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Archive for the ‘Victimology’ Category

Being a survivor from domestic violence can mean many things to many different people. Here is my story, and my journey after that in order to have a voice in helping others through a variety of advocacies that I do.

National Domestic Violence Survivor Law Project

The story of my past experiences with domestic violence and how I have moved forward throughout the years to provide advocacy to others.

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Domestic Violence is no joke. Glamour and the National Domestic Violence Hotline are working on a campaign called, “Tell Somebody Campaign”. Click on the video below to learn more about what you can do to help stop domestic violence in your area.

http://www.glamour.com/tell-somebody/video/2011/05/tell-somebody-help-put-an-end-to-relationship-violence

#DVWarrior

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“Up and at em’! It’s finally Friday! This is Erika Gonzalez with We Are Austin Morning’s FACEBOOK TOPIC OF THE DAY: A Houston couple has had their kids taken away from them because for the last 3 years, the family has been living in a storage unit. The 12-feet-wide and 25-foot-long structure comes equipped with beds, a refrigerator and even a computer. The couple says they fell on hard times and are doing the best they can. Should the state give the children back to their parents?”

via KEYETV’s Photos – Wall Photos.

My response on this was:

Homelessness among families is a huge issue throughout the communities and not well spoken about in the media. Talk to ARCH to get some figures on homeless families even just in the Austin area. These children had a shelter over their head, at least. Many are living out of cars. The economy’s ups and downs certainly isn’t conducive to people’s survival in making ends meet. When one is paying $500-800 average apartment rental (more for that many children), it is easy to see why they choose to cut down that expense, when they can’t possibly squeeze any more out of the other areas of their budget. Too, homeless shelters are at their capacities. Provide some solutions so that folks don’t have to be forced into homelessness situations. ūüôā

Agree or disagree???

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Empathy can be literally defined as:

em·pa·thy [ émpəthee ]   Audio player

  1. understanding of another’s feelings:the ability to identify with and understand somebody else’s feelings or difficulties
  2. attribution of feelings to an object:the transfer of somebody’s own feelings and emotions to an object such as a painting

[¬†Early 20th century. < Greek¬†empatheia¬†“affection, passion”¬†]

¬†Ashoka Fellow Molly Barker, Founder of Girls on the Run International¬ģ, who has been working to build-up¬†Ashoka’s Empathy Initiative. suggests the following:

Empathy has been a hot topic at the summit. Typically considered a soft skill and not necessarily essential to leadership (at least in the traditional sense), Bill Drayton, Founder of Ashoka, has uncovered a number of thematic connections between all of those folks who are social entrepreneurs. Empathy has been and continues to be at the top of that list.

Empathy is one of those things ‚Ķ ‚Äúthings‚ÄĚ because I‚Äôm not sure precisely what to call it ‚Ķ that I‚Äôve taken for granted. I was raised in a very empathetic home. My family members are empathetic. My children are empathetic and most everyone ‚Äď heck, EVERYONE! ‚Äď I work with is empathetic. I‚Äôve naturally, based on my own experiences, assumed that most people would understand why empathy is essential to being human ‚Ķ a kind of ‚Äúduh‚ÄĚ sort of thing. A clear and VERY obvious outcome of Girls on the Run is the ability of every girl and coach to give and receive within an empathetic context.

In my mind, without empathy we lack the ability to deeply connect with another living creature. Empathy affords us the experience of being one in experience with another, putting aside our own ego, the need to be right, and being with the emotions of another. It doesn’t mean fixing them, making the emotions go away or enabling the individual. To me it simply means being with their emotions without interference from me.

via So how do you get empathy, anyway? (Hint: You won’t find it in a lecture.) | Ashoka.org.

As an advocate, I am always under the impression that being with empathy is demonstrating a concern and understanding of the here and now of the caller/person communicating with (no matter the mode of communication). ¬†It isn’t a time of formulating one’s opinion of the situation; it is more important to sort through options and more options for the situation given at hand, as well as providing emotional support and guidance for catapulting forwarding to the light at the end of the tunnel, in order to move forward to, hopefully, without the burdens of the crisis situations at hand.

People need to have a voice in their lives moving forward, they need to see and weigh out the options available for them (because when in crisis mode, you rarely see through the mist of the tears caused by the emotional and/or physical pain currently enduring); however, they need to know that they aren’t crazy, that they have lives that are valued, and that they can do things and make great decisions that affect their own lives, as well as those around them.

How do YOU see empathy?  How do you apply empathy in your daily lives?

 

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Marsys’ Law created as a result, in California, when a woman was lured back to her ex-boyfriend who claimed wanted to get back with her and make up but in actuality had a shotgun ready to kill her when she entered his home. ¬† This event was a great opportunity to learn more.

PASADENA – The Pasadena Police Department will host a free Crime Victims’ Clinic from 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday in the second floor assembly room at the department headquarters, 207 N. Garfield Ave.

The clinic will offer information on the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights Act (Marsy’s Law) passed in 2008, giving victims of crimes and their families 17 constitutional rights.

Workshop participants will include the Pasadena Police Department, Justice for Homicide Victims, Pasadena Superior Court, L.A. District Attorney’s Office, Bailiff’s Office, Victim-Witness Assistance Program; Peace Over Violence and Crime Stoppers.

The clinic is being coordinated, organized and planned by Police Specialist III Patricia Magallanes.

via Crime victims’ rights to be discussed at police clinic – Pasadena Star-News.

