community Alternatives to Violence
Community Housing of Maine
Community Resource Center
Community Support Center of Southwest Montana
Compass Center for Women and Families
Comtrea – A Safe Place
Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Consolidated Agencies of Human Services
Council on Domestic Violence Inc.
Council on Families in Crisis
Crime Victim and Sexual Violence Center – Albany County
Crime Victims Treatment Center and New York State Downstate Coalition for Crime Victims
Crisis Call Center / SASS Program
Crisis Center of Comal County
Crisis Center of Dodge City, Inc.
Crisis Center of the Plains
Crisis Center of West Texas
Crisis Center, Inc.
Crisis Intervention Service
Crook County Family Violence
Cumbee Center to Assist Abused Persons
Custer Network Against Domestic Abuse, Inc.
D.A.R.T. (Domestic Abuse Resistance Team)
Day One – New York
Day One – Rhode Island
DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence
DC Volunteer Lawyers Project
Deaf Overcoming Violence through Empowerment (DOVE
Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Denton County friends of the family
Disability Law Center
District 4 Human Resources Development Council
District Alliance for Safe Housing, Inc (DASH)
Division of Indian Work
Doctors for America
DOMESTIC ABUSE PROJECT INC
Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County
Domestic Abuse/Sexual Assault Services
Domestic and Sexual Violence Services – MT
Domestic Violence Association of Central Kansas
Domestic Violence Intervention of Lebanon County, Inc
Domestic Violence Intervention Program – Iowa City
Domestic Violence Intervention Services, Tulsa (DVIS)
Domestic Violence Intervention, Inc.
Domestic Violence Service Center, Inc. – Luzerne and Carbon Counties
Domestic Violence Services of Benton & Franklin Counties
Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County
Domestic Violence Services of Southwestern Pa
DOVES of Big Bear Valley, Inc.
Durham Crisis Response Center
East Side Neighborhood Services
East Texas Crisis Center, Inc.
Eastlake Police Victim Assistance
Eastland County Crisis Center
Eastside Neighborhood Services
El Refugio, Inc.
Elko Committee Against Domestic Violence
Empower Yolo, Inc
End Domestic Abuse WI
End Violence Against Women International
Englewood Community Connection Outreach Corp
Equality North Carolina
FAITH Social Services
Family & Children’s Service of Niagara
Family Abuse Shelter of Miami Co. Inc.
Family Advocates, Inc.
Family Crisis Center of San Juan County
Family Crisis Center of the Big Bend
Family Crisis Center, Inc – Great Bend, KS
Family Crisis Center, Inc. – Mineral, Grant, and Hampshire Counties
Family Crisis Center, Inc. – Northeast Arkansas
Family Crisis Centers, Inc. – Northwest Iowa
Family Crisis Council of Rowan, Inc.
Family Crisis Resource Center, Inc.
Family Services Inc – Hudson Valley
Family Services Incorporated
Family Services of Tulare County
Family Services, Winston-Salem NC
Family Support Services of Amarillo
Family Violence Appellate Project
Family Violence Prevention Center of Greene County
Fannin County Family Crisis Center
Fayetteville NC Chapter of NOW
First Baptist Church, Tarkio, MO
Florida National Organization for Women
Forks Abuse Program
Franciscan Shelters dba Bethany House
Freedom Network USA
Freedom’s Rest Family Violence Center
Friends of the Family
Friends of Yates, Inc
Futures Without Violence
Gateway Family Services, Inc.
General Federation of Women’s Clubs
Georgetown University Law Center Domestic Violence Clinic
Georgia Advancing Communities Together, Inc.
Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence
GIA COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest
Governor Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs – PA
Governor’s Advisory Commission on African American Affairs – PA
Guam Coalition Against Sexual Assault & Family Violence
Haitian Neighborhood Center, Sant La
HAVEN – Bozeman, MT
HAVEN – Oakland
Haven Women’s Center of Stanislaus
Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center
HEALING HEARTS & FAMILIES
HEART Women & Girls
HELP of Door County
Helping Services for Youth & Families
Henry Street Settlement
Hi-Line’s Help for Abused Spouses
Highland Lakes Family Crisis Center
Hoke County Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Center
Home Free Shelter and Community Program
HOPE of Ogle County
HOPES CAP, Inc.
