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Domestic Violence: Woman to Woman
Published:
5/25/2016 6:48:09 PM

By Beverly Gadson-Birch 
 

Sometimes as women we need to encourage each other. It is time for a candid woman to woman chat. The Ravenel Mobile Home Park murders really got my attention. While it was a very tragic and violent act, it’s also a teachable moment. I am sure every one of us knows women that have had to leave home with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. Mothers leave with their children but it’s not uncommon for mothers to leave children behind in their flight to safety.

  -Isolation: Victims of domestic violence are often too afraid to leave and too afraid to speak out. It’s not always easy to leave; I get that. I, too, was confronted with spousal abuse in a previous relationship. Now, y’all make sure you get it straight. I said previous, not present. Now, as I was saying, a former partner thought he was going to abuse me. I knew that boy didn’t have the sense he was born with if he thought he was going to abuse John T’s (that’s my daddy) daughter. No sir, that wasn’t about to happen. John T protected his girls. He also had five boys and anyone of those boys would have made a believer out of anyone who came courting. My family is tight knit but not tight lipped. You can’t isolate us to abuse. No, sir! We live by the law but anyone who knows those Gadson girls knows that if you mess with one the whole darn family will show up on your doorstep.

One key component in abuse is to isolate the victim from family and friends. An early sign of abuse is isolation. It’s important that you stay in touch with family and friends. Do not allow an abuser to isolate you from your family and friends. Oftentimes, an abuser doesn’t want you to work, just to keep you locked away so no one will know what’s going on. Meanwhile, you are thinking, “he just loves me”. Too many persons remain in abusive relationships because they have no family support or finances to become independent of the abuser.

My parents made it clear from the giddy up when fellows came-a-calling, don’t put your hands on my girls. I think the word got out that while those Gadson girls looked refined, you had better not mess with them. There is an element of surprise. Some of them got some loose screws, two pack Smith & Wessons and they don’t take “no” mess. And since y’all don’t know who is lackin’ and who is packin’, don’t even think about jackin’ anyone of us up. And that’s the conversation we need to have with our daughters. “Don’t put up with the mess”! Women, it’s alright to be strong. When men think you are a wimp, they whip. Old school ladies you have a responsibility to share information with the young. When children are involved in abusive relationships, seek help immediately.

  -On Again, Off Again Relationships: Another component of abuse is “on again ,off again relationships”. If you are done, be DONE! Stop this “back and forth, on again, off again” stuff. You are only adding fuel to the fire. Zero from zero leaves zero. Nothing positive can possibly come out of negative relationships. It is better to cut your ties early on than to allow things to fester and grow out of control.

  -Baby Mama Drama:What’s up with all of this baby mama drama? Stop having babies until you are sure you are in a long-term committed relationship. If a man wants to leave, let him leave. A man does not define who you are; you do! If a man sees you as a push over, he will push you over. If he sees you as a woman of strength who will not tolerate his mess, he will think twice before he brings his mess home. Stop thinking you can hold onto a man by having his baby. And, sometimes it’s not even the man that you are with’s baby. That’s when the rubber meets the road. You know the baby is not his and you have the gall to take him to court to pay for your indiscretion? Your man, that’s right, your man is working his butt off on a minimum wage job, taking care of a baby that’s not his, you are out running around and you don’t see how this can lead to a volatile situation.

  -Save Your Children: Women, look beyond the stars in your eyes to the stars in your children’s eyes. Think about their dreams and what they can become. It’s not all about you and the men you think you can’t live without. More important, it’s about protecting your children. It’s about keeping them safe. Oftentimes, we dig holes we can’t get out of and our children become victims too. You are responsible for providing a safe and nurturing environment for your children. Be a positive role model. Let your life be a living example for your children. If it’s always oops upside your head in your home, your children will soon mimic the behavior they see. Your boys will become abusers and girls victims of abuse.

How to stop the vicious cycle? The first order of business is to love YOU! You are stronger and more valuable than you think. Then, educate yourself and become financially independent. Being financially independent doesn’t mean you have to have a lot of money, but you do need to have a job. You need to be able to stand on your own and take care of your children in the event you have to terminate your relationship.

  -Domestic Violence General Information: According to the Safehorizon.org, (1) Women between the ages of 18 to 34 are at a greater risk; (2) More than 4 million women experience physical assault and rape by their partners and (3) two out of three females are killed by a family member or partner. South Carolina is ranked at the top of the list in Domestic Violence. There is help and shelters if you feel you can’t safely walk away. The National Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-7233; South Carolina Hotline, 1-800-256-2900; Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester Counties, My Sister’s House, 1-843-744-3242 and Family Services, Inc., 843-953-9400.
 

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