What can you do to reduce Domestic Violence?

What can you do to reduce Domestic Violence?

Yes I do think it’s everyone’s responsibility to help prevent and reduce Domestic and Family Violence.

How do you do that?

🔹 By educating yourself on what abusive and controlling behaviours are.

🔹 Observe your own actions and reactions to better understand your emotions and feelings. It’s ok to feel angry, frustrated, sad, upset, disappointed. Your emotions are valid because they are yours but it is never ok to bully, intimidate, provoke, lash out or degrade someone else because of the way you feel.

🔹 Learn to self regulate your emotions and come up with strategies that work for you instead of lashing out. This could be walking away, spending 5 minutes doing deep breathing, turn the music up and dance. Do anything that makes you feel good and raises your vibration because it is never ok to make someone else feel like garbage because of the way you feel.

🔹 Calling out those who display them especially if they are close friends or family members. Don’t turn a blind eye or develop selective hearing if you witness your brother or sister, cousins or best friend say something mean and derogatory. Tell them it’s not cool. Pull them up on it in a respectful and tactful way to cause them to think about their behaviour.

🔹 Post DV support numbers on your Facebook. You never know who in your friends list is experiencing DV and may hold onto that number ‘just in case’

🔹 Prevention is much easier than healing and therapy later so teach your children about resilience and self esteem and confidence for it is insecure people who degrade and bully another human being in order to make themselves feel better or more superior.

🔹 Teach your children that if they feel a tight uncomfortable feeling in their belly’s in response to something someone has said or done that it’s their body’s instinct and gut feeling. They should pay attention to that and trust it. They can say Stop, I don’t like the way that makes me feel.

🔹 If your child hears someone say Stop, I don’t like the way that makes me feel teach them that they need to respect that and stop the behaviour. They don’t get to assume how it makes someone feel or determine that person is just sensitive and over reacting. They need to stop. Period.

🔹 Offer non-judgemental support to anyone who opens up to you. You may not be a professional but you can be caring and supportive. Pass on numbers and local support services. Understand that leaving isn’t easy, in fact it is often the most dangerous time in a relationship for a victim and their children.

And always remember that you are important, you are enough and you can make a difference 💜

Children of Domestic Violence. They know.

Children of Domestic Violence. They know.

I always thought I was hiding the arguments, my crying, the tension, bruises and marks from my children in the beginning.

They were too young, right?

They didn’t understand, right?

It hurts less when we think they don’t know or don’t understand.

I’d convinced myself of that.

When my ex pushed a knife towards me with my young son laying next to me in the bed I was certain he was asleep.

He didn’t move.

He didn’t flinch so he had to have been asleep.

I even wrote about the incident in my book maintaining that he was asleep.

After a family psychology session a few months ago he said quietly to me

“You know how you always thought I was asleep when Dad had the knife? I was awake. I pretended I was asleep. I remember it.” 😢

They know more than we realise.

They feel more than we think.

They understand more than we know.

6 ways to protect yourself after leaving an abusive relationship.

6 ways to protect yourself after leaving an abusive relationship.

Have you ever heard that saying ‘Teach your daughter to shoot because a restraining order is just a piece of paper”? Apprehended Violence Orders or AVO’s are your legal protection from someone who you believe may or will harm you and/or your children, property, pets, family members, loved ones.

Many victims of Domestic Violence have had dealings with AVO’s. Even though the Courts can impose the Order preventing the perpetrator from abusing, threatening, intimidating, molesting, harassing, contacting and approaching the victim, many will tell you an AVO is just a piece of paper and offers no real protection to an abuser who wants to get a hold of you.

A 35-year-old man was arrested in a Newcastle hospital just 2 days ago for breaching an AVO. Police were at the hospital speaking to a woman who had been admitted for treatment. While there, they stopped a man who was attempting to visit her. He was carrying a bunch of flowers and a bag. When checks revealed the woman had a current AVO against him with a condition restricting him from visiting her, he was immediately arrested. His bag was searched and two knives were located.

