Dare to Create – Challenge Stigma of Abuse

The Stigma of Abuse

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Welcome to our first Dare You Create article, from #ProjectLifeQuality. Dare To Create is your creative corner, where we discuss our topic of the week and you are also provided with a suggestion to take away with you. This will be something designed to encourage and motivate you to explore your thoughts through the use of the arts. I can promise some exciting articles. Look out for this each Tuesday.

This week’s topic is about the stigma of abuse. When we consider how many types of stigma there are embedded within the culture of domestic abuse, it comes as a shock.

Did you know that according to the British Crimes Survey, “domestic abuse affects one in four women and one in six men? It accounts for 16% of all violent crime and has more repeat victims than any other crime (on average there are 35 assaults before a victim calls the police).” But why does it take so long to walk away from someone who is this violent, controlling or manipulative? Surely they can just walk out of the door? Many survivors of abuse will tell you that it seems so simple when not in the situation, but if it were that easy, the statistics wouldn’t tell us that abuse leads to the death of two women a week. So what could be causing women to stay with their abuser?

Rather than asking why the abuser’s behaviour is not being questioned, the survivor of domestic abuse is often blamed for the actions of the perpetrator or for not getting out of the situation. A phrase known as victim-blaming, and it is more common than you would expect.

Dare to Create Challenge

Okay, over to the creative bit. Read our Abuse Survivor story underneath. What does it make you feel. Use the attached image underneath this paragraph. I would now like to encourage you to write something – a story, a memory or a poem. Use these four words exactly as they are written, and the image attached. Art can be a great source of healing and communication. We’d love to see what you #DareToCreate. Don’t forget to tag it #PLQ

You can find example on our PLQ Facebook page : Inspiration: Project Life Quality

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Inspiration Lies Within The Survivors – A Story on Abuse and Strength

Meet Joanne (not her real name). Joanne experienced blame for the violence within her family home and later, within her marriage.

She’s grown up with intimidation and witnessed abuse. She has not known anything else, and when you’ve known nothing else, it’s very difficult to recognise when you are stepping into another abusive situation, so when the charms of a man made her feel special and his dominance was called love; she followed her hopes. Unfortunately someone who’s been a victim of abuse will often draw the attention of other abusers. It’s therefore very common for an individual to find themselves in an abusive relationship time and time again, unable to break the cycle, especially when those you expect support from add to the confusion. Over to Joanne.

“My experience had to do with religion – what happens when your religious community doesn’t support you. In my case, I got the blame for what happened to me, by my church. It eventually made me leave.”

“They wanted me to make an apology for my experience. Some churches have strict rules about stuff. Many times they read the Bible and think that they should have the authority to control the people and tell them what to do. How to live, etc. I suppose it’s what you call religious abuse.”

“I no longer attend church, but still believe in God. I’ve found it necessary to define my spiritual journey for myself and decide what I actually believe. It made me realise that many of the passages they used to judge me with, were taken out if context, or weren’t even in the Bible in the first place.”

“When you don’t make decisions that align with what the minister believes or other members, you can be left feeling like an outsider in your own community. It’s very lonely to go through this and if your family is religious, will that’s an extra difficulty to deal with. They have this idea about divorce that you are never supposed to get divorced or leave a marriage, and that’s what I did. They blamed me, said I did something sinful and to pray for forgiveness. I also got married without their approval and became a single mother. In many churches, if you’re a single mum they believe you did something wrong and shame you for it. They didn’t like either. I cried so much.”

PLQ – “When did this happen Joanne?”

Joanne – “I experienced this twice in my life. Once when I had my situation and the first time was when my parents split up. That was really hard. I was devastated. At the time, some family members didn’t understand. They blamed Mom. People treated us like they didn’t know us. That’s when I started becoming isolated. I had so much anger inside me. I was angry at my parents, my family, my church, myself. I was 19 and then 23 the second time. It turned, life upsidedown.”

“Spiritual abuse isn’t something that’s talked about a lot, but I imagine if I experienced it, I’m not the only one. Other people from other devoutly religious communities may have gone through this too.”

PLQ – “Would you say that the response the church gave you, delayed you getting help in your situations?”

Joanne – “Absolutely. It made me become very suicidal. You feel bad about what has happened to you and then you have people telling you that you are a bad person, or that make you feel like that. You have no friends, no emotional support, so you start to wonder what you are really here for, and when that happens, if no one can give you a reason, you can feel unimportant. You start to think what if I was never here? It’s that kind of reasoning. Maybe I don’t deserve to be here? What if?, becomes a dangerous question to ask.”

