“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
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/
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.
- 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.
- 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.