House of Hope
House of Ruth
Housing Corporation of Arlington
Houston Area Women’s Center
HUTCHINSON COMMUNITY FOUNDATION
Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence
Illinois National Organization for Women
Illinois Valley Safe House Alliance
Illinois-Iowa Center for Independent Living
Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley
Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence
International Association of Forensic Nurses
Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Iris House, Inc
Jacksonville Area National Organization for Women
Jane Doe Inc., the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence
JCTOD Outreach, Inc. (dba) Johnson Park Center
Jeff Davis Communities Against Domestic Abuse
Jefferson City Rape & Abuse Crisis Service
Jewish Family Service Association of Cleveland
Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles
Jewish Family Service of Seattle
Joan G. Lovering Health Center
Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence
KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights
Kendall County Women’s Shelter
Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence
King County Sexual Assault Resource Center
Kingman Aid to Abused People
Lake County Committee on Family Violence
Las Cruces Police Department-Victim Assistance Unit
Latinas Unidas Por Un Nuevo Amanecer (L.U.N.A.)
License to Freedom
Life Source Consultants
Lorton Community Action Center
Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Lydia’s House, Inc.
Madison-Area Urban Ministry
Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence
Martin County Sheriff’s Office
Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence, Inc.
Matagorda County Women’s Crisis Center
Metro Centers for Community Advocacy
Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault
Michigan Coalition to End Domestic & Sexual Violence
Mid-Minnesota Women’s Center
Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence, Inc.
Middle Way House
Milwaukee Center for Children and Youth
Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women
Mississippi Center for Justice
Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
Monsoon Asians & Pacific Islanders in Solidarity
Montana Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence
Montgomery County Dept. of Health & Human Services
Mosaic Family Services
Mount Graham Safe House
Muslims of Central PA
My Sister’s House
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Association of Social Workers-Texas Chapter
National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence
National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
National Coalition for the Homeless
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH)
National Housing Law Project
National Human Services Assembly
National Network for Youth
National Network to End Domestic Violence
National Organization for Women – Greater Birmingham Chapter
National Organization of API Ending Sexual Violence
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
National Youth Advocate Program, Inc.
Nebraska Coalition to End Sexual & Domestic Violence
NENC Career Pathways
Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence
New Choices Inc.
New Day Advocacy Center
New Horizons Shelter and Outreach Centers, Inc
New Jersey Association on Corrections PC/CC women’s center
New Life Center
New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence
New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
NM Asian Family Center
Noah Project Inc.
NorCal Services for Deaf & Hard of Hearing
North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence
North Country Center for Independence
Northern Marianas Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
Northwest Georgia Family Crisis Center
Northwoods Battered Women’s Shelter
Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry
Oasis Shelter Home, Inc.
Oasis/Family Resource Center
Office of Peace, Justice, and Ecological Integrity, Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth
Ohio Domestic Violence Network
Oklahoma Women’s Coalition
Oneida Crisis Center
Options of Burke County
Options of Northwest Kansas
Options, Inc. Domestic and Sexual Abuse Services
Orange County Women’s Health Project
Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
Ounce of Prevention Fund
PA Coalition Against Domestic Violence
PA Coalition Against Rape
PA Governor Wolf’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs
Pacific Island Knowledge 2 Action Resources (PIK2AR)
Partners Behavioral Health Management
Peace House, Inc
Peaceful Families Project
PeaceWorks, Inc. dba Mountain Peace Shelter
Pennsylvania Commission for LGBTQ Affairs
Pennsylvania Commission for Women
Pennsylvania Council of Churches
Pennsylvania Head Start Association
Pennsylvania Immigrant and Refugee Women’s Network (PAIRWN)
People’s Place II, Inc.
