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My Letter to Michelle Obama by Amy J. Matthews…

October 28, 2012 1 comment

Dear Mrs. Obama:

I am writing to you today because I respect you very much, and I know how important both the issues of Domestic Violence and the right of everyone to have Affordable Health Care are to you.

I want to introduce you to an amazing woman and advocate Susan Murphy- Milano. Susan is currently dying of Cancer due to the lack of Health Insurance. Everywhere she applied for help turned her down and she was informed that she did not qualify for their services. I know you agree that there is something terribly wrong when a country as great as ours can let this happen to anyone, yet alone someone who has devoted her entire life to saving the  lives of others and without once thinking about what it could mean to her own.

Susan grew up in Chicago, the daughter of a 30-year veteran Chicago Police Detective and Violent Crimes Investigator Phillip Murphy. Susan’s father murdered her mother in 1989 and then turned the gun on himself committing suicide.  His intent was to kill his daughter as well. On the way to the house to try to save her mother something made her take an unexpected turn on the way. This decision is the only reason Susan is alive today. Had she taken her normal route Susan would not be with us now! Susan lived a life of trying to keep her mother alive her entire life and after her mother was murdered she devoted her entire life to saving others.

This most amazing woman is now on her last days after putting up a good fight. I am writing you today because I know you care. I know you care about the women and children in this country, the state of our health care, and every person’s God given human right. It is not just women and children that Susan has saved; there is no gender bias when it comes to abuses towards another.

Susan is the leading expert on Domestic/Intimate Partner Violence, and at the time when she discovered she had Cancer she was already in stage 4. This all happened just as her lifelong dreams were coming true. Susan is the women who mentored Rev. Neil Schori , Stacy Peterson’s Pastor and taught him everything he knows about Intimate Partner violence. Together they created The Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit    which is a legal document that can be used in court as legal testimony even if the victim is murdered or missing.

This tragic news about Susan came just as her lifelong work was getting known. Susan was getting invitations from law enforcement agencies all over the country to come and train Law Enforcement and first responders what to look for when they answer a call, or respond to a crime scene.  She was preparing to start working at a University where she was given Carte Blanche and offered full use of the Universities resources to help her with her work. She did not apply to work at this University they came to her asking her to please come and head this project. Susan was offered her own Television Show which was scheduled to air this winter.  Again she was approached by the producers she did not seek them they sought Susan. These are just a few of the triumphs that have a major impact in the field of Intimate Partner Violence!  Susan was now in high demand all over the country. But her work was suddenly halted in its prime due to her health.

Susan had a good chance to recover had she had the treatment she needed. This is a disgrace and an embarrassment for this Country which I know you and the President both agree. I am so sorry that the President’s Health plan has been fought against and has not been put into place. This is something that may have saved not only the life of this amazing woman but could have saved countless other people both through Susan’s work and the health plan combined.

This is what Susan said when she made the announcement about her Cancer:

“My dreams and hard work are now becoming reality.
In early fall there will be a national announcement about the Intimate Partner Violence Institute with two major universities.

A national conference and training hosted by the Naperville Christian Church is scheduled for the first week of October on the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit for law enforcement, prosecutors and first responders.

The Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit APP will be at the Apple Store on Monday July, 2, 2012.

Holding My Hand Through Hell will be released nationwide October 1, 2012.

Everything will still happen as scheduled”.

Susan Murphy Milano June 27 2012

Please check out these links and Google her name for more on Susan. I know you will love her as much as I do and as the countless women she has saved

Susan’s Cancer blog Conquering Cancer which she started to try to change the way society looks and Cancer treatment

Susan’s Main Blog  Susan Murphy Milano’s Journal to educate the public on Intimate Partner Violence

Document the Abuse website for the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit 

Susan’s latest book “Holding My Hand Through Hell” is about her life and what it was like for her growing up in an abusive home.  She wrote this book for the purpose of helping others who are living the same hell that Susan grew up living in.  After reading this book people will know why Susan is the who she is.

See Susan’s other books here

Chicago Tribune article and interview with The Rev. Neil Schori.

Listen here to Rev. Schori interview after the trial of Drew Peterson

Susan Murphy Milano and her work in Chicago. Please watch this video and you will see the great work she has done in the past!

