Domestic Violence Advocate, Social Activist, Consultant & Entertainment Producer

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The Murder of America’s Child

THE MURDER OF AMERICA’S CHILD

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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.

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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.

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Take Heed In New Relationships

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.

Lyn Twyman and The National Domestic Violence Registry on Fox News

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 BlakeAshley 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/

Domestic Violence in the African-American and Asian Communities

By Lyn Twyman

Written for a magazine debuting for Blasians

Domestic violence is a social pandemic that has no color barriers.  Every race, nation, society and culture experiences it.  No one is immune from knowing someone who has been affected by it.  Unfortunately, domestic violence is more prevalent in some cultures than others.  By comparison, U.S. statistics show that African-Americans have higher reported incidences of domestic violence than Asians.  According to a study released this year titled “Nearly Four Million California Adults Are Victims of Intimate Partner Violence“, in California alone, African Americans experienced the highest number of intimate partner violence since turning age 18 at a rate of 30.6 percent.  This number was recorded for a 12 month span from April 2010 and preceding.  In the same study, the Asian community had a reported rate of 23.4%.  According to these numbers, it does not mean that domestic violence occurs less necessarily, but what this does mean is Asians are less likely to report abuse and one reason for this is societal factors.

I am a bi-racial American; my mother is Filipino and my father is black.  Unfortunately, I grew up experiencing domestic violence in the home.  After years of research of my family history, background, understanding more about both cultures and a little bit of therapy, I came to the same conclusion that the way we view and treat domestic violence is often a culturally based experience.  How else could I explain that my mother, a young, college educated Filipina could subject herself to psychological and financial abuse by a man who only had a GED and a few years in the military?  Myths surrounding domestic violence say that people who are educated wouldn’t become victims of domestic violence but countless stories of people with plenty of education, fame, and money  have proved the opposite.

Understanding who you and I are as blacks, African-Americans, Africans or Asians and how we relate to domestic violence is extremely important because so much of how we naturally view the world around us, even when it comes to dealing with abuse, is rooted in our culture.  The culture of African-Americans is rooted in the days of slavery, in Africans and other African-American ancestors, as most do not know what tribes we descended from.  As painful as the past of our ancestors is, this is a part of our cultural history and it was a highly impactful one, even for Africans that endured colonization in their own homelands.  Historically, blacks have been stripped from their tribes, clans, their communities then molded into someone’s else culture only to be defamed, deprived,  stripped, beaten, raped or killed.  Families were broken apart and women and children were used as commodities.

Then our ancestors transcended into eras such as Civil Rights (1955 – 1968) and South African Apartheid (1948 -1994) and we see yet another generation of blacks, African-Americans and Africans who had yet to contend with more hostility and the breakdown of families and self worth, the core of any healthy society.  The end of both violent and degrading eras still did not quail the number of fatherless homes, or reverse the affects from governmental atrocities that frivolously imprisoned black men for looking at white women.  The end to these eras did not reverse the effects of those who were chastised for stepping foot in  “Whites Only” establishments or the harsh sentencing that was handed down for stealing something as simple as a loaf of bread to feed ones family.

So when we look at the alarmingly high number of domestic violence incidences within the Black community, we may often wonder ‘Why’, even though most Black communities are considered the minority around the world.  In part, it is due to the residual effects from the years of historical oppression from institutionalized racism, and note I said residual effects.  Low income, unemployment, inadequate education and urban over-crowding are all factors that correlate to higher incidences of domestic violence (Ref. Encyclopedia of Domestic Violence).  Lack of money, resources and education have all been contributing factors that has affected our communities for generations.  In other words, the generational hostility, aggression, lack of healthy support systems and limited access to mental health services resulting from years of injustice has lent to the violence and this cannot be ignored.

The Asian culture, on the other hand, has strong patriarchal values and emphasizes the obedience of girls and women which contributes to a different dynamic of domestic violence.  A sense of family honor is something taught from an early age and to speak ill of one’s family is often considered a disgrace.  Thus, we see less reported incidences of domestic violence in Asian communities.  Psychological abuse is heavily carried out.  Physical punishment is often viewed as deserved or warranted under most circumstances between husbands toward their wives.   It often seems that it takes severe and multiple counts of punishment before it is finally declared abuse in many Asian cultures.

