Home Should Be Safe: Domestic Violence Awareness Organization

What began many years ago as journaling to vent my pain, is now going to form a non-profit organization to help victims of domestic violence to find healing from the trauma. When I married at nineteen I had no knowledge or experience with abuse so I didn’t recognize the charming act of an abuser during the dating stage. Once I was married it took me years to recognize that my husband’s behavior was so classically abusive. When I divorced fourteen years later no one that I knew had any inkling of what was wrong with me or how to help me. So, once God healed and delivered me I set out to find a way to make people aware of the signs of abuse and how to help its victims.

After twenty years of writing and speaking on the realities of domestic violence and how to help its victims my next step is to form an organization that will not only make the information available but will attempt to be a bridge between secular and spiritual helpers. My goal is to show women that healing and wholeness are possible.

This blog will provide information on domestic violence and updates on the formation of my organization, Home Should Be Safe.

Home Should Be Safe

This blog is no longer active. To follow me for the subject of domestic violence please check out my main blog, MinaRaulston. Thank you

Jesus is the Answer

There is an old song that I love called, “Jesus is Still the Answer”. That one little phrase can be applied to any situation of our lives. We can try every solution the world offers; we can try any solution we can think up for ourselves. But, no matter what we try we will still come back to the reality that Jesus is the answer for whatever we need in this life.

When I was a young woman I met and married a man who I found out too late was abusive. For many years I did everything I knew how to make that marriage work. I didn’t even know what abuse or domestic violence was because violence didn’t happen in my parents’ home. For this reason it took me a long time to recognize that my husband’s behavior would never change. When I finally divorced I was broken into so many pieces that I thought I’d never be whole again.

The good thing was that I’d had a relationship with Jesus since I was a small child and was saved as a teenager. So, even when I tried to give up on God he refused to give up on me. Four years later I received God’s healing and deliverance from all the pain and suffering of those years of abuse. Once God healed and delivered me I felt free and light, like I’d never felt before in my whole life.

It’s been more than twenty years since that happened and I can tell you that no matter what troubles life threw my way, no matter what challenges I faced, Jesus is still the answer. God never promised that we would never have pain or trials. In fact he said we would have them. But, he did promise that he would walk through them with us.

If there is one thing I could tell someone who was or is a victim of domestic violence it is that Jesus is still the answer. If your heart is broken Jesus can heal it. If your spirit is broken Jesus can heal it. If you feel like you’re missing pieces of your life, Jesus can rebuild your life. If you feel like you have no dreams left, Jesus can give you new dreams.

Whether you are still living in your abusive situation or not Jesus is walking beside you waiting for you to reach out to him, to call to him and to ask him to help you. He loves you and wants to bring you close and shower you with his love. Jesus can give you peace the world cannot understand. Jesus can give you a knowing deep within your heart and soul so that you know that you know that you know that God will take care of you no matter what your situation. All you have to do is reach out to him.

 

Mina R. Raulston writes extensively about domestic violence and loves to give her testimony of healing and deliverance from the pain and suffering of domestic violence. Contact her by phone at 614-507-7893 or e-mail her at m_raulston@hotmail.com to schedule a speaking engagement.

You can buy copies of her book, Home Should Be Safe: Hope and Help for Domestic Violence Victims from her website

Why don’t they just leave?

During the years I was researching my book, Home Should Be Safe: Hope and Help for Domestic Violence Victims, one of the questions asked most frequently was, “Why doesn’t she just leave?”

So many people were incredulous that women in an abusive relationship didn’t simple leave the relationship. Some thought these women actually liked to be mistreated. Others felt they had “made their bed and should be forced to lie in it.” Regardless of their opinions few people understood what held a woman in an abusive relationship.

My research provided several reasons why women stay, none of them simple or black and white. But, one of them was very simple. They were terrified of the consequences of leaving and there are multiple consequences. But, one sticks out more than all the others and it is this.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 75% of women who are killed by their abusers are killed when they try to leave or are in the process of leaving.

Think about for a minute. Regardless of how you came to be in an abusive relationship how quickly would you try to escape, especially if you had children, if your abuser had threatened to kill you if you left and you him to be violent to follow through on that threat. Who would you be willing to put in danger for you to escape? Or would you be so panicked and frozen by your fear that you could do nothing?

So, before you come to a quick opinion on what a woman in an abusive relationship should do think about what options are available to her and think about if you would be willing to help her get to safety.

