Listen In: Violent No More: Helping Men End Domestic Abuse

I don’t think we will end domestic abuse or rape or trafficking in this country until the culture starts to change; and I think each and every one of us has an obligation to speak up, to get involved and there’s lots of ways to do that in our communities, and you just have to take that step.

And we shouldn’t be waiting ’til a horrible tragedy happens, when you read something in the newspaper about a woman being killed or just the statistics that are so haunting about all of these young girls being trafficked in all of our cities, that that it really is up to us, our institutions, our communities, and the culture to change the belief and attitudes. And when that happens, I think we’ll start to see some fundamental changes…” ~ Michael Paymar

Following a recent show on Battered Women, Psych Up takes on the crucial issue of helping men end domestic violence.  Our guest, Representative Michael Paymar brings tremendous knowledge and experience to this issue. His career has spanned from his direct work with batterers and his co-founding the nationally recognized Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention Project to combating gender violence and related issues as a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives.

As the author of “Violent No More: Helping Men End Domestic Violence”, and the co-producer of the award winning documentary film, With Impunity: Men and Gender Violence, Michael Paymar discusses with host, Suzanne Phillips, the success and challenges in ending domestic violence. He describes the power of a group model that requires men to take responsibility and offers hope. He considers the need for a change in the personal, familial and cultural attitudes that allow domination of women with impunity.

In the back and forth he considers the messages that boys and girls are given and offers examples of how a father, mother, coach, or college co-ed can shift the attitudes that perpetuate gender violence. This show makes domestic violence a personal and painful reality that we need the courage to face.

For Help: 

The National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-7233
1-800-787-3224 (TTY for Deaf/hard of hearing)

Learn more about More about Michael Paymar’s work:

Education for Critical Thinking

Violent No More: Helping Men End Domestic Violence by Michael Paymar

Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (Home of the Duluth Model)

 

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Public Domain Photo

Several years ago, I found myself escaping an abusive relationship after being physically assaulted. I was homeless with two small, traumatized children to care for… despite the bleak circumstances, the life ahead of me was so much better than the one I left behind.

The children and I stayed wherever we could – on the couches of friends or family willing to take us in, slept in our minivan and in a battered women’s “shelter”.

The “shelter” was a roof over our heads but little else – it lacked supportive services and was generally a toxic, chaotic environment. Toys and games for were donated to the “shelter” but children were not allowed to play with them. I don’t know why. The kids were rounded up in the living room and sat on the dirty floor playing with dust balls or watching whatever was on TV – no cartoons because there was only one TV and the adults chose all the programming. My children were already traumatized and being in this environment just made things worse. So I made it a point to take my children out of the shelter during the day, and find activities or parks to visit.

It was during this time that my “art advocacy” was born. I started taking pictures to record our lives as being homeless; I wanted to speak out against the abuse that was done to us.. and the only safe way (at the time) was in pictures.

To keep my children busy, and to keep their mind off our struggles, I would tell them “tall tales” – long, adventurous stories. From these stories I found the voice that had been suppressed due to the abuse and began writing stories and poetry.

I found community and church forums to display my photography or read a poem. Then I started creating picture quotes to raise awareness about abuse, and the issue survivors face when leaving abuseThrough art, I was not only creating a way to raise awareness and give voice but I was also creating a new life for myself. 

I am now sharing my art and photography on “Parenting Abused Children”, to share my journey and offer an encouraging message that it is possible to heal, and overcome abuse.

WHAT ARE SOME CREATIVE WAYS THAT HAVE HELPED YOU TO OVERCOME A CHALLENGE OR STRUGGLE?

OR WHAT HAS HELPED YOU TO DEAL WITH THE EFFECTS OF ABUSE?

LET’S TALK AND SHARE! POST YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS BELOW (YOU CAN REMAIN ANON).

Blessings,  EJ, © 2017

 

Pockets full of pebbles and a head full of dreams...

Pocket full of pebbles and a head full of dreams…

 

Cincinnati, Ohio – Model and YouTuber, Natalia Taylor, revealed in a video that she “experience things a child should never experience in life” (she says her father, Rod, did not abuse her, only her mother) and witnessed domestic abuse her father perpetrated against her mother. Natalia also recalls that Rod threatened to kill her mother.