“I think community can be healthy and I’m certainly not bashing anyone who finds strength in their religious community, I just think it’s always good to pay attention to how we feel in those situations.”

It’s through great courage and determination, that Joanne and her mother are now safe. They are still affected by their experiences, but continue to rebuild their lives and identity and are now happy.

 

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Thank you for sharing with us Joanne. 

Be the person you want to be.

Sincerely

Rebecca Goldthorpe

PLQ Creative Coach and Journalist

 

 

What are Stigmas of Abuse – Rid Them !

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Can anyone deny the powerful consquences of abuse on individuals?

Survivors are encouraged by the perpetrator to blame themselves for their situation.   The abuser is eager to create a sense of blame in the survivor, as that adds to the power of their manipulation.  This sense of blame, once kindled, can be reinforced by social criticism of survivors.

 

Sadly, the answer is yes, they do.

It is important for the general public to be made aware of the true nature of abuse.  Abuse as we discussed in a prior article, is deliberate mistreatment that is not the fault of the survivor.  The widespread failure to appreciate this fact promotes a further obstacle to survivors as they struggle to overcome the abuse.  

 

The failure of the general public to support survivors of abuse, adds to the consequences of abuse.

Survivors are encouraged by the perpetrator to blame themselves for their situation.   The abuser is eager to create a sense of blame in the other, as that adds to the power of their manipulation.  This sense of blame, once kindled, can be reinforced by social criticism of the survivors.  Society questions whether the survivor could have ended the abuse sooner?  Couldn’t they have come forward for help sooner?  Couldn’t they have resisted the abuse longer?  Aren’t they impaired in some way compared to “normal” people?   These are recurrent attacks on survivors that exacerbate the attack on self-judgment launched by an abuser.

 

The truth is that survivors are not to blame for their abuse.

This must be emphasized.  They are not damaged or impaired compared to people lacking their experiences.  It’s a founding tenet of Project Life Quality that persons who have withstood abuse, by the very fact of their existence, have broader experience and great reserves of character enabling greater creativity, commitment to physical fitness, encouragement of their peers, and other capabilities.

Isolation is a consequence of abuse.

Survivors are likely to isolate themselves from their friends and relations, as others feel incapable of acting firmly or with support around somebody seemingly content to put up with malignant behavior.  The answer to this is again greater social awareness of abuse, the nature of abuse, and the resources for countering abuse.

Withdrawal is a consequence of abuse.

Survivors, because they are often misunderstood or judged by others, or because they anticipate this unfair treatment, can withdraw from society and the company of others.  This is not a weakness or impairment of the abused, but a further consequence of their abuse and the stigma by an unaware public.  This withdrawal  is likely to be misunderstood by others and can lead to unfairly harsh reciprocal treatment against the survivors.

This behavior can be countered by greater awareness, by the survivor of abuse and by the general public, of the real nature of abuse and social empowerment of survivors by their friends and relations.

Distrust is a consequence of abuse.

Survivors, because of the betrayal of their hopes and expectations by abusers, can develop a deep distrust of other persons.  This goes beyond simply avoiding contact with other persons.  The survivor may develop feelings against other persons and disrupt their relationships with others.   This is likely to be misunderstood by persons ignorant of the specific abuse or unaware of the pattern of abuse in general.

Again, this is not a weakness or impairment of a survivor, but consequence of abuse.  We believe survivors can overcome all consequences and determine their own behavior.

Beyond withdrawal and denial and distrust can be depression.  

Simply nothing in life is viewed appropriately or in its proper context.  Depressed persons may find physical difficulty in carrying out day-to-day functions of life. Depression is a serious consequence resulting from abuse, but we stress inspiration and creativeness can sprout from adversity.

We here at Project Life Quality want to welcome and affirm everyone becoming aware of their own situation.  

If you have experienced some of these emotional states yourself, or if you recognize them in a close friend or relation, we encourage you to take hope.   

It is not abnormal to feel discouraged, or depressed, or afraid, or uncertain.

It is possible to live a life beyond abuse and free of the consequences of abuse.

We encourage you to experience a change in lifestyle habits that affirms and nourishes yourself physically and mentally.  

This is not your fault.  This is not your fate.

You have experiences and a point of view that can take your self-awareness, your conscious expression, your self-confidence, to levels you have not dreamed possible.

