“I don’t want to grow up. I want to stay a kid.” When baby bumblebee said this to me tonight, I was reminded of the Earth, Wind & Fire song whose lyrics read, ‘A child is born with a heart of gold. The way of the world makes his heart grow cold.’ For many of us the world almost did that or did just that. Poverty, neglect, abuse, abandonment, addiction, incarceration, if you came through any of those things or witnessed those things, if you SURVIVED those things or the effects thereof, you have so much to be thankful for, so much to praise over. You may have had your childhood taken from you or forced to grow up quickly, but you haven’t completely lost your childlike innocence if you’re still alive and reading this post. There is healing. There are second chances. ‘You will find peace of mind If you look way down in your heart and soul Don’t hesitate cause the world seems cold Stay young at heart cause you’re never, never, never old at heart’.”
The hardest thing for a survivor of domestic violence, women and men, to do is to walk away. The desire to love and to be loved is such a driving force for all of us that many people are willing to sacrifice themselves at the hands of an abuser. There are people who will love you and leave you, only be there temporarily and just long enough to get what they want whether it’s physically, emotion…ally, sexually, financially, with no real intention of trying to build a future, or who have a goal to simply control and destroy you, and not respect you. Our society must wake up to this reality because we live in a time of casual hookups where one person is optimistically, positively hoping for/expecting more than what the other person is CAPABLE of giving because of poor upbringing, addictions, self hatred, self doubt. Whatever thing or person is keeping you bound, let it go and BELIEVE in healthy possibilities. BELIEVE that you can love yourself without the affirmation of another person and WORK on loving yourself. Then, carefully search for that person who will LOVE you and love themselves too.”
Lyn was a featured guest on Domestic Violence Wears Many Tags Talkshow
hosted by Queen Afi Gaston
Air date : January 7, 2014
Sydney Harrison’s “Soul Searcher” will definitely cause you to search your own soul!
Approximately 400,000 children are in foster care on any given day (1) and approximately only 120,000 children are adopted each year in the United States (2) . How would you feel if you were one of these children? Or perhaps you are or were. Soul Searcher is the touching and resilient story of one man’s courage to unravel his humbling and, to most, devastating beginnings, and future. Soul Searcher brings enlightening meaning to the saying ‘Love yourself’ and gives us an honest insight into personal transformation.
Readers who know the pains of displacement or have been infused in the race debate of stereotypes will find their own familiar, personal, inner thoughts penned in the pages of Soul Searcher. Sydney’s story will also move you from tears to a sense of triumph as he takes the reader through his abandonment shortly after birth, his quest to fit into society as a bi-racial youth in a racist community, and witnessing the unbroken spirit of abused and HIV infected children in Africa.
Soul Searcher is a glimpse into the life of one man, a life that says it is possible to overcome the odds if you’re willing to search your own soul, and to open up to the world around you and to the Creator. I recommend this book to anyone who wants a deeper, more personal understanding of what it means to find purpose for one’s own life.
In what ways are we accessories to injustice and violence?
What are we passing on as heirlooms to the next generation?
THE MURDER OF AMERICA’S CHILD
by Lyn Twyman
I had to take the past few days to contemplate the outcome of the Zimmerman trial, not just because Trayvon Martin was a black child who was murdered, but because he was America’s child, an unarmed child, just trying to get home on the night of February 26, 2012, just like so many other children who have become casualties of violence. Trayvon was high school aged on the road to improving in his grades and academics. He could have grown up to become a remarkably educated man of grace, character, and poise. Zimmerman, on the other hand, was armed that night and his entire adult life is infested with a documented history of aggression such as resisting arrest, domestic violence, and now murder. Zimmerman will always be remembered in history as the man who shed the blood of an innocent child.
Zimmerman’s acquittal doesn’t make him beyond reproach and certainly not a hero. The argument that Zimmerman feared for his life doesn’t hold up and here’s why. No person, especially a child, would fight an individual knowing they were armed, especially with a deadly weapon like a gun; Trayvon was certainly no exception. So Zimmerman’s argument that he feared for his life is paranoid and quite frankly irrational. What Zimmerman feared was Trayvon finding out he was armed because Zimmerman made it his intent to stalk the young man and didn’t expect to be stood up to (typical of the classic bully). Let’s face it, Zimmerman is a troubled adult and because he has now murdered, he is very well capable of doing it again the next time he feels paranoid or threatened. The Sanford, FL jury let a cold blooded, predatory, murderer go free.
