Archive for June, 2012


Stop Rape….Period!

After a talk to a group of about 150 people in their early 20’s a young woman walked up to me.

She smiled and asked if I needed any help cleaning up my cords and stuff. I said no and thanked her for her kind offer.

She was about to walk away and then asked one simple little question…”Why don’t people listen?”

I was about to go into a long explanation about listening skills and the lack of communication that exists in our society when I realized there was more to this question by the look on her face. I stopped myself and asked her why.

Her story was horrible. Since she turned 18 she has been rapped twice. One time was by a friend she had known all her life.  She had just come to college and coincidentally she had run into her neighbor who had lived 2 doors down all her life. She had played with this neighbor growing up and even hung out with them when she was in high school. They had shared many great moments in the neighborhood, in school, and on various sports teams together. She was excited to know that she had a friend here in college so far from home. Unfortunately, on one particular study session this woman  raped her. She asked her to stop many times, but the other woman just continued. This same story was repeated 2 years later with a gentleman who she was quite fond of. No matter how many times she said no, or stop, or quit, or get off – it didn’t end.

Now, her only question is…why don’t people listen?

It’s sad to think that we live in a world like this. A world where there are so many people so addicted to power and control, so addicted to getting what they want that they decide to take it. They take your time. They steal your moments. They rip your comfort and happiness right from your soul.

This is not ok!

This is not right!

We all must be doing SOMETHING about ending this horrible epidemic that causes so many people’s live to be destroyed.

We must all remember we are in this together.

This is not her problem, this is OUR problem.

I end this with a quote from a man who knows all too well what abuse is and what it can do to a life…Dave Pelzer, author of the “A Child called IT” series and has become a thriver: Ask yourself: Was there anything I could have done to prevent the situation in the world? If the answer is yes, do something NOW and become a better person for it.  The victims and potential victims will thank you for it.

Three stories of positive things that have come out of my 9 week prevention classes.

The angry man

A student walked into the class on the first day and said, “Yo, I don’t need this class. Bitches be trippin.” I decided to start out speaking about his statement and how so much of it was misguided. I didn’t say wrong, because then I’d be judging his opinions, and I need to make sure that I change opinions not condemn them. I think this is a practice we could all get into.  I explained why the “B” word was so offensive. I explained the fact that women were allowed their own opinion, just as men do. Throughout the class he wove a fabric of victim blaming, misogyny, and violence toward women. Every time he decided to get on his soapbox and rant, I would quickly squash each of his ideas and words and attempt to spin them into a more positive way of seeing them that wasn’t based on the problem with the person he was speaking of. Each time it got harder and harder. Finally, after one particularly violence filled tirade I stopped him, took him out of the class, and told him: Ask her!  Ask her why she acts that way. Ask her why she does these things. Every woman you’re speaking of….ask them!

The rest of the class he sat there and refused to say anything. He took notes and he listened intently. I wasn’t sure what happened and I tried not to think of any negative thoughts like he decided to not participate in this class anymore. At the end of the last day he walked up to me, shook my hand, and gave me a hug. This seemed odd and out of character but I didn’t say anything. before he left he said, “By the way, I asked them. You know what they said?  They said it was me. Every girl I asked told me how I treated them and how wrong it was.  Then I asked my mom, and suddenly she told me about all the men who treated her like I’ve been treating women. She told me about abuse, about rape, and about why my dad is in jail.  I had no idea I was becoming just like all of these horrible men. I was becoming like my dad.  I didn’t know, and I’m not bout to be like him or any of those men who hurt my mama. Thanks.  I smiled and said…that’s my job.