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Recently attended a child custody inservice presented by Barry Goldstein and Dr. Mo Hanna (who, incidently co-authored the book called Domestic Violence Abuse and Child Custody).  Dr. Hanna also speaks to childhood trauma in her part of the presentation.  The statistics presented in this video by Makers of Memories foundation are, indeed pretty staggering and worth taking note.  In a quest to end domestic violence, we must take a look from all perspectives to really figure out a solution to end it forever.

Please reveiw and let me know what you think.


YouTube – 10 Shocking domestic violence statistics for 2011.

See also for more information:

http://domesticviolenceabuseandchildcustody.com

http://blog.makersofmemories.org/

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Everyone needs a place to go to where they can heal, be safe to talk, and empower others along their healing journey. ¬†For those traveling the healing journey due to domestic violence issues, Facebook’s page called,¬†Domestic Violence Voices, offers just one such place.

It’s just a great feel good place with a great community spirit.

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On June 12, 2010, I interviewed Michele who also had an incredible survivor story from many perspectives.

Against all odds is the best three words that I can describe this surivor of domestic violence after hearing about and reading her story. She is a product of extremely young parents that were ill-prepared for parenting (her parents being involved with drugs and prisons) and various struggles leading prior her own domestic violence relationship. She is an incredibly strong woman now and I know you will want to hear her story and her amazing story of survival!

BEYOND WORDS LIVE – MEET MICHELE JUNE 12 2010 9aCST 06/12 by Kat X Beyond Words | Blog Talk Radio.

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On May 29, 2010, I interviewed Danielle Joy, an author with a personal story to share.  Take some time to listen to her story when you have a chance.

Danielle Joy Linhart writes the FROM DEEP WITHIN – BLIND AND BRUISED book straight from her heart, which makes it very straight to the point; however, she has written in a format that is an easy read, and one that can certainly ressonate with any teen going through any degree of¬†teen¬†datingabuse. Please join me as Danielle shares her story on our show and tells more about her book, of which a portion of the proceeds are going to help the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline (http://loveisrespect.org)! The last paragraph on her backcover of the book states, “As a survivor, I want to help those being harmed or whos might be harmed, and to educate those who can help prevent a violent¬†relationship. This book has been a path to self-discovery, to close the chapter on that part of my life. I feel as though I have re-lived the abuse all over again. At times, I had to stop writing, but I am glad I continued because there is a chance I will help someone in need.” How true! It is hard to¬†write¬†a¬†book¬†about something that was so painful in your life; it is wonderful that Danielle has managed to get past that to share her story. I can’t wait to share this guest with you. Chat room will be open for discussion too. ūüôā

BEYOND WORDS LIVE – MEET DANIELLE 05/29 by Kat X Beyond Words | Blog Talk Radio.

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On April 17, 2010, I hosted this interview with Julianne. Hoping that you take time to listen to her amazing story:

 

Julianne will discuss her own personal experiences with domestic violence, as well as her involvement in the development of domestic violence programs in rural America, as well as some dilemmas and issues surrounding reaching those in the rural america about resources available to them too. Domestic violence in rural America is a perplexing issue because the batterer will often go to great lengths to alienate and isolate a victim — oftentimes, this includes moving them out to the most remote area that they can where the victim has little access to communication with the wide world, as well as their friends and family members. How can we possibly reach these folks? Be sure to tune in and perhaps we’ll hear some creative ideas that you, as a listener, can proactively do as well.

 

BEYOND WORDS LIVE – MEET JULIANNE 04/17 by Kat X Beyond Words | Blog Talk Radio.

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On April 3, 2010, I hosted this radio show with Denise Wolford.  Just catching up on what I have been doing in the past few years:

I’m very excited to present to you a show with Denise Wolford who has been dedicated to working towards ending domestic violence through her ministry, All Women Marching for Hope! Denise will share with us her story that led her to where she is today, as well as tell us more about her ministries for hope for freedom from domestic violence in this world. Just about a month ago, on March 6th, she was found marching in the streets of the community of Dallas, along with many supporters and Carolyn Thomas. She will be taking their march in other communities as well. Learn more about domestic violence and some avenues for proactive action. Look forward to seeing you at the show on April 3, 2010!

BEYOND WORDS LIVE – MEET DENISE WOLFORD 04/03 by Kat X Beyond Words | Blog Talk Radio.

 


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Information to be passed around and acted upon:

 

Glamour Launches “Tell Somebody” Relationship Violence Awareness Campaign In Honor of Yeardley Love

Today is the one year anniversary of the death of UVA student Yeardley Love. (Note our blogpost about Yeardley Love’s death and what to say to someone you care about¬†here.)

To honor the one-year anniversary of her death,¬†Glamour¬†is encouraging women to talk about relationship violence‚ÄĒboth to ask for help and to offer it without judgment.¬†Glamour‘s¬†Tell Somebody¬†campaignis aimed at raising awareness about the secret that kills four women a day in the United States‚ÄĒrelationship abuse. Over the course of an average year in twenty-first-century America, more than 1,400 women will be murdered by someone they’ve loved.¬†Glamour¬†asks: Why are women more likely to be killed by their boyfriends now than they were 35 years ago? And what can we do to reverse the trend?