Trayvon wasn’t committing a crime, no home invasion, no vandalism; he was walking home. In the 911 call, Trayvon clearly tried to get away from this stranger, this weirdo who made it his point to follow him. Remember in the call Zimmerman said, “Shit, he’s [Martin’s] running.” Zimmerman then confirmed to the operator he was following Trayvon. If it’s true that Zimmerman, by use of a deadly weapon, had the “right to defend himself” once the confrontation ensued, then all Americans need to arm themselves, including children, for fear of individuals like Zimmerman, right? There was no trace of Trayvon’s DNA on the grip of Zimmerman’s gun to prove that Trayvon was trying to take it from him in an effort to shoot. It wasn’t a crime for Trayvon to be walking home at night, no civil violation, no matter what he looked like, what he wore, or how he carried himself. Zimmerman should have acted like a responsible adult and left him alone.
So who are the real terrorists in our land? It’s not my fellow Muslims who wear hijabs; it’s those with last names like Zimmerman and Anthony, metaphorically speaking. So if you see a “Zimmerman” in your neighborhood and he starts asking you questions, be careful not to run away from him…he may just very well try to shoot you off delusional suspicion that you’re just up to no good and he’s the one in danger. And for everyone still giving Zimmerman the benefit of the doubt, had Trayvon been a black or white girl fighting for her life, would you still side with Zimmerman? Trust, there are young women out there who can kick ass in defense if some man starts questioning and following them in the dark. Meditate on that one.
The Two Elephants
So now post-ruling we have marchers, protesters, organizers, and advocates gathering and lobbying to usher change for two long standing issues. See there’s been two elephants standing in America’s living room for far too long. In this case they are the murder of our youth and racial profiling. As a nation we’d rather glamorize drinking, drugs, and gambling (symbolic of self servitude and fleshly desire) before we give to our inner cities, rural schools, and community programs. We would rather get glammed up, weaved up, Gucci’ed up, botoxed, and Rolexed out, buy the latest pair of high heel pumps or Nike sneaks, instead of donate to a scholarship fund. And it’s American citizens, not just law enforcement, who keep profiling each other for the amount of wealth or poverty, intellect or stupidity, whiteness or blackness that we appear to possess or have.
Americans have to stop supporting entertainment that glamorizes the violence of urban life as well. This contributes to the ongoing profiling of Americans. It’s not fair that black and white children who grow up poor are pigeon holed as Niggas and Crackas because of entertainers who get rich perpetuating images of pimping, dealing, and naked-women-lewdness as cool. See in our freedom to create “art and entertainment”, we’ve also failed to teach the right from wrong to both young and old. The abandonment and ill regard for our children and constant profiling of each other doesn’t breath life; it results in death.
Had someone taught George Zimmerman about these “Two Elephants”, or gotten him some serious counseling for his anger problems, he would have handled himself better throughout his life and on that night of February 26th. Our youth need some serious backup and it’s us, not gun toting vigilantes with emotional disorders. America doesn’t need anymore George Zimmermans who have problems with themselves and lack conflict resolution, who have ongoing histories of violence and believe the solution is to carry a gun. And to all of the people that helped contribute approximately $30,000 in weekly donations to Zimmerman for his trial, shame on you! You wasted your money on a murderer instead of invest in the life of a child.
Victim Blaming and Stand Your Ground
Marissa Alexander fires a warning shot against her abusive husband who was about to kill her and gets a 20 year sentence. Zimmerman kills an innocent child and goes free. America has a problem with victim blaming. We blame the victims if he/she gets raped. We blame the victim if they get robbed in the street. We blame the victim for looking too good and therefore deserving whatever they got in return. And juror B37 needs to sit down and shut up because her ignorance, “ignor[e]-ance”, sounds more like a person who is obsessed with prison love (the kind that says I’m going to date someone I’ve never met before that’s locked-up) and infatuated with serial killers. I’m glad the other 4 jurors, to paraphrase, said “Stay the hell away from us. You’re crazy!”