Pershing County Domestic Violence Intervention INC
Personal and Family Counseling Services
Pickens County Advocacy Center
Pinellas County Domestic Violence Task Force
Pinellas NOW (National Organization for Women)
Priest River Ministries
Project Woman – Ohio
Public Health Advocates
Public Health Management Corporation
Putnam Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center
Rainbow House Domestic Abuse Services
Rape Crisis Center of Medina & Summit Counties
Rape/Domestic Abuse Program
Raphael House of Portland
REACH Beyond Domestic Violence, Inc.
Regional Family Crisis Center
RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Rise Above Violence
RISE San Luis Obispo County
Rivers of Hope
Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center
Ross County Coalition Against Domestic Violence
S.A.F.E. House, Inc.
Safe + Sound Somerset
Safe Harbor of NE KY
Safe Haven of Greater Waterbury
Safe Haven of Person County
Safe House for Women
Safe Nest: Temporary Assistance for Domestic Crisis
Safe Passage Domestic Violence Shelter and Crisis Intervention Center
Safe Shelter of St. Vrain Valley
Safehouse Crisis Center, Inc
Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence
Safelight, Inc. dba Mainstay, Inc.
Sakhi for South Asian Women
Salem County Women’s Services
San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program, Inc.
San Joaquin County NOW
Sanders County Coalition For Families
Sandhills Crisis Intervention Program Inc.
SARC – Harford County
Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
Schenectady (NY) Community Ministries
Serenity House of Clallam County
Sewa – Asian Indian Family Wellness
Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine
Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response (STAR)
Shelter Agencies for Families in East Texas
Shelter From the Storm
Shenandoah Women’s Center
Sikh Family Center
Sisters of Charity – Halifax (US Region)
Sisters of Charity Federation
Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Congregational Leadership
Sisters of St. Joseph of Rochester
SLV Immigrant Resource Center
Sojourner Project, Inc
Soroptimist International of Elko
South Asian Helpline and Referral Agency
South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
South Hutchinson Police Department
Southeast Advocates for Family Empowerment
Southern Ohio Task Force on Domestic Violence
Southern Valley Alliance for Battered Women
Southwest Crisis Center
St. Bernard Battered Women’s Program, Inc.
St. Landry-Evangeline Sexual Assault Center
St. Martha’s Hall
St. Peter’s Kitchen
Stepping Stones, Inc
STEPS to End Family Violence
Stop Abusive Family Environments, Inc. (SAFE)
Sullivan County Victim Services
Sure Helpline Crisis Center
Survival Adult Abuse Center Inc
Tacoma Community House
Tahoe SAFE Alliance
TCM-Domestic Violence Services
Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence
Tewa Women United
Texas Council on Family Violence
Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation
The ARK Domestic Violence Shelter
The Center for Family Justice
The Community Responders Network & Gather the Spirit for Justice
The Domestic Violence Center of Grays Harbor
The DOVE Project
The DOVES Program
The Gathering Place
The Haven Family Shelter
The James House
The John Leary Organization
The Justice for Girls Coalition of Washington State
The Mahoney House
The Outer Banks Hotline, Inc.
The Rape Crisis Center of Medina and Summit Counties
The Resource Connection
The Richstone Family Center
The Salvation Army
The Shelter for Abused Women & Children
The United Methodist Church — General Board of Church and Society
The Wellspring Alliance for Families, Inc.
The Willow Domestic Violence Center
The Women’s Center, Inc. of Columbia/Montour
The Women’s Law Center of Maryland
Time Out, Inc.
Trafficking and Exploitation Action Network
Transformative Counseling, LLC
Transitions of PA
Tri-County Council on Domestic Violenc
Tri-County Help Center, Inc.
Tri-Valey Haven, Livermore, CA
Turning Point for Women and Families
Turning Point, Inc.
Ujima Inc: The National Center On Violence Against Women in the Black Community
Union County Council on Aging Inc.
Unitarian Church of Harrisburg
United Way of Southeast Louisiana
University of Miami School of Law
URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity
Vera House, Inc.
Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
Victim Outreach Intervention Center
Victims Resource Center – Northeast PA
Victims’ Intervention Program
Vietnamese Initiatives in Economic Training – VIET
Violence Free Colorado
Virginia Poverty Law Center
Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance
Voices Against Violence
Voices of Hope
Volunteers of America Colorado Branch
Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV)
Webster County Victims Assistance Program
West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Western Youth Network
Whole Health Outreach
WI Alliance for Women’s Health
Winnemucca Domestic Violence Services
WISE & Healthy Aging
Wise County Domestic Violence Task Force
Witness to Mass Incarceration
Women & Children First: The Center Against Family Violence
Women Against Abuse-Philadelphia PA
Women Helping Women
Women In Need, Inc.
Women’s Center-High Desert, Inc.
Women’s Center-Youth & Family Services
Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press
Women’s Law Project
Women’s Research And Education Fund
Women’s Resource Center of Lackawanna and Susquehanna Counties
Women’s Resource Center of Newport and Bristol Counties
Women’s Resource Center of West Virginia
Women’s Services, Inc.
Women’s Shelter of South Texas dba The Purple Door
Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh
Women’s Center of East Texas
Working Against Violence for Everyone
Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Young Feminists & Allies: National Organization for Women’s (NOW) Inaugural Virtual Chapter
YWCA Bradford Victims’ Resource Center
YWCA Clark Couny
YWCA Great Falls
YWCA Greater Austin
YWCA Lewiston, ID-Clarkston, WA
YWCA Mahoning Valley
YWCA Mercy Home
YWCA Metro St. Louis
YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee
YWCA North Orange County
YWCA Oklahoma City
YWCA Pierce County
YWCA San Diego County
YWCA Sauk Valley
YWCA Seattle King Snohomish
YWCA Silicon Valley
YWCA St. Joseph
YWCA University of Illinois
YWCA Upper Lowlands
YWCA Wheeling, WV
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By Stacy Brookman, Life Storytelling and Resilience Expert at StacyBrookman.com
You (yes, you) need to read this…even if you’re not in an abusive situation.
You need to know where the line is between giving grace and accepting abuse, so you can help a friend or family member recognize it.
For millions of Americans, accepting abuse is an everyday occurrence. Statistics reveal around 10 million people suffer from physical abuse every year, which averages out to 20 people per minute. More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
Abuse comes in many forms, including emotional/psychological, physical, financial, digital and sexual. Abusive patterns can lead to fear, anxiety and depression, and may escalate into stalking, harassment, or lethal violence.
The staggering statistics lead to an undeniable truth. Many people choose to stay in abusive relationships.
Perhaps the answer lies in a very subtle distinction that people often use to rationalize staying with an abusive partner: they want to extend grace, forgiveness and sympathy to the person they love.
But there’s more to a tough relationship than this. Empower yourself to find the best possible outcome for your life by knowing when to say “no” to your partner’s personality.
“A good relationship test is how a person responds to the word ‘No.’
Love respects ‘No.’ Control does not.”
-Dr. Henry Cloud
Grace Versus Abuse
It’s the line between grace and abuse that causes problems.
Extending grace to another person is kind and compassionate, and it’s normal to want to give someone you love the benefit of the doubt. However, giving someone repeated grace, especially when their behavior does not change, may slowly creep into an abusive relationship where you tolerate the abuse time and again without even realizing it.
I Know Where the Line Is—Now
I tripped over the line between grace and abuse many times myself. Remember that old playground jump rope you laid down as a boundary when you were a kid? And then kept moving because someone didn’t think it was in a fair spot?
I kept giving grace over and over and over again thinking it would be better next time. I kept making justifications. Giving grace. But it wasn’t grace. It was an excuse. I was being abused…and I didn’t want to see it or admit it (You can hear more about my story in this Real Life Resilience podcast episode).
What About You?
Being in a relationship with someone who scares or hurts you is so tough. Know that you are not alone at this line between grace and abuse. Answer the following seven questions to know whether you may be giving someone grace (trying to get along or overlook hurt feelings) or accepting an abusive relationship (where someone is taking advantage of your forgiving nature).