The Kinder Cowboy

A young man in cowboy boots, a shirt with the sleeves ripped off, and jeans with a scoal ring worn into the back pocket walked into class for the last time. His appearance hadn’t changed since the 1st class. When I first met him he told me in no uncertain terms that he didn’t want to be in the class and there was nothing I could do to change his mind about women: “They were holes to be filled and violence was the only way any problem could be solved.”   I cringed at this comment, but I knew this was the kind of gentleman I was here to reach. After I spoke about the need for every student to take the lessons they learned into the community, and said good bye the young man in the cowboy boots came up to me and said, “You’re right, you know. It’s our responsibility to save the world from men like I was 9 weeks ago. I’ve called and wrote to every girl I’ve ever known and apologized, even my mom who has been in jail since I was 3.  We need to do something. Two weeks later, I found out that he organized a drive to donate money to NCADV and got a job when he graduated high school working with a group to promote positive behaviors and nonviolence.

The healing boy

A boy walked up to me at the end of class with tears in his eyes. All the other students had left, shook my hand, and thanked me for the 9 weeks of fun. The story I relate is the story he told me: Four weeks into this class I got into really big trouble and my mom searched my backpack. Stuffed at the bottom she found the paperwork you had been giving us. She asked me where i got it and what class was giving it to me. I explained the whole DELTA class and everything we talked about. My mom was amazed and we talked about ti for hours. Then my dad came home and my mom immediately went to speak with him. He walked into my room, took off his belt, but I wasn’t ready for what came next. He asked if I wanted to have his belt. When I asked why he said, that a real man is a man who can wear a belt, be a real man, and not resort to hurting women or anybody else.  We talked about the class every night and a few weeks ago (week 6 of the DELTA class) we had a big family dinner where all of the family met at our house. In the middle of dinner my dad asked me to tell everyone about the class. In the middle of my story, my uncle, my grandfather, and two of my cousins jumped up….I had never noticed before but their wives flinched when they did that. Everyone was yelling and screaming and all the kids were quickly ushered out. Those men had been beating my cousins and Aunts and Grandmother for years and my dad and mom decided now was the time to confront them. They are now in jail and there’s a lot of healing in my house now….because of you Chad. Thank you.”

These are just a few stories that I’ve heard. There are thousands cropping up all over the world. Send me your success stories and I’d be happy to post them on Opt4.  We are changing the way people see abuse, and we are changing the men’s views of how they see women.

Join in the celebration and help stop the violence!

I walked out to get the paper the other morning and as I looked around I realized I have lived here for 3 years and I don’t know any of these people walking around their yards. When I mentioned this to a friend of mine they said, Why would I want to know them. My life is just fine without them.”

Recently, I read about a woman who had died in her house. The paramedics said she fell and broke her hip and probably died of thirst since she couldn’t move, but she had been laying there for about 2-3 months. .  The person who found her was the Electric person who was there to turn off her electric because it hadn’t been paid for a couple of months.

Unfortunately, this is the world we live in. But what does this have to do with preventing domestic violence?

The number one way you can prevent domestic abuse is to say something, do something, and help the victim.

Imagine – you’re in the middle of this kind of horrible abuse (I’m not going to describe it, no doubt you have the ability to imagine what this abuse is like.) and you look out the window and nobody is helping you. They walk past your house every day looking at the windows you look out of, but they do nothing. You think: They must hear the yelling. They must hear the breaking glass and slamming doors. They must know.

When you begin thinking like this, you are convinced that everyone knows that this is going on, and they aren’t helping you. OR You believe nobody knows, and they can’t help you because your abuser has you convinced of this.

This is a very scary reality for many people. This is a reality for someone right now!

They feel alone, isolated, and feel they have nowhere they can turn. even though a person who lives by them drives to a domestic violence outreach center every day, they feel they have no one who can help them.

It doesn’t have to be this way!

The simple act of meeting your neighbors. Saying hi and starting a conversation, this simple act can change so much.

The simple idea of doing a good deed for a neighbor and then asking them how things are, can change the way someone lives the rest of their life. Now, we won’t go on about how we need to help and become a community…but this is essential if we are going to end domestic violence!