In an exclusive¬†Glamour/Harris Interactive representative, online survey* of 2,542 women ages 18 to 35‚ÄĒsingle, living with a partner and married‚ÄĒa full 29 percent said they’d been in an abusive relationship. Another 30 percent said they’d never been abused but then went on to acknowledge that, at some point, a partner had viciously hurt them: from verbal degradation to being strangled or threatened with a knife. View the top findings from the survey athttp://glmr.me/jKUWxq.

The¬†Tell Somebody¬†campaign kicks off in¬†Glamour‘s June issue with an exclusive interview with Vice President¬†Joe Biden¬†and Dr.¬†Jill Biden.¬†Also included in the feature are family photos of¬†Yeardley Love¬†that serve as a reminder that the women we hear about in the news are much more than just headlines. Many brave women came forward to tell¬†their stories‚ÄĒand¬†62 percent said that having the support of a friend, family member or coworker helped them “get through the relationship safely.”¬†

The message here?¬†Tell Somebody. Ther feature includes exactly what to say to a friend or loved one who may be in an abusive relationship.(Note our blogpost about Yeardley Love’s death and what to say to someone you care about¬†here.)

“The fact that abusive relationships have actually gotten more deadly for young women in the 21st century is not only confounding‚ÄĒit’s maddening,” says¬†Cindi Leive, editor-in-chief of¬†Glamour¬†magazine. “Glamour¬†wants to encourage all young women to start talking about this violence. Our message is simple: If you, or a friend, are in a dangerous relationship, Tell Somebody.”

Young celebrities like Emma Stone and Ashley Greene, are also joining the campaign, coming together to create an awareness video highlighting shocking statistics and underlining the message of the campaign: If you or a friend is suffering, Tell Somebody. To see the video, along with a moving series of exclusive videos of survivors, go to http://www.glamour.com/tell-somebody/video/2011/05/tell-somebody-help-put-an-end-to-relationship-violence.

There is an easy way everyone can help:¬†In 2010the National Domestic Violence Hotline received 281,787 calls, but due to a lack of resources, 83,027 of those calls went unanswered‚ÄĒthat’s more than 1,590 calls per week. We can change that.¬†Glamour, the Avon Foundation for Women and the Avon Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program‚ÄĒan initiative that has donated more than¬†$30 million¬†globally to reduce domestic violence since 2004‚ÄĒare working to make sure that no call goes unanswered from now through October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. “Women need to have someone who will listen,” says¬†Katie Ray-Jones, director of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. “We know that for about 85 percent of our callers, it’s their first time ever telling their story.”

Glamour is¬†asking people to make a¬†$10¬†donation by texting TELLNOW to 85944. The Avon Foundation will match every dollar donated, up to¬†$200,000. “It takes so much courage for a woman to pick up the phone and make that call,” Vice President¬†Joe Biden¬†told¬†Glamour. The least we can do is make sure someone is there for her.

Join¬†Glamour‘s campaign to stop relationship violence by changing your Facebook status to‚ÄĒRelationship violence kills 4 women a DAY in the U.S. If you or someone you know is being abused,¬†Tell Somebody. Make sure someone is always listening by texting TELLNOW to 85944. Your¬†$10¬†donation will help keep the National Domestic Violence Hotline open.

To learn more about Tell Somebody, visit glamour.com/tell-somebody.

*Survey Methodology: This survey was conducted online within the United States between March 3 to 17, 2011 among 2,542 women (aged 18-35). Figures for age, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Go to http://www.Glamour.com/tell-somebody for the full methodology.

Credit to:

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The other day, I popped onto the site and realized just how long it has been since I have been on this site writing and sharing with you all various tidbits of interest that embarked upon various issues — especially domestic violence issues — mixed in with a variety of diverse things.

What have I been doing since then?

Well…

mostly being a domestic violence warrior — networking and sharing survivor stories in an effort to make a change — hopefully, for the better.

Please keep feeling free to offer feedback, ideas, comment, opinions and suggestions. ¬†I love reading through all of them. ūüôā

 

 

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OMG, just read a blog posting that an author stated that,

“There is an oft-repeated, but false, myth that Super Bowl Sunday is the worst day for violence against women.”¬†

Of course, the author then adds,

“Would that it were that easy.¬† Domestic violence doesn‚Äôt care what day it is.¬† It is an every day (and everyday) problem of individuals, families, and society as a whole.¬† The solution to domestic violence cannot, by definition, take place only within the family unit.¬† It is a public health issue if ever there was one.”

The first sentence sent the hair up on the back of my neck — MYTH?¬† a fallacy???¬† I don’t think so!!¬† I have been working in the domestic violence field for more than 5 years now, not counting the 15 years that I have been a paralegal and the many years of physical and emotional domestic violence that I personally encountered for many years, and yesterday was probably the first experience I had had with working specifically on Superbowl Sunday in this industry and I wrote the following on another site…..

entitled, “Underdogs come up and win! Thank goodness someone did!!!”

Today has been a rough day for me. For many that know, I answer crisis calls for a living. That, in itself isn’t too bad because I generally can separate myself from their pain and move forward to the next caller.

Today, it has been different. Perhaps, it is because I have never worked in this field on Superbowl Sunday; I don’t know. It seems like I had before, but I don’t remember it being this rough.

Superbowl for most people can be all fun and games, but from the domestic violence perspective it can be quite the opposite. I have been receiving higher risk crisis calls today percentage wise than I ever have, I believe. I mean, usually, it is just calls wanting more information or how to plan to help from friends or family members OR understanding how they need to understand why they need to stay away from the abusive person OR some students wanting help on their projects.

