A Tribute to Womanhood

Welcome to "I Am Woman"...a tribute to all those women who had the courage and perseverance to stand up and fight for their rights. Thanks to those who came before us we enjoy a freedom unknown to women not too long ago. But, sadly, in many parts of the world, women continue to be repressed. In fact, even in this country there are women living today under the threat of violence...completely controlled by a violent spouse. Some may make it; others won't. Hopefully, one day ALL women will be free. May that day come soon.


Friday's Quote

“One in three women may suffer from abuse and violence in her lifetime. This is an appalling human rights violation, yet it remains one of the invisible and under-recognized pandemics of our time.” Violence against women is an appalling human rights violation. But it is not inevitable. We can put a stop to this.” – Nicole Kidman


The Silent Abuser done

This weekend I met up with a friend on my way to run a few errands.  I asked how her how the family was,  and she said "Fine." I then asked how her husband was doing, and she gave a nervous laugh, "Oh, he's mad at me right.  He's not talking to me."  "I'm sorry," I replied.  "Oh, you know how he gets when he gets this bug up his a... He'll get over it."  Sadly, I do know how it is when he catches the bug.  I've lived with one of those myself.

Many years ago I was involved with a man who, any time I did something he did not approve of, would give me the silent treatment. This would last for several days, sometimes even a week or more. I'd apologize for whatever it was that made him ignore me.... even though usually I had no idea what I was apologizing for, if there ever was anything to begin with. Eventually, I would find myself sobbing and pleading with him to talk it over, but he'd sit there acting like I didn't exist. At the time, I didn't  really did think of this as a kind of emotional abuse, but as I look back on it now, it really was quite painful endure.

It is true, that whenever  we hear someone talking about emotional abuse, the first thing we usually think of shouting and criticism. Most of us don't even realize that  there is another form that we hear less of and often don't even think of it as abuse...the disengaging partner. The most common form of this is stonewalling, the spouse who refuses to accept anyone else's perspective. Stonewalling can consist of the following:

Refusal to compromise
Refusal to negotiate a conflict in good faith
Refusal to support the other's plans
Refusal to discuss honestly one’s motivations
Refusal to listen to another point of view with openness

The partner who is stonewalling may not be overtly putting you down, but he is, nevertheless, he punishing you by refusing even to think about your perspective. And, if he even listen to you at all, he does so dismissively or impatiently...hurtfully.   The fact is, whenever someone is administering the silent treatment they are trying to show that they are dominant over you.

Silence is actually a silent form of anger that says you do not exist. Abusers use this as a form of punishment.  It is their way of banishing you from their existence, a punishment that makes you feel unimportant and not cared about. It is used as a form of non-physical punishment and control because the abuser mistakenly thinks that if they don’t physically harm you then they are not abusers. Anyone who has ever experienced it from a loved one knows that it is a form of torture.  It is a calculated for of power/control over others. The abuser wants a submissive reaction from you to make themselves feel more powerful and better than you, and it does, indeed, work.

Getting the silent treatment from the person closest to you can be hurtful and frustrating.  It can damage the individual's overall emotional health to the point where the victim report a sense of not belonging, loss of control, lower self-esteem and a feeling of unworthiness.  And, because we don't understand the game they are playing, we tend to work very hard to win back the good graces of others but most males still do not.  I remember how I used to cry, and because I didn't know any better, I would make sure that he saw me crying in the hopes that he would feel sorry and make up with me.  Little did I know that I was falling right into his hands and doing exactly what he wanted.  
Now, you might be saying, "I have given the silent treatment many times.  Does that make me an abuser?"  There is a difference between the silent treatment and what we think of as the cooling off period. The cooling off period is actually a good thing.  It occurs when one is so angry or disgusted by the other person that they just cannot deal with the situation and need some to calm themselves down before they begin to speak to this person. 
When I ran my batterers group, one technique they were taught was 'time out'.  Before you are going to do or say something that you will regret, take time out.  Go for a walk or go to another room.  Above all, do nothing to escalate the situation.

On the other hand,  the silent treatment is more along the lines of your doing something that angers the other person, then they don’t speak to you, acknowledge you or even make eye contact with you for sometimes days. Sometimes you don't even know what it is you were supposed to have done.  Silent treatment is an abuse, and no matter what is said and done an abuse is unacceptable.
If you are being given the silent treatment, remember that it is best to stop giving any credence to these tantrums and let your abuser know that you have had enough. You don’t have to play the same game.   Tell them, no , insist, that they stop treating you this way.  If you believe that there is hope for the relationship, then you must speak about your feelings in precise and clear terms. If not, and if the situation does not improve, perhaps it might be best to think about moving on with your own life. 


