Richard Pryor knew in 1978


There really is nothing new under the sun.  Police brutality against black men is nothing new, as you can see from this routine that the great Richard Pryor did in 1978.  (Caution: Strong Language)

Remember, every human being is equal.  We are all brothers and sisters in one family and one world.  We made need to say it louder and longer, but we can do that, you and I.  One Family on Mother Earth.  One Race – The Human Race.

The Long Term Effects of Violence


We are now living in a coarse society filled with violence, intolerance and hatred. Can we live with these influences without harm to our psyche? I think not. Must we always agree? No. Can we speak our truth? Yes.

 

It is important that we as individuals talk about our issues and points of disagreement. Is there damage from a violent society? Yes. I know this because there is damage left from violence in families and homes. I worked in Domestic Violence for over two score years, and counseled at Rape Crisis. I worked as a psych nurse for years. I am going to share a story of how long the effects can last.

 

One night, I was passing meds on my forty-two-bed lock down unit. I was in the hallway when I heard crying and indistinct words. I went into the room and both patients were in their beds and no one else was there. One woman was crying and screaming. Sobbing is more accurate. I was surprised because this woman had been in a catatonic state for many years. She never spoke.

 

I walked to her bed and said her name softly. She was in the middle of a dream. She was crying and saying, ” No, stop. I won’t do it.” “Don’t let them do it.” I lowered her bed rail and climbed up into her bed. I held her in my arms and crooned that she was safe and no one would hurt her now. I gently rocked as I held her and let her cry out her pain and fear. I listened carefully and was shocked at what I heard.

 

Slowly, she stopped crying and talking. I gently placed her back on her mattress. I was the one crying now. I wiped my tears quickly away, while putting the side rail back up. She appeared to be sleeping normally now. I could still feel the warmth of her body on my arms. Her tears were on my arms also.

 

I breathed deeply and finished passing meds. I was quiet and replaying her words over and over in my head. When I was done, I locked up the med cart in the med room and went back to her room where I found her sound asleep and quiet.

 

I returned to the nurse’s desk and pulled her chart to document the incident but first I read her social history. She had been married, not a surprise. Her husband was a long distance truck driver. According to the social workers’ notes, he had physically abused her and he had made her have sex with other men while he watched.

 

I felt sick. She had had a life full of violence, humiliation and sexual abuse. I was glad that I had been outside of her room when she was having the nightmare. I am glad that I had held her and comforted her because it seemed she hadn’t had much comfort in her life. Catatonic. She was at a better place than this world had been to her.

 

Checking dates and doing the math, these horrible experiences had happened about thirty years prior. I was sure this wasn’t the first nightmare she had had. It was just the first one I had witnessed.

 

Thirty years later, there was still enough painful damage to give her nightmares. To make her cry and talk. To beg not to let the men hurt her. This is an example of the damage done to a human psyche. Damage that destroyed this woman and left her very scarred.

 

I am sharing this story because we harm each other. We cause pain and suffering. There are long lasting effects for all of us. This is why we need to think of others. We need to create love, kindness, and acceptance in this world. We need compassion, forgiveness and understanding. We need to change us and our worlds. We need to put the positive energy into the world.

 

We need to expect the positive to come to our lives. We need to accept the positive and to be grateful for it. We need to breathe, open our hearts and let all the positive goodness flow out from us into the world. It will change our lives for the better and we will not be victim to the pain.

 

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We are all part of one human family.

We are all part of one human family.

 

May Peace Prevail

May Peace Prevail

 

The parts of a happy life.

The parts of a happy life.

 

Focus on the positive

Focus on the positive

The Sexism Behind Abuse


Many different ways have been devised for keeping women subordinated to men in patriarchal societies. Footbinding was used by the Chinese to cripple women for over a thousand years. Purdah, is the Muslim practice of secluding women from contact with men outside of the immediate family. Muslim women are to this day, are prisoners in their own homes. Clitoridectomy, the excision of the clitoris, is still practiced on millions of young, pre-puberty girls today in Egypt, Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iraq,  Guinea and Ethiopia.

 

Violence against women in the form of battering in the home and rape in and outside of the home is a major issue for societies to address and stop. Violence against women has happened so often for millennia. Yet women continue to leave in fear for their lives.