Today, though….

* a woman’s face was bashed in by her ex and she just returned home from the hospital. Her ex was on the way to p/u the kids and she needed to ensure their safety until she could reach the attorney and the district attorney in the morning….

* callers calling from places they are hiding from their abusers….

* callers from the other room while there abusive partner was enjoying the superbowl game after having beaten them up. They were seeking shelter space….

* callers wanting us to call 911 for them…

* caller stating that her husband had just “disciplined” her daughter by yanking her hair and dragging her through the house and throwing her into the doorway. The daughter now has a concussion….

* other child abuse calls being called in….

and sooooo much more.

It is times like these when one gets these sort of calls you would like to be able to hang up the phone and call “The Equalizer” to take care of things. I guess I always loved that show because the actor would do so in a not necessarily violent way to get the point across to the aggressor — a sort of person who advocated for the underdog.

It is sort of the peace de la resistance (sp?) in the fact that, at least, one underdog has won today — even if it is from an event that seems to masks the pain of others in the same day.

Some day — I wish the pains of the victims away and the abusive/aggressive folks of this world find peace so that we can all live in the world as one happy family. Is it really too much to ask for???

Now, try to tell me, after my experience yesterday on a domestic violence hotline, that Superbowl Sunday isn’t one of the worst days ever for domestic violence.

In all fairness though, there are hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of calls received day in and day out throughout the entire year.¬† Domestic violence isn’t just domestic violence on Superbowl Sunday; however, the intensity culminates to something that is both exasperating and emotional.

Some day…..

the violence in the home has to end!

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On January 9th of this year, a posting was made by Timmy called ‚ÄúYou want what?‚ÄĚ.¬†¬† In the posting he states:¬†¬†

Today’s Kick in the Ass goes to an anonymous person, or asshat, who filed a claim against the federal government for of $3 quadrillion for over damage from the failure of levees and flood walls following Hurricane Katrina.For the sake of perspective: A mere $1 quadrillion would dwarf the U.S. gross domestic product, which was $13.2 trillion in 2007. A stack of one quadrillion pennies would reach Saturn.Or maybe this would be a better way to put it in perspective – compare that to $250. That’s the amount FEMA gave residents of my area when in September 2004 Hurricane Ivan dumped 9 inches of rain in less than 24 hours. Nine inches is an unbelievable amount of water to come roaring thousands of feet down mountains and into already flooding streams. The result was the worst flash flooding in the history of the area. That’s where the “impressive” numbers stop. Because unlike some other natural disasters that gained the attention of the world and the backing of disaster efforts and corporate moneys, “only” dozens were killed. “Only” hundreds of homes destroyed. “Only” thousands were displaced. The town I once lived in, Jacksonburg, was wiped off the map. The town was situated on the inside of a huge horseshoe bend in the creek. A temporary earth and culvert bridge had been put in place to allow work on the existing bridge. This became a dam as soon as the wave of water brought trees off the hills. Within minutes, dozens of homes were gone. These were homes built out of the 100 year flood plane, and no one ever imagined flood water could possibly reach them, including my aunt’s home. How did people recover? Neighbors helped them out, mostly. The company me and some other residents worked for declined to help saying the numbers just weren’t there.

But at least not one opportunistic attorney got rich.

This is certainly an atrocity with the audacity of some thinking that they are going to sue the government, especially, for such an exorbitant and outrageous sum of money.  That being said, though, I responded on his posting with the following comment:

I so concur with your thoughts on this.  Any suit would be insanity and justification in comparison to what??

True.¬† The Katrina victims did face great adversity in their plight; however, years have gone by, and at some point in time, a line in the sand should be drawn, and those same victims should say to themselves, “While we were victims during the Katrina hurricane storm, we are now Katrina survivors!” and work to strive to empower themselves to move forward, out of adversity, and towards a better life for themselves and their community.¬† At some point, the past can be remembered, but shove the memory to the past and allow all to move to the recovery and survivor mode.

Okay, okay.

Off of my soapbox — for now…

Of course, I don’t want to downplay the enormity of the devastation felt by New Orleans and its surrounding communities; however, at some point of time advocating must be done towards moving the victims from the poor pitiful me stage to empower them to say that they are victors above all because they have overcome such an awful fate of nature that day.

I am sure that there are many victims of the Katrina that have moved forward and are looking at this suit as ‚ÄúOh, God, when will be able to forget and move on without this being played out and expanded in the media again and again and again??‚Ä̬†or “When can the healing process begin without having constant reminders of the past?”

What is really going to be served at attempting to bankrupt the very government that continues to issue grants and support in many continuing situations throughout our society?  Are they really thinking this all the way through?  Do they really want to be remembered for causing a riff in the economy from a potentially bankrupt government, as well as the affect on our children and other members of the society throughout the United States, as well as other parts of the world that we, as a nation of people, do help to support???

Does anyone have a true good solution???  I’d really love to hear it…

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Life isn’t perfect — it never really is. A man lost his wife tonight who he had been married to for 14 years, dated for 10, and known each other as children growing up.

I have been on many victim bereavement calls after the death of a person. They all take you back in a certain way. This one bothered me more than per usual because, although the paramedics had already come and gone by the time that I had arrived, the woman’s eyes were still opened. I guess I am just used to paramedics in the past closing the eyes of the deceased before I arrive — and when I had found my own husband dead, his eyes were already closed (but my husband had also often talked with his eyes closed – a habit of his for some reason).