How to end domestic violence

For centuries domestic violence occurred and no one paid any attention. As a matter of fact, a man was legally allowed to treat his wife and children any way he pleased because legally they were viewed as his possessions. Individuals might intervene but the law did not unless someone was murdered.

In the 1960’s laws were enacted making domestic violence a criminal act. During the same time shelters were opened giving women limited safe places to hide from their abusers. Since that time more laws have been enacted and more shelters have been opened. The courts are filled with domestic violence cases and families continue to be devastated by violence. With the state of the economy social organizations, including domestic violence awareness and service organizations are in hot competition for grants and other funding.

Through all of this domestic violence is not being reduced. As a matter of fact violence in general is increasing not decreasing. As much as we need laws, social services and shelters there is only one way that violence of any sort, and especially domestic violence, will be reduced. The only way to reduce violence is the change the heart of mankind.

You see, the reason domestic violence occurs is because abusers believe they have a right to abuse others. This is the same reason any crime occurs. Criminals believe they have a right to break the law and treat others however they please. The Bible says that evil is always in the heart of man. God knew this from the beginning. Sin came into the world when Adam and Eve disobeyed and committed the first sin, causing them to be cast out of the Garden of Eden and begin to experience the consequences of their sin in every area of their lives.

The only way to truly end domestic violence is t0 change the heart of the abuser and the only way this can happen is through the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Only Jesus Christ can change the heart of anyone. This is why it is so important that Christians become involved in the battle against domestic violence and not just leave it to the legal system and social services. They provide invaluable services but they do not have the ability or the power to change the heart of man. I challenge Christians to learn all they can about domestic violence and then do all they can to make a difference in the lives of families who have devastated by its effect.

Please feel free to post your questions or your own work in this important field.

 

 

Male Victims of Domestic Violence

Ever since I began writing about domestic violence some readers asked why I didn’t include male victims of domestic violence in my information. Frankly, the reason was that I didn’t find much information about that side of it except as it related to male children and I included that information in my book. There is now more information available about male victims of domestic violence such as husbands and boyfriends so I will be researching that topic and write about it here.  So, if you have questions related to domestic violence in any way please post them here and I will research and answer your questions and provide referrals when available. 

If you are a male who has been a victim of domestic violence and would be open to an interview please email me at m_raulston@hotmail.com and I will contact you. Also, please know that even though domestic violence shelters are for women and children, there is help available for male victims. Call the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence hotline at 800-799-7233  for assistance.

Home Should Be SAFE: My Journey from then to now

I didn’t start out to be a writer. I didn’t even think very seriously about a career even though I was an honor student in high school. I certainly never thought I’d be writing about domestic violence. But, the path my life took made it imperative that I write about my life experiences as related to domestic violence.

At the age of 19 I married a man I met in my church after a six month courtship. I found out all too soon that he was not the man I thought. Within months after our marriage the cycle of violence began even though it would be many years, after the divorce, before I even knew what that term meant. Finally, the abuse became intolerable for both my children and I so I obtained a divorce with the help of Legal Aid.

Four years after the divorce I was finally able to receive God’s healing and deliverance. I began journaling to get all the pain out because people had tired of listening to me and more than one said that I should “just get over it and on with it.” They didn’t know what it was to live in fear in your own home. You can’t just “get over it and on with it” quite that easily.

That journaling developed into Bible studies that I taught in my local church. Then I began writing for local newspapers and later for denominational magazines. One of the main topics of many of my articles was domestic violence. As I studied and researched, interviewed and wrote, all my information began to take form into something larger than I ever expected.

About 2004 I realized that I had accumulated all that I needed; the new information I was finding was merely a duplicate of what I already had. I began to put together what I thought would be a simple booklet to give to the church to help them deal with domestic violence victims in their churches. In 2009 I realized I had to finish my book and for a number of reasons I quit my job and concentrated on my book. Although I eventually had to return to work I had finished my book.

After going over it carefully I hired a writer/editor friend of mine to do a professional edit. I sent out requests for formal endorsements for the book and received very favorable ones. I submitted book proposals to traditional publishers and one showed interest but then the economic crash hit and they were unable to move forward. After much prayer and deliberation I decided to self-publish.