Abusers rely on anonymity and scare tactics. They rely on the fact that only their view and spin on the world is the truth. They rely on fear…and the best way to overcome fear is through the light of knowledge and togetherness.

As soon as a person realizes that there are many eyes upon them, they change the way they act. The more you get to know your neighbors, the more you can help them.

What if the person who lives down the block is a victim right now?

Opt 4 knowing your neighbors.

Opt 4 helping out your neighbors.

Opt 4 creating a community

Remember – It’s not her problem, it is OUR Problem.

Justin Bieber is hosting a contest for his fans to introduce his new fragrance “Girlfriend” asking his fans and whoever else to ask writing a version of his song “Boyfriend.” One video stood out among the others. This video showed an unblinking fan telling Justin all the perks he would get to enjoy if they were a couple. however, it took a different road once the song begin.  He would get things like  being stalked online, tracked with a recording device and being called constantly. It’s scary. But, it also is a textbook on unhealthy relationships.

A gentleman from love is respect recorded his own response to this video……

So this is my call to action to all who read this:

1. Watch the original and the response.

2. Make your own response to the girls unhealthy relationship video

3. OR…make a video talking about what a healthy relationship is and why it’s important.

4. Send me the link to your video, and I’ll post it on this blog.

 

Abuse and anti-women comments and news is coming out every moment.

First a senator gets told that the name of a piece of her body that creates life is vulgar and she’s banned from the floor.

Then a senator from Wisconsin introduces a bill penalizing single mothers for being unmarried.

Suddenly, another Wisconsin state rep has now started to speak out against divorce of any kind..,even if the person is being abused.

While the other items have been a direct attack on women, this new bill that is gaining support is a direct attack on everyone.

Males and females are being abused right now while you read this.

Males and Females are scared to death of their own life and their partner….right now.

Males and Females right now feel like prisoners in their own home…right now.

You might walk past these people in the malls, the streets, and even in your PTA.

If this law is passed it sets a president for laws all over the country. It sets a president that every radical state rep can use to end the ability for anyone to get out of a situation.

And for the people I described above that are currently going through this hell right now, this bill would mean there is no escape!

But our older citizens know this better than any of us….they’ve already lived it. This is nothing new. It use to be a standard law that a woman had to ask a man for a divorce and if he said yes, then it would be ok’d by the court. But if he said no, no matter how abusive or how much infidelity there was….she had to stay by law.

With all of the political anti-women, anti-nonviolence, anti-human rights bills and conversations that are going on right now…we have to stand up. We have to start making our voices abundantly heard.

Many people are mad about these Wisconsin lawmakers and I don’t blame them. But those lawmakers were elected by someone. That means that we weren’t yelling loud enough. Every elected official was exactly that…elected. We are a country of the people, by the people….and as the people…we NEED to Stand up and make our voices heard!

I was browsing the web looking for ways that men could stand up and do something about the violence in the world when a gentleman whom I know walked past and asked why I was doing this.

The conversation went like this:

Him: “Why are you wanting men to stop this? It’s not my fault guys are beatin on chicks.”

Me: Sadly, the statistics say that 90-98% of all domestic violence crimes are caused by men. Also, they are women, not chicks.”

Him: What? Oh yeah, girls. But you know it goes both ways. What about all these chicks hitting us?  It’s always about the girls.”

Me: That’s women, not girls, not chicks. Yes, there are men getting abused a lot more than we hear…but the reality is men are doing more abusing than women. If we eliminated all of the abuse men are doing, we’ll see a huge drop in violence…guaranteed.

Him: So why don’t the Girls do something about it then?  I mean they must like ti…they stay.

Me: They stay out of fear. And…it’s women. Men have a responsibility to stand up for the women of the world. If you do not abuse people that’s because you’ve been taught right. Men listen to other men, so it’s about time for men to start saying something, to start doing something about the abuse other people who share our gender are doing. We are brother hood, and we need to help out all of our brothers.