Currently at work, working on advocacy in another realm tonight; however, the vision of the woman still remains engrained upon my mind. I am sure that it will for quite some time.

Throughout life there are things that approach the way we feel about life and treasure life for what it is and is to be. Seeing death in people, as morbid as it may sound, is one such way that we gain a greater perspective and value for life and the life we live each day.

As family members thanked us for being there, I mentioned to them that, “I can’t say that we enjoy being here, but we are indeed happy that we can help in any way that we can.” I even had one woman bless me tonight; this is certainly not your normal sequence of events at a scene.

I think I remember from a time when my closest grandmother died a person told me that for every death there is a birth. In so doing, while we sadly will miss the person leaving us and heading towards their life after death (for those of us who do believe in that), it is a joy in being able to look forward to births to follow.

I wonder what great birth will become of this death tonight, as a result. Who knows? In the meantime, we are always forever touched in our souls by life’s experiences — the good and the bad, the life and the death.

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Just had a bump in some plans… lol.

While I didn’t get the FT position that I was vying for, I did get a raise finally that I really should have received back in October.¬† I am just thankful that I did get that much good news today.

Just took of the 9th quote for the month of January to reveal the 10th’s quote as it is already past midnight while sitting here at work.¬† It states:

“Reality is something your rise above.”
~ Liza Minnilli

This is so on cue today.¬† Reality is that I someone scored higher in the hiring process this time around, but that isn’t going to steal away my joy.¬† I reminded myself that the real joy is in the work that I do.¬† All the same though, it would be better if I were to get paid for what I do at a better rate of pay, which is what I would have received had I been able to get the fulltime job.¬† However, (1) I did finally get my raise (so today I am getting paid better than I did yesterday and the days before) and (2) I have an opportunity to apply for an upcoming parttime position.¬† Being “just a relief” has its disadvantages as the person hired was hired from a pool of applicants that were already either fulltime or partime applicants; being “just a relief” has a rung lower than a true employee of the organization, but better than an outside applicant.¬† Oh, well…

On to revamping and waiting my turn.  My turn will come soon says the director to me after I had already heard the news from the supervisor and attending an inservice training meeting that builds our knowledge about new laws and law resources to better help our victims.  I truly hope that my turn does come soon.

At any rate, I have risen above and no joy is stolen today!!

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(Actually written 1/2/08:)

I saw a bumper sticker the other day and was puzzled slightly by what it said — “Those who abandon their dreams, will discourage others.”¬† Although I wrote it on my hand, and later on in my datebook journal I received as a Christmas gift, it just didn’t make sense to me until today.¬† After all, eventhough I haven’t achieved all of my dreams, I am still the cheerleader encouraging and empowering others to be able to move forward with their own dreams.

Today, though, I indeed had a v-8 moment and realized just what the bumper sticker could possibly mean.

For my living, I am an advocate for those who may not necessarily speak up for themselves.  Currently, I have found myself being an advocate for the elderly as part of my vocation and passion and, as a rule, I truly enjoy what I do.  One client though I have been struggling with to keep upbeat about it.

When I first started going to this client a few weeks ago, I was shocked by the care of his room.¬† While he may have incontinence, his room reaked of urine all over newspapers, bed linens, clothes, and such.¬† Apparently, he can’t remember to wear his “briefs”, the depends.¬† That, in itself is one thing, and makes my job enduring as each week I have to spend 3 hours waiting for the loads to wash through and I don’t feel like I can do this client justice fully because I don’t feel like I have as much time to visit with him, but he tends to stick things in the toilet and stops it up as well (ie, apparently he doesn’t like carrots so they end up in the toilet, which is very disgusting.¬† I end up having to call maintenance of the facility to come fix the toilet.¬† It shouldn’t get to the point it does.¬† The client has a phone; he could call for maintenance himself.¬† He also walks to the dining room each day; he could tell the management office his needs as well, but he chooses not to.¬† So, each week I return and I encounter much of the same thing.¬† You would think that someone wouldn’t want to stay in a room that smells like urine, much less sleep in wet sheets and covers each night.¬† Each week I keep thinking to myself, “Why, then, do I put myself through such turmoil?”

The answer lays in the fact that I continue to hope that I can make a difference in this man’s life, although, it appears that his level of care needs to be much higher.¬† This man, who used to not even move out of the bed, does now greet me at his door each week so I am doing something right, it would appear.

Too, while waiting for the clothese to be washed and dried, I’ve met other residents that walk (or, ride) by and they either wave or stop to talk to me for a bit.¬† I think that they are just happy to see someone else available to hear what they have to say about their day.¬† Some of them are now even introducing themselves to me with their names and inviting me to go visit them in their rooms — so many are just anxious to have company and companionship.¬† Even in an assisted living facility, so many residents keep to themselves, which is a shame.

Earlier this morning, I checked my Fubar page just as anyone might check their MySpace page or emails, and saw one of my best friends indicate that he was having trouble waking up this morning.¬† I called him and told him that, while he was having trouble waking up, I was having a great deal of trouble just motivating myself to move forward to go see this client this morning.¬† We were talking about why I was having trouble in particular today and he set a positive tone for me by saying to me, “At least, you will have lots to blog about today,” and he was right.