The challenge with self-publishing was that I didn’t have extra money to pay the publishing expenses. So, I took it one step at a time. The push came in 2010 when my church held an Author Sunday to promote authors within the congregation. In order to participate I printed up the few copies I could afford and sold all of them that day and took orders for more. Later an editor I wrote for referred me to his book packager and graphic designer and I was able to print paper back copies of the book to sell. Almost everyone who has read the book, even total strangers, has given me positive feedback.

This week I reached another milestone with my book. I purchased my ISBN number and bar code. My book is now in the Licking County Public Library in Licking County, OH. Very soon I will have it on  Amazon and some independent book stores.

Check back often for updates on the publication and distribution of my book, which can be purchased from my website.

Home Should Be Safe: Myths and Misconceptions – Abuse is caused by alcohol or drug abuse.

Myth: Abusers behave as they do as a result of alcohol or drug  abuse or possibly mental illness, all of which are not the fault of the abusers. We must understand them and treat the illness. Reality: Domestic violence is a learned behavior, proven by the fact that it exists where alcohol, drugs, and mental illness do not exist. That’s one reason why it repeats itself from one generation to another.

The reality is that drugs and alcohol serve to break down the self-control and the behavioral barriers we establish. If a person becomes abusive after taking alcohol or drugs then the behavior was there all the time but under control. And, as previously stated there are more than enough stories of abusers who did not take drugs or alcohol. Therefore, even though the two may co-exist it does not mean they are automatically joined. One thing shown to exist in most abusers is a belief that they can treat other people however they please in order to get what they want.

Mental illness has been used to discount abusive behavior as well. One victim said that her husband’s doctor told her he was manic depressant and could not help himself so she shouldn’t blame him.  In an interview with a director of a domestic violence shelter, she told me, “Mina, being mentally ill and being abusive is like having a broken arm and a broken leg. They are both broken but you don’t treat them the same way.”

Domestic Violence is a violent crime committed by people whose belief system gives them permission to treat others however they please to get what they want. Until society treats it as a violent crime and makes the abuser accountable, abuse will continue.

Myths and Misconceptions – Why doesn’t she just leave?

Myth: Women stay and tolerate abuse because they like it.

Reality: No woman likes being hit, insulted, manipulated, and betrayed. There are many complex reasons they stay which I discuss in my book, Home Should Be Safe: Hope and Help for Domestic Violence,  in Chapter 6, “Why Don’t They Just  Leave?”

 Many times over the years I have heard the question asked, “If the violence is so bad and she is in such danger, why doesn’t she just leave?” There are many reasons why a woman will not or can not leave her abuser. There are economic reasons, social reasons, personal reasons, family reasons and a variety of other reasons. When people use to ask me this question I responded a bit antagonistically.  I would respond by asking them questions. “Are you going to help her leave? Are you going to help her find a place to live? Are you going to help her find a job? Are you going help her connect with Social Services or legal assistance?” I had many more questions for any who would listen. I felt that unless someone was willing to help a victim of domestic violence in some way they had no right to judge or criticize her.

But, in a training session with Choices Domestic Violence Shelter, I watched a video where a survivor of abuse answered that very question.  Her response was much more telling and effective. She said, “Why should I have to leave? It’s my home too and he’s the one who broke the law.”

The use of physical abuse to injure, kill or coerce a person is never acceptable. If it happened in public by a stranger it would be called assault and battery but for centuries society considered abuse in the home a “family affair” and no one interfered with what happened behind closed doors. As a society we need to take a stand against family abuse. We need to ensure that abusers, regardless of gender or age, know that if they injure someone they will face legal consequences just as if they had injured a stranger in public. Abuse is a crime and we must treat it as such.

Domestic Violence: Myths and Misconceptions

Myth: Domestic violence only happens in lower class families.

Reality: Domestic violence happens in every social class, economic bracket, nationality, ethnic background, culture, lifestyle and religion. 

The myth of poverty and abuse is common. People see abuse existing in a family in poverty and make the assumption that the abuse is there because the people are uneducated and lacking in education, morals and values. They believe that education, social standing and financial increase are the solution to the problem of abuse.

The reality is that domestic violence or family abuse happens in wealthy families and poor families, in upper class families as well as middle class and lower class families, and it happens in every nationality, every ethnic group, every lifestyle, culture and religion known to man.

Domestic violence, just like any violence, is not about status in society but rather it is a mindset. The abusive person believes they have the right to treat other people however they please through manipulation, coercion, and physical control in order to achieve their goals.

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