Please come explore the opportunities with us.

 

Sincerley

Christopher Andrew Balsz

Team PLQ

Headerpicture credit to : Ahmad Torabi
Instagram @Ampics_photography_ahmad

 

 

JustCallMeLolli – The heart of a Survivor

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 “Justcallmelolli” It was something about the nuances and every little thing she would notice that caught my eyes. Her purity and humble character, her strength and open being. She had just started her recovery. Now 270 days later she is here providing  us with articles of her experience overcoming abuse. This in her pursue of facing stigmas of Abuse.  I present to you Loren “Lolli” Ruiz.

Day 47: Recovery🌳
I have one prayer request today, God: To fall in love again with the creativity that was stolen from me. Every detail of my life is important to you so help me believe, let go, and love again. 💜

~Loren Ruiz~

 

JustCallMeLolli

My name is Loren, but I go as Lolli (like lollipop), because most people can’t write or pronounce my name correctly. For those of you wondering I was named after Italian actress Sophia Loren.  I am currently an online college business student planning to graduate on November 2018. Meanwhile, I am working on opening my own business on Etsy and on my artistic abilities. My passion about emotional healing helps me connect with others and in the process, I get to meet awesome people. My favorite animals are dogs and I would love to visit Japan someday.

What is your Prettiest place and why?

That’s a very tough question! There are so many beautiful places in this world. However, if I needed to pick just one it would probably be my home country Puerto Rico. It’s a beautiful island in the Caribbean.

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The first day before starting your recovery, what goal did you set for yourself?

At the moment I don’t remember setting any goals for myself during that period. However, I do remember that my intention was to reach strangers by using different hashtags related to abuse. Also, I wanted to be transparent about the daily struggles a survivor. Social media is the number one tool used to post society’s highlight reels instead of their “behind the scenes”. I wanted survivors to be part of the “behind the scenes” of my personal recovery without filters.

Can you please give us any tips on how to focus dealing with abuse.

  1. Surround yourself with genuine and empathetic people. (Not everyone has emotional tact to deal with these kind of topics)
  2. Find a healthy coping mechanism to express yourself without hurting yourself or others.
  3. Constant forgiveness. (Forgiveness for yourself and your abuser is vital. Forgiving yourself for the constant self- blaming and hate can help your emotional state greatly. Sometimes survivors hate themselves and criticize themselves constantly for things that are not even their fault. Forgive and let go! Also forgiving the abuser does not mean that what was done to the victim is right. It just means that you won’t allow hate and resentment pollute your heart and dictate your life.

What is your Favorite healthy meal? 

There is this cool recipe I heard of a long time ago it’s called Ratatouille. Like the Disney movie haha. I have not tried it yet, but I’m planning on making it for the holidays. Its ingredients consist of spices such as oregano, coriander and thyme. It’s a vegetable dish, so you could say it’s quite versatile. Most of the time people use eggplants, squash, red bell peppers, zucchini and tomatoes. I would personally add corn, cucumbers, green peppers, salt, olive oil, and a hint of black pepper. The recipe can be prepared in the oven or the skillet, whichever the person prefers. Here’s the link for the recipe:

Lorens Favorite Ratatouille

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What is your most beautiful memory

My most beautiful memory would be a specific Christmas I celebrated back home. I went over to a relative’s house and there was approximately 50 people. There was music, food, dancing, laughter. My favorite part was the fact that my best friend and I would ignore the adults and stay up till 3 am watching movies and eating random things. Everything was simple back then. But there’s so much more memories! I’ll share them one day.

Why do you feel it’s important to stand up against abuse the way you do?

Personally, I have been affected by the silence of society. I decided to speak up because I want people, especially parents to understand that they need to talk about sex to their children in a healthy way. If they don’t, then their children will learn about it the wrong way and or end up being a victim of abuse. The more awareness, the less ignorance.

What are your personal values and how does it motivate you during your everyday life?

I live by one principle and that’s love. Love is generous, patient, and kind. Because I have been loved then I have no excuse to love other people. Whether the person likes me or not, it doesn’t matter. (Although it at times it can be quite challenging.) You never know the seeds you spread in people’s lives when you love them. It truly makes a difference. An example of this can be paying for a person’s order in the drive thru. Telling the cashier to also charge you for the next car’s order. You never know if the car behind you is struggling financially, so that can be a blessing to them. Other ways include complementing people, pointing out their strengths instead of their weaknesses, and reminding them that they are alive for a wonderful purpose.

What form of creative or physical outlet do you use when you experience hardship?

I usually go on long walks around the neighborhood, although I haven’t in a while. It’s getting quite cold with the approach of winter and I don’t particularly enjoy that type of whether. LOL Other than that I enjoy writing songs, journaling, writing stories, singing, and drawing

What is your favorite song and why?

Hardest question ever! I enjoy hearing all types of music, so this constantly changes. One day I’ll make a list of all my favorites!  One of my favorite songs is the opening theme of the video game Kingdom Hearts. It’s called Simple and Clean. The orchestra version is so majestic and brings tears of joy to my eyes. It reminds me of great memories of when I first started to play this game.

 

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re feeling down?

Creating art, listening to music, and reading helps me. I tend to isolate myself on hard days, so being creative and stimulating my perspective keeps me distracted.

Please, if you can write a few lines by hand and send it by photo or a tiny doodle.

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And last but not least: If you were ever to meet a victim of abuse what would you tell that person?

This would really depend on the victim’s age. If the victim is a child I would speak in simple terms so that he or she can understand. Letting a child know that a. what they are going through is not okay, b. they need to tell an adult they can trust, and c. congratulate them for their courage is very important. Emphasizing their courage to tell boosts a child’s self-esteem, and is more likely to seek out for help. This scenario would not be common however, since most children don’t tell unfortunately due to shame and threats by the abuser. If the person is an adult I would give he or she phone numbers of domestic violence shelters, talk about a safety exit plan, but most important of all validating their worth as person.

 

This is a short presentation of our new ambassador Lolli. Every Thursday she will provide you with blog articles of her journey as a survivor of abuse. Together with us she will face stigma. We are so so honored to have her on our team follow her journey and be inspired! Like we are by inspired by her!

Kind Regards

The PLQ Team

 

 

InYourFaceMotivation- Weekly Video; We are to quickly to judge someone! (Trigger Warning)

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If you happen to see a post on Instagram or on Facebook, or conversation as you pass somebody. Exend an ear or a conversation to that person, you don’t know if that can make an impact on their lives

~Kenyatta Mitchell~

We present to you the first of our weekly motivational. These are specially designed for you by project life quality supporter and Inyourfacemotivation front man and speaker Kenyatta Mitchell.

Watch him get personal about his experience of loosing someone and how it encouraged him to be an inspiration and motivation for others. Hear his tips on how to recover and how to understand what to look for in order to actually notice those around you.

 

 

Follow for weekly motivational videos on how to fight stigma or to get encouragement along your journey of recovery.

 

Kind Regards

The PLQ Team

Monthly Theme: What is Abuse?

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What is abuse?

Abuse is not the fault of the abused. It is the fault of the abuser. 

We will briefly investigate some forms of abuse, and single months will be dedicated to different forms of abuse, as the subject is so incredibly complex. One step at a time. And we’ll be right there as we take the steps with you.

Do not be misled. Abuse is a deliberate choice by the abuser to control their victim. It does not flow from a loss of control. It has a pattern of ebb and flow, abuse and apology, brooding and violation. Abusers can control whom they abuse and when and where they choose to abuse them. They are able to stop themselves to avoid being punished for their abuse.

We have to understand that abuse is a misuse of trust for control. It takes many forms. They are not exclusive. A person may combine physical abuse with controls of money and internet access, for example.

In some instances abusive partners may use a variety of tactics to manipulate their victims. They may use dominating behavior, humiliation, isolation, threats, intimidation, and blame on their partners to help control their behavior and prevent them from communicating fully with other people. An intimate partner may use a pattern of abuse to maintain power and control over another partner. This is known as domestic violence.

It can occur in workplace and social settings, such as a school or a nursing home. For too many people, abuse outside of intimate relationships causes real trauma and sometimes physical injury.

and unfortunately one of the side effects of meeting an abusive individual is that they have no concern for the worth of other individuals and maltreat them to degrade their well being.

Some parents may harm their children because of stress, poor parenting skills, social isolation, and lack of available resources. They may emotionally abuse their children because the parents or caregivers were emotionally abused during their own childhood and are impaired themselves. Abuse can occur to anyone of any age and gender and from any background. Because of that we need to raise awareness, stand together and show that this kind of behavior is not tolerated and that it is never the victims fault.

We are to quick to say it could have never happened to me. That is wrong. It can happen to anyone!

 

This does not apply to me?

Some people are reading this hoping that we will define abuse so strictly that they can quit reading and say, “My partner’s behavior doesn’t fit the definition of abuse.  I am not a victim.”

But there are many forms of controlling and disrespectful behavior.  Physical violence—slapping, kicking, shoving, hitting, or the threat of these things – is one form of abuse.  So is continually insulting or demeaning another person, using technology to keep track of another person’s whereabouts, sabotaging a person’s medications or birth control, draining a person’s financial resources, and any combination of these things demonstrates abuse.

Abuse is experienced within family, within social and within workplace settings.  It does not require intimacy.  It is the attempt by one person to control or dominate another.

What types of actions abusemake up abuse?

  • If you are not allowed to control your own eating or sleeping, or pressured to use drugs or alcohol, there is physical abuse.
  • If you are subject to insults, threats, accusations, isolation or attempts to control appearance and or humiliation, there is emotional abuse.
  • If you are forced or manipulated into sexual acts, ignored or infected with a sexually transmitted disease, there is sexual abuse.
  • If you are not allowed to use the Internet freely, or are pressured to be constantly online and in contact with a partner, there is digital abuse.
  • If you do not have total control over your financial assets, tax returns, bank accounts, loose cash, because a partner insists on using them despite your objections, there is financial abuse.

These are some of the forms of abuse that are visited upon victims by perpetrators who do not respect their victims and attempt to control them with misbehavior.

What are the outward signs of abuse?

Abuse within social, educational and workplace settings may occur in public.  The repeated use of intimidation, harassment, belittling, humiliation and ridicule make up a pattern of abuse.  Isolated incidents of disagreement and dispute may not qualify as a pattern of abuse, but again: the regular and consistent attempt by one person to control another through emotional or psychological abuse, and sometimes, especially at school, even physical abuse, is a real occurrence and should prompt intervention on behalf of the victim of abuse.

Abuse within a relationship is usually planned to occur in private.  Abused persons may be prevented from communicating fully with persons outside the relationship.  However, there are signs of abuse that can be observed from the outside:

 

People who are being abused may:

Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner

Go along with everything their partner says and does

Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing

Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner

Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or posessiveness

Warning signs of physical violence:

 

People who are being physically abused may:

Have frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents”

Frequently miss work, school, or social occasions, without explanation

Dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (e.g. wearing long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors)

Warning signs of isolation:

 

People who are being isolated by their abuser may:

Be restricted from seeing family and friends

Rarely go out in public without their partner

Have limited access to money, credit cards, or the car

The psychological warning signs of abuse:

 

People who are being abused may:

Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident

Show major personality changes (e.g. an outgoing person becomes withdrawn)

Be depressed, anxious, or suicidal


Source: Helpguide.org/articles/abuse/domestic-violence-and-abuse.htm

It is important to be aware of these signs in order to intervene on behalf of a person who is being abused.  Intervention is vital because victims of abuse are often unwilling to admit there is a problem.  It is not worth feeling secure in minding your own business to see a friend suffer and possibly be endangered.

 

What can I do about abuse?

Try to educate yourself on the topic, because understanding more will get a better understanding of yourself and what is happening inside of you. A lot of the aftermath abuse represents, may for someone not seem rational and there is sadly an problem that people that has suffered abuse blames themselves or uses their reaction as a manifestation of how broken they are are or “crazy” they are. When in reality we need to seek to understand that, a reaction to something as severe has living through abuse will give a lot of strong reactions. Because the impact of this or these incidents where exactly that something that made a strong impact. You don’t cover a  broken leg with a band aid. You have to allow yourself to react and feel and when it hits you. Find that one thing that can help you surf the waves. Be patient. It might take time, But in the meantime know you’re walking towards a better life. Our blog will provide possible solutions to your recovery process.

Project Life Quality will explore resources available for survivors of abuse in depth in the months to come.  You should feel able to reach out immediately to the following numbers:

 

Help for men:

 

Sincerely

Christopher Andrew Balsz

~ PLQ Team Member ~

 

There is No Reason for You to Feel Shame

Words of Motivation

A lot of victims sit with a feeling or a sense of shame in regards to what happened to them. Even thou it is often stated that you where never to blame it is hard to believe at times. So we’ve created this statement for you to hear it. You are beautiful and you were never to blame.

 

 

Sincerely

Team Project Life Quality

Non Profit Organisation for Abuse Survivors

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