Category Archives: Domestic Violence

A Story of Strength: A Son Shares His Story of Surviving Domestic Violence

By | Domestic Violence, Parenting | 2 Comments

Today’s Story is from a male reader who survived Domestic Violence. His courage in breaking the silence and the cycle of violence inspires me. I am grateful for the courage it took to share this today. I hope it will inspire you to join this growing group of voices as we break the silence.

i’m the first generation male in my family who doesn’t abuse his wife.

to acknowledge that “i’ve never hit my wife” really doesn’t push me to trademark the very phrase for anniversary cards. i do know that just veering from abuse’s influence as one of my earliest memories is an accomplishment that i’m only just recently embracing.

i saw episodes of physical abuse consisting of my dad sitting on top of my mom as he punched her repeatedly on her head as she cried to her 5 yr old son for help. this i saw peeking around the corner early one morning. what’s a 5 yr old to do?

i saw him randomly slap her face for “disrespect.”

i saw the dejected look on my mom’s face after he cut off all her hair and threw away all her decent clothes to prevent any other men from looking at her.

this was the physical abuse, but the emotional abuse is what made me realize “repression” is not a voluntary choice…

i sat in the same room as my dad accused my mom of having a relationship with her own brother.

i’ve been fully briefed as a child by my dad about his futile “sting” operations to catch my mom with other men.

his throwing a glass of orange juice in her face for reasons i still don’t know.

my dad refusing to let my mom attend her own mother’s funeral in mexico because there would be men there.

twice we were wakened in the middle of the night to flee with my mother to mexico… twice!

and in the back of my mind is that blurry incident when my dad made my mom sleep on the couch so his 30-something daughter from his previous marriage could sleep in bed with him.

then later that day a vague memory of carrying my mom’s mostly lifeless body from the bedroom after she swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills.

that last one i just accepted and absorbed about a year ago.

who knows what will emerge as our vulnerabilities are not seen as shameful, but as courage for the sake of one another.

my dad died a few years ago, still trying to turn my brother and me against my mom (she finally escaped for good 3 days after i graduated high school, 21 years into an abusive marriage).

she always distanced herself as much as humanly possible from her experience as his wife, but made sure my brother and i did not distance ourselves at all from our obligations as his sons.

that’s where i learned the concept of grace and forgiveness. that’s why the house we bought for her is a few coins on the debt she paid for my brother and me.

Have you broken the silence yet? Share this story today. You do not know whose life you might be changing forever.

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A Prosecutor’s Perspective: How Speaking Out CAN Change a Life

By | Domestic Violence | No Comments

This is a guest post by my friend, Danalyn Savage.

Hi, my name is Dani.  I prosecute domestic violence cases for a living.  Awkward introduction, I know, but my job is the icebreaker at every party.  And, it is a guaranteed conversation starter.

I spent two weeks in Zambia during the summer of 2011.  While I was there, I taught counselors, prosecutors, police officers and teachers about domestic violence and child abuse.  We also explored how to interview children and the behavior changes that might happen when a child has been abused.  My class learned that, in America, we have many of the same problems with Domestic Violence that Zambia does.

They also learned that American women and children are abused as much as they are (Sorry, guys, I’m a prosecutor, 99% of my cases involve women and children as victims.  Men can be victims, but it is rare).  Despite the cultural differences, they were able to take away a lot from the seminars to help them in their lives.

Just before Monna asked me to write for her blog, my friends in Zambia sent me a story about a young girl at the school there.  She became withdrawn at school and then stopped attending.  Through counseling, they discovered that she was raped.

Despite the cultural stigma around people who go forward with cases in court there, especially against family members, my friends stood with her and helped her through the process.  She attended the hearings and was even able to move away from her abuser for her safety.

In the end, her rapist was held responsible for his actions.

The story made my day!  To hear that the training I gave – which was training I received and honestly took for granted initially – was used to help seek justice for a girl who had been violated?? Wow.

When I tell people what I do for a living, I usually get a response that includes a pained look and an “I’m sorry” or “How do you do that?”  When I tell them I love what I do, the response is “I could never do that.”

Relationships are messy and they are even more so when there is abuse involved.  I talk to victims who have very volatile relationships and emotions.  More times than not, I get yelled at on the phone or I am told that I am ruining a life.

But, the one thing I try to tell each person is this, “You are valuable.  This is not your fault.  And, you DO NOT deserve this.”  No one does.

Don’t buy into the myths, though.  Those victims come from all walks of life, all economic statuses, and all ages. Domestic violence does not play favorites.  Victims are not just poor, homeless, the uneducated or drug addicts.  They are young, educated, successful people who get in a relationship where the abuser has so much power and control that they have no way out.  No friends.  No family to support them.  No stability outside the relationship.

Everyone wants to blame the victim for staying in the relationship.  But it is more complicated than most people realize. With children it is even harder.  Children cannot protect themselves, and sometimes the parents do not protect either.

At the end of the day, sometimes the only way to help is to be the “bad guy.”  I am willing to do that.  I do not have an easy job.  Most days it is painful to read what people do to each other while saying “I love you.”

Yet, I love the work I do.  I help give people a voice.  I help protect children when their parents refuse to protect them.  I stand up for victims even when they are convinced they do not want someone to stand up for them.

And, at the end of the day, I go home to my son, give him hugs and kisses, and remind him that he is loved, valued and special.  Everyone deserves to hear that, even a baby.

Danalyn Savage known by her friends as “Dani”.  Dani, an attorney who specializes in domestic violence, is married to Scott, who gives leadership to North Phoenix Baptist Church’s Young Adult Ministry. A native of western New York, Dani loves making and canning jam, watching hockey and introducing joy into the lives of her friends.

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Read Hope’s story of courage and healing.