 

Women in Japan, Netherlands, France, Wales, England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, USA and Germany began to stand up for their human rights as women in the 1970’s. There has been much done to stop the battering but we have not ended violence against women.

 

As women, we demand that governments recognize the existence and extent of this problem in almost every society. We demand safety for ourselves and our children. I began work in Domestic Violence in the seventies, and here in America women continue to be killed, to face daily violence, to lose their self-respect and their hope. It is very difficult to find the courage to leave an abuser when he has twisted your actions and words to manipulate and control you.

 

Whether the abuser is male or female, the penalty for Domestic Violence must be increased. The perpetrator must be more severely punished.

 

Rape is the other type of violence against women that must be stopped. Rape has nothing to do with sex. It is constructed by a man’s need to have power and control over a woman. Men in sexist societies are surrounded by sexist views and attitudes which they use to validate their actions against women.

 

Male violence against towards women can not be eradicated without also eradicating the unequal power relationships between the sexes. Many sociologists feel that the traditional family need to be changed. Equality within domestic relationships is very important if we are to completely eradicate violence in families. This includes violence against children.

 

Spanking children is abuse. Slapping them is abuse. In addition, it teaches them that at the basic level, violence is the way to deal with problems and/or behaviors we are not comfortable with. This is why abuse is found in dysfunctional families. It is passed on from one generation to another. Children in violent homes, learn how to abuse and how to be a victim. No one should be a victim, ever.

 

I must also speak to teenage girls. There is nothing you can do that means your boyfriend has the right to abuse, hit, batter, slap or kick you. It is his issue and not yours. Talk to your guidance counselor or doctor or your parents.

“Love is never meant to hurt. It should never leave red marks, bruises, or broken bones.”  — Barbara Mattio

 

 

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The first time you are beaten is the time you should leave. Abusers do kill women.

The first time you are beaten is the time you should leave. Abusers do kill women.

 

 

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Is it glamourous to be a victim?


These days there are two kinds of women who are victims. One is the woman who has been sexually molested. The other are women who have been in a battering situation. Both type of woman has been violated. The violation is physical and emotional and mental.

 

The first time a man hits a woman, she is in shock. She can’t believe this person she loves would have raised his hand and hit her. Hit her so hard her lip bled and her jaw cracked. The pain is excruciating. He is screaming at her and calling her stupid and ugly. Her mind freezes. This is a nightmare. She must be dreaming. She must. This can’t really be happening.

 

When a woman is a victim or rape or molestation, the man and society often try to tell her it is her own fault. She shouldn’t have been where she was, her skirt was too short, she is a tease. Violence goes with the unwanted sex. Rape is often happening at the same time as she is tied up, he talks trash to her. Rape often includes inanimate objects which can cause severe injuries that will require surgery or leave permanent injuries.

 

There is no perk to being victimized. None. Some women are stronger than others, they can walk away the first time they are battered. For some,  the emotional abuse wrecks their self-confidence and his words begin to play over and over in her head. With time that voice is louder than the voices of the people around her.

 

A woman who has been raped, she knows what kinds of things that may be said about her. She was asking for it. She really wanted it. In truth, rape has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with power and control. The rapist needs that power and control to perform. Often a rapist will threaten to come back and kill her if she tells anyone. He often has a gun or a knife in his hand. So, many young women hesitate to report the rape.Some can take a month or two to find the courage and conquer the shame before they can report it.

 

Both types of victims feel shame, guilt and fear. Battered women live with the abuser and fear more abuse. Often, when they leave, it is in the middle of the night and they flee for their lives and the lives of their children. Many have no job skills, or access to credit. This is why battered women’s shelters are so important. It is important that shelter locations remain secret to protect the women and children who are staying there and also to protect the staff. Taxi drivers know where they are.

 

There is nothing to be gained by being a victim. Helping a woman to listen to her own voice and not the voice of her rapist of batterer is important but it often takes quite a while. There is no status in being raped or beaten. Society needs to remember that these women are someone’s daughters, sisters, cousins, mother and friends.

 

So please don’t judge. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Take in consideration that she is vulnerable and frightened. Scorn from people in her life will only increase her fear and vulnerability.