Abuse happens when a person engages in patterns of behavior to gain power and control over their partner. Abuse comes in many forms, including physical, emotional/psychological, financial, digital and sexual.
Let’s consider emotional abuse as an example. Perhaps, at some point in your relationship, your partner got really mad at you for something, and started screaming, calling you horrible names, and saying hurtful things. Maybe this is the only time something like this has happened, your partner was especially upset about this issue or having a particularly bad day, and they later apologized and never acted that way again. In that situation, it may be appropriate to extend grace to your partner.
If situations like these occur on a regular basis, especially if your partner never apologizes, sees nothing wrong with their behavior, gets angry about things that are not your fault/outside of your control, or says things that hurt or scare you, that becomes a pattern of behavior intended to control your emotional well-being—emotional abuse.
Try writing out exactly what happened in your situation, one moment in time that was particularly intense. Don’t write out any reasons as to “why,” just put down the facts. He did this, I did that, x happened, y happened. Then let it sit for a day or two, adding to it as needed. Step back and re-read what happened as if it were someone else. Does it seem reasonable? Would you act in the way the other person acted toward you? Why or why not? What advice would you give to a person in your role?
The key to answering this question is looking at your partner’s behavior and personality over time. Abuse happens regularly and systematically. It doesn’t have to be daily, but abuse is a pattern of behavior: weekly, every couple of days, biweekly, monthly or whatever time frame you notice.
This is also true when it comes to personality. One particularly bad behavioral incident probably isn’t abusive, but if your partner is repeatedly engaging in controlling, hurtful or threatening behavior, that’s a huge red flag. An abuser may also experience mood swings—being fine, loving and caring one moment and then fearful, angry and upset the next. Even if you think someone’s hurtful behavior is just a personality quirk, that does not excuse their choice to act that way. You always deserve to feel safe and respected in your relationship.
Here again, writing can help. Writing about tough situations may be a painful process because you don’t necessarily want to re-live what happened in your mind. Sometimes, you even feel you may have triggered the other person’s behavior or made the situation worse with your response. However, writing in a journal can help you keep track of your partner’s behavior over time. When you can look back on the facts in black and white, it may help you see more clearly that what is happening IS abuse, not normal behavior.
Cutting someone a little slack or giving grace involves talking to them about what happened. If your partner apologizes and never treats you that way again, your grace might have opened that person’s mind to the possibility that they made a mistake. If you don’t feel like you can talk about a particular situation with your partner, that’s a red flag that you’re in an abusive situation. Fearing that you’ll hurt their feelings or that you misunderstood their intent is normal. Fearing that they’ll react in ways intended to blame, punish or threaten you is not.
Pay attention to how you feel when your loved one’s behavior occurs. Do you think, “Oh no, not again?” Do you try to rationalize the person’s behavior? This may mean you have an abusive relationship on your hands.
One way to tell if you’re in an abusive relationship involves fear. Someone who repeatedly relies on fear and insecurities to manipulate other people is probably abusive. Lashing out is intended to show power and instill fear into the other person to make them submissive. Abuse is more than just anger, but if your partner reacts to anger in dangerous or hurtful ways, they need to get themselves under control. That’s not your responsibility, nor should you bear the brunt of their reaction.
If you extend grace to an abuser, that person gets another chance to exhibit the same abusive behavior all over again.
Reasons for your partner’s insecurity and fear are numerous. Perhaps they experienced a tough childhood. Maybe they feel a lack of social value. The behavior might be explained, but not excused. There are two ways to break the cycle: the abuser seeking help to make real change in their behavior, or you getting out of the abusive relationship.
Putting forth effort to stop abusive behavior could be one sign that your partner is serious about changing. However, this could simply be a way for an abuser to suck you back into the relationship. Maybe they have no real motivation to stop their behavior and lied about a willingness to seek help. Maybe your grace unintentionally set your abuser up to take advantage of you one. more. time.