Although I am discouraged by this man’s seemingly giving up on his dreams of having a great life in spite of his health problems, I am discouraged (just like the bumper sticker says).¬† However, what relights my enthusiasm for returning each week is the brightened eyees and smiles of others I see each week at this facility.¬† Today, I was surprised, too, in that this man didn’t stay in his room while I was tending to his laundry down the hall.¬† He actually got up and took the trash to the laundry room area and later he came down to the sitting area and talked with me for a bit telling me that the maintenance has come while I was down here.¬† Not only once though, but three times!¬† Maybe next week, he’ll actually sit down and talk to me?¬† At any rate, any progress made is certainly making way for encouragement that my advocacy is making a difference.

I’ll certainly have to remind myself that, as I crawl out of bed next Wednesday morning, while advocacy work can indeed be very discouraging, it is encouraging to see when folks be able to crawl out of their hinderances (sometime created by themselves) and start getting a little more excited about life.¬† That is the reward I get in lieu of great monetary salaries, a richness more fulfilling to living a life than making a huge income and not being able to stop and observe life for what it is.¬† Humanity is a precious regard on this earth; unfortunately, most people are too focused on making the big bucks that they often forget the joys that would surround them if they would just stop and look!

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Received Oprah’s “Today’s Mission Calendar Inspiration” email today wherein in the first paragraph it states about the January issue, “Let the hot air out of the self-esteem balloon–and find a more stable basis for carrying yourself through the world.”¬† What a great quote!

Wow!¬† Isn’t that a formidable quest at times???¬† A more¬†stable basis for carrying oneself through the world???¬† After all, our world as we might know it gets shaken up all the time — divorce, marriage, becoming pregnant, realizing you can’t have children, in a domestic violence situation (whether it be physically or emotionally OR even if it doesn’t directly involve you but involves someone that you love or have as a friend), illnesses, deaths, etc.¬† We don’t plan on these events happening in our lives (directly or indirectly) but many are destined to be inevitable to happend, after all wherever there is life, there is also death around us.

For some, it can feel like a never ending cycle.¬† “Let me off of this roller coaster ride, please!” some will say; others, will not feel the affects of the roller coaster rides of life in general because they live ever so protected lives whereas many of us will feel small in comparison.¬† After all, how is it that they can have such even keel lives and others don’t?¬† I certainly don’t see “Hurt me!” written on the foreheads of victims nor do I see “Immortal!” written on the foreheads of those seemingly completely escaping the vast majority of the effects of the rash, bumby roller coaster ride.

How does one truly set out to find oneself more stable for carrying oneself through the world? 

* Having one job that can support yourself and your family?

* Advocating for the future of others?

* Having a job that allows you to afford to be able to spend more time with your family?

* Decluttering life’s “treasures” from one’s home?

* Having an income that will provide for a possibility that you actually have a savings for those emergencies¬†and/or to set aside for retirement — so that one can truly enjoy retirement?

* Vowing to live healthier?

* Having opportunities for vacation time so that one can truly enjoy life?

* Restoring one’s faith in humanity?

* Having an opportunity to make time to enjoy doing things that one enjoys doing besides just working, sleeping, working, and sleeping?

What in the world is it going to take to make one more stable in order to carry themselves in the world?  What would it be for you?

For me, it would be to find that perfect balance in life where I can work to have the bills paid and a bit left over for savings, while having enough time to continue doing the things I enjoy doing — ie, ¬†being with family and friends, blogging (go figure, huh?), artistic endeavors — as well as achieving the things that I want to do — ie, writing the book¬†that is swarming in my head and waiting to¬†be put into print, traveling to other countries that¬†I haven’t been yet to (Belize, Equador, Scotland, Ireland, and Peru),¬†building a¬†modest home in the countryside, and finding a¬†mate to share the rest of my life with one day (someone, that I can see us sitting in our rockers on our porch on our countryside home and just reminiscing about the good things in¬†our lives when we become too old to move around like¬†we had in the last¬†40-50 years of our lives).¬†¬† Obviously, though, not all of those things can be accomplished in 2008 — or, can it?¬†¬†We all must realize our limitations without letting our visions of our limitations stimy our growth.¬†

I am not sure that one can ever truly find that “perfect balance in life”, but surely one can attempt to try, can’t they?

Goals are nice, but getting them put into action seems daunting at times; sometimes, appropropriately determining one goal in particular is more important that setting many that will merely set us up for failure of being able to accomplish anything.¬† The purpose of having a¬†New Year’s Resolution, after all,¬†can be to¬†light that fire of inspiration below ourselves to motivate ourselves to move forward from whatever level of instability that we have had in our lives in the past to empower us to move towards the level of stability that we all really truly desire.

Do you have a goal that you are going to put into action?  What might that be???

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I, honestly, cannot remember if this was also circulated around last year or not in our emails as well; whatever the case though, it certainly would bear repeating….enjoy!!

A Different Christmas Poem
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.


Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.


My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.


The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know,

then thesure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.


My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.


A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.


‘What are you doing?’ I asked without fear,
‘Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!’


For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light,
Then he sighed and he said ‘Its really all right,

I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night.’


‘It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,

I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.


My Gramps died at ‘ Pearl on a day in December,’
He sighed, ‘That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.’

My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘ Nam ‘,
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
< /S PAN>


I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.


Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue… an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.


I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..


Who sta! nd at th e front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.’
‘So go back inside,’ he said, ‘harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.’