 

 

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Rape Hotline

Rape Hotline

 

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No one wants to be raped or molested.

No one wants to be raped or molested.

 

Survivors get a second chance.

Survivors get a second chance.

 

 

Domestic Violence is a crime. You can't hit another person,ever.

Domestic Violence is a crime. You can’t hit another person, ever.

 

Domestic Violence is found in every level of society.

Domestic Violence is found in every level of society.

Domestic Violence is NEVER LEGAL


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Today we are following the video released by TMZ of Ray Rice cold-cocking his then-fiance. Documentation of the event has been all over the news. Ray Rice received a slap on the wrist when the story first broke, with a video showing Rice “only” dragging her out of the elevator, allowing her face to slam onto the floor. Today TMZ leaked the video from inside the elevator. Ray cold-cocked his fiance, knocking her out with a single punch, and this has made a difference.  The facts of the case — that he had knocked his fiance unconscious and dragged her out of the elevator like a piece of meat — are unchanged, but now that we’ve seen the actual punch, apparently outrage is suddenly justified.

 

Ray Rice has been terminated by the Ravens and the NFL has suspended him indefinitely. Is this enough? I think not.

 

Domestic Violence is found everywhere, at every social-economic level.  It matters not the color of the couple. There are women that you know how are victims of Domestic Violence. It could be your minister’s wife, the grad student’s girlfriend, the cop’s wife, the Senator’s wife. It can be your next door neighbor, you know the one, whose husband is so nice; he is charming and helpful. And he is an abuser. Your mailman may be beating his girlfriend. Your child’s favorite teacher could be a regular victim of vicious beatings. Beatings are often administered where clothes will cover the bruises.

 

Every nine seconds, a woman is abused. Abuse can be physical, emotional or mental; any or all of these are abuse. If you are living with slapping, punching, broken bones, head injuries, pushing, name calling, and threats to kill you, you are living with abuse. No woman “asks” to be beaten. Abusing men like to tell their victim that it is her own fault…but it isn’t.  Ever, no matter what the woman has “done” or been accused of doing, it is never her fault. Every abuser chooses to beat a woman and is responsible for his actions. I will say here that if a woman beats a man it is also a crime she is guilty of committing. 5% of men are abused but every nine seconds a woman is beaten.

 

Yes, women suffer. When I worked in Domestic Violence, one of my jobs was as a counselor. Stories told to me  included: the woman was beaten because the kids made too much noise; she was beaten because she couldn’t get the stain out of his shirt, or because dinner was late getting put on the table. Also, he doesn’t like dinner and many women have had his plate full of food smeared into her face. Yes, this is abuse.

 

When children watch this kind of behavior, they learn to be abusers and victims. Often sons carry a lot of guilt and anger for their mother because she doesn’t stop the violence. They very often go ahead and begin punching, pinching,  calling women names in high school. It frequently continues their entire lives.

 

I know of a mayor in a large city who has beaten three wives. He was an okay mayor but he was a demon to his wives. How do I know? I know because his wives came to one of the shelters I have worked with. We keep files on abusers. He was in it three times. Did he ever accept responsibility for his actions?  No, not at all. The wives were convinced not to press charges, so he was never forced to accept any consequences.

 

I did hear today, a prosecutor  stated that the law is now looking at abuse not just a women’s issue but as a crime against the community. I think this is a good thing. Why does abuse continue to be such a terrible and insidious part of life for women? Because the usual sentence is $1000 fine and 18 months in jail.

 

I am a spiritual person, but if you have been beaten, that is not God’s Will. It is a crime. There are places you can go for help. All communities have a Domestic Violence (DV) hotline. Shelters exist in most cities. Every taxi driver knows a DV shelter. Go, get help, start over. You do not deserve to live in violence. He always promises it will never happen again. It will. We had a program for counseling for the abusers. We found that a support group for the men worked best because they called each other on their lies and rationalizations.