Newcastle police avo knives

He was taken to the local police station where he was charged with contravening Apprehended Violence Order, two counts of possessing a knife in a public place, breaching his conditional bail and refused bail. (Courtesy Newcastle City Police District)

She’s safe from him while he spends the night in custody but what happens if bail is granted at his court appearance the following day? What happens if bail wasn’t refused? What happens the police weren’t speaking to her when he attempted to approach? What if nobody was there? What do you do?

You take measures to protect yourself because unfortunately, an AVO is just a piece of paper, and paper doesn’t protect you.


Leaving home for a period of time or securing your house

I’m not an advocate of the victim ‘having’ to leave the family home when leaving an abusive relationship but I am an advocate of staying alive. You may need to stay with family or friends after escaping. You may need to go into a refuge. You may decide the safest option is to move to another location.

After escaping my relationship with police intervention and an AVO I didn’t go home for a week. I took my children to an undisclosed safe location. I did go home after a week and my house was assessed for safety and security solutions under the ‘Staying Home, Leaving Violence’ program. My house was secured with changing my locks, deadbolts, window locks, sensor lights, my electricity meter box was locked and I was given a personal alarm to carry.

Friends and family stayed overnight with me for the first few weeks so I wasn’t alone. I did move out of the house a couple of years later to a different region.

 

Tell people

Everyone who needs to know should know. Silence hides violence and wanting your privacy could get you hurt here. Tell friends, your workplace, TAFE or Uni, children’s school and anywhere you regularly frequent that you have a current AVO in place and if your abuser makes an appearance the police need to be called on sight. This is not a wait and see what happens type of event. Call 000 immediately and tell them you have an enforceable AVO and you are scared for your safety. And then make a statement for the breach of the AVO.

 

Carry your phone

I’m not ashamed to say my phone was all but glued to me. I carried my phone to the washing machine. It was always nearby. I slept with it in my hand. If he appeared, I needed to contact someone ASAP. Call 000 if you feel any sense of danger. Do not call the local police station, it is 000 in an emergency and any threat to your wellbeing is an emergency.

 

Learn self-defence

You don’t need to go and join the local boxing or karate club. If you want to go for it but if not, please at least look up on YouTube some self-defence moves. Practice punching and using your elbows and knees. Know how to get out of a wrist hold. Learn how to protect yourself so it becomes an automatic reaction in a hairy situation.

 

Change your routine

Sometimes it’s just better to just switch it up if you’re worried. Drive a different way to work/school. Park in a different section. Avoid frequently visited places. Buy your groceries from the next town over. Even if you’re not worried your abuser will come looking for you to hurt you, it won’t hurt to avoid all potential confrontations, at least in the beginning.

 

Tighten your social media settings

If you don’t want to deactivate/delete, even for a short period of time, then increase your security and privacy settings on all of your social media accounts. Make your account private, change your settings to ensure you review tags and posts before they go ‘live’, turn your location off, don’t check-in, don’t post about your intentions, plans or whereabouts. And think carefully before telling others what your plans are too because unfortunately, not everyone is your friend. Separations can be messy at the best of times and you may need to take a step back until you work on who is neutral and who is not. May victims report thinking someone was their friend only to find they were the very person feeding information and comments to their ex. Use your brain and always, always listen to your gut.

