Talk About Domestic Violence

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Resources by Rev. Wambui Njoroge, MS.

Domestic violence and child abuse tend to increase during major holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and new year. There are many reasons for this increase, but for now the focus is to equip the Diaspora community with a few resources. Domestic violence is a crime, which is preventable.

Online Resources.

www.endabuse.org

www.cdc.gov/violence prevention

www.thehotline.org

Check for DV Shelters even outside individual county.

Legal help/ check www. womenslaw.org

Read more and learn about legal services available for victims, for example shelters, Temporary Protective Order, Criminal Charges, Public Benefits, and immigration options:

www.cdc.gov/violence prevention

If you or someone you know is abusing a grandmother or grandfather or the elderly/report abuse of seniors/contact Adult Protective Services by calling 911.  Read more and learn about legal services available for victims, for example shelters, Temporary Protective Order, Criminal Charges, Public Benefits, Mediation of family conflict, and include immigration options. Do not live in fear because of immigration issues. Domestic violence is a crime that is preventable. There is help, please ASK-Matthew 7:7-Ask and it shall be given. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door shall be opened to you is not just for spiritual rhetoric stuff, it is applicable to our daily living

Isaiah 60:18 “No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders, but you will call your walls salvation and your gates praise.” My heart and thoughts turn to victims of Domestic Violence, also for families who may have lost loved ones this year through suicide, or homicide. Community and family does their best, but sometimes, it is possible to lose a loved one through suicide, homicide or domestic violence. These tough life issues of suicide, homicide, and domestic violence are used to solve temporary problems with permanent solutions. They make life harder not easier. Families are left with incomprehensible grief and sorrow. Yet, these issues are preventable.

The goal of writing and talking about these issues is to encourage people to join hands and hearts to help. In the same way, a 1st Grade child knows how to reach 911, perhaps the same will happen in the coming year or years that every individual in Diaspora can reach out and help. One does not have to be a mental health counselor or a physician to help a loved one reach help. As we keep talking about these issues, instead of families being afraid of becoming subjects of town and trending social media gossip, families will have confidence to reach out safely and to access the needed help.

Not too long ago, someone asked the question, do we have to talk about Domestic Violence all the Time? Do we need to talk about Mental Health Issues all the time? My Answer is yes-It is talking about 911 every day that many people know how to respond in case of emergency. Reporting to the Police does not make everyone a Police Officer. In the same way, let us get used to talking about any issue that is harming you or someone you know. Talk about suicide and mental health issues is pretty much like talking about COVID-19, Diabetes or High Blood Pressure. The aim of talking freely is to remove stigma so that others may get help. Be kind in helping to solve issues within families and neighbors by having basic resources.

We can no longer say it is not our business. Yet when, crisis hits home, year after year, month after month and then it was just two weeks ago, or next week, it becomes the business of the Diaspora Community. A caveat here is that some people expect the Church to STOP, ROLL, DROP everything and respond to every crisis. Most people say it is the Christian thing to do. Is it? Then I must say that it is the Christian thing to do- Learning and teaching are continuous, and no one should stop learning and teaching as opportunity presents itself. Therefore, the answer to the question if folks will keep discussing domestic violence, suicide and other mental health disorders frequently is a resounding yes.

Keep talking because what you know today, maybe helpful to another person tomorrow. I realize that no one is the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Therefore, it is important to give people freedom to talk and safe spaces to address pertinent issues. “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors, there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). There are times we call teachable and learning moments. These moments may force individuals to speak when there is crisis. It is the nature of teaching and learning. Using tact and diplomacy, some people must SPEAK UP loudly to break the cycle of violence. There is really no room for silence when it comes to domestic violence, suicide, homicide, and other mental health issues.

Another CONCERN is that – one should not talk about domestic violence, suicide, or death, if they have not been a victim of these issues, or one is not a survivor. Certainly, having survived domestic violence is commendable, but not at the expense of keeping silent or attempting to silence others. The question is: If a person noticed a thief breaking into the neighbor’s home, is that a crime or not? Should one wait until the thief has broken into their home to understand what crime is? In the same manner, domestic violence is a crime that must be reported for the safety of the family.

Dear Diaspora friends: 90-95% Perpetrators of Domestic violence are men-according to www.cdc.gov/violence prevention. However, it is important to note that men may be victims of domestic violence, and under reported, according to the same statistics. There is stigma attached to reporting violence against adult males, and they may suffer in silence. Therefore, understand that abuse knows no gender, age, social status, education, race, religion, or country of birth. Abuse may be physical, emotional, psychological, economic, sexual, and there are some types of abuses that are specific to immigrants in Diaspora. Be informed about immigration options that are available in each state.  Do not allow domestic violence to continue because of fear of immigration issues.

Who Calls?

Some families want family members and friends to call on their behalf. If you or someone you now are being abused, it is your responsibility to call. First before you make that call, get out of the house. Second, never threaten the abuser, nor let them know you are going to make that call. Most intense abuse and death take place when the abuser is informed that their secret will be called out or the vicious cycle of abuse is interrupted. Abuse thrives on family isolation and secrets. Do not use your home computer or your personal devices, as the abuser is smart to tract down your online activities. You can ask for help at a gas station, local library, your child’s school, fire department, health department, your doctor, and many other places.

When you see the word CALL-this means help is available to resolve the issue. Resolve the issues timely. It does not always mean that others want the family member arrested and charged. The US government does not want to play Santa, parent, wife, husband or children and youth to families. Nor does the government have extra homes and abundant resources to raise families. About 20 or 30 years ago, Diaspora fraternity had to pray, travel across states, and contribute finances concerning families with cases of Child Abuse and Neglect. Since that time, many learned how to use mild methods of discipline, and improved parenting skills with 24-hour coverage and supervision of children/youth in our new village called the US. The lesson learned is that families who have migrated to the US can do better with family conflict resolution.  

What next? Be informed and reach out and help one person. When you call a nationwide number, you will be connected to a local counselor who can help you access services  near you.

Rev. Wambui is a freelance writer with Kenya Parents in USA and Mental Health STARS Association, Incorporated. USA/Interim Chair/be sure to visit her corner and read more about Family Life, Ministry, and School. She ministers with TCMI and is the -CEO & Host for Family Enrichment Education Forums, USA, and PUSSH PNM, USA.

Disclaimer/information from my notes is NEVER a substitute for treatment. Make sure you comply with medical requirements and legal requirements as instructed by your professional. (December ©2022)

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