At age 6, her mother divorced Rod due to his severe mental illness and abusive behavior. Natalia says her father “was never willing to get any help, and never willing to let anyone help him“.

During the divorce proceedings, Natalia’s mother begged the courts to protect her child from Rod, and revoke visitation. Natalia herself begged to be kept away from Rod but says her cries for help were ignored,”basically there was no way of getting out of it. I had to have visitation with my dad, the law prevented me from not seeing him.” 

Natalia was traumatized by being forced to visit Rod – she was neglected in his care, and forced to spend time in a home that was filthy and contaminated with fecal matter. Rod continued to exhibit frightening behavior. Several reports were filed with police and caseworkers. She says Rod was “very defiant” and rejected help. It is unclear why visits continued after so many reports or if CPS was ever involved.

After the divorce, Rod kidnaps Natalia from a relative’s home. She said that during her ordeal Rod “terrified” her and demonstrated bizarre behavior due to his schizophrenia. Rod also threatened to kill Natalia and himself. An Amber Alert was issued, the second ever issued in Northwest Ohio.

After 17 hours, Natalia was recovered. Natalia is thankful that she survived. Rod was charged with kidnapping, and held in jail for 6 months, but later found not guilty by a jury. Rod is now thought to be living in Florida, and is homeless.  He is believed to be “highly dangerous” and has a lengthy criminal record and is registered sex offender with active arrest warrants against him. Rod has attempted to contact Natalia and sends her bizarre letters and packages.

Natalia says about speaking publicly about her experiences,”I’ve come to terms with a lot since I’ve talked about it online and it has been a little bit therapeutic and it has changed my mind a little bit on how I see this story…

I guess what it comes down to is that I am not afraid of Rod anymore. Call me stupid, call me naive once again, but I’m not scared of you.

Thank you Natalia for sharing your story and giving voice to so many children who have survived living in abusive or dysfunctional homes, and giving voice to those court ordered into visitation or custody with an abuser. You have raised awareness to the voice of the children, and shown an inspiring example of a survivor. Thank you for sharing this story – you are in my thoughts & prayers.

My second thought – When courts fail to recognize abuse, and minimize or ignore the dangerous behavior or potential risk one parent poses, children are placed in visitation or custody arrangements that endanger their lives – and often cause lasting trauma. This is unacceptable – the priority of the Courts should be to protect children from abuse, and ensure their well-being. 
Read more: Daily Mail: Come and find me – I’m not scared of you!’ Model who was ‘kidnapped’ by her mentally-ill dad dares him to ‘come forward’ after revealing her identity in viral video seen by MILLIONS

 

 

As many as 10 million children per year witness or are caught in the middle of domestic violence. Domestic violence, and the resulting trauma, has a profound effect on a child’s physical, emotional, behavioral and social health. Children who have witnessed or experienced domestic violence commonly suffer from: anxiety, depression, social withdrawal, nightmares, flashbacks and feelings of guilt/remorse.

A relationship with a stable, caring adult is one of the most important factors in a child’s recovery from abuse or trauma, and can help to break the cycle of violence.

Some tips on how you can best support an abused child, and be a positive role model :

*** If you are working as a mentor, “Big Brother/Sister”, peer support, spiritual support, advocate or family/friend to this child, be consistent in scheduling regular visits. Don’t over commit your time then miss a visit. Don’t schedule a large number of visits then decrease the visits unexpectedly. Consistency is crucial to a child’s sense of safety—so schedule visits on a regular basis that is realistic to what you can offer, and what your time/energy allows for. Then put those visits on a calendar so the child knows what to expect, and can plan for your visit.

*** Working with an abused child can be triggering, exhausting or very emotional for the support person—so make sure you are caring for your own physical and emotional needs. This may involve a “check-in” with your supervisor. Or taking classes or attending support groups with the organization you are working for. Or it may involve self-care such as taking a walk/exercise, listening to music, reading, enjoying a hobby etc. If you feel the need to talk about your day, keep the privacy of those you are working with—do not reveal their real name or sensitive personal information about their case or family situation. If there is an urgent issue, go to a supervisor for help, if there is no supervisor you may consider calling a domestic violence shelter for advice or calling 911 in an emergency or if you feel the child’s life is in danger.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline for victims is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) or http://www.thehotline.org. Information about local is also available through the hotline.
NATIONAL CHILD ABUSE HOTLINE: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)
Crisis Counselors Available 24/7 or http://www.childhelp.org/