Sometimes when you try to hold an abuser accountable for change, they use stealth to shift your attention and delay you leaving the relationship. They might try to overtly flatter you with praise and gifts to distract you from the abusive behavior. Watch out for the language of abuse and narcissism. A narcissist might seem as if they have your best interest at heart, but upon further analysis, the opposite is true.
On the other hand, if you give someone the benefit of the doubt and they appreciate the opportunity to make the situation better, you’re giving grace. Rather than lash out in anger for calling out their behavior, they show you they can choose a better way to handle the situation the next time.
You may hear the phrase “I’m sorry” frequently from an abuser, and this person rarely offers an explanation aside from “I’m in a bad mood,” or “I didn’t sleep well,” or “Work was horrible.” Give your partner the benefit of the doubt if you see real change after the apology. If you get an endless string of apologies without any real change, you may be experiencing abuse. Your grace shouldn’t be limitless, and neither should your patience.
Abusers typically lavish attention on their victim initially, and the victim unknowingly responds in kind because that kind of attention feels good. After they behave abusively, the abuser may revert back to this behavior so the victim grants grace. Abusers and victims repeat a dance across this grace/abuse line over and over again until something gives way.
The grace you give to someone initially may seem like the right thing to do. Unfortunately, the abuser parlays that grace into continuing the pattern of abuse. Far too often, the participants either don’t recognize the dynamic shifting before someone gets physically or emotionally hurt.
As human beings, we have an incredible capacity for pulling the wool over our own eyes. Writing down your own grace vs. abuse dynamic can help. What is the origin story of your relationship? How did it come about? What instances of grace have each of you offered the other? Is it lopsided? Why might that be? That plays into the next question…
Nobody is perfect, and chances are sometimes you deserve some forgiveness for mistakes you’ve made in your relationship. How does your partner react when you do something wrong?
Healthy relationships entail a give and take between two people who respect each other. Giving yourself wholeheartedly to another person without consistent return of those same feelings may indicate an abusive relationship. If your partner neglects your needs while demanding attention to theirs, holds you to a different set of rules, or makes you feel like you’re always in the wrong, that can be a huge warning sign of abuse.
As you give grace, you should expect a loving partner to return that grace in two ways. First, the person does not repeat their bad behavior. Second, your partner extends grace to you when you face a similar situation.
“Living with too many rules is legalistic, but allowing too much grace is enabling.”
What to Do About the Grace Versus Abuse Dynamic
Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Take stock of your situation by thoroughly answering the questions above. Keep learning about abusive dynamics. Create a safety plan, whether you choose to stay in or leave your relationship. Find ways to support yourself emotionally. Think about when granting your partner grace may no longer make sense to you.
If you need to talk this through with someone, The National Domestic Violence Hotline is one place to start. Advocates can talk to you confidentially and anonymously about your relationship, help you assess change in your partner, plan for your safety, and connect you with local resources.
Healing is hard, but it’s well worth it.
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
Stacy Brookman is a Resilience and Life Storytelling Expert and produces the Real Life Resilience podcast and the Emotional Abuse Recovery and Resilience Summit. She helps women who have experienced emotional abuse take back control and develop the resilience they need to become themselves again. Her free monthly webinar will give you 4 Simple, Proven Methods to Writing the First Chapter of Your Life Story in Just 7 Days. She believes that life is a story…and it’s never too late to start telling yours.
As you know, the member organizations of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (NTF) represent millions of survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, the professionals who serve these survivors, the faith organizations that support them, the schools that educate them, and the businesses and communities that care about them throughout the United States and its Territories. The NTF has worked for twenty-four years to ensure that federal, tribal, state, territorial, and local governments and communities address the pervasive and insidious crimes of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. We are dedicated to keeping survivors safe and free from continuing trauma, while holding perpetrators accountable. One of the primary tools we have to do our work is the Violence Against Women Act.
We write now to apprise you of our intention to disengage from negotiations over VAWA reauthorization, and of the important reasons for this decision.
