Let’s be real, most of us think of an abuser as an easy-to-spot evil monster. So it’s hard to admit or even recognize when someone we care about is being abusive. When we do start to see it, some of us want to vote them off the island and some of us want to stick our head in the sand.

But what if we want to continue to be in community with folks who have done harm? What if they are our family? What if they are our friend? What if we love them?

How do we convey that we won’t tolerate this behavior while staying connected and asking them to change?

We believe the answer lies in having conversations and being real. We hope to encourage you to talk with a person in your life who is struggling in their relationship, who maybe isn’t their best self, and who has the will to change.

It might seem kind of scary and it might be uncomfortable, but YOU CAN DO IT. Think of yourself like a farmer; no matter what happens, you planted the seeds and gave it your best shot.

Here are some strategies that will help you to have the conversation that you want:

  • Address their behavior privately. Be direct but loving as you challenge their actions, words, or violence.
  • Focus on the behavior. Talk about the behavior and how it impacts you. Be clear that you don’t think they are a bad person.
  • Ask a question, listen up and stay connected: “Hey, I’m worried about you… is everything ok?” “Things don’t seem right in your relationship. What’s going on?” “Sometimes I’ve noticed… How do you feel about that?”

Remember, it’s not your job to change someone. You can’t make someone change, but you can hold up a mirror and support them. You can also get help! Talk to your trusted people and reach out to experts.

You can do it!

Some stories that caught our eye this week:

From the Editor: Why We Won’t Be Reviewing ‘The Birth Of A Nation’ Upon Its Release “It is the only way I know to attempt holding my fellow Black men accountable for the violence we sometimes initiate.”

Lindsay Lohan’s Domestic Violence Problems Aren’t the First to Be Ignored, and They Certainly Won’t Be the Last “our collective response to incidents of celebrity domestic violence tends to vary according to who’s on the receiving end and who’s alleged to have committed it.”

Hunger strike enters second week for 22 immigrant mothers stuck in family detention “We are already traumatized from our countries of origin. We risked our own lives and those of our children so we could arrive on safe ground. While here our children have considered committing suicide, made desperate from confinement,”

My colleague said this at a meeting yesterday. I first heard it at our conference last year when the incredible Alissa Bierra was talking about Marissa Alexander. Hearing that sentence again stopped me in my tracks. It is so powerful. Especially in light of the story of Korryn Gaines who was recently shot and killed by police in her own home, in front of her five year old son. (On a tangent, did it not occur to the police that perhaps they should come back another time? Does failure to appear in court really warrant a death sentence?)

But back to that phrase. For years in the domestic violence field, we have struggled to say what we want vs. what we don’t want. We don’t want abuse. We don’t want coercion. We don’t want assault. But that phrase is a gift. It is part of our end goal. It is the way.

home should be a place of liberationHome should be a place of liberation. An absence of violence is not enough. You should be treated with respect by those who proclaim to love you (and those who are “sworn to protect”).

Home should be a place of liberation. You can have opinions in your home. You can disagree about things and have a voice.

Home should be a place of liberation. It should be a place where you can be who you truly are. If you are different from your family (for example a gay or trans teen), you should be loved fiercely.

Home should be a place of liberation. That is what I want. For me. For you. For all of us.

Some stories that caught our eye this week:

New Allegations of Sexual Abuse at Fordham Prep Remind Us That Men Can Be Victims, Too “Movements for rape survivors have a history of forgetting that men can suffer sexual violence as well as perpetrate it.”

Simone Biles on Her Legacy: ‘I’m Not the Next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps. I’m the 1st Simone Biles’ “Don’t compare her to Michael Phelps, or any other gold medal winner, because she’s not them. And during her post-win interview, she made it a point to make sure people knew that.”

A South Carolina Student Was Arrested for ‘Disturbing a School’ When She Challenged Police Abuse, So We Sued “Every year, more than a thousand students in South Carolina — some as young as 7 years old — face criminal charges for not following directions, loitering, cursing, or the vague allegation of acting “obnoxiously.”