So we’re left with a looming question in the aftermath of all of this. Will we take a serious approach to protecting the youth of all our communities? Will we fight violence and get the little George Zimmermans in the making counseling before they shoot another child? Will we stop profiling each other and realize that in doing this we weaken our country instead of strengthen it? The dysfunction of American adults is killing our youth. So rest in peace, Trayvon Martin, a.k.a. American’s son. May in your death the inner consciousness of every American come to life that ensures all of our children will not be murdered in acts of violence disguised in the name of justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
By Lyn Twyman
It’s relatively easy to make friends or develop a relationship with someone, to be charmed, to be wooed, especially in this era of online social networking. During that “honey moon” stage, everyone is nice and friendly, seemingly putting their best foot forward into the relationship. It’s only over time that the true nature of a person is revealed, as their character is tested by decision making or by adversity. That’s why the best advice anyone can receive who is still in the dating game is to “take their time” and find out as much as they can about the character of that individual they’re dealing with.
Sometimes it can be difficult to know if you are friends with or dating someone who is an abuser. Abusers look for that weakest link in the life of their victims. The victim could lack self esteem, financial security, or a support system. Abusers will focus on that one area or several and use it to their advantage. For example, if the victim lacks self esteem, the abuser may work hard in the beginning to build their victim up with compliments but work to tear them down over time, or even tear them down drastically with an outburst of hateful words after the victim does something the abuser does not like. If the victim lacks financial security or even has financial security, the abuser will work to make the victim become more dependent upon them by showering them with money, or convincing them to give up a job or give up their ambition. If the victim lacks a support system, the abuser will move in to further isolate the victim from the little family and friends they do have, in an attempt to draw them closer to themselves. Abusers cunningly move into a person’s life to conquer and to destroy for their own personal gain or profit. Their addiction to the power and control is an unquenchable force that will not die.
So here are some tips that I have learned over the years that can be helpful when forming a new relationship.
1. Don’t be quick to hand over the keys – Keys to your car, keys to your home, keys to your office, keys to your post office box. Keys are a symbol of trust giving people the ability to unlock areas of your life, literally. Guard your keys well.
2. Don’t share financial information – It’s not necessary to talk about where you bank or your investment portfolio. Money is an area that abusers like to control early on if given the opportunity, even going as far as to tell you how you should spend your own money.
3. Password protect your cell phone – In this technology age, abusers like to control their victims by looking at their call history, contacts list and text messages. Don’t give anyone the opportunity to access this information.
4. Protect the account information and passwords of all of your accounts – From email, to bank account, to your wireless service and cable, even electric, do not share your account, password nor password hints.
5. Tell a friend or family member about your new acquaintance, someone the acquaintance will know nothing about – In case the person ends up becoming a stalker, you should always have someone that you can go to about people you meet who can be a part of your safety plan that no one will know about.
6. Conduct your own back ground check – Utilize online keyword searches and resources such as public records searches, department of corrections websites both state and federal, and the National Domestic Violence Registry. Sometimes critical information about a person’s past that can help you make an informed decision about the relationship is literally just one click away.
The thrill of a new relationship is just that, a thrill, and it won’t last forever; it’s a rush, a high triggered by chemicals in the brain called endorphins designed to make you feel good. Utilize extra caution when forming new relationships of any kind. New friendly and romantic relationships can be rewarding but with abuse and violence being a traumatizing, financially devastating and even deadly fate to many in society, it’s worth it to take extra heed and caution to protect yourself from an abuser.
This morning, I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Heather Childers of Fox News Live on the cost of domestic violence and about one of my organizations, the National Domestic Violence Registry (NDVR). The mission of NDVR is to be an on-line, national resource that will aid in the awareness and prevention of domestic and family violence by posting the convictions of domestic abuse perpetrators and those offenders who have long term criminal orders of protections placed against them, and to provide comprehensive education about technology based programs, prevention, safety, and intervention models relating to domestic violence.
With the team of partners and endorsements that we have from folks like Russel Blake, Ashley Judd and New York State Women, Inc., we are seeing the public’s growing acknowledgement that something more must be done to prevent and intervene in this epidemic we call domestic violence.
Watch the video at http://video.foxnews.com/v/1127127727001/cost-of-domestic-violence/