VAWA’s enactment in 1994 was a watershed moment for our nation. Its passage meant that our federal government finally acknowledged that domestic and sexual violence cause tremendous harm to individuals and society, and allocated resources to helping victims, improving the response of courts, prosecutors and law enforcement, and holding perpetrators accountable. Millions of people are better off as a result.
It’s time – way past time – to do much more to end this violence and to protect our communities. That means investing more in prevention. That means increasing access to justice and safety for Native women. That means holding perpetrators accountable rather than punishing victims and improving enforcement of protective orders. That means reducing homicides by ending abusers’ easy access to firearms. That means ensuring victims have access to safe housing and economic stability. That means reauthorizing VAWA with modest but meaningful improvements that enhance our nation’s response to these heinous crimes. That means moving forward – never backward and never remaining static. This has been the trajectory of VAWA over the past twenty-four years: each time it has been reauthorized in a bipartisan manner with improvements to continue to enhance our nation’s response and prevention efforts.
The Steering Committee of the NTF has been working with community stakeholders and Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle for more than two years to develop and promote the best possible VAWA reauthorization bill for 2018.
However, we have grave concerns about the way the Senate Judiciary committee, under current leadership, has failed to demonstrate the lessons learned through the implementation of VAWA over the past twenty-four years. If the committee is not willing to engage in a process that upholds the dignity and safety of a person who has come forward to report that she was a victim of sexual assault, then they cannot pretend to care about the reauthorization of VAWA. We will only engage in discussions with those members of Congress committed to doing this work with integrity; with those who not only talk the talk but also walk the walk—regardless of party.
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s deeply troubling and highly credible allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, unwillingly made public, have put the issues of victim autonomy and safety, trauma-informed response, and proper investigation and assessment at center stage for the nation.
This, of all times, is the moment for your offices to demonstrate the great progress we have made as a country in our response to victims of gender-based violence. This is the moment for you to show that you are serious about implementing best practices for addressing sexual assault and that you are committed to the work that VAWA makes possible in communities across the country. You could have— you should have—set an example for our country in your treatment of Professor Ford and her allegations. As subject matter experts, we have been available to you for advice and consultation for months, and we would have gladly assisted. Instead, your actions and comments in the past week have taken us back 25 years, as if VAWA never existed, as if all of the hard-won, evidence-based, best practices we have invested in as a nation were for naught. How can Congress legislate a coordinated community response for the nation, yet fail to live up to its own mandate? This moment has become a crucible.
It’s a test of our progress. Do we start by believing victims of sexual assault and treating them with dignity, or don’t we? So far, Senate leaders are failing that test. Prejudging the outcome of the hearing. Sympathizing with her perpetrator. Attacking her credibility. The public vitriol has been even louder and more toxic. She now must live in fear for her own safety and that of her children and has had to flee her home and hire security. These attacks need to stop now. They send a message to every victim of sexual violence that their pain doesn’t matter, that they do not deserve justice, that – for them – fair treatment is out of reach. This will only serve to drive victims into the shadows and further embolden abusers.
This is not a case of “he said, she said” – Professor Ford provided a detailed account, along with therapist notes from six years ago, and passed a lie detector test. More corroborating evidence may be available if an investigation is undertaken. Yet she has faced death threats and has had to endure suspicion, ridicule, defamation, and scorn. Her identity was revealed without her consent, her motives have been questioned and her credibility has been attacked. And now she’s being told effectively that she must be put on trial –
immediately — before there is even a cursory independent investigation that could support her report. No one is suggesting the committee ought to simply accept an allegation. In fact, as advocates, we are urging you to conduct a thorough investigation. But no fair investigation begins with attacking and trying to discredit the alleged victim. Congress must enlist the advice from experts to ensure they are educated in how to engage in trauma-informed questioning of Professor Ford. She is NOT on trial. She is not alleged to have done anything wrong. She is a person with important information about a man to whom you are about to offer a lifetime appointment on our nation’s highest court. So, what should the process look like instead?