*** Use community resources as needed, this may include children’s support groups for victims of abuse, parenting classes, religious/spiritual support, food shelves, housing support, case management etc.
A good place to find resources is United Way 211: http://www.211.org/

*** Creating a welcoming, child-friendly environment will reduce anxiety and help foster trust. This may include offering toys, books or games (that are non-violent). Opening a window to allow sunlight in the room. Including pets in the visit. Greeting the child in a way that is comfortable to them—soft voice, smile, avoiding direct eye contact, calling them by a preferred nickname etc (you will learn these over time, as your relationship grows). Or being sensitive to cultural needs. Be consistent in your routine. Allow the child choices. And be open to trying new things, in a creative way.

*** Listen with an open, neutral ear. Refrain from judgment, shame or blame. Be open to hearing the child’s unique way of expressing themselves– their voice may not come out in a direct conversation but may be revealed in a game, in playing with toys, relating to a song or art/drawing a picture etc.

*** Domestic violence and trauma can affect a child’s mood, behavior and ability to socialize. If needed, develop a “safety plan” with the child, their parent(s) and therapist to address behavioral problems if they arise. Work with parent(s) and care providers to become aware of the child’s emotional or behavioral issues, their triggers so you can better meet the child’s needs.

*** “Kids Helping Kids: A Guide for Children Exposed to Domestic Violence” by Mental Health Programs, BC Children’s Hospital is a valuable resource and support for kids, parent(s) and caregivers.
“Kids Helping Kids” offers testimonies about domestic violence told by children in stories and pictures, which validates to children that they are not alone, and the feelings they have are okay.
“Kids Helping Kids” offers tips on how to support abused children, and gives general advise on commonly available community resources. It also offers child-friendly tips on how to talk to children about their feelings and the changes happening in their family.
I highly recommend “Kids Helping Kids” – it’s written in child-friendly manner to educate children about abuse and help prepare them to cope with the trauma, and the changes occurring in their family (which may include out of home placement or court involvement).

Any more tips? Please share your thoughts, resources or links in the comments box!

For More Information and Tips:

“Helping Children Exposed to Domestic Violence”. American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, “Facts for Families Pages”, #109, April 2013: http://www.aacap.org/aacap/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/Facts_for_Families_Pages/Helping_Children_Exposed_to_Domestic_Violence_109.aspx

“Honor Our Voices: A for Practice When Responding to Children Exposed to Domestic Violence.” Presented by MINCAVA, Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare and Avon Foundation for Women: http://www.honorourvoices.org/docs/GuideforPractice.pdf

“How Can I Help a Child Exposed to Domestic Violence?”. National Online Resources Center on Violence Against Women, Casey Keene, 1/2/2013: http://www.vawnet.org/news/2013/01/child_exposed/

“Kids Helping Kids: A Guide for Children Exposed to Domestic Violence” by Mental Health Programs, BC Children’s Hospital:
http://bcsth.ca/sites/default/files/Kids%20Helping%20Kids.pdf

This is a very interesting concept.. I would also add that I believe Domestic Violence and Stalking should be eligible for “repeat offense” penalties under the law. And if a person repeatdely commits domestic violence or stalking acts against another, they should face stiffer penalties earlier on to try to prevent abuse, and keep that person off the streets–and in jail._

Gwenyth makes a good point that with Abusers, “the central focus of the behavioral symptoms are targeted at specifically ones romantic partner and the behavioral patterns are not consistent in other situations..”

What are your thoughts on this article, and including “Abusive Personality Disorder” in the DSM-IV? Plz post your comments below.

_____________

Title: “Why not adopt an Abusive Personality Disorder diagnosis?”
Author: Gwenyth, 11/27/2012. She is an “anti-domestic violence activist”.
Source:
http://community.feministing.com/2012/11/27/why-not-adopt-an-abusive-personality-disorder-diagnosis/

Like many anti-domestic violence activists I too believe that domestic violence is not an individual problem but a community problem that requires the support of the whole community to bring to an end. What I propose as a new solution to this problem it the adoption for Abusive Personality Disorder to be accepted by the mental health/social work profession, feminist scholars, anti-dating violence activists, and into the public discourse of dating violence. This would help concerned persons identify and make sense of the abuser’s patterns of behavior and help others learn how to hold the abusive person accountable for their actions.