Thank you for taking the time to read this and listen to the interviews.

I would like to invite you to the Facebook prayer page for Susan. You will be in awe of the outpouring of prayers and thoughts of people whose lives were changed just by knowing her.

God Bless you and The President for all the work that has been done and is being done to make our lives better.

Sincerely,

Amy J. Matthews

Book Release, Susan Murphy-Milano – Holding My Hand Through Hell…

October 24, 2012 Comments off

Susan Murphy-Milano once again has gone over and beyond the call of duty in her most recent released book, Holding My Hand Through Hell.

Susan, a “Success Survivor” herself of victimization and a well known Advocate in the Domestic/Intimate Partner Violence arena takes you on the ride of her life.  Ladies and gentlemen……………HOLD ON! and get ready for the read that you will not be able to put down!

Susan has never been an open book.  She has seldom opened up, never allowing the women in crisis, her close friends nor others to see or hear the damning side of her life that existed from the time she could remember. 

It was nationally known that her father was a decorated detective in the Chicago Police Department.  He killed her mother and then himself after many years of dealing the many forms of abusive power at her mother, brother and herself.   Susan was hell bent that she was going to make a difference in our society and that she does.  Yes, her father was hidden behind the blue badge, everyone covered up for him and/or turned their cheek rather than to slap his ass in jail with charges that would have stuck.

Susan has made sure in her book, Holding My Hand Through Hell that no stone was left unturned.  This book is graphic and extremely detailed, but guess what…..domestic/intimate partner violence and child abuse is graphic, raw, ugly and nasty.  One never knows when it may rear it’s ugly head.  This book can be overwhelming at times but yet……there is inspiration throughout her life that is shared.

I have personally witnessed Susan in “crisis mode” with victims who reached out to her.  Susan is always twenty steps ahead of the assailant, compassionate but firm as she instructs the victim exactly what to do and how to get it done.  Keep in mind that no victim ever died on her watch.  When assisting in solving homicides she is always on target, she would sniff out the perp just like a K9.  Susan doesn’t ever back down, yes she walks the walk and most definitely talks the talk.  When a mission presents itself to Susan she immediately goes into survival mode.  Survival mode is what Susan has known all of her life all too well.  To witness her in this mode is simply breath taking.

Holding My Hand Through Hell also proves to us all that God is always present in our lives and Susan has proved this over and over.  God was with her through every trial and tribulation; God has a purpose for each and every one of us.  We may not understand at the time while in the pain but eventually when we realize the purpose we must act upon it and follow God’s plan.  

Susan’s Murphy-Milano‘s testimony proves that she never gave up on God, she could have but never turned her back on her spiritual Father.  In turn he has used her story to make a major difference in countless lives.

**********************************************************************

At this time Susan is slipping away from us after suffering from Stage IV cancer.

May you feel God’s loving embrace as He wraps His arms around you protecting and guiding you on your journey home.  Blessings my friend.  I love you.

**********************************************************************

Holding My Hand Through Hell is available at:

Ice Cube Press

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Warning Signs of Teen Dating Violence…

October 15, 2012 1 comment

Warning signs to watch out for teen dating violence include: sudden loss of interest in activities, low grades, changes in appetite, changes in sleep patterns, loss of regular friends and drastic changes in clothing.

Often victims will wear long sleeves, long pants and scarves to hide bruises and marks. If you as a parent suspect that your teen is in an abusive relationship, encourage zero tolerance for inappropriate dating behaviors.

If you suspect that your teen is being violent to their dating partner, talk to them. Let the teen know that love is about respect. Sometimes it is difficult to realize that your child is being mean or violent. Do not allow aggressive behavior in the home. Talk to the teen about emotional abuse and how it is unacceptable in any relationship. You could say something like, “It bothers me when you yell at so-and-so.” Express concern and talk to the teen about appropriate behavior. You may even want to seek professional help for your teen.

Teen dating violence is a problem that parents can help prevent. Talk to teens about the different types of violence. Be alert for warning signs and let the teens know that you care. Most of all, show teens the appropriate way to behave by being respectful and caring towards other people.

Encouraging teens to have healthy relationships before they begin dating is important. Be aware and keep the lines of communication open with teens about their relationships.

