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

We Are Going Into the Future – With Positive Energy


I have been listening to people, what they write and what they say. I have looked around me at the people in my life and the acquaintances. When people talk, there is a flow of negativity. If one person does not make themselves clear, the other assumes the worst.

Now, it occurs to me that these threads of negative thought and speech are influencing more and more of the energy of our communities. People hurt others’ feelings, there is a lack of respect of others, of the elderly. Everyone seems to be on a hair-trigger. This trigger seems ready to go off and escalation is the result. My confusion comes from the fact that many of the angriest people have everything they could want. Yet it isn’t enough. Then I began thinking about how if friends and neighbors can’t have conversations without hurt feelings, there is something going on.

Times are changing. There is a lot of negativity in our cities, our country and all the countries of the world.  There is an outcry across the world by the people who have been living under dictators, who live amidst bombs and fear. We human beings are committing terrible crimes against each other. Racism, sexism, greed and power are bringing out the worst in humanity.  Not that we historically have had any difficulty torturing or causing pain to our fellow sentient beings.

Genocide is happening yet again. We have made it a purpose  in life to try to wipe out races of people who are different. Their skin color, religion, education, natural abilities all have worked together to sound the battle cry to kill…the “others”. Some countries are keeping women and girls from receiving an education. This leaves them in perpetual poverty and controlled by the males in their families. They are owned by fathers, brothers, and husbands. They never even have a chance to figure out who they are. They never get to experience themselves as a child of the Universe. They are stuck having to always do what they are told. They don’t know how to protect their daughters because no one protected them.

Girls are being married off at as young as 10 years old. Their bodies are not even completely formed yet. In my mind, only a pedophile could or would do something like this. IN some cultures, if a man wants a woman and she doesn’t want him, he has the right to throw acid in her face. This is done to save his family shame. Also no one will ever want her. I have seen such horrible pictures of young beautiful women who are scarred so much their families are shocked. Little girls disappear. Mothers cry and pray, but the girls are gone and have been sold into sexual slavery. Their life is essentially over. Very few governments will search for them, so they are used until they commit suicide or are thrown away like garbage. In many countries, when girls reach puberty and their menses begin, the mother takes her to the midwife for genital mutilation. This practice is what will make them marriageable. It is done to decrease sexual pleasure and to ensure virginity. Some men have their wives sewn closed while they are away on business so their labia is sewn together to prevent sexual intercourse. A small opening is left so they can pee.

All of this adds to the negativity which is swirling around our world.  Every time a girl or woman is saved and educated, we decrease the negative energy. It takes getting involved and understanding that every woman who is injured, is a sister.

Here in America, Domestic Violence is not stopping but increasing according to the FBI statistics. A woman who is married is not owned. She is not required to obey. She is not the reason he hits her. We  started building Domestic  Violence shelters and giving hope to abused women and their children in the 1970’s. We taught them to do the Activities of Daily Living so they could escape and survive in the world. Legal advice and assistance was provided. We saved lives. In those days, we were grass-roots organizations. Hard work, prayers and tenacity is what we lived on while we counseled, loved, fed and sheltered millions of women and their children. We just saw a need and began to do something to change lives.

This is exactly what we need to do to go forward into the future. We need to form grass-roots groups of dedicated men and women to stop the violence and negativity, of all kinds. Righting wrongs is an important aspect of our journey here on our World. Stopping negative energy and gut reactions is necessary to take us forward into the future. Caring is good, it is important. Volunteering a few hours a month would do much to create  positive energy. People need to just think and act positively. Get out and give the Universe a few of the hours of your life and we will feel the energy brighten and we will feel joy within us. This must be a present and the future and we all can participate.

Bloggers 4 Peace

Bob Marley said it so well. One World, One God, One life. Do what you can do to add positive energy to our world.

Is Gratitude Trivial?


I saw the Neurologist this morning. We had an unusual conversation. We talked about gratitude. I learned some interesting facts. Most of our conversation was taking place around the concepts of past, present and future. They are doing more and more research on the way the mind works.

 

I think this is a very important direction for neurology  to go into. So little is really known about how our minds work. How do each of us learn best?  How do we survive trauma and violence? What can we learn about how to deal with mental illness and the part it plays in violence in our world? Why are some people drawn to violence and some completely repulsed.

 

They know some victims of violence, have a brain that rewrites itself. It goes around the areas damaged by the pain, trauma and fear in the past. But do they all rewrite the same? Probably not, because some abused children become serial killers and some are good citizens who care about others.

 

Writing is one thing that scientists suggest as a way to deal with the traumas in our lives. When you sit down to write and put pen to paper, what comes out is the real truth and sometimes what we aren’t aware of on a conscious level. Free writing is putting pen to paper and just write without stopping. Write for thirty minutes. If you hit a block, write stuck, stuck, stuck until the words begin to flow again.