Despite the changes over the years dating violence continues to be a major problem in US. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, dating violence is not just restricted to physical violence or single incidences of behavior but rather “the pervasive and methodical use of threats, intimidation, manipulation, and physical violence by someone who seeks power and control over their intimate partner.”

Many myths and misconceptions about the nature of domestic violence contribute to the confusion many victims, friends, family, and communities feel about how best react to the situations when they arise. However there is considerable amount of research and information that is known about the common patterns of abusive persons. If this information was more commonly known would help promote safety for victims and potential victims as well as increase accountability for abusers.

Being able to recognize the patterns of abusive persons can help persons not involved, such as police, judges, friends, and family better identify who is the abusive party and who is the victim. This is an important distinction to make as many abusive persons claim to be real victims themselves to avoid negative consequences and discredit and cast doubts on their victim’s accusations.

A personality disorder is not a biological mental illness that can be treated with medication or has on organic basis but rather it is a collection of personality traits that common happen together in personality and cause difficulty in interacting with the world or the world interacting with them. For instance, Antisocial Personality Disorder is defined by a striking lack of conscience and scary lack of empathy and indifference toward the suffering of others. Many known serial killers have been diagnosed Antisocial Personality Disorder and this has helped professionals determine who is dangerous and what prisoners are likely to reoffend.

As detailed in oft-used Power and Control Wheel of Domestic Violence which DV advocates and use to describe the common patterns of behavior employed by abusive persons and to help victims make sense of their abusers behavior. The power and control wheel is so comprehensive and accurate that is it is a great start toward agreed-upon diagnostic criteria for abusive personality disorder.

Although there are a variety of other disorders and behaviors that persons tend to try and conflate with abusive behavior, such as narcissistic personality disorder, anti-social personality disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, addictive personality disorder, bipolar disorder, and others, none of them truly encapsulates the phenomena. Many of these disorders often mimic the symptoms of abusive personality, but none of them truly account for the fact that the central focus of the behavioral symptoms are targeted at specifically ones romantic partner and the behavioral patterns are not consistent in other situations.

Critics of this approach are most commonly from the Dating Violence Community as they are afraid that the acceptance of abusive personality disorder as an actual mental health diagnosis would lead to abusers using it as an excuse, legally and otherwise, that they are not responsible for their behaviors. Although it is likely that abusers will use any excuse they can to avoid responsibility for their actions, just because it is a diagnosis doesn’t mean it is will make the legal system more lenient on them and that it will arouse much sympathy for them. Serial killers who are diagnosed with Anti-Social Personality Disorder are not given much sympathy for their condition and few consider it as justification for their actions.

The institution of an Abusive Personality Disorder diagnosis would help dispel myths about DV making abusers more easily identifiable to the public therefore leading to more accountability for abusers. It would also legitimize what domestic violence workers already know and would make these persons with abusive personalities easier to study for prevention or intervention purposes. Also, many anti-DV laws and approachs are often labeled by critics as anti-male or biased towards males, the legitimization of Abusive Personality Disorder Diagnosis simply have the abuser identified by their symptomology

“When people have tremendous power,
it’s real easy to abuse that power.” — Dr. Phil, 2007.

Official site of Dr. Phil McGraw: http://www.drphil.com/

The Cycle of Abuse

My Daughter, My Princess

My daughter you are a

True princess

The way you twirl toilet paper

Around your waist

The way you clop around

In my heels

Swinging your Big Bird purse

On one chubby arm.

My daughter,

Your struggles

Are not fought alone

For I love you,

Always…

The nights you tumble

Into my bed

Chased by nightmares

I hold you close

And promise to protect you

Though the only promise

I can make is the time

You are in my arms.

My daughter, you alone

Found the courage

In a babyish lisp you repeated

All the names you were called

Your chubby hands snapped the crayons in half,

Then threw them across the room

A crumpled picture of “daddy” washed in tears.

My daughter, you have forever lost

The enchantment of

Your first years of life

Torn between love for “daddy”

And fear of what he did.

My daughter, you are

A true princess.

I believe in something

More precious than Fairy tales

I believe in you.

EJ ©2005

Ariel is my daughter’s favorite princess