Him: Yeah, brother from another mother. That’s a good point. Let me know what you want me to do…..

Me: sign this pledge.

Yes, I did ask him to sign a pledge, and he did it.  This is something I saw on the net that a lot of places are asking their employees (especially men) to sign.  The pledges vary depending on the organization, but basically it’s a pledge that says they stand behind the efforts to end all domestic violence and sexual assault. These organizations and companies that ask their employees to do this, ask them to do this after a domestic violence awareness training. Then these are put in their permanent work files. If you refuse to sign, many of the companies have begun ending the person’s employment.

So what would this pledge have to say….

It could be simple, or it could be complex. It could be for a big company, a small business, or even just a group of friends. Wow, can you imagine asking all of your guy friends to sign a pledge saying they are against this…what a great movement that would be.

So here’s  sample pledge for you:

Men’s Pledge Against Domestic Abuse

I acknowledge that Domestic Violence exists in all communities, no matter race, economic status, or religious affiliation.  I acknowledge that 1 in 3 women experience some sort of domestic abuse in their lifetime. I know that domestic abuse is not just physical, it can be verbal, mental, sexual, and financial. I know ending this abuse is everyone’s responsibility!

As a man who desires this abuse to end,

I sign this pledge to help end abuse by educating myself, educating others, standing up and speaking out against this abuse wherever i see it, and making sure boys do not receive messages that would uphold this abuse.

Signature________________

What do you think?  Would the men you know sign this?

Opt 4 a pledge like this to be standard in all companies.

Opt 4 everything being gender equal.

 

 

 

We already know that domestic violence, Intimate Partner Violence, domestic abuse, RAPE, Sexual Assault, Domestic Abuse, and Bullying are all based on power and control.

It comes down to one person’s want to have power over someone. This power disease is quite destructive and can be seen in all sorts of nonviolent people, but most are extremely violent in order to get what they want.

Control however is a whole other animal.

Control starts out very simple….as a child (doesn’t it always start here).

As a child you are always being told what to do, how to do, and when to do what you’re told. If you don’t do what you’re told you’re made to do what you’re told. This is a parent, who most of the time knows what is best for you, trying to teach and help you along your way the best way they know how….by controlling what you do.

The child longs for a time they have something they can control. Enter toys, stuffed animals, and little siblings. Now there is someone they can tell what to do.They assert this control and parents see it as being independent. But when does being independent turn into bending others will to yours.

Because that is essentially what controlling behavior is: Bending someone else will in order for it to be yours.

Now…if you see adults use this same controlling behavior on other adults as they use on you, then it means this is a normal way of being.

CAUTION….This is true for many many people in our world….and they don’t know it!

Then boys are taught by men that they have to be “in control of everything.” They are told that they are the |”man of the house” and have to “protect and keep everything in control” (This is a big job for the 5 and 6 year olds that are told this…don’t you think. It’s a big job even for the 15- and 17 year olds.

Suddenly, the people who have been told of this controlling ability and has seen this as the way to be…not as a way of being taught because you’re smaller and don’t know…they see this as a normal action. Look around…it’s all over.

Then you start telling your partner that they “have to” do something. Why?  Because they told you to and they know better.

This idea of “I know better” spins more and more out of control, the more these people see this thought reinforced and the more people agree that the controlling person is right and in control the more the person believes that they are right and everyone should be listening to them. Soon they become the leaders of things because they tell everyone what to do and how to do it.

Once this happens…feelings towards other people’s feelings go out the window. These people now believe they DO know what’s right for EVERYONE, and anyone who doesn’t listen and goes along with their ideas and thoughts are stupid, dumb, below them,etc.  Once you are placed in this status by a controlling person…there is only abuse.

Here are a few websites to take this further to see what controlling abuse is:

How to recognize a controlling person

Controlling behaviors

But what about people who are not abusers and see that they are controlling people…what do you do to CHANGE!!!

