Did You Know?

What is Domestic Violence? 

by, Ascellia Arenas

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, let’s talk about it. The problem is real. We can’t ignore it, make jokes about it, or continue to blame, shame and humiliate the victims. Victims of DV are all around us but they are shrouded in secrecy. It’s time to shed some light and make it STOP.  
According to the US Department of Justice, the definition of Domestic Violence is as follows, “We define domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person.”  
The perception that Domestic Violence (DV) only happens to a “certain” type of woman is the main reason why this problem persists. DV can happen and does happen regardless of situational circumstances, ” Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. Domestic violence occurs in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships and can happen to intimate partners who are married, living together, or dating.”

Domestic Violence (DV) has a far reaching effect that impacts the lives of the victims, their children, and the community, as well. Children who are exposed to DV are more likely to have social development issues than those who are not. The Department of Justice informs, “Children, who grow up witnessing domestic violence, are among those seriously affected by this crime. Frequent exposure to violence in the home not only predisposes children to numerous social and physical problems, but also teaches them that violence is a normal way of life – therefore, increasing their risk of becoming society’s next generation of victims and abusers.”

My first experience with DV happened when I was a teenager. I knew what happened to me was wrong and I felt the need to protect myself and fight back. Imagine me 5’5 and 115 pounds thinking I could defend myself against a young man probably 3times my size. I tried it though, I wasn’t going to let anybody put hands on me! I would push back, fight back, earn my respect, or so I thought. I was not aware, as I am now, that I was being  abused. 

I continued in that cycle of abusive relationships well in to my adulthood. Defending myself, arguing, cursing, fighting back when boys in my life wanted to control me. Then, when DV reared its ugly head in my marriage, I continued to “fight for my respect” and those episodes of violence persisted until I decided to get help and consequently walk away from that unhealthy relationship. My children witnessed DV: it has impacted their lives tremendously. 

The  consequent divorce impacted all of our lives significantly for many years after. I lost everything I worked for. I spent years in court fighting for my rights, my safety (& my children’s safety), and for a better life. 

I want women and men to learn what DV is, how it affects others, and what they can do to prevent it from reoccurring. 

We can change only if we desire to be better. 

 Learn more from The Department of Justice 

Celli Arenas
Celli Arenas
Celli Arenas, published author, has been featured in several magazines, such as: MIA Magazine, Success Magazine, Legacy Magazine. She is the host blogger at cellibration.com, and hosts MIA-Live.net for BlogTalk Radio. Her books, “30 Days of Dynamic Pursuit” a self-help journal, and “Sidetracked: He Used To Love Me”, a coming of age novel,  are both available at Amazon.

Domestic Violence: More than Just an Incident

In the news today there was a story about a single mother of two. She lives not too far away from me. Our neighborhood reflects a community of hardworking people; the affluent, business owners, athletes, doctors, nurses, lawyers. The domestic violence that we usually see in the news, “just does not happen” out here. Sadly, attitudes like that force women in to silence. An act of domestic violence does not begin and end with one incident. It is a cyclical chain of events that begins as a little secret then explodes in to a traumatizing display of pain, anguish, and despair. We spend so much time instructing our youth about bullies that they may or may not encounter at school; but, what about the bullies that live under their own roof?

The story involves a mother and her boyfriend. They were involved in an disagreement. The end result was that they both died. Apparently, police gunfire was also involved but not specified in the reports; it is still under investigation. When I heard the news, while I was driving down the very street where the incident occurred, I could not hold back the tears. This mother would not ever have another chance to kiss or hug her children again. This mother will never get another chance to see her children perform or achieve great things again. This mother will never get the chance to meet her grandchildren, or see them grow. This mother was stripped of her life because one man felt that he had ultimate control over her life and permission to take it away from her.

If you think that domestic violence begins and ends with one incident, you are mistaken. Domestic violence begins with the systematic breaking down of the victim’s self-esteem. It seems innocent or maybe even constructive at first but it has the intent of future manipulation, mental degradation, and physical domination. The aggressor may begin by picking at his/her victim, degrading the way that she (or he) looks, acts, speaks, walks. Also, the aggressor attacks the victim’s interests,friends, family. The aggressor will minimize the importance of or negatively criticize things that the victim does well. The aggressor seeks to isolate the victim from friends and family in an effort to obtain physical and mental control. The victim is unaware that the aggressor has the intent of exerting mental and physical dominance because she (or he) is in “love”. This is what the aggressor wants the victim to believe. Once the victim has fallen in to the trap of lies the manipulation begins: the yelling, the fighting, the shoving, and then the hitting. Often times, the victim blames herself (or himself). They will try to rationalize what role they played in the abuse, try to excuse it, or deny that it even happened. Unfortunately, the woman in the story from the news, was held in a full-nelson choke hold and shot in her head.

I am concerned that when a woman calls the police to report domestic violence [DV] (shouting, shoving, fighting, possession of personal items/having those items withheld) they ask the victim if she is bleeding? Are they not aware that those manipulative events