 

If you are told that you need to forgive your abuser, to pray for him; if you are told you can’t leave because God requires you to stay in the sacred bond of marriage, you need to realize this is a lie, perpetuated by the men in power who want to keep women subservient. As a wife, you are not the property of your abuser.  He does not own you and the Divine does not want you to suffer. Leave, get into a shelter, believe in yourself, you can take care of yourself and your children.  If you think leaving will hurt your children, you will find that they will respect you much more if you protect yourself and them, and they may not end up as the abuser or the victim.

 

Anyone who says to stay in a relationship is possibly a batterer himself, or doesn’t really understand the issue or really doesn’t care about your well-being.

 

If your abuser threatens you with a weapon, even if he doesn’t use it, you need to realize that the chances are extraordinarily high that he will at some point and he will tell you it is your own fault that you are going to die.

 

I had a woman who was held at gunpoint for a solid 12 hours before the abuser fell asleep and she ran like the wolves of hell were after her. If he had awakened, he would have killed her. She made it to the shelter I worked at and we talked, cried, and held each other as she finally was able to tell her truth. I took pictures of her injuries for court and tucked her and her two children into a warm safe bed. Her face was streaked with tears, but she fell asleep immediately. I cried and prayed for her until the sun began to rise. Then I began to form her plan to go to court, to take care of her children and to take care of herself. We put her into temporary housing and helped her to find herself once again.  She got out.  You can, too

 

If you want more information go to NCADV.org. It is the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and as I have done in the past, I will be writing about the issue all month.

 

Don’t ever let someone hit you. It is a crime. I will take comments and listen if anyone is in a abusive relationship. I will give you the best answer I can based on my education and experience. It would all be confidential. Praying is not enough. Praying is good, but you need human intervention and action, in addition.

 

Let  me help. Let others help.  Remember that you deserve help.

 

You deserve to live without violence.  Everyone deserves to live without violence.

 

 

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blackeye.jpg                                          There is never a reason to beat a woman, walk out, leave 

                                           don’t hit her.

 

 

 

 

End Violence in the Home

End Violence in the Home

 

You Can't Beat a Woman.

You Can’t Beat a Woman.

 

 

 

Domestic Violence Stats

Domestic Violence Stats – Cuts in Domestic Violence Support mean that more women and children will die at the hands of their abusers.

Every 3 Minutes – Every 5 Minutes


With No Immediate Cause

by Ntozake Shange

 

every 3 minutes a woman is beaten

every five minutes a

woman is raped/every ten minutes

a lil girl is molested

yet i rode the subway today

i sat next to an old man who

may have beaten his old wife

3 minutes ago or 3 days ago/30 years ago

he might have sodomized his

daughter  but i sat there

cuz the young man on the train

might beat some young women

later in the day or tomorrow

i might not shut my door fast

enuf/push hard enuf

every 3 minutes it happens

some woman’s innocence

rushes to her checks/pours from her mouth

like the betsy wetsy dolls have been torn

apart/their mouths

menses red & split/every

three minutes a shoulder

is jammed through plaster and the oven door/

chairs push through the rib cage/hot water or

boiling sperm decorate her body

i rode the subway today

& bought a paper from a

man who might

have held his old lady onto

a hot pressing iron/i dont know

maybe he catches lil girls in the

park & rips open their behinds

with steel rods/i can’t decide

what he might have done i only

know every 3 minutes

every 5 minutes every 10 minutes/so

i bought the paper

looking for the announcement

the discovery/of that dismembered

woman’s body/the

victims have not all been

identified/today they are

naked and dead/refuse to

testify/one girl out of 10’s not

coherent/i took the coffee

& spit it up/i found an

announcement/not the woman’s

bloated body in the river/floating

not the child bleeding in the

59th street corridor/not the baby

broken on the floor/

“there is some concern

that alleged battered women

might start to murder their

husbands and lovers with no

immediate cause”

I spit up i vomit i am screaming

we all have immediate cause

every 3 minutes

every 5 minutes

every 10 minutes

every day

women’s bodies are found

in alleys & bedrooms/at the top of the stairs

before i ride the subway/buy a paper/drink

coffee/i must know/

have you hurt a woman today

did you beat a woman today

throw a child across a room

are the lil girl’s panties

in yr pocket

did you hurt a woman today

 

i have to ask these obscene questions

the authorities require me to

establish

immediate cause

 

every three minutes

every five minutes

every ten minutes

every day.