‘But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
‘Give you money,’ I asked, ‘or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.’


In his eyes welled a tear that held no regret,
‘Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.


For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.’

——————————————————————-


PLEASE, Would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our U.S. service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities. ¬†Let’s try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.

LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30t h Naval Construction Regiment
OIC, Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum , Iraq

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has become a way of my looking at life in the advocacy world when answering domestic violence calls on a daily basis… or in working with the elderly… or in my victim advocacies….

It is a way of, essentially, looking at the glass half full rather than half empty. Instead of going home a bit exhausted from the many callers I wasn‚Äôt quite sure the seeds I was planting in planning for them to be safe and living a fruitful life was working, I started a while back counting the ‚ÄúGod Bless You!‚ÄĚs I received that day. It would seem that those seeds might just germinate and grow into a future that one could have without victimization, harm, destructive behaviours, etc.

How many ‚ÄúGod Bless You!‚ÄĚs have you received today??? or, how many ‚ÄúGod Bless You!‚ÄĚs have you shared with someone else today???

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It’s about time…

bring back the jingle and the jangle back into Christmas!!

Make us proud of our beliefs…not having to hide them like many countries have to do in their countries.¬† After all, being proud of our beliefs and not having to hide our thoughts, dreams, and ambitions is part of what make Americans proud of their heritage as well as a number of other things (which are not directly related to the issuance of this song);¬† it is just about being able to be able to wish some one “Merry Christmas!” with no worries of being offensive to anyone.¬† After all, when someone wishes “Happy Chanukah!” to a Christian with Christian beliefs, they aren’t stammering and say “I am offended by what you said.”¬† Instead, Christians just generally nod and say to their Jewish friends, “and, may you have a Happy Chanukah!”

Bah humbug to the politically correct censorship and the victimization of the Christians to succumb to the numbness of the non-emotional impact of their beliefs, and let all the Christians sing along with Go Fish:

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAckfn8yiAQ]

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those at the Justice for Children program. 

“It is the position of Justice for Children that PAS is junk science.

“P.A.S. per se (not ‚Äúparents lying about abuse allegations‚ÄĚ) is not a syndrome. ¬†¬†People lie on the witness stand every day but that does not make it a syndrome. ¬†¬†Various credible studies have documented that the incidence of false allegations of abuse in custody proceedings make up significantly less than 5% of all abuse allegations ¬†in custody proceedings. ¬†When mental health experts or attorneys claim that P.A.S. is a ‚Äúsyndrome‚ÄĚ ¬†— knowing full well that it lacks scientific validity, is the concoction of a disgraced psychologist, and has been soundly rejected by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges — that is disingenuous at best and unethical at worst.¬† Moreover, when it is used as a vehicle to keep children in the custody of men who abuse them, it is also immoral. ” – Randy Burton, Founder, Chairman and President – Justice for Children

PAS is touted to be an accepted psychological ‚Äúsyndrome‚ÄĚ when, in fact, it has no scientific foundation and has been routinely rejected by courts and mental health professionals as admissible in the courtroom.¬† Nonetheless, PAS is still being used by unscrupulous attorneys and hired gun ‚Äúexperts‚ÄĚ to attack the credibility of, parents, usually mothers, and undermine the testimony of little children who have accused their fathers of unspeakable acts of abuse. “

For more information see their posting on Justice for Children. 

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chickenhold.jpg

Lol… anyone who remembers the old Memorex commercials may know what I am talking about here!! lol…

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‚ÄúGrace will lead me home‚ÄĚ ‚Äď the title of the book she is promoting and speaking out about¬†domestic violence, bringing¬†home to a lot of victims of domestic¬†exactly the fears, trials and tribulations that they have faced and feared.¬† Check out her story in these YouTube videos:

 

 

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcZg2_BDZKo]

‚Äď Robin Givins Story, Pt 1

 

 

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SkgsHX2g0w]

‚Äď Robin Givins Story, Pt 2

 

 

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVFaEJDO_zs%5D

‚Äď Robin Givins on ABC¬† (NOTE: sad to see the hate comments left on this video)

  

‚ÄúYou have to talk about it to conquer it!‚ÄĚ ‚Äď Robin Givins

(what a great quote!!)

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Sent to me by a friend…. check it out. Be cautious and be safe!!!

Nanny Who Answered Online Ad Found Dead
Man Police Believe Posted Wanted Ad Is In Custody In Minnesota
SAVAGE, Minn., Oct. 29, 2007

(CBS/AP) Police say an online ad seeking a nanny may have cost a Cottage Grove, Minnesota, woman her life.

Katherine Ann Olson, 24, was found dead in the trunk of her car at a Burnsville, Minnesota, park late Friday night. She was last seen by friends Thursday morning, when she went to meet someone in Savage about the job, which investigators said she had found on Craigslist.org, a popular Internet bulletin board.

A 19-year-old man from Savage who police believe placed the ad is being held in the Scott County jail pending charges expected to be filed Tuesday. He worked at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, where police arrested him Friday night.

The suspect, identified as Michael John Anderson, was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday, reported CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds.

“We’re confident we have the suspect in custody,” Police Capt. David Muelken said.

A spokesman for Craigslist told Reynolds that, if the link to the site is confirmed, it would be the first muder ever tied to Craigslist in its 12 years of existence.

“Investigators are working with Craigslist,” Muelken told Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith, “and they have been cooperative.”