 

Scientists are doing case studies about going back to basics. To start at the very beginning. To go into a meditative state. Breathe in and out slowly and put your awareness on how the breath flows, how your heart is beating and how your lungs are taking in air and pushing used air out. As you finish the outbreath and are beginning to take your next in breath say thank you with an open heart. The thank you is for the fact that your body works. There may be parts that are not working right, but the basics work. Your body will take you where you need to go. Even if it constantly hurts, it is still working and you are here. So thank you is all that is required from you. It is pretty easy, yet it effects your mind and how your subconscious works.

 

The subconscious mind lets go of pain, trauma and fear. The future becomes brighter and manageable. The scientists have determined that chromosomes elongate and we begin to feel younger. I don’t think any of us would mind feeling younger.

Namaste to everyone.

 

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Feeling a little bit younger is good.

Feeling a little bit younger is good.

 

 

The War Against Women Happens Online, Too


CyberBullying

 

In full disclosure, this blog was initially inspired by something I saw online about GamerGate.  I don’t know anything about GamerGate, except that its supporters and detractors cannot seem to even agree on what it does.  For my purposes, and from my point of view, GamerGate doesn’t really matter.

 

What matters is that there have been hateful, vicious and clearly misogynist threats left on the Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, YouTube channels, and websites of women.  Some of these women are in the gaming industries, but some are not.  Many are women just like you and me, like  your mothers and sisters.  Some play games, some are just making comments in support of other women.  Many are being threatened.

 

I’ve seen a lot of arguing back and forth about whether these threatening trolls are involved with the #GamerGate movement; whether or not #GamerGate started to threaten a specific woman; and whether or not those #GamerGate supporters who do not engage in this behavior are guilty by association.

 

In my opinion, all this talk about #GamerGate is a smoke screen, blocking the real issue — that hatred and violence against women, that abuse in general, is on the rise across the Internet.  This reflects the rise in hatred and violence against women which is now found in the “real world” as well.  Online, as it were, imitating “real life”.

 

People need to realize that abuse takes many forms, and sometimes that form is online.  Threatening to rape, strangle, beat or kill a woman is a serious threat, in all cases, whether delivered by a note-wrapped rock through a window, on a Twitter feed, or in person.
NO ONE should have to be threatened this way, no one should have to live in fear.

 

There are those people, I am sure, who think that if a threat is made online, it’s not made in the “real world” and therefore can do no harm.   The number of young people who have committed suicide in this country and abroad as a result ob CyberBullying should serve to prove that isn’t the case, but there are those who still believe that if you say it online, it just doesn’t count.

 

What these people fail to realize is that we live in an increasingly online world, where our information is stored online and much of it — including, in many cases, addresses and phone numbers — are easily available with a short search online.

 

Whether or not someone who is cowardly enough to make these sorts of threats would go to those lengths to find the person they are threatening; whether the person making the threat is geographically close enough to follow through with these threats is not really relevant.

 

What is relevant is that the threat is made, and it has a profound psychological impact on the recipient.  In many cases, one online threat will prompt additional threats from other people, increasing the terror and humiliation the victim feels.

 

Whatever the “cause” behind the threats, these threats are nothing more than CyberBullying, which is illegal.

 

CyberBullying is not restricted to kids harassing each other over something in school.  It is any time anyone posts any threat, for whatever reason, and it is, in every case, wrong and inexcusable.

 

NO ONE EVER DESERVES TO BE THREATENED.   Certainly, no one deserves to be threatened because she’s female, doing something that some men feel is something that has been traditionally a male occupation or hobby.

 

Regardless of what you think about Gamers, or GamerGate or Gaming Journalism, surely we should all be able to understand that.

 

StandAgainstCyberBullying

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

 

guarda5

Are You Being Abused?


End Violence in the Home

End Violence in the Home

I have found that young women have many questions about battering. They seem to lack information they need to be safe. Domestic Violence or abuse is a crime punishable by a fine and jail time. The states vary with the laws. Battering can begin at any time in a relationship. During the dating phase, after the wedding, when a woman is pregnant, or as the children grow up.

Abuse is physical, verbal or emotional. It can also be a combination of any of these. You have the right to live without fear.  Often in an abusive relationship, the abuser will begin trying to isolate the woman from friends and neighbors. He doesn’t want anyone to have influence on his woman besides him. Often he wants the women to stay home and not work. That outside contact can make controlling her more difficult. If a woman is working, she often is quiet at work. She is passive and is in the emergency room frequently. If she confides in a co-worker, she will insist that she loves and needs him. He says he loves her too. But this is not love. This is torture.