Niños gritando y peleando por el mismo juguete, canciones de Sabina a todo volumen, papas con chile viendo una pelicula, historias de la familia, en fin, memorias inolvidables que se quedaran marcados para siempre en mi corazón. Esta fue la visita recente de mi hermana y su peque en pocas palabras.

Nuestra amistad no empezó asi. Hemos ido construyéndola desde hace muchos años pues entre nosotros hay 15 años de diferencia, y ha sido hasta los últimos años ya como madres las dos que nos hemos acercado mucho más y desarrollado una amistad, una amistad que nos une aún más que nuestro lazo de familia.

sisters-feetMi hermana y yo somos distintas, tenemos una manera de ver la vida diferente y al mismo tiempo nos complementamos mucho pues lo que una ve, la otra no. Hemos aprendido que es necesario tolerarnos y respetarnos mutuamente para tener una buena relación. Y asi en los momentos donde nuestras emociones nos ciegan, la confianza entre nosotros prevalece.

Vivir en distintos países no es fácil, sin embargo nuestra unidad y amistad prevalece en la distancia, se hace grande y más sólida cada día y cada vez que la vida nos regala tiempo juntas, puertas se abren y aprendo cosas nuevas. Esta visita me hace contemplar la tolerancia y la conexión, las cualidades que crearon una experiencia mágica de nuestro tiempo juntas. Cualidades que son también los pilares que necesitamos para crear un mundo sin violencia.

“Qué grande es el mundo, mami” le decía a mi hermana mi sobrinito de 4 años mientras cruzábamos el lago Washington y sus palabras por alguna razón se quedaron en mí.  Si, el mundo es grande y las posibilidades en él, inmensas.

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Children screaming and fighting over the same toy, singing Sabina’s songs out loud,  sharing chips and salsa while watching a movie, family stories, and unforgettable moments that will be in my heart forever. This was my sister and her little boy’s recent visit.

My friendship with my sister has not always been like this. We have been building it for many years now as there is a 15 year age difference between us. It wasn’t until recently, when we both became mothers, that we have become much closer and developed a friendship, a friendship that unites us even more than being sisters.

My sister and I are very different; we have different ways of seeing the world. What one of us sees, the other does not. We have learned that for our relationship to be a good one, we must tolerate and respect our differences. In moments where our emotions blind us, trust between us prevails.

Living in different countries is not easy, yet our unity and friendship prevails in the distance, it becomes bigger and more solid every day, and every time that life gives us time together, doors open and I learn new things. This visit made me think about tolerance and connection. They are what make our time together so magical. And they are the pillars we all need to create a world without violence.

“How big the world is, mami!” my four-year-old nephew told my sister while we were crossing Lake Washington. His words for some reason stayed in me. Yes, the world is big and the possibilities in it, immense.

Some stories that caught our eye this week:

The Abuse Of ‘Feel-Good’ Cop Videos “These videos, combined with the countless videos of black men and women and children shot dead by cops, serve to remind us that we should both fear and love them if we want to survive. And if we don’t survive, we have nobody to blame but ourselves—see how capable of not killing us they can be? Anybody who has been in an abusive relationship will recognize this behavior. It’s a raised hand that might be a slap but then lowers for a pat on the shoulder.”

President Barack Obama Says, “This Is What a Feminist Looks Like” “Yes, it’s important that their dad is a feminist, because now that’s what they expect of all men.”

Middle School Students Push For a Gender-Neutral Dress Code—And Win “The loss of educational time disproportionately targets girls,” says Carlson, who’s now 14. “It’s a very embarrassing and shaming moment, to get dress-coded. We’re still doing that to girls in school right now? We’re still measuring their clothes and telling them to change? That seems ridiculous.”

Girl on phoneI’m a member of a local Facebook “For Sale, Wanted or Trade” group. Recently, someone posted that they are concerned about a friend, who they believe is being abused. They asked for advice about what to do.

