Thursday, October 18, 2007

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

As some of you might know, October is Domestic Violence awareness month. Last year I donated a short story to an anthology put out by Freya’s Bower called Dreams & Desires, where 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the book went to help victims of domestic violence. Before signing on to the project, I knew very little about it except that, well, it sucked and I didn’t want it to happen to me. But over the course of the past year I have been amazed at some of the information and statistics I’ve run across and want to share some of them with you today.

Nearly one third of all women in America have report having been physically or sexually abused by a significant other in their lifetime. One third! That is a huge number when you think it doesn’t account for violence at the hands of strangers – just boyfriends and spouses. I imagined my three best friends, chances are one of them will be victimized at the hands of a loved one during the course of her lifetime.

And these are just the stats on women who have reported being victimized. Estimates of how many women are actually injured by a spouse or partner go as high as 3 million per year. That’s the same number of people that are injured in car accidents every year. So, statistically speaking, a woman is just as likely to get whiplash from a fender bender this year as she is to be assaulted by a loved one. To me, that is incredibly scary. Every young girl knows to put on her seat belt when she gets in the car, but I’d venture to say that very few know how to spot a potentially abusive relationship.

What are the signs? Here is an excellent list taken from the forward of Dreams & Desires:

1. ‘Jeckel and Hyde behavior’: Your partner is wonderful and caring for a while and then will do an about face and be angry about things that they thought were fine at an earlier time. They switch back and forth between behaviors for no apparent reason.

2. ‘Life Would be so Good If’: You frequently think that your relationship would be perfect if not for his or her emotional storms. The storms seem to be coming more and more frequently. Between times, life is wonderful, but when a storm is coming, you can often tell by that ‘Walking on Eggs Feeling’.

3. ‘That Walking On Eggs Feeling’: You feel at times that any action on your part will cause your partner to erupt into anger. You try to do everything you can think of to avoid it, but the longer the feeling goes on, the more likely the blowup will happen, no matter what you do.

4. ‘I Can’t Stand You, But You Better Not Leave’: Your partner keeps telling you that you aren’t worth having a relationship with, but will not consider breaking off the relationship and acts more outrageously when he or she finds out you are attempting to leave the relationship.

5. ‘So Much, So Fast’: Your partner just met you and doesn’t know much about you, but he or she has to have you, so you must commit now.

6. ‘It’s You That’s the Problem’: Your partner never seems to consider his or her own part in your domestic disputes. You get blamed for all problems because of the most ridiculous things.

7. ‘This Happened to Me and It’s All Your Fault’: You are blamed for your partner’s problems even when it was his or her responsibility to not make mistakes. This could be things like him or her not getting to work on time and getting in trouble, not getting a job, not paying the bills in a timely manner, etc.

8. ‘It’s Their Fault’: Your partner is never the cause of his own problems; if it’s not your fault, it was somebody else’s.

9. ‘Overreacting’: Your partner overreacts to little irritations. Small offenses like leaving the cap off the toothpaste cause him or her to have huge anger scenes or act out in an outrageous manner.

10. ‘I Will Get You for That’: Your partner doesn’t try to negotiate a better relationship, but retaliates by doing something to you that he or she knows will hurt you emotionally.

11. ‘All the Fights are about What I Do Wrong’: You never seem to be able to talk about his or her wrong actions; the discussion always seems to be about what you did wrong, and there always seems to be something new that you did wrong.

12. ‘You are Worthless’: Your partner keeps telling you that all your problems are because you can’t manage to do anything right.

13. ‘Unrealistic Expectations’: Your partner is dependent on you for all his/her needs and expects you to be the perfect mate, lover and friend. You are expected to meet all of his/her needs.

14. ‘Blames Others for His/Her Feelings’: You are told, “You make me mad,”“you’re hurting me by not doing what I ask,” or “I can’t help being angry”.

15. ‘Intense Jealousy’: Your partner tells you that expressing jealousy is a sign of love. Jealousy is a sign of insecurity, not love. You are questioned about who you talk to and you may frequently receive calls or unexpected visits during the day.

16. ‘Isolation’: He or she has attempted to cut off your family, friends, and independent financial resources. Your friends and family are put down, and you are put down for socializing with them. You or they are accused of ridiculous motives.

While domestic violence is a widespread and growing epidemic, there are two things you can do today to help stop it.

1) Forward this list to a woman you care about. She may not need it today, but there’s a one in three chance that she’ll need it sometime in her life. Help her have the tools to spot an abusive relationship before it gets out of hand.

2) Purchase a copy of Dreams & Desires. During the month of October Freya’s Bower is discounting the volume in ebook, paperback, and hardcover in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness month. Again, 100% of the proceeds go directly to victims who need help the most. In addition to myself, 18 other authors donated short stories including: Susan Lyons, Sasha White, Lois Winston, Candace Havens, Jackie Kessler, Richelle Mead, Rachelle Chase, Jenna Bayley-Burke, Rhonda Stapleton, Bebe Thomas, Debbie Mumford, Emily Veinglory, Amanda Brice, Kit Wylde, Zinnia Hope, Faith Bicknell-Brown, Shauna Wolf and Sela Carsen. So, in addition to doing something wonderful for a great cause, you’ll get an awesome read as well!

Freya’s Bower will also be publishing a Dreams & Desires Vol. 2 in February, 2008, and again, all proceeds will be donated to help victims of domestic violence. So, please, watch for it!

~Gemma "Trigger Happy" Halliday

13 comments:

Anthology Authors said...

Before we started this project, I didn't realize how many people it affected although I have two close friends and a sister who's experienced domestic violence.

Thank you for the great blog, Gemma!

Marci

Rhonda Stapleton said...

Wonderful post--I'm so glad to see the D&D authors rallying together to help end domestic violence. I'm proud to be in the anthology!!

Christie Craig said...

Gemma,

This is a great post. It's so important that this message get out there.

Crime Scene Christie

Lee Lofland said...

Great post. It just may save someone from another day of misery and hurt.

Gemma Halliday said...

Thanks everyone, but I really have to give the credit to Marci and Faith at Freya's Bower, the ladies who came up with this anthology in the first place. They've done an amazing job of getting the word out!

~Gemma

Jana DeLeon said...

Great information, Gemma! Thanks for sharing.

Estella said...

I experienced domestic abuse and the things you cited are dead on.
I am no longer married to him.

Lily said...

Great aideas guys... and seems nice to have though that an anthology could help... I got a course in domestic violence when I was doing my Ob-Gyn clerkship... and they said 20% of violence happens when the woman is pregnant... some people are just heartless!

Lucy said...

Great post. And great information.

Gemma Halliday said...

Estella - I am so glad! You're so brave to get out of situation like that. It’s one of the hardest things to break that kind of cycle.

~Gemma

Debbie Mumford said...

Great post, Gemma. I was pleased to donate a story to the anthology last year. Like you, I had no idea the problem was as prevalent as it is. This year has been eye-opening for me.

Babe King said...

Yep, great book, great cause, and a topic that really needs to be out there so sufferers don't feel alone and know there is help available to them. Good one. I'm really proud to be part of next year's anthology. :-)

lila n. said...

I am going to go buy it... great way to support a great case.