 

 

Born Paulette Williams in Trenton, New Jersey, Ntozake Shange took her pseudonym as an expression of her anger at the dilemma of being a black woman. In Zulu the name means “she who comes with her own things.” / “she who walks like a lion.” She was educated at Barnard College and the University of Southern California.

 

 

 

Black and White photo of Pacific coast.

Pacific Ocean

Freedom Writers


Freedom writers teacher, Ms. G.  Freedom Writers Teacher and role model (still from the Movie)

A little while ago, I wrote about a teacher in Long Beach, California who was teaching English to kids who had problems of some sort. I had watched the movie and discovered the book. It is available in bookstores and on Kindle and Nook. Ms. G. taught freshman and sophomore English. Well I am now reading the book which is an anthology of the student’s work.  The students were told to write in their journals, and the anthology includes various entries from each of their journals.

To encourage participation without the possibility of humiliation, the journals were all anonymous, but the entries were numbered.

The students wrote about what was happening with their families and their lives, and why their English class in Room 203 with Ms. G became Home; for some of them a second Home, but for many, it was the only Home they had.

Some of them wrote about going home from school and opening the mail and finding an eviction notice.  Others wrote about the fact that there was no food in their house, and no money to buy food.  They wrote about being molested or physical beaten by their mother’s significant other.  They wrote about watching their mothers being beaten, and trying to pull the abuser off their mothers while blood is running off their mother’s head.

Some of them wrote that they lived in very bad sections in Long Beach.  , some children would stay late at school to finish their work, but because they lived in such dangerous areas it wasn’t safe to be out after dark, particularly for the girls.  Ms. G would wait until the children left and even though she did not herself live in Long Beach, she would personally drive each child home to keep them safe.

More than one student wrote about how hard it was to keep their minds positive, to keep hope in their hearts, that they would get good grades, and be able to do everything that they wanted to.  They were surrounded by negativity, and that was what made it so hard.  Everywhere they looked, there was negativity.  This negativity was where the violence and the gang life style, and the intolerance and bigotry that surrounded them came from.

The students learned through Ms. G’s class to respect themselves and to believe in themselves.  They wrote of seeing the whole world differently after reading books, biographies like Zlata’s Diary, that showed them that other people have gone through really difficult times and survived, and got stronger, and turned themselves into better people.

The students wrote about how reading opened up the world to them, and they learned about what was possible, not matter where you lived or what kind of background you had, you could be a person who gave backed to the world.  You could make your life be how you wanted to be, instead of what the world said it had to be.

One student even wrote how her mother ever gave her curfews or rules to follows, so she got the idea that she should give herself curfews, because she didn’t want people to know that her mother was neglecting her.  She felt like she had raised herself, and that it wasn’t easy.

After they had compiled their journals, choosing the pages to submit, Ms. G had the compilation turned into a book.  Ms. G then contacted the Secretary of Education, and told him about her students and their projects, past and present, and about the book created from their project.  He invited them to come in person to bring him the book.  Ms. G and the students earned the money for the trip to Washington, DC, and got to meet the Secretary, who was very impressed with their book.  SOme of the students were blown away just walking up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.  When they reached the Washington Memorial, they encircled the monument, held hands, sang and said prayers.

Some of the students wrote about that trip, and how they felt so light and full of hope joined together around the Washington Monument.

When they returned to Long Beach, they found out that another student in their school, not a Freedom Writer, had taken a trip to Vegas with friends, and while their brutally raped and murdered a 7 year old girl, while another student watched and did nothing to stop it.  The students wrote about the difficulty of balancing the positive energy from the trip with the horrific news that someone they knew had raped and murdered a little girl.  It was a difficult time but they made it through together, and when the media came to the school looking for headlines about the murder, they went out against school regulations, and sang and talked to the media not about the horror perpetrated by one student, but about what the 150 or so of them had accomplished instead.

The negativity that surrounded these students is what is causing the distrust, distress and violence in the world today, but this wonderful teacher and her courageous students stand as a shining example of what positive energy, hope and understanding can do to make the world a better place.

 

 

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Who

 

 

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Freedomwriters

 

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