Domestic violence isoften seen as a “family matter” in Asian culture.  Additionally, Asians have been very accustomed to strong religious influences like Confucius, Hinduism, Buddhism and even Catholicism that emphasizes emotional control and duty, thus resulting in little recognition of psychological abuse when it is present.  The factors mentioned all contribute to why Asians are less likely to report abuse.

Unlike the California report on African-Americans and domestic violence that looked at reports within the State,  41 – 61% of Asian women report experiencing physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner during their lifetime.1 This is higher than the rates in a national study reported by Whites (21.3%), African Americans (26.3%), Hispanics of any race (21.2%), people of mixed race (27.0%), and American Indians and Alaskan Natives (30.7%), and Asians and Pacific Islanders (12.8%).2   This goes back to my point that Asians are less likely to report abuse so numbers could very well be skewed in some instances.

In no way am I excusing domestic violence but I do believe that we must understand how blacks and Asians view domestic violence and the psychology behind those views in an effort to better help our communities.  More importantly, we must address this issue in a proper, tactful way with family and friends, perhaps even helping us gain more understanding if we are the ones being abused.  Understanding our culture is especially important if we are to properly advocate for immigrants who are new to our perspective countries.  If we fail to understand these historical and cultural factors of which we are as a society, why he/she hits or why he/she remains silent and stays in a relationship with abuse, then victims will continue to not receive the proper help they deserve and live safer, healthier lives.

If you find yourself in a situation where there is domestic violence, please contact your local domestic violence organization or call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) 1.800.787.3224 (TTY).  You can also visit the Hot Peach Pages at http://www.hotpeachpages.net/index.html to find more information for your perspective country.

——————–

  1. The low end of the range is from a study by A. Raj and J. Silverman, Intimate partner violence against South-Asian women in Greater Boston Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association. 2002; 57(2): 111-114. The high end of the range is from a study by M. Yoshihama, Domestic violence against women of Japanese descent in Los Angeles: Two methods of estimating prevalence. Violence Against Women. 1999; 5(8):869-897.
  2. Tjaden P, Thoennes N. Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence: Research Report. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2000.

Lyn Twyman is an advocate, activist, consultant, radio personality, entertainment producer and founder of CourageNewtork.com, an online community and resource for domestic violence.  Lyn is also a first generation Asian and African-American.  She grew up with the many facets that come with being a bi-racial individual in America.  She also grew up watching all forms of abuse in the lives of her parents.  As a survivor of child abuse and intimate partner violence she chose to break the cycle of violence within her own family and families across the country.  Lyn is passionate about ending domestic violence, awareness for its root causes, prevention, family issues and diversity.  For more information about Lyn, please visit www.lyntwyman and also visit www.couragenetwork.com.

Revised 9-9-2015

Part 2: A Look At Wrongful Convictions: Courage Empowerment Forum Welcomes Johnnie Lee Savory

PART 2 FEATURING THE MUSIC OF VARIOUS ARTISTS

We heard from Johnnie in our Part 1 interview last week of Courage Empowerment Forum.  Get ready for Part 2 and learn more about the life of this survivor.

“Injustice is not about color, it’s about people who sit in office that don’t care.” – Johnnie Lee Savory

 

It was early 1977 when the life of a 14 year old was turned completely upside down. There was a double murder and investigators dragged the 14 year old Johnnie Lee Savory into an absolute nightmare. There were witnesses and evidence proving that Johnnie was not the murderer of his friend and friend’s sister but it was not enough to stop his 50 – 100 year original prison sentence. Johnnie would end up spending 30 years of his life behind bars for a crime he did not commit. Furthermore, the State of Illinois has denied multiple requests for DNA testing of evidence that would exonerate Johnnie.

According to The Innocence Project, there have been 273 post-conviction DNA exonerations in the United States. According to the same organization, DNA tests prove that nine Chicago teenagers were convicted in the 1990s of murders they did not commit. Five of them are still behind bars but prosecutors are refusing to acknowledge their innocence.

Johnnie’s plight is the plight of thousands more across our country, lives held captive behind bars because of a criminal justice system that fails to be just. Out of his experience, Johnnie has taken his pain and dedicated his life to helping those who are wrongfully convicted.

