We’re nearing the end of October and the time for recognition of those who’ve perished or are in the act of perishing to domestic violence. But the violence will continue. One out of three women and one out of four men have experienced physical violence by an intimate partner. One in seven women and one in twenty five men have been injured by an intimate partner. These numbers don’t include the ones that live with mental, emotional, and spiritual torment on the daily by their loved ones.
In my work life, I am a psychiatric practitioner at a women’s mental health shelter. I would say that ninety percent of the women I speak with having lived through some form of sexual, physical, or mental abuse as children or have watched parents who are in DV relationships. Sometimes it is a biological parent and sometimes its a step parent. The violence continues at foster homes and in group homes during adolescence. There is always someone ready to violate another. In the shelter this colors the relationships between the women. The lack of trust and fear of or actual betrayal is impressive in its significance. Really, how does one trust after being involved in such violence sometimes intermittently or constantly in one’s life?
There’s lots of alcohol and cannabis use that comes along with the territory. This substance use works until it doesn’t anymore. Until one finds themselves in a shelter because there are no more sofas to safely sleep on or the non-ceasing train rides prove to be too much to handle. According to the AA Grapevine, 21 percent of women and 23 percent of men have been harmed because of someone else’s drinking in the previous twelve months. These harms include threats, harassment, property damage, vandalism, and physical aggession, or family and financial problems. The list goes on.
This isn’t my usual blog post. But I was moved to share some of the specifics about domestic violence. Because I sit with these affected women most days at my place of work, maybe my perspective is skewed. Maybe if I worked in a bank I might see a bruised cheekbone or a woman wearing sunglasses indoors. Instead, the abuse is upfront and placed on my desk in my tiny office. The experience is offered to me. I in turn offer some possible healing techniques from referrals to maybe just listening because she isn’t ready to make a change and has told me flat out that is her decision. My placement with these women is my spiritual work. It’s my calling. I guess this is why it was important for me to write my novel on this awful disease of violence.
Each time I’ve read Coney Island Siren my novel about domestic violence at events someone has come to me afterward to tell me that it is their story. They tell me that I must have been in a relationship where violence ensued. They tell me the story is real. It is. It’s a hard story for the protagonist, Maggie Fuentes, who I believe whispered her story in my ear. It is real for many and maybe even some of you reading this post. https://www.amazon.com/Coney-Island-Siren-Theresa-Varela/dp/1732716714/ref=sr_1_1?crid=ZP84NNMBJSNZ&keywords=coney+island+siren&qid=1571796205&sprefix=Coney+Island+si%2Caps%2C139&sr=8-1
Here are some contacts if you or someone you know are in this type of relationship:
If you are in immediate danger, call 911
NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. www.opdv.ny.gov/help/helpfor.html
Domestic Violence and Abuse: Recognizing the Signs of an Abusive Relationship and Getting Help https://www.helpguide.org/articles/abuse/domestic-violence-abuse.htm