Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Their Courage Helps Us Understand

Tuesday is Good News Day

Think quickly. Who do you know who  has experienced domestic violence or dating violence?

You may think of a friend or relative. Perhaps you yourself have been (or are in) and abusive relationship. But many people will say, "I don't know anyone who has been a victim of  domestic violence.". For most, if not all of these folks, I think they do, and just don't know it.

Many survivors of domestic violence, don't talk about it when they're in it... or when it's over.  So if they aren't telling us, how do we recognize them?   Might I suggest we look for :
  • someone who is a confident, intelligent college-educated beauty pageant winner, or perhaps
  • a young woman who is a talented professional singer, or
  • a charismatic, articulate CNN news anchor?
I'd like to recognize the courage of three women who have told  their stories of being abused by a partner. I know how hard it is to tell anyone, even in hushed privacy, what it's like to be victimized by someone you  love. Yet these women have told their stories publicly so that we all can understand domestic violence... so that other women will recognize abuse and seek help... so that they can put a face on the social issue of domestic violence.

So I'd like to applaud:

Kira Kazantsev, 2014 Miss New York State who has tirelessly spoken out to raise awareness of domestic violence during her participation in the Miss America pageant, speaking out about the isolation, confusion and self-blame when she realized she was in an abusive relationship,
 " In college, I started dating a person who seemed great.  
He made me feel special. 
But six months later, when I looked around, I was isolated
from my friends and family and he had become my whole world."

Jasmine Villegas whose music video 'Didn't Mean It' reenacts  the violent physical and psychological abuse she  experienced in a dating relationship,
"Fortunately for me, I was able to get out relatively early,
 and now I want to let other women know that
you don’t have to feel ashamed or embarrassed
 about getting help"

Carol Costello, who in speaking about  the Ray Rice incident, told about a college boyfriend who in "a jealous rage threw me against the wall knocking me out.
 I always thought I was a physically strong woman,
but I could not defend myself against a man who outweighed me by 70 pounds."

It's difficult to overcome the stigma, self-blame and humiliation of being abused by a romantic partner, but these three women have had the courage to speak out. Domestic violence is a crime that happens behind closed doors; with their courage we are bringing the issue out of the shadows.

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