Tune in Tuesday, August 23th at 9 PM Eastern, 6pm Pacific to www.party934.com, 94.9 FM Hudson Valley, NY to hear Johnnie Lee Savory, wrongful conviction advocate and information specialist to Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.

Visit Johnnie’s site at www.thesavoryfiles.com and also visit www.law.northwestern.edu/cwc/newsandevents/Savory.html

You can listen to previous broadcasts of Courage Empowerment Forum by, visitingwww.courageempowermentforum.com

Join Courage Empowerment Forum on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Courage-Empowerment-Forum-Party934-Radio/189361497744391?v=wall

also on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/courageempower

A Look At Wrongful Convictions: Courage Empowerment Forum Welcomes Johnnie Lee Savory

FEATURING THE MUSIC OF VARIOUS ARTISTS

It was early 1977 when the life of a 14 year old was turned completely upside down. There was a double murder and investigators dragged the 14 year old Johnnie Lee Savory into an absolute nightmare. There were witnesses and evidence proving that Johnnie was not the murderer of his friend and friend’s sister but it was not enough to stop his 50 – 100 year original prison sentence. Johnnie would end up spending 30 years of his life behind bars for a crime he did not commit. Furthermore, the State of Illinois has denied multiple requests for DNA testing of evidence that would exonerate Johnnie.

According to The Innocence Project, there have been 273 post-conviction DNA exonerations in the United States. According to the same organization, DNA tests prove that nine Chicago teenagers were convicted in the 1990s of murders they did not commit. Five of them are still behind bars but prosecutors are refusing to acknowledge their innocence.

Johnnie’s plight is the plight of thousands more across our country, lives held captive behind bars because of a criminal justice system that fails to be just. Out of his experience, Johnnie has taken his pain and dedicated his life to helping those who are wrongfully convicted.

Tune in Tuesday, August 16th at 9 PM Eastern, 6pm Pacific to www.party934.com, 94.9 FM Hudson Valley, NY to hear Johnnie Lee Savory, wrongful conviction advocate and information specialist to Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.

Visit Johnnie’s site at www.thesavoryfiles.com and also visit www.law.northwestern.edu/cwc/newsandevents/Savory.html

www.lifeafterbirthbook.com.

You can listen to previous broadcasts of Courage Empowerment Forum by, visitingwww.courageempowermentforum.com

Join Courage Empowerment Forum on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Courage-Empowerment-Forum-Party934-Radio/189361497744391?v=wall

also on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/courageempower

The Victory of a Former Teenage Mom: Courage Empowerment Forum Welcomes Author and Youth Mentor Summer Owens

 FEATURING THE MUSIC OF VARIOUS ARTISTS

About sixteen years ago, at the age of 15, Summer was just another “statistic”. Now sixteen years later, she is a woman who has beaten the odds. Teenage moms makes up about 11% of all births in the United States and many do not finish school. Summer Owens is the author of Life After Birth: A Memoir of Survival and Success as a Teenage Mother, a personal story of her journey surviving and triumphing as a young mother, with tons of lessons and practical applications.

Although Summer was a teenage mother, there was something about her pregnancy that was atypical, and the assault on her life that caused her pregnancy left her frightened, embarrassed, ashamed and immensely confused. But as an over comer, Summer has chosen to take her experience and candidly reveal her life successfully to help all teenage moms.

A busy mom and a college graduate with two degrees herself, Summer is unstoppable. She is also a young woman’s mentor in her local community and travels around the country speaking to crowds about how to affectively help teenage moms.

Tune in Tuesday, July 26th at 9 PM Eastern, 6pm Pacific to www.party934.com, 94.9 FM Hudson Valley, NY to hear Summer Owens, youth mentor and author of Life After Birth: A Memoir of Survival and Success as a Teenage Mother .

Visit Sophia’s site at www.lifeafterbirthbook.com.

You can listen to previous broadcasts of Courage Empowerment Forum by, visitingwww.courageempowermentforum.com

Join Courage Empowerment Forum on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Courage-Empowerment-Forum-Party934-Radio/189361497744391?v=wall

also on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/courageempower