There is a cycle of violence which was identified in the seventies.

There is a cycle of violence which was identified in the seventies.

you_cant_beat_a_woman_fridge_magnet-r2f60f43b75094530ab858f2d1647231d_x7js9_8byvr_324If you can’t bring yourself to leave, then fill a go bag with items that are extremely necessary. Money, prescriptions, clothes, ID for you and the children, and what ever your children will need immediately. Hide it well. If another attack happens you will need these things to flee. If you can’t get to the go bag, just leave and go to your local shelter. Husbands do kill wives. So your safety is vital. The things he has told you about being stupid, ugly, trash, or that you want to be hit is pure BS. Don’t buy into what he says. There is nothing you can do to justify his abusing you.

National Organization of Women

National Organization of Women

The fear you live with day in and day out does not mean you deserve it or asked for it. Examples of physical abuse are: pinching, slapping,hitting, punching, burning, pushing you, twisting your arms, and you have the right to live without violence. Forced sex in a marriage is rape…spousal rape. It is also illegal. It is hard to leave because you often still love him but you need to be a good role model for your children.

Anatomy of Violence

Anatomy of Violence

Domestic Violence is learned generation after generation. Little girls learn to be victims and little boys learn to be abusers. Some boys will try to stop their fathers and will punch and kick and yell at the father to stop the violence. Even if the violence is not turned against him, he learns to disrespect women. He will statistically become an abuser.  So your children need positive role models. They need to know that you can discuss problems and work them out. Remember if your abuser kills you he may very well end up raising your children.

There is nothing wrong with you. You do not deserve to be hit, spit at, spoken to in a demeaning manner. Your city has many people who care what happens to you and your children. There is help available.

Stop the Violence

Stop the Violence

Don’t let this be you. You deserve better. If you need to go to a hospital for your injuries, tell the ER staff what really happened. They will notify the police and they will call the shelter for you. If you are being hit now, get out and you will find love again, the community will help you with housing and education. No one deserves to be beaten. It is so hard to decide about all of these things when you are being beaten frequently, but believe me you can go on to a good life. A life where you are safe and live without violence.

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Peace, Violence and all Stops Inbetween


Intercoastal Waterway

Inter-coastal Waterway an alternative to sailing on the ocean

   Photograph by Barbara Mattio; Copyrighted in 2013

I believe that many people are looking for peace these days and many are making peace in their families and communities.  Not all, but the people who are choosing peace are adding to the love and goodness in their worlds. This is good to see. Some people continue to be filled with rage and hatred. Murders and rapes keep taking place. Corruption in our towns and cities still raises its ugly head.

 

So what happens when you feel you have created peace in the bit of world which is yours? What happens when we see others without freedoms or rights? Do we just look away from the pictures? Is there a positive response we can develope? How do we do it?

 

No More War!

No More War!

 

We can immerse ourselves in kindness and love and greet those we love and those we meet as our lives flow long. The way of peace is not just what we develop  within. It does start here though .What happens when the peace we have worked for and have established within, faces  the violence, hatred and rage that is in the world? We need to be able to look at and work with all of the ugly-ness and not lose any of our love, peace or light. Refusing to listen to the cries of anguish isn’t an answer. Freedom, love and peace must be taken from our own lives and put into the world. It is a process and a necessary one pulling us into the fray. We can’t live fully, and turn our heads and hearts away from suffering, greed and war.

 

These women have established peace in their lives and are looking to make peace in the world.

These women have established peace in their lives and are looking to make peace in the world.

 

We can fight for women’s rights, we can stop Domestic Violence, we can stop children from being molested and we can try to understand how it feels to be sold into slavery. We can take a stand against against rulers who are holding their citizens  in oppression and fear.

 

War destroys the childhoods of children.

War destroys the childhoods of children.

 

I believe we have to be ready to get involved with bringing love and peace into the world. Join Amnesty International. I have written letters to many world leaders who are holding its citizens as political prisioners.  You can join local peace and anti-war organizations. You can speak your truth gently to those who walk the path of war. You can send medications, donations, clothes and text books to countries where they are greatly needed.

 

Look to your journey and find the path towards peace.

Look to your journey and find the path towards peace.

 

Yes, peace begins with each of us, but it can’t stay just within us. We must meet with others who want peace and by adding all of our peaceful intentions together, we can make changes in the world at large. One candle is a light, 100 candles is a brilliant light, a million candles is a bonfire. Let’s make bonfires where we live and where we work and we will succeed. So throw that pebble into the pond and watch the ripples of peace move outward to touch all people who need an end to war and rage.

 

Green is the color of PEACE!

Green is the color of PEACE!