As we explained in our September 18 letter to Senators Grassley and Feinstein, we propose three ground rules:
None of that is true, as extensive research on the neurobiology of trauma has revealed. Finally, we want Senators and the nation to understand that this is much bigger than a single Supreme Court nominee. This is about the 15-year-old girl who finds herself hiding in the bathroom, terrified. She is thinking “Is this how I will be treated if I come forward?” And the 17-year-old boy who finds himself emboldened to take without consent? He too is watching and learning. In this very public arena, with these incredibly high stakes, we need to get this right. What the Senate does next will send a message to victims and offenders everywhere, whether or not you intend to send a message. And what will that message be? Justice demands a fair process that treats Professor Ford far better than with the derision, scorn, and humiliation to which Professor Hill was subjected 27 years ago.
Justice demands that we respect that Professor Ford is a survivor of trauma, and that the Senate Judiciary Committee hear from experts on the lasting impact of trauma on survivors. Justice demands that the hearing process be paused while the FBI reopens its investigation and talks to any witnesses with knowledge that bears on the information that Professor Ford has provided.
For more information, please contact Lisa Lawrence at email@example.com or Terri Poore at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Steering Committee of National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence
cc: Sen. Dianne Feinstein Sen. Orrin Hatch Sen. Patrick Leahy Sen. Lindsey Graham Sen. Dick Durbin Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse Sen. Michael Lee Sen. Amy Klobuchar Sen. Ted Cruz Sen. Christopher Coons Sen. Ben Sasse Sen. Richard Blumenthal Sen. Jeff Flake Sen. Mazie Hirono Sen. Mike Crapo Sen. Cory Booker Sen. Thom Tillis Sen. Kamala Harris Sen. John Kennedy
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By Kitty Bey, Activist, Writer, Director, and Producer
Before I began to write my contribution to this blog, I wanted to make sure I knew what I felt and that had the proof to back my passionate opinion on an obvious fact, so I looked up the meaning of the word “atrocity.” The definition of “atrocity,” according to Merriam-Webster is a shockingly bad or atrocious act, object or situation. I then Googled the word “atrocity,” to learn what my city, our country and our world, consider to be an atrocity. With each new search, I realized that what the world considers an “atrocity,” it wages war against. The Holocaust was an “atrocity.” Terrorism is an “atrocity.” Police Brutality is an “atrocity.” The use and ownership of weapons of mass destruction is considered an “atrocity.” When it comes to crimes against women however, the world tends to feel differently. Though domestic violence is considered a criminal act in many countries, the blame is still too often projected onto the victim, “She can just leave.”
So why do we stay? The most obvious answer is fear. We are afraid. Literally and figuratively for our lives. Will he kill me? Will he harm or kill my children? Will he prevent me from earning money? Will my boss fire me? And if he does fire me, how then will I support my family? If I can’t support my family, how then will my children and I survive? Until we understand the reasons why many women stay in abusive relationships, at home, or at work, we will never consider the act of abuse against women an “atrocity.” We hold the victim accountable first. An “atrocity” is ANY act against ANYONE that instills fear of an unsafe situation or possibility of death. How many women do we really know that have been abused, maimed and sexually assaulted, both physically and verbally, in the workplace and/or at home? How many thousands of deaths need to happen before we consider intimate partner violence an atrocity?
Important political decisions about the future of domestic violence services in this country are happening now. Congress must vote YES on the 2018 Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.
Kitty is a domestic violence survivor, but prefers to be known as a conqueror, and encourages all survivors to adapt the conqueror mindset. She speaks around the country bringing awareness to this often hidden and silent crime—hidden in that many are unaware of how common domestic violence is, and silent because many victims suffer in silence. Kitty is the author of Crossover, a curriculum at CCNY, where she speaks to students about the signs of potentially abusive partners. Kitty is also a writer, creator and director of the web series KittyCiti, and the founder of the ILOVEMYPRETTYSKINNY organization, which empowers women to find the passion in them to do what it takes to be great. She lives in New York City. Besides writing and directing, Kitty enjoys brownies and Diet Coke, believing that one of each daily makes you smile.