Signs of an abusive relationship

There are many signs of an abusive relationship. The most telling sign is fear of your partner. If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partner—constantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid a blow-up—chances are your relationship is unhealthy and abusive. Other signs that you may be in an abusive relationship include a partner who belittles you or tries to control you, and feelings of self-loathing, helplessness, and desperation.

To determine whether your teen relationship is abusive, ask her/him to answer the questions below. The more “yes” answers, the more likely it is that your teen may be  in an abusive relationship.

Your Inner Thoughts and Feelings

Do you:

  • feel afraid of your partner much of the time?
  • avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?
  • feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
  • believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
  • wonder if you’re the one who is crazy?
  • feel emotionally numb or helpless?

Your Partner’s Belittling Behavior

Does your partner:

  • humiliate or yell at you?
  • criticize you and put you down?
  • treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends and family to see?
  • ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?
  • blame you for his/her own abusive behavior?
  • see  you a property or a sex object, rather than a person?

Your Partner’s Violent Behavior or Threats

Does your partner:

  • have a bad and unpredictable temper?
  • hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?
  • threaten to commit suicide if you break up with him/her?
  • force you to have sex?
  • destroy your belongings?

Your Partner’s Controlling Behavior

Does your partner:

  • act excessively jealous and possessive?
  • control where you go and what you do?
  • keeps you from seeing your friends or family?
  • constantly checking up on you?
  • excessive texting or calling you?

If your teen is afraid for her/his safety or has been assaulted by her/his partner please dial 911 or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-787-3224.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

“It’s Time To Get Your Head Out Of The Sand…”

July 14, 2011 2 comments

Becoming educated makes a person more understanding, more aware and more comfortable with the truth.  I am personally becoming more and more appalled with parents that do exactly what is displayed in the picture above.  And, then I get phone calls and emails that their daughters have been assaulted and asked to help them through the system at the schools and law enforcement departments.  Makes me shake my head and ask………”Didn’t you even take the opportunity to check into the crimes stats BEFORE even visiting? Or, spend a some money on giving her the education and advantage of personal safety?”  The majority of the time is “NO”.

It is time for females AND parents to get their heads out of the sand, understand the myths (excuses) and learn the facts (reality) of “realisitic” personal safety training/self-defense and to become proactive. There is not one form of personal safety training/self-defense that is 100% guaranteed. Weapons of every kind are not a guarantee either (we’ll look at this too). However, with education at least you may be able to detect (awareness), learn the ability to de-escalate a potentially dangerous situation and ultimately if a physical altercation occurs you will be better equipped with the knowledge of “realistic” defense.

We all have excuses for things in our lives that we don’t do or spend too much time doing. These excuses serve as deterrents preventing us from following through with action and benefits. When you begin to understand or experience the consequences of your excuses you get a really good reality check. This reality check (wake-up call) usually changes your way of thinking automatically.

The “myth concept” not only affects many areas in our lives but also has the same influence in the personal safety training/self-defense world. These myths make females apprehensive toward or opposed to personal safety training/self-defense.

A myth can be and often is used as an excuse for not doing something. 

The attitude, “it won’t happen to me” is a huge myth; every female should look in the mirror and realize that victimization does not discriminate. This is just plain ignorance if you believe that the possibility that you cannot be a victim is true. You have to debunk the thought that learning personal safety training/self-defense carries negative characteristics (aggression, arrogance, or violence). And, by not understanding that if trained properly to obtain the mental and physical abilities that you can possibly prevent or de-escalate an attack is a total underestimation on your part.

When we begin to understand the facts=reality of these myths=excuses we begin to understand objectives, the effectiveness and the technique of personal safety training/self-defense. We can save our life or the life of someone we love. We can prevent ourselves from becoming a statistic of crime. As I stated above, personal safety training/self-defense is not a guaranteed free pass from crime; however, your chances of survival and the ability to detect a possible altercation are increased significantly.

Becoming educated your level of awareness increases or is heightened, your intuition (gut instincts) are better in tune and your physical abilities are sharpened so that your chances of being attacked, raped or murdered are statistically lessened. You won’t broadcast that you know “self-defense” but you won’t walk down a certain street or in an area when your instincts (gut) kicks in and tells you to turn back. When someone grabs you from behind you won’t freeze but immediately your reaction will be to fight back upon recognition of your window of opportunity. You will see that a seemingly hopeless and defenseless situation has more opportunities for defense than you could have ever imagined.

