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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Intimate Partner Violence

Today I was honored to speak to Social Work students at the University of Minnesota. The class I spoke to was called " Adult Intimate Partner Violence. That's a mouth full I know, but a cause unfortunately very close to my heart. Each and every semester I go out to colleges, Universities, Faith Based Organizations, Recovery Centers,Corporations, High Schools and more. I recruit volunteers, teach the cycle of violence, educate healthy ways to vent anger, present on the practice of violence and how to stop the cycle.

I feel blessed that the Lord gave me the gift of gab. I love to present in public, but there were years where my voice was silenced. Most people don't believe it when they meet me, but it is true. That is where my passion  and education cross. I know how every woman or man feels that has been in a violent relationship.

Violence in a relationship is not limited to physical violence. I think this is where many of us get stuck. More and more women or men come into therapy because they feel really yucky emotionally and they don't know how to name it. They feel paralyzed, confused, guilty and shameful. Once they learn violence is much broader and they talk about their own stories, they feel like they can start rebuilding their life and put the puzzle together. Violence is any act, word or behavior that inflicts emotional, psychological, mental, spiritual or physical pain. The fuel that keeps the cycle of violence going is Power and Control.

Red Flags in Behavior
Tells you what you can wear
Keeps you from family or friends
Isolates you
Verbally Barrages You
Hurts things you love - Pets, family, photographs, custody with children
Economic Abuse- Having all the power over the money
Mental abuse
Limits your social life/work life
May make you quit your job
Tells you everything is your fault
Confuses you with words
Spiritual Abuse
Mind Games
Stalking Behavior

There are crisis centers in most cities. The world has much to offer women and men in these situations. We all have to be the bridge and build better communication and openness about the cycle of violence. Every two minutes a woman in the United States is killed.  In hard economic times such as we are in now, violence only escalates. We all have to work together to fight this horror. All systems have to do it united.

Just as these young students in the Social Work field are pining to learn more about the dynamics of violence and how we can make a difference, we should also take a step forward.  Please, just think about one way you could make a difference in reference to violence in our world.

I thank God each and every day, that my voice is no longer silenced. In fact, My once soft whisper, is now a LOUD ROAR.

Please click the link on my title and you will see a poem I wrote on my own violence that I survived.

Love Laura

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