#1.  Congratulate yourself that you realize you are controlling. As you can tell from the dialogue above…it’s hard to do.

#2 Begin asking people what they want, instead of telling them. Would you like to go to dinner now…instead of….Come on, let’s go to dinner.  In this way, you are making sure that the person is ready and wants to go at this moment. You’re taking the time to see what someone else wants instead of just you.

#3. Realize – You aren’t always right. This is very very hard to do for many of us, especially the males in the audience who have been told they are right every minute of their lives, or who have always been told women are always wrong. Even if your idea is right and sounds right to you, there is a possibility you are seeing it through your old “controlling” lens. Also, it might not be right for everyone. (This is a very big lesson.)

#4. You have to start listening to others There are other people around. They have thoughts, opinions, and ideas just like you. They might think they’re right and they might have their own time schedule…you have to take everyone into consideration…not just you and what you want to do.

When we start working together its amazing what happens and how great things work. It’s also nice to not be angry that things aren’t going your way. Instead…just let it roll.

Soon…that controlling behavior turns into a “let it ride”  “go with the flow” attitude. People like you more and you will like yourself more.

 

 

 

 

Wage Gap

A couple of given statements:

Is there a wage gap between what men and women make?  YES!

Do women hold less decision making roles than men? Yes!

Do employers know that a wage gap exists?  Yes!

Do they have reason to keep it going? They must. If we see something wrong we correct it. If we don’t correct it, then we see that something is ok with the wrong thing.  When this wage gap was attempted to be squashed….EVERY Republican Senator voted against it.

They voted against women being paid the same as men!

Does this sound like 2012 or 1912?

So what does this actually mean for a modern day woman? How does this Gap and vote affect a woman?

I don’t think anything more is needed to be said!

Opt 4 gender equality. (Because without gender equality, the violence will continue!)

Opt 4 no violence (Which will only happen with gender equality.)

Opt 4 preventing our daughters from having to deal with this like all the other daughter have had to do for centuries.

 

 

 

It is very hard to truly understand why abuse victims do not want to be on the stand to put their abusers in jail, but that doesn’t mean that shouldn’t be able to stand up for themselves in some other way.

What we as a people have to understand is the power of intimidation and fear.

We all know our family’s gestures and idiosyncrasies. You know for a fact that when your brother or sister twitches their eye, they are being disproving and mean…though nobody else would. You know that when your mom is pissed off, no matter what her voice sounds like, her nose flares out and that means when she is done being polite you’re going to get it. These are things we just know from hanging around and being part of these people’s lives for so long.

The same is true for victims of abuse. No matter what the judge, the lawyers, and the other people around see the victim sees those little things that tells them volumes of consequences that will happen to them if they do anything wrong. One woman routinely got thrown around the house, through windows, and beat with a hammer and before this happened, her abuser took a deep breath, sighed and shook his head. This was a pattern. With this kind of violence…if a person is on the stand and the abuser does this….the person has no ability to fight this mental abuse and post traumatic feelings. When her abuser did this little gesture in court…she froze. She couldn’t talk and the fear consumed her.

This is why this law is so amazing.

This is why this law can help so many people. This law can change the outcomes of hundreds and possibly thousands of cases per year. But what if your area doesn’t have this law….Florida creating it sets a precedence. Because it has already been ok’d by one state, it can now be ok’d by other states.

We are advocates of social change and this is the step in the right direction.

Opt4 more laws like this one.

opt 4 abusers being held to their crimes.

opt 4 seeing that men can be abused and just as frightened.

 

 

 

How many bodies are we ok with seeing because of domestic violence?

How many people are we ok with being killed by the hands of someone who says they love them?

How many of our children are we ok with being abused by their boyfriend or girlfriend?

How many of our neighbors funerals are we ok going to?

To put it simply, and to echo the White House of The United States of America: 1 is too many!

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