THE BAHAMAS CRISIS CENTRE
The Pain of Abuse
Adults abused as children are the grown up survivors of child abuse. They come from all races, religions and socio-economic groups. They may have experienced abuse either in the form of physical, emotional or even sexual. Physical abuse would have included such actions as getting a beating, being shaken, being shoved, kicked, bruising, burning, or even choking. Emotional abuse could have included yelling, criticizing, threatening, ridiculing, and failing to provide guidance and love. In the matter of sexual abuse there is indecent exposure, sexual touching, fondling, and sexual intercourse. Both boys as well as girls are sexually abused.
Due to abuse as children, years later there may still be problems that an individual would experience in their adult hood. These include bouts of depression, feelings of isolation, troubled relationships, self-destructive behavior, lack of direction or motivation, problems raising children. Some adults that were victims of child abuse cannot cope with the stress of raising children. Some cannot feel close to their children, although they would like to. There are even some who abuse their own children continuing the pattern of violence and abuse..
Charlene was a very active young lady in church. She was a member of the choir and assisted the youth leader in dealing with the younger children. She loved children and was always glad to assist. Charlene appeared to be the perfect churchgoer. She always ensured her children were in church with her. However, as a child Charlene was yelled at constantly and always criticized by her parents, especially her mother. As an adult she continued the same pattern of always criticizing and yelling at her children. One day she was outside of the church and an elder happened to see her yelling at her son to get in the car. The elder approached her and asked her why she was being so abusive to her son. Charlene looked at the elder confused and simply replied, “What do you mean, this is how I always politely tell him to do things.”
Never having anyone point out to her how she was treated as a child, Charlene naturally assumed that yelling and criticizing her children was a natural part of showing them love. Many persons, who are raised in abusive circumstances, either become abusers or continue the trend of being victims of abuse. This can be due to the fact of not knowing what they experienced was abuse and assumed to be the normal manner in which to act and relate to others.
Healing the Nation
Abuse in our homes, leads to abuse in our communities, schools and country, and can affect the overall manner by which persons are socialized and treat one another. It can occur from the highest level to the lowest. No one deserves to be abused. Yet it can be very difficult to decide to leave an abusive relationship. Many persons do not understand why, if a person is hurting you, someone would stay in an abusive relationship. However, often persons in an abusive situation usually have more than one reason as to why they would not just leave or feel they cannot leave their unhealthy relationship.
Why Individuals Stay in Abusive Relationships?
Many women or men stay in abusive relationships because they feel they have no choice. For some women, they are afraid that they will not be able to support themselves or their children. Others are afraid that friends or family will think that they have failed. Some reasons an individual will stay in an abusive relationship are:
• Fear which includes fear of leaving, fear of staying, fear of reprisal and fear for her life.
• Financial dependence where many women have difficulty finding work to support her and her family, or have few or out dated job skills. In the case of men if the women is the one making the larger income, he does not want to be seen as incapable or inadequate and unable to provide for his family without the woman’s assistance.
• Isolation where an individual is cut off from friends, family and any type of support system.
• Unaware of legal rights including the right to be protected and not abused.
• Lack of support where extended family members may not be willing or able to accommodate with assistance.
• Physical illness and inability to leave or have someone else to tend to their medical needs.
• Emotional dependence where he or she may still love his or her partner, especially in the “honeymoon period” where the abuser is being attentive and loving.
• Social Pressures where an individual may have been pressured by parents, community, church to try and hold on.
• Low self-esteem where a woman or man may feel he or she is responsible for the success or failure of the marriage, or relationship or feels responsible for the abuse and believes that they caused it.
• Acceptance of Abuse where some women may feel that family violence is normal, especially if she was physically abused as a child or witnessed her mother being beaten.
• Accommodation where the lack of alternative housing may force a woman to stay.
THE TRUTH IS THAT THEY ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ABUSE AND TO STAY IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP MAY RESULT IN SERIOUS INJURY OR DEATH.
Warning signs an abuse partner:
1) Threatens to hurt or kill you, your children or your pets
2) Says it’s your fault if he or she hits you…then promises it will not happen again (but it does)
3) Puts you down in public or keeps you from contacting family or friends
4)Throws you down, pushes, hits, chokes, and kicks or slaps you
5) Forces you to have sex when you don’t want to
6) Takes your money or refuses to give you money
7) Threatens to commit suicide
8) Intimidates you with guns, knives or other weapons
Leaving an abusive relationship
It can be very difficult to decide to leave an abusive relationship. Call the Crisis Centre for support, the counselors there can assist with a safety plan.
We are one people created equal by God and for the purpose of loving and being loved. Let us work together to heal ourselves, families, communities, nation and world.
For more information check out our website at http://www.bahamascrisiscentre.org or contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. IF YOU ARE IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP, CALL THE CRISIS CENTRE ON 328-0922 OR 322-4999. IF YOU ARE IN IMMEDIATE DANGER, CALL THE POLICE ON 919 OR 911.
Training of new volunteers who have been interviewed will take place on October 17th, 18th and 19th at times which will be forwarded to those concerned. Further training will take place on the 24th. The monthly meeting will take place on the 19th before the training session. Please call the Centre on 328-0922 if you have any questions or concerns and for directions to our new location.