Why I Stayed and where to buy it

Why I Stayed and where to buy it

True story of a Domestic Violence relationship. I once believed the only way I’d get out of my relationship was in a body bag. I wrote this book to assist my healing and to answer the question I was asked most often “Why did you stay for so long?” I hope to create awareness of abusive relationships by telling my story of how it began, why I stayed for as long as I did and what I had to do to start the healing process. It is my vision to educate some and give hope to others. This is proof that there is life after Domestic Violence

Here are some direct links or there’s an option to buy direct from me if you’re in Australia – no additional postage costs, no waiting times.

https://m.barnesandnoble.com/s/Why+I+stayed+lisa+Lee

https://www.angusrobertson.com.au/books/why-i-stayed-lee-lisa/p/9781925993219?zsrc=go-nons&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI2sjaqpe45AIVgwsrCh38sg2WEAQYASABEgJVgfD_BwE

https://www.booktopia.com.au/why-i-stayed-lee-lisa/book/9781925993219.html

Or if you’re in Australia you can buy direct from me for AUD$15 and I’ll post it same day to you

https://www.paypal.com/webapps/shoppingcart?flowlogging_id=c150a64f427c0&mfid=1567635133808_c150a64f427c0#/checkout/openButton

Thank you for supporting the awareness of DV and empowerment for life after.

Do you love him or….?

Do you love him or….?

After living for an extended period of time in an abusive, volatile and toxic relationship you muster the courage, enact the plan and make the decision to leave. To be free of the abuse and violence. To stop walking on eggshells. To try and remember who you are deep inside. We know it’s the right decision, the best decision to make but are often overwhelmed by the love we still have and feel for our abusers. It can be troubling, upsetting and cause you to rethink your choices and your decision to leave.  
Was it really that bad? Did I overreact? How much did I really contribute? Should I go back? Could we make it work? 
All valid questions. Only you can answer them honestly. But here are some other questions that may help you out. 
Do you love who he is or do you love who he was when you first met? 

Do you love him or do you love the idea of him? The idea of being in a relationship. The idea of having someone to come home to. The idea of travelling this journey with your partner in crime? 

Do you love him or do you wish your children lived with both parents in a complete family?  

Do you love him or are you just questioning your foggy and traumatised headspace? 
It’s okay to feel love for someone who you shared a big part of your life with. The person you created a family with. The person you imagined a beautiful future with. 
What’s not okay is being made to feel worthless. Being called names. Walking on eggshells. Living in fear. 

What’s not okay is being kicked or slapped, pushed or choked. 

What’s not okay is not feeling like you are equal partners in your relationship. Like what you say doesn’t matter. 

What’s not okay is leaving your children without a mother when he accidentally or deliberately goes too far.  
And after all of that, if you still truly love him, you need to learn to love you more. Before love kills you. 

Why Do They Stay?

Why Do They Stay?

In Australia, at least one woman is killed by a current partner or ex-partner every week. Every single week. So if these men are capable of such violence, why do women stay? Such an easy question to ask, not so easy to answer. Women stay with violent and abusive men for a range of reasons and unless you’ve been there, you just can’t understand.

Relationships rarely begin with a display of verbal abuse, shoving, hitting and controlling behaviour. It’s something that creeps up over time. To begin with women are made to feel like they’re making it up or blowing it out of proportion “I never said it like that, you’re hearing things” and “Do you really believe I would do/say something like that? Wow, you mustn’t know me at all.” The verbal abuse continues either bluntly or subtly for a while before the first physical incident occurs and he’s so unbelievably sorry, it’ll never happen again and he’s so sweet and attentive. She believes him. She so badly wants to believe him. After all, she never knew he was capable of physically striking her so it has to be a once off due to all of the stress he’s under.

She’s in love with him. He was amazing in the beginning. “He used to take me out to dinner, buy me flowers, tell me how beautiful I looked so where has this telling me what I can and can’t wear come from? He never acted like that in the beginning.” It becomes a strange concept to grapple with. A man who abuses, controls and isolates his partner didn’t begin his relationship that way. Denial plays its part because it’s hard to understand where his new persona has come from. Maybe it’s just stress? He has been working hard lately, maybe his boss is giving him a hard time? She makes excuses trying to explain his change in behaviour. She’s trying to give meaning to who he has become. She’ll just try and keep the peace, try and make him more comfortable, go about her day and hope things go back to normal, that he goes back to normal. But this is his new normal now unfortunately.

