This is a topic near and dear to my heart.
There was a lot of tension in our house growing up. Although, I never witnessed anything, my mother told me that my father hit her, and I did see his anger and the tension between them. For a long time, I sided with my mother on family matters and disputes because I had only heard her version of their situation. Later, I realized things were not as black and white as my mom had suggested. No one deserves to be hit or abused. And, in my parents case, both of them contributed to the dynamics and problems that ultimately led to their divorce.
Growing up in a tense environment conditioned me to be a peacemaker. I try to smooth situations over, avoid conflict and be a bridge if possible. Beyond victimhood (whether from domestic violence or simply disempowering choices), we all need to learn how to be responsible and proactive in our lives. As part of my continuing support for peace, I’ve joined #NWARKCares, a local group of bloggers working to support various causes in NW Arkansas. This month we are bringing awareness to domestic violence and what can be done.
Here are some things to keep in mind if you know of anyone dealing with domestic violence.
- 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will be a victim of violence (of some form) by an intimate partner within their lifetime. (More stats at www.ncadv.org )
- Abuse can be in many different forms, physical, sexual, mental, financial.
- Victims/survivors need to be heard and believed. Do NOT blame them.
- 24-hour hotlines: 1-800-775-9011 and 1-877-442-9811
- Abuse is costly for families, employers and communities.
- Victims/survivors and witnesses to abuse are at a higher risk to be an abuser in their lifetime.
- The barriers to restart one’s life can be daunting, both emotionally, logistically and financially.
Peace at Home is a local shelter for victims of domestic violence. I like their programs to protect and empower people to create confidence, courage and tools for healthy living. They have a proactive approach in teaching people to thrive and create healthy relationships. They also offer a 24-hour hotline, shelter, thrift shop, support groups and more. One way that I support them is to bring my donations to their thrift shop.
Please open your heart and offer what you can to reduce domestic violence and create more peace at home. Here are some other organizations working to help in NW Arkansas.
- Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter www.nwaws.org
- Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence www.domesticpeace.com
- Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault www.acasa.us
- The Junior League of Northwest Arkansas www.juniorleaguenwa.org
Consider how you might help; whether spreading the message, volunteering with a group that stirs your passion, or helping financially. Non-profits can always use more volunteers and funds. I also support Artists4Peace, where we use art to spread peace and love in the world.
May we live with more love and compassion. Blessings, Brad