In the dark is where most women hide when they are being abused, too ashamed to let anyone know how much pain they are in; feelings of loneliness, guilt, hurt, and abandonment stick closer than any friend.
You ask yourself “Why do I stay?” but the answer is not an easy one because you are torn between two emotions: love and hate. For many women living in domestic violence they are faced with these and other questions on a daily basis. Thousand of women die with their dreams inside of them, but no one could see or hear their cries because they were in the dark.
The domestic violence statistics are staggering, but for African American women they are off the chart. During this month of Domestic Violence Awareness, we as women must become the light for our sisters hiding in the dark. We must help them out of despair with love, patience, and understanding. As a domestic violence survivor, I know this must be a gentle and patient process if we want the light to shine on darkness.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but we must be careful not to let the light go out when October ends. We must be steadfast in our approach and know that this is a day-by-day effort. Sisters around the world must know that we care and that they are not in the dark alone.
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The American Institute of Domestic Violence provides the following statistics:
· 85-95% of all domestic violence victims are female.
· Over 500,000 women are stalked by an intimate partner each year.
· 5.3 million women are abused each year.
· 1,232 women are killed each year by an intimate partner.
· Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women.
· Women are more likely to be attacked by someone they know rather than by a stranger.
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Veronica McMillan is no longer a victim of domestic violence. She is the minority. There are so many victims today – men, women, teenagers and even small children – the cycle does not end. In her quest to combat this disease, Veronica founded Let’s Talk, Inc.
Nicole Cleveland, Founder and Chief Editor of Breathe Again Magazine, recently spoke with Veronica to learn more about her personal story and identify how all of us can help in the battle against this disease.
BAM: Tell me about your organization and why you stepped out on faith.
Veronica: Let’s Talk, Inc. is an organization that empowers women to find balance and wholeness in every area of her life. This empowerment comes when her thinking changes. Positive thinking will lead to positive decision-making, positive decision-making will lead to positive action steps to change. I stepped out on faith because all my crutches were taken away. I had to stand and I am a sister that knows how to survive when everything else is gone. One must believe that out of darkness comes light if you trust and believe in God’s word. You will soon find out that all things will work out for your good.
BAM: What do you need?
Veronica: Let’s Talk, Inc. needs mentors who have experienced life’s hard blows and survived with the story to tell of redemption and restoration. We also need financial support of any kind. I must add that we need male role models for the boys-to-men program.
BAM: How long were you abused?
Veronica: I was in the relationship for about six years, but the abuse started about the third year of the relationship.
BAM: Did you think he would kill you?
Veronica: No, my plan was to kill him. (I mean literally kill him.)
BAM: Why did you stay? And do you think that is why most women stay?
Veronica: The reason will be different for each woman. Her situation dictates her response along with her fears, doubts, lack of self control, et cetera.
BAM: Did you think you could change him?
BAM: Have you forgiven him?
Veronica: Forgiveness is the only way to move forward.
BAM: What is your advice to someone that is in an abusive relationship reading this?
Veronica: My advice to any woman is to find someone that you can trust that may have experienced the same thing and make small steps toward getting out. Know that there is life after death. By this I man you feel like you are dead on the inside, but you are never dead if you can breathe.
BAM: How can we help? What should we do if we know someone that is being abused?
Veronica: Be patient and understanding with individuals in abusive situations because change is extremely difficult.
Visit www.letstalkinc.org today
© Breathe Again Magazine 2008