By the time she identifies that she is experiencing verbal, emotional, sexual and/or physical abuse she may have been deliberately isolated “I don’t know why you want to go and see her. She’s a whore” and “I can’t believe you’re friends with someone like that” or a blunt statement “I don’t like her and I don’t want you to hang out with her anymore.”

Either she pulls back from her support network or they just drift away as her relationship takes a different course. Well meaning friends might gently persuade her that what she’s experiencing isn’t right and tell her to leave but if that causes her shame she’ll stop answering the phone and make excuses to skip social occasions. She wants to avoid any shame, embarrassment, pity and finger pointing at all costs. A lot of her energy goes into getting through the day and home on her own feels safer.

Her family may be bolder and call him out on his behaviour. Arguments occur, conflict arises and he forbids her from seeing her disrespectful family members or tells her she must choose. He’s her partner, they share a house together, he’s the father of her children and she can’t take their Dad away from them. She has limited options. She chooses him for the sake of her children and for peace. Short lived peace though.

As the arguing continues and intensifies the control tightens and the name calling and vitriol occurs more frequently.  Even a strong woman becomes quite downtrodden when she is constantly referred to as dumb, fat, ugly, nagging, bitch, slut, stupid. It’s hard not to let words affect your self esteem and eat into your soul. She begins to believe him. She feels useless, worthless and she doesn’t think she can do anything right.

Everything seems so overwhelming. Leaving becomes too hard to a worn down woman because where does she go? Family members have offered their support in the past but how can she uproot her children from their bedrooms and home and cram them into a small shared space with family? He’s already told her that he’s not leaving, if she doesn’t like it then she has to be the one to leave. She may or may not be working but she’s always shared the finances and the costs of the house and the children with him. She doesn’t have the means to continue the same lifestyle and pay mortgage/rent on her own. Finances play a big part in if women stay or leave. Statistics show a large number of women will return to an abusive relationship purely for financial support for their children.

Maybe she has reached out before. Maybe she wasn’t believed because he’s such a model citizen, he’s a great friend who helps everyone when he can and he’s so charming, nice, helpful….are you sure you didn’t provoke him? Maybe he’s just under a lot of stress? She just got shut down and she won’t mention it again now.

She also hopes he will change, that it is just a phase because she knows the man he was when they met, the man he can be. She prays he finds himself again and they can go back to being a loving couple and a loving, happy family.

A lot of women hear threats of harm. He’ll threaten to keep the children from her if she leaves, threaten to harm their pets or family members, threaten to self harm and threaten to hunt her down and kill her if she does dare to leave. You have no idea what goes on behind closed doors and she has no idea if he is really capable of following out his threats. Does she want to find out?

The most dangerous time for a woman living in an abusive relationship is when she’s planning to leave or just after she’s left. It’n not as simple as just walking out the door and leaving. Many will look over their shoulders and tense up every time the phone rings for years to come. Many struggle mentally for the rest of their lives. They have experienced trauma and develop post traumatic stress disorder. Some won’t make it. Women don’t just become safe when they leave the relationship. They are killed by their ex-partners or their demons get the better of them and they take their own lives to escape the pain.

She stays for lots of reasons. Many you can’t comprehend unless you’ve been there.
‘Why I Stayed’ is my personal account of a domestic violence relationship. It takes you through my life, the beginning, why I stayed, how I left and the healing I’ve done since then. It can be purchased by download the Kindle app to your device and buying it here:
https://www.amazon.com/Why-I-Stayed-Lisa-Lee/dp/1549551345

If you are in an abusive relationship and want to get out, get in contact with a local support organisation or ring a national helpline for advice, make a plan, assess your safety and remain vigilant, find your support network, engage help.

If you have left an abusive relationship and are struggling, please get in contact with your local support agencies – that’s what they’re there for, reach out, find a counsellor, love yourself and know that there is life after domestic violence.