In a KMSP-TV interview, the victim’s father, Rolf Olson, says the family is devastated but “there was some sense of peace that they found her.”

Olson was a 2002 graduate of Park-Cottage Grove High School, where she was co-valedictorian, and from St. Olaf College in 2006.

Her family said had taken nanny jobs at least twice before, including a job in Turkey, after answering online ads. They said they had misgivings about her finding jobs online, but she never seemed to worry.

That last help wanted posting, said her sister, Sarah Richter, “seemed kind of fishy, but she was just going to check it out, and meet them.”

Olson’s family gathered in front of their home Saturday afternoon to share stories of a vivacious young woman “who was a joy, who trusted people” and always assumed the best in others. They said they were finding strength in the people who were touched by Olson’s life.

“She was going to set the world on fire, and that’s the grief that we feel,” said her mother, Nancy Olson. “It’s not just for us, it’s for all these other people that she would have touched.”

Citing the ongoing investigation, police were cautious about the details they released. They declined to say how Katherine Olson might have been killed or whether a weapon was used. They said they weren’t sure of a motive.

Muelken said a resident told a Savage Public Works employee about a purse found in a garbage can at Pacer Park. A police officer retrieved the purse, which contained belongings of Olson’s. Thinking it was a theft, police called Olson’s home and left a message telling her they had her purse. About 5 p.m. Friday, Olson’s roommate returned the call and told police Olson hadn’t been seen since 8 a.m. Thursday, when she went off to Savage to interview for a baby-sitting job.

Police went back to the park and found a garbage bag in the container. Inside it was a “significantly bloody towel.” An extensive search of the area ensued. A State Patrol helicopter pilot noticed a car in the parking lot of Rudy Kraemer Nature Preserve in Burnsville, a few blocks away from Pacer Park. Police identified the car as Olson’s, and found her body in the trunk.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/10/29/national/main3422072.shtml

© MMVII, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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“Asabe Ladagu, a Christian widow in this capital city of Borno state in northern Nigeria, has survived without income the past 16 months. It was that long ago, the former librarian told Compass, that Muslim administrators at Ramat Polytechnic forced her into early retirement ‚Äď without pay ‚Äď after she and others requested land to build a chapel.

The Christians viewed the denial as deliberate discrimination against Christians by Muslim administrators at a time when there were seven mosques on campus.”

 ~~Nigeria: Ramat Polytechnic Discriminates Against Christians

Can you believe that this is about a current day issue and not something that just happened during Biblical times?¬†¬† With all the advancement of technology and forward thinking, you would have thought that we would be much more above and beyond this — no matter what part of the world we all live in!

 

 

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So frustrating is the fear of the unknown.   I remember when I was mentoring a after school program in an Community Program in a poorer segment of Austin (not East Austin) and a young boy had drawn a much worse picture than this child who had been suspended.  While I was alarmed that a boy could have drawn such a picture, I was told that these children were allowed to have their creative expressions.

Somehow, the balance between creative expressions and the psychological aspects of whatever hidden meanings behind artwork done by our children must be met.¬† Without the creative expression, one might not be able to understand what is going on in the minds of our children.¬† I believe that children’s creative expression should not be suppressed or meant to be punished; after all, how are we going to be understand what is going on in the children’s minds if they feel threatened for punishment if they express themselves.

I am not saying that children’s expressions that seem to have hidden messages of psychological problems should necessarily be promoted and offered on a public display; however, admonishing them because they have expressed themselves through drawing (which may be a mode that that they are more comfortable with than writing or talking) seems wrong.

Perhaps, a better approach would be to have the parents and teachers more attuned with the meanings and offer the child guidance when the child “speaks out” through his artwork.¬† Of course, caution should also be had to make sure that, also, too much is read into things as well.¬† ūüôā

What say you???

Boy suspended for stick-figure drawing – Education – MSNBC.com

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October is domestic violence month.

I have a dear friend in Pennsylvania who heard one of Congresswomen speak out with the declaration of Domestic Violence Month and everything uttered out of that woman’s mouth was as if the victim is always a woman. Here, in this video below, sent to me via a Canadian friend of mine (under the guise of a “joke” – “Never marry a woman larger than you”), demonstrates that the victim isn’t always a woman…and the police in the video took it ever so lightly that they just drove by the residence.

When is domestic violence going to be taken seriously — whether it is a man or woman being victimized and the perpetrator held accountable for his/her actions??? After all, isn’t violence just as much a violence no matter who is doing the assault?? As a domestic violence survivor, I couldn’t find myself laughing while watching this video?

What about you???

PS. While the “joke” opened up the can of worms with domestic violence battle, the slur made with the title implying that women that don’t fit the idealist image of the skinny minnie woman (oftentimes wayyy to skinny to fit the mold of the “dream woman”) would be a bully, is downright degrading and not respectful to a woman who is truly a woman without the skinny minnie or bullying imagery. Oh, don’t start me on this one….¬† What would Tyra say (do you think it might be “So what! if women aren’t skinnie minnies, it doesn’t mean that they are all bullies?” “Who says fat women aren’t better than skinny minnie women?”¬† “Why do fat women have to be laughed at?” or, “What’s so good about this video, it certainly dehumanizes women and in no way represents women on the whole???”)????

I don’t think that there is a blog space that is large enough for my soap boxes!! That being said though, I believe that this video surely sparks something to think about for everyone.

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