I was struck by how many people said, “There’s nothing you can do; your friend will have to realize it for herself.” While there is some truth to that, I also think there are some really, really important things that friends can and should do. Even though you can’t rescue your friend from a bad situation, you can:

  • Stay connected as much as you can (in person, text, social media).
  • Continue inviting them to things. It’s harder for your friend’s partner to be abusive when there are witnesses.
  • Check out these tools for talking with folks about their relationship (whether you think they are being hurt or are the one who’s doing harm).
  • Remember that it takes time for most people to figure out if their relationship is not working. And even more time to figure out what they want to do about that. Most folks will try different things to see if the relationship can be saved before deciding to end it.
  • Know that leaving an abusive relationship doesn’t necessarily mean the abuse will end. In some cases, the abuse escalates. If your friend is being abused, encourage her to talk with an advocate at her local domestic violence advocacy program. Advocates will talk to her about how to stay as safe as possible whether she plans to stay or leave.
  • Listen to what your friend says she wants, and help her figure out how to do that. Her abusive partner is trying to control her, so resist the urge to tell her what to do.
  • Take care of yourself. It’s hard to watch a loved one be mistreated!

 

Some stories that caught our eye this week:

Prominent feminist writer drops off social media after rape threat against her 5-year-old daughter “Valenti…becomes the latest in an increasingly long line of women who have been harassed and threatened online by anonymous stalkers from SNL cast member Leslie Jones to Gamergate targets Anita Sarkeesian, Briana Wu and Zoe Quinn.” (explicit language)

When My Husband Goes Out In Public With Our Kids Vs. When I Go Out In Public With Our Kids “It never ceases to amaze me how differently my husband and I are treated while out and about with the fruit of our loins. Whereas I am openly judged, questioned, or ignored, my husband has a virtual red carpet rolled out for him.”

Alaska just threw out a major abortion restriction “You can’t legislate good communication between families, and you certainly won’t do it by forcing young people to seek unsafe abortion care. These laws aren’t about health or safety – quite the opposite. They don’t improve quality of care. They simply place yet another barrier in front of young people’s ability to make the best decision for the personal circumstances.”

This week we’re sharing a post from Eleanor Powell, our summer intern.

I don’t think I know anybody who could argue that the first six months of 2016 have been the best months of their lives. The continued police brutality against black Americans, the largest mass shooting in the history of the United States, a rise in blatant xenophobia—all these things have made it hard to be positive and keep fighting for justice.

So, here are five things I have been trying to think about when everything else seems hopeless:

  1. Over $150,000 was raised at the 2016 Goodwill Refuse To Abuse® 5K!
  2. Beyoncé, always.
  3. Leslie Jones, and the love shown towards her after she received hate on Twitter.
  4. Pokemon Go (What can I say, I’m a technology-obsessed millennial)
  5. The WSCADV staff. Thank you for working so tirelessly to end violence against women, and for making this internship special. Since my first day, I felt welcomed and included. I learned so much about the work you all do, and discovered what kind of work I want to be doing in the next five years. I truly cannot thank you guys enough for giving me such a great opportunity.

Some stories that caught our eye this week:

Bartenders in D.C. are learning how to stop sexual assault, and so far, it’s working “The training helps us to recognize the subtle difference between a person okay with physical contact and someone who does not want to be touched,”

It’s Time To Recognize What Many Mass Murderers Share In Common “Marsha Robertson, director of communications at Futures Without Violence, said the history of domestic violence among mass shooters is now so prevalent that her organization has started to refer to the pattern as “Day 3.” “On Day 1, the shooting occurs and the press has only the bare bones of the incident. On Day 2, the media has access to much more biographical information. On Day 3, further inquiry has confirmed that the shooter had a history of domestic violence, and often had a traumatic childhood,” she said.”

James Corden’s White House tour takes an unthinkable turn when First Lady Michelle Obama joins him for a drive around the grounds singing Stevie Wonder and Beyonce. Surprise guest Missy Elliott drops in to sing “This Is For My Girls.”

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