Friday's Quote

“Domestic violence causes far more pain than the visible marks of bruises and scars. It is devastating to be abused by someone that you love and think loves you in return. It is estimated that approximately 3 million incidents of domestic violence are reported each year in the United States.” – Dianne Feinstein


Teen Age Violence

“Domestic violence does not only happen to adults. Forty percent of girls age 14 to 17 report knowing someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend, and approximately one in five female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner.”

– Dianne Feinstein--

One in four teens said they have been exposed to verbal, physical or sexual assault each year.

95% of the time, it is the boyfriend that abuses the girlfriend.

80% of girls who have been physically abused in their intimate relationships continue to see their abuser.

50% of you reporting both dating violence and rape also reported attempting suicide.

One in three women who are killed in the US are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.

25% of female homicide victims are between the ages of 14-24 years.

A rape occurs every 2 minutes in the United States and 44% of victims are under the age of eighteen!


Obsessive Ex Syndrome

There is a client in my woman's group who was sharing about how she and her new boyfriend were walking down the street when her ex jumped from an alley and grabbed her by the throat, pinning her up against the wall, all the while screaming that if he couldn't have her no one will. Luckily for her, her new boyfriend was there to save the day. It is unfortunate, but I foresee this episode happening again, perhaps next time with the new boyfriend for this women will only go out with what she calls bad boys. Mental illness is a must. Now, don't get me wrong. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with dating a man who has mental illness. The problem in this case is that she leads them on and pulls at their heart strings...and once she knows she has hooked them, she tosses them aside and moves onto the next man. I fear for her safety. I wish she would realize that dangerous game she is playing, but so far, she has refused to see.

Now not all cases are as clearcut as hers and unfortunately women all across the country are falling victim to an obsessive ex.  Obsessive Ex Syndrome has become rampant.  For reasons you decide to move on (date other people). The person who you thought was nice now begins to creep you out.  At first it seems like nothing more than a difficult breakup, but soon it begins to feel more like stalking.  Your ex-husband or ex-boyfriend, finding it mentally impossible to let go, keeps calling you and leaving messages, emailing you, visiting, arguing, and pleading with you to reconcile.  

Next they may  following, stalking or threatening you.   It may soon escalate into personal violence, vandalizing your belongings.  When left unchecked, this syndrome may eventually come to the point where the ex resorts to kidnapping, murder, or suicide.  In fact, many reported cases of
husband murders wife are actually Obsessive Ex Syndrome.   Therefore, it is important to recognize this syndrome in its early stages and take preventive steps. The longer the obsession persists without interruption or intervention, the more the obsesser will lose contact with reality. Doing  nothing is not the answer.  Obsessive Ex Syndrome must be identified in the early stages, and action be taken against its progression.  

What Are Some Red Flags
Unannounced visits or surprises
Gifts, flowers
Notes on your car or your door
Frequent phone calls
Long emails telling you how much he loves you
Questions you about your whereabouts or who you were with
Propensity for violence



Gosh, I have apologies to make to all of you.  I've let this blog go far too long, and it is too important to forget about.  If any of my blogs should be kept going, it should be this one. Every day women are being abused, beaten, slain.  According to recent FBI statistics, 30% of women killed in the United States die at the hands of a husband or boyfriend.  Nearly 2 in 3 female victims of violence were related to or knew their attacker. One study revealed that half of the homicides of female spouses and partners were committed by men after separation from batterers. One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.

I also have to apologize to those who have made comments.  Forgive me for not getting back to you.  The materials here can be so emotionally overwhelming at times.  I know that is no excuse.  I'm reaching out to all of you who follow this blog. Please, help me keep this blog going. I'm inviting all of you to be a part of it.  Tell your story, or the story of someone you know. Tell the story of a woman you admire or share one of your favorite women's quotes.  This blog belongs to all of us, and together we are strong.  Please let me know, and I will add you to the permission list to write for this blog.  You will find my e-mail address to the right under the first picture. 



A New Nation is Born

This Saturday, July 9, 2011, after 2 civil wars and 5 decades of conflict, the Republic of South Sudan will declare its independence, and a new nation will be born. For more than 40 years, women have endured the atrocities of civil war, famine and tribal disputes, all as Sudan’s least valued citizens. After suffering sexual and gender-based violence and having their families torn apart for so long, the women of Sudan are desperate for peace....
...and things are starting to look up for them. For the first time in Sudan's history, women were able to add their votes and voices to the national debate over the future of their country. Women proudly walked to the polls on voting day, waiting in long lines, crying with tears of joy as they cast their vote. For them, independence represents a symbol of hope for a peaceful future and an opportunity for all Southerners, including women, to define their own destiny
Congratulations to the people in South Sudan.