Personal safety training/self-defense is NOT about being paranoid, it IS about being smart!

Knowledge is a powerful tool.

Stop making excuses and do something powerful for yourself and your loved ones – obtain Personal Safety Training. Training (mind, body and soul) that you will have for the rest of your life.

How can any parent put a price tag on the life of their daughter?  Why wouldn’t you want your daughter in high school/middle school and especially college bound to be educated?

Question……beside looking at the pretty websites and visiting University after University…..has anyone truly looked in the stats of these schools as to their crime stats via The Jean Cleary Act or Title IX?  Parents…..do your homework.  In my book……………NO CAMPUS IS CRIME FREE AND THE NUMBER OF FEMALE STUDENTS BEING ASSAULTED (BY SOMEONE THEY KNOW OR RANDOM) IS OFF THE CHARTS.  Parents……give your daughter the tools for her tool belt, give her the opportunity that she will have for the rest of her life.  No parent wants to receive “that phone call”; trust me.  (*Again, no personal safety course is 100% guaranteed, but even if she gains 50% knowledge of what she never had to begin with isn’t that worth something?)  Think about…………long and hard.  Again, can you honestly put a price tag on your daughter’s life?  Most parents answer is “NO”.

How can any female NOT want to be proactive and at least have the knowledge of COULD happen if I don’t know personal safety?  Personal safety is so much more than watching a DVD in your livingroom – it is truly about education and ultimately physically how to protect oneself.  Girls talk to your parents……this is an exciting time but you guys have to know the possibilities and reality.  Not to “scare” you but you have to know the odds and know how to handle situations.

Parents – get involved in your daughter’s safety during college.  Parents or Gals……contact me for details as we are gearing up our tour to bring personal safety training (6 hours on one weekend day) to communities everywhere! Organizers of training’s will train for FREE!

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Homeschool or Public High School for Courtney Alexis Stodden? (Child bride of Doug Hutchison)

June 23, 2011 4 comments

Star Jones tweeted the following, “sexual deviance is not a “preference”. I “prefer” to live in Buckingham Palace…but if I go there uninvited…they will arrest me.

“Ok, ok, let me catch you up in case you haven’t heard…Doug Anthony Hutchison, the Lost actor, 51 and minor teen, Courtney Alexis Stodden, age 16 has caused quite a stir in the media as they revealed that they were married in May in Las Vegas. I can just imagine the look on your face and what you are thinking at this moment – my head actually hurts from shaking it from side to side.

The first question that is raised is…”is this legal?” According to the marriage license page for Clark County, Las Vegas, it’s easy. Minor applicants who are 16 or 17 years old can obtain a marriage license with two things: an original or certified copy of their birth certificate, and a parent or legal guardian who will provide his or her consent. Answer: Yes.

Minor Courtney’s mom, Krista Stodden, approved of her daughter’s marriage despite the 35-year age difference and that at least one of Courtney’s parents did sign the necessary permission form. Mr. and Mrs. Stodden seem to adore Hutchison and that they are both supportive of the marriage.

So many things come to mind with this relationship/marriage; I honestly do not know where to begin. What compelled Hutchison to marry a “child”/minor or even have an interest in any way?

Doug Anthony Hutchison -

Hutchison was born May 26, 1960 (51 years old this year), known for his roles in The Green Mile, The X-Files, Lost and 24. He owns the production company, Dark Water, Inc. Hutchison’s first marriage lasted two years and is now married to minor, Courtney Stodden.

Courtney Alexis Stodden -
When Stodden was born Toy Story was all the rage in theaters, Bill Clinton was busy achieving a budget surplus, and Crystal Pepsi had just been taken off the shelves.

Star Jones hit the target as it is apparent that Hutchison definitely has sexual desires and behaviors considered to be unusual or abnormal, i.e. sexual preference is a child. And, the majority of individuals with a sexual deviation (if caught) would be in trouble with the law. A sixteen year-old teenager does not have the insight nor maturity to make a rational decision to marry nor to be seriously involved to this degree. The honeymoon phase will dissipate and then what?

As a parent, I am appalled that her parents would condone their daughter’s wishes, behavior and actually give her permission to marry or even consider dating this man. Hutchison is older than her father! The majority of parents who would do this (if caught) would be slammed with human trafficking charges. Think about it. Does anyone else see $$$$$$$$$$ in this arrangement?

It’s surprising that Courtney was required to produce her birth certificate and permission form (reminds me of field trip requirements for kids) – the majority of people are feeling that she is older than 16 by her appearance. The Officiator was on his/her toes with this ceremony.

A further note of consideration – Nevada lawmakers really need to re-think, add and move to the top of their agenda to abolish this existing law that is in place that allows minors 16 and 17 years old to wed in their state. What does it truly say about the moral’s of the lawmakers of Nevada? I know, I know….if there’s a will, there’s a way but this is truly allowing child sexual abuse to exist without any ramifications – no law to protect these kids. And, neither kids, parents or ephebophile’s (the sexual preference of adults for mid-to-late adolescents, generally ages 15 to 19; in sexual ethics it may be defined as a sexual preference for girls generally 14-16 years old and boys 14-19 years old.) need additional encouragement or avenues to assist in their deviant ways.

And, will Courtney be homeschooled or will she attend a high school near Hutchinson’s home? Or will she eventually get her GED? She is a child, perhaps outwardly mature for her age but she is only 16…..only of legal age to get a driver’s license.

Are you feeling the mix of everything that smells soooooooooo wrong in ALL ways?

Many feel that this marriage was truly for promotional purposes only and they are certainly getting the attention. For how long, only time will tell. You can listen to Courtney’s music on her website – you decide. It is understood that Courtney is a client of Hutchison’s production company, Dark Water, Inc. where she is attempting to promote a CD.

Personally, I don’t care for her music nor am I fan of Hutchison but I do care about the message that is being sent to other “kids” who may listen to her music and become fans. I am hoping that parents are tuning into their “kids” and at least are in the same chapter. Not always are we on the same page with our “kids”. It’s imperative to at least be in sync with them.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Victims speak about teen-dating violence

February 25, 2011 3 comments

Johanna Orozco, of Cleveland, a victim of teenage violence, spoke to a crowd of local counselors, teachers and teens at the YWCA on North Park Avenue in Warren. Orozco’s ex-boyfriend shot her in the face in 2007.

A state law signed last year by then-Gov. Ted Strickland and sponsored by former state Rep. Sandra Stabile Harwood of Niles mandated that public schools begin to teach students in grades seven-12 about teen-dating violence starting this school year.

Implementation of the law, known as The Tina Croucher Act, hasn’t gone perfectly, said Cheryl Tarantino, executive director of the Warren domestic-violence shelter Someplace Safe.

Because the Legislature didn’t provide any funding to carry it out and because the law didn’t specify what kind of education is required, some schools are doing almost nothing, Tarantino said.

On Thursday, Someplace Safe and the 13 other Northeast Ohio organizations concerned about dating violence brought three of Ohio’s best-known teen-violence experts to the YWCA on North Park Avenue to train local counselors, teachers and teens on the subject.

Johanna Orozco of Cleveland may be the best living example of the consequences of teen-dating violence.

When Orozco, 22, first stepped to the microphone, it was apparent why people listen to her.

Not only is her face disfigured from a shotgun blast she suffered in 2007 when her ex-boyfriend shot her at close range, but she speaks in a dynamic way and relates to teens.

Orozco’s story, which has been told numerous times on national television and in a seven-day series in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, was that she was the victim of a tall, dark, handsome, intelligent and violent teen named Juan Ruiz Jr., Orozco’s boyfriend of two years.

Orozco had known Ruiz since the second grade. They started dating in early 2005, when Orozco was a sophomore in high school. Ruiz shot Orozco in March 2007.

The court sentenced Ruiz to 27 years in prison in September 2007 after he pleaded guilty to raping and attempting to kill Orozco. Ruiz was 17 at the time.

But during her talk Thursday, Orozco pointed out that her relationship with Ruiz was anything but violent in the beginning.

Four to five months into the relationship, Ruiz became jealous and started to tell Orozco what she could wear and who she could talk to. He accused her of cheating and began to call her every three to five minutes on the phone.

Her friends and family noticed that she had changed — becoming isolated from them. She lied about the reasons why.

A year into the relationship, Ruiz hit her for the first time, so she broke up with him, only to change her mind a short time later.

The relationship got worse over the following year — slapping, squeezing and hitting her in places where others wouldn’t notice. She continued to lie to friends and family about the source of the injuries because “I loved him. I cared about him,” she said. Eventually, she also feared him.

About a month before Ruiz shot her, she left him, but Ruiz found her and raped her at knifepoint, which she reported to someone at school, which led to juvenile charges being filed against Ruiz.

Ruiz was let out of juvenile custody on house arrest and stalked Orozco for two weeks before shooting her as she sat in her car.

The blast removed half of her lower face. Bone from her leg was used to rebuild her jaw.

The other speakers were Elsa and Jim Croucher of Monroe, near Cincinnati, the parents of Tina Croucher, who was killed by an ex-boyfriend in 1992.

Elsa Croucher said her daughter’s boyfriend was a good-looking football player who regularly hit her daughter, leaving bruises.

Tina Croucher lied about how she got the bruises, but eventually her family found out, and Tina stopped seeing him.

“Then he really caused problems,” Elsa said, describing “horrible messages” that he left on voice mails, and times he went to the family’s church and to Elsa’s workplace.

“Four days before Christmas, he shot her in the head and killed himself in her room,” Elsa said.

The Crouchers were instrumental in getting the Legislature to pass The Tina Croucher Act.

 

Published: Fri, February 25, 2011 @ 12:06 a.m.

By: Ed Runyan

WARREN

Vindy.com

Photo by: Robert K Yosay

Take care and STAY SAFE!

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Teen Dating Violence: Education

February 24, 2011 1 comment

One way to decrease the chances of teens being in an abusive relationship is to encourage kids to love themselves. Show teens respect. Let them know that it is important for other people to respect them as well. If siblings are disrespecting one another, bring attention to the behavior and try to stop it. Encouraging teens to respect family members, friends and others will help them to demand respect in their dating and personal relationships.

As hard as we try to talk to our teens, they will not always feel comfortable telling us when something is wrong. Look up local hotline numbers for teens. Make a list and give it to your child. Also, have a list taped to the refrigerator and the back of the teen’s bathroom door. Let the teen know that the numbers are available if they ever need them. This way, the hotline numbers will be accessible to your teen should they become involved in an abusive relationship. The teen hotline numbers can be a valuable tool in helping teens in a time of crisis.

Victims of teen dating violence often feel as though they deserve the abuse or that they will not be able to find anyone else if they break up with their abusive partner. They may have low self esteem or fail to recognize emotional abuse and think that it is perfectly normal. Remind your teen that they deserve respect in their relationships. It is important to emphasize to teens that they will have several relationships where they think they are in love and have found a special person. Explain to your teen that they are young and that they will have many opportunities to date.

Safety issues are a main concern. Aggression and anger can lead to serious intentional or accidental injuries. If the teen has unexplained bruises or marks, talk to them about what you suspect is going on in their relationship. You do not have to confront them with questions. Just talk to them about healthy dating relationships. This lets the teen know that you are available and concerned without putting the teen on the defensive. If the teen feels that they have to defend their relationship, they are less likely to break up with the violent partner.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Talking About Teen Dating Violence/Abuse…

February 23, 2011 1 comment

The rise of teen dating abuse and violence is rising faster than most expect.

One major trend we have seen is the obsessiveness that young couples can have.  Here are some ideas to be aware of:

1) Low self-esteem causes different behavior

If teenagers, or anyone has low self-esteem it can cause them to be more desperate for connection or control.  Teenagers, developmentally tend to have lower self-esteem as their bodies change.  Low self-esteem can also cause couples to be more jealous and needy of each other, which can be a precursor to abuse.

2) Control can be addictive

I talk to teenagers all day long about what they are anxious about.  Many of them feel very out of control and this scares them.   Teens tend to rarely be in control; rather they are usually being controlled.  They are controlled by parents, teachers, principles, counselors, coaches, colleges and bosses.  What they can control is another teenager and this can over extension of control can be a form of abuse.

3) Control and monitoring is now easier

It is actually easy to smother someone without even realizing it.  We can text, MySpace message, Facebook stalk, call, IM, BBIM, email or ping.  I have often written about teens need to constantly be connected and abuse often stems from people needing to be connected to another more frequently.  Smothering, which might not be abusive, but is abnormal nonetheless, is so much easier in a digital age.

4) Obsessiveness can go unnoticed

Because everyone is connected all the time, teens might not even realize how obsessed or compulsive they are with the other person.  This allows the behavior to continue far longer and at a much higher rate than ever before.

5) Inequality breeds discomfort

This concept is nothing new.  I have heard young couples talk about inequality in relationships.  The idea of “who has the power” is something that teens today are much more aware of.  It is the reason men wait 3 days to call a girl back (need to be the one with the power) and no one wants to say “I love you” first.  This kind of thinking, can lead to abuse or unhealthy relationships.

6) Abuse does not only have to be physical

Abuse can be emotional, verbal, psychological or physical.  This is an important idea to explain to new couples.  Often times, someone in the relationship (see inequality above) feels uncomfortable, but is afraid to say anything because they think it is normal or would not qualify as abuse.

7) Lack of connection means they need more to connect on

The cotton candy friend epidemic is a huge issue because teens are not feeling as connected or intimate with their friends because all of their interaction is so superficial.  This can make young people, who are starving for closeness, crave a smothering or obsessive relationship more than previous generations.

Please print out this blogpost and discuss it with your kids or if your child is in a relationship, ask them to gauge their connection—this can be a great way for you to get to know your teens!

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Warning Signs of Teen Dating Violence…

February 17, 2011 1 comment

It starts with the words, “I love you,” and it ends with a punch in the face.  It starts with the line, “It’s us against the world,” and it ends with her against the wall in tears. It starts with the suggestion of what to wear, and it ends with him saying, “I tear you down to build you up.  You are mine.”  I have heard the stories.  I have seen the pain.  So let’s look at the warning signs that every teen needs to know as well as parents.  Yes, it’s a “family problem”, however with education and the ability to be proactive every teen has the opportunity to escape the wrath of an abuser – safely.  Please do not ignore the following information.

Warning signs to watch out for teen dating violence include: sudden loss of interest in activities, low grades, changes in appetite, changes in sleep patterns, loss of regular friends and drastic changes in clothing.

Often victims will wear long sleeves, long pants and scarves to hide bruises and marks. If you as a parent suspect that your teen is in an abusive relationship, encourage zero tolerance for inappropriate dating behaviors.

If you suspect that your teen is being violent to their dating partner, talk to them. Let the teen know that love is about respect. Sometimes it is difficult to realize that your child is being mean or violent. Do not allow aggressive behavior in the home. Talk to the teen about emotional abuse and how it is unacceptable in any relationship. You could say something like, “It bothers me when you yell at so-and-so.” Express concern and talk to the teen about appropriate behavior. You may even want to seek professional help for your teen.

Teen dating violence is a problem that parents can help prevent. Talk to teens about the different types of violence. Be alert for warning signs and let the teens know that you care. Most of all, show teens the appropriate way to behave by being respectful and caring towards other people.

Encouraging teens to have healthy relationships before they begin dating is important. Be aware and keep the lines of communication open with teens about their relationships.

Signs of an abusive relationship

There are many signs of an abusive relationship. The most telling sign is fear of your partner. If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partner—constantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid a blow-up—chances are your relationship is unhealthy and abusive. Other signs that you may be in an abusive relationship include a partner who belittles you or tries to control you, and feelings of self-loathing, helplessness, and desperation.

To determine whether your teen relationship is abusive, ask her/him to answer the questions below. The more “yes” answers, the more likely it is that your teen may be  in an abusive relationship.

Your Inner Thoughts and Feelings

Do you:

  • feel afraid of your partner much of the time?
  • avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?
  • feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
  • believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
  • wonder if you’re the one who is crazy?
  • feel emotionally numb or helpless?

Your Partner’s Belittling Behavior

Does your partner:

  • humiliate or yell at you?
  • criticize you and put you down?
  • treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends and family to see?
  • ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?
  • blame you for his/her own abusive behavior?
  • see  you a property or a sex object, rather than a person?

Your Partner’s Violent Behavior or Threats

Does your partner:

  • have a bad and unpredictable temper?
  • hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?
  • threaten to commit suicide if you break up with him/her?
  • force you to have sex?
  • destroy your belongings?

Your Partner’s Controlling Behavior

Does your partner:

  • act excessively jealous and possessive?
  • control where you go and what you do?
  • keeps you from seeing your friends or family?
  • constantly checking up on you?
  • excessive texting or calling you?

If your teen is afraid for her/his safety or has been assaulted by her/his partner please dial 911 or call the National Dating Abuse Helpline, 1-866-331-9474.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

 

Let Your Heart Rule

February 14, 2011 1 comment


Does Your Relationship Rule?

The Healthy Relationship Quiz

Everyone deserves to be in a safe and healthy relationship. Do you know if your relationship is as healthy as you deserve? Answer “yes” or “no” to the following statements to find out! Make sure to circle your responses. At the end you’ll find out how to score your answers. Does Your Relationship Rule?The Healthy Relationship Quiz

The person I am with:      Circle One

1. Is very supportive of things that I do. Y N

2. Encourages me to try new things. Y N

3. Likes to listen when I have something on my mind. Y N

4. Understands that I have my own life too. Y N

5. Is not liked very well by my friends. Y N

6. Says I’m too involved in different activities. Y N

7. Texts me or calls me all the time. Y N

8. Thinks I spend too much time trying to look nice. Y N

9. Gets extremely jealous or possessive. Y N

10. Accuses me of flirting or cheating. Y N

11. Constantly checks up on me or makes me check in.  Y N

12. Controls what I wear or how I look. Y N

13. Tries to control what I do and who I see. Y N

14. Tries to keep me from seeing or talking to my family and friends. Y N

15. Has big mood swings – gets angry and yells at me one minute, and the next minute is sweet and apologetic.Y N

16. Makes me feel nervous or like I’m “walking on eggshells.” Y N

17. Puts me down, calls me names or criticizes me.  Y N

18. Makes me feel like I can’t do anything right or blames me for problems.Y N

19. Makes me feel like no one else would want me. Y N

20. Threatens to hurt me, my friends or family.  Y N

21. Threatens to hurt him or herself because of me. Y N

22. Threatens to destroy my things.  Y N

23. Grabs, pushes, shoves, chokes, punches, slaps, holds me down, throws things or hurts me in some way.Y N

24. Breaks things or throws things to intimidate me. Y N

25. Yells, screams or humiliates me in front of other people. Y N

26. Pressures or forces me into having sex or going farther than I want to.Y N

Scoring:

Give yourself 1 point for every “no” you answered to numbers 1-4; 1 point for every “yes” response to numbers 5-8; and 5 points for every “yes” to numbers 9-26.

Now that you’re finished and have your score, the next step is to find out what your score means.  Simply take your total score and see which of the boxes below applies to you.

Score: 0 points

You got a score of 0? Don’t worry—it’s a good thing! It sounds like your relationship is on a pretty healthy track. Maintaining healthy relationships takes some work—keep it up! Remember that while you may have a healthy relationship, it’s possible that a friend of yours may not. If you think you know someone who may be in an abusive relationship, find out how you can help that person end the abuse.

Score: 1-2 points

If you scored 1 or 2 points, you might be noticing a couple of things in your relationship that could be unhealthy, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they are warning signs. It’s still a good idea to keep an eye on them to make sure there isn’t a pattern. The best thing to do is to talk to your partner and let them know what you like and don’t like. Encourage them to do the same. Remember, communication is always important when building a healthy relationship. It’s also good to be informed so that you learn to recognize the warning signs. Break the Cycle can give you information about teen dating violence and the different types of abuse there may be.

Score: 3-4 points

If you scored 3 or 4 points, it sounds like you may be seeing some warning signs of an abusive relationship. Warning signs should never be ignored. Something that starts small can grow much worse over time. No relationship is perfect – it takes some work! But in a healthy relationship you won’t find abusive behaviors. If you think your relationship may not be as healthy as you deserve, contact us for help and to get more information.

Score: 5 points or more

If you scored 5 points or more, you are definitely seeing warning signs and may be in an abusive relationship. You don’t have to deal with this alone. Break the Cycle can help. We can talk to you about your different options and legal rights.


To learn how you can create safe and healthy relationships,visit loveisrespect.org


 

 

 

 

 

 

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