Standing Up to Domestic Abuse
- While women in America have made tremendous strides socially, financially and politically over the past 50 years, domestic abuse continues to surface as a major problem in our communities.
Violence against women can vary in frequency and severity. It can occur on a continuous basis--ranging from one hit that may or may not impact the victim-- to chronic, severe battering.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Injury and Prevention Control fact sheet released in early 2012, nearly 3 in 10 women in the U.S. have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner. The term "intimate partner violence" (IPV) denotes harm by a current or former partner or spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend. This type of violence can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples, and does not require sexual intimacy.
IPV resulted in 2,340 deaths in 2007. Of these deaths, 70% were females. The medical care, mental health services, and lost productivity (e.g., time away from work) costs of IPV was an estimated $8.8 billion that same year.
One of the many difficulties facing women who deal with domestic abuse is the feeling of helplessness. Elva Thompson, President and Founder of the Precious Hearts Foundation, says that while it may seem impossible, women need to know that there is a way out.
"You're in a 'no win' situation," says Thompson. "You cannot change a person, and the longer you stay in an abusive relationship, the worse it will get. That person will have to want to change on their own, and if you stay, you're playing Russian roulette."
The Precious Hearts Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that serves as an aid for men, women, and children who are victims of domestic abuse.
Thompson, the mother of five and past victim/survivor of domestic abuse, understands how fear can consume the hearts and minds of women who are afraid to leave an abusive relationship.
"Being a past survivor, I was in that mindset of being afraid to leave. If I knew then what I know now, I would have ran away quickly," Thompson told Mybrotha.COM. "I had a fear that he would find me and do worse damage. I was isolated and didn't know about helplines or shelters. But now that I am on the opposite end, I am telling victims to seek local domestic violence shelters so they can provide you with advice, counseling, shelter, and resources to deal with the situation."
Domestic violence is best understood as a pattern of abusive behaviors (including physical, sexual, and psychological attacks as well as economic coercion) used by one partner against another (adult or adolescent) to gain, maintain, or regain power and control in the relationship.
The CDC says abuse can take many forms. Some of the most common types of abuse include the following:
- Battering and physical violence--Throwing objects at the victim, pushing, hitting, slapping, kicking, choking, beating, or attacking with a weapon
- Threats of physical or sexual violence--This includes the use of words, gestures, weapons, or other means to communicate the intent to cause harm.
- Sexual abuse--Forced sexual activity, including vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse
- Psychological/emotional abuse--Forcing the victim to perform degrading acts, threatening to harm a partner or her children, attacking or smashing valued objects and pets, or trying to dominate or control a woman's life
For men who exhibit violent behavior against women, Thompson believes there is hope for those who wish to change. "Recognizing that you have a problem is the first step and I commend those men who want to change," she said. "The second step is to seek counseling to better yourself and those around you, and don't forget to say--I'm sorry
. Follow it up with not allowing your anger to get the best of you and express love to your mate."
Thompson also serves on the Board of Directors of the D.I.V.A.S Club as the Communications and Public Affairs Director for Alpha Christian Counseling Services. D.I.V.A.S., an acronym for: D
-Divine / I
-Inspirational / V
-Virtuous / A
-Anointed Women of God, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides aid to children of domestic abuse.
"Oftentimes you would hear the old saying, 'I wouldn't know my husband loved me unless he hit me,' Thompson explained. "Well I say, if he loves you, he wouldn't hit you. The only time he would put his hands on you is to show you affection. Walk away and take the necessary steps to move toward your safety, freedom, and victory."
For more information about the Precious Hearts Foundation, or to make a donation to support victims of domestic violence, go to www.preciousheartsfoundation.org
. For a direct line to an advocate, call 1-877-731-2210.
About The Precious Hearts Foundation
Precious Hearts Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non profit organization that serves as an aid for men, women, and children who are victims of domestic abuse. We are working to generate change by tackling the core causes of violence and promote righteousness, protection, and restoration for survivors.
About Elva Thompson
Elva Thompson is President and Founder of the Precious Hearts Foundation, Inc. A past domestic abuse victim and now survivor, Thompson's current bestseller "A Mother's Cry,"
is an inspirational story about her life as a survivor. In the book, she explains her struggle with domestic abuse and how she was able to set herself free physically, mentally, and emotionally. Her latest work is "Battered Secrets: MEN of Domestic Violence,"
a tell all non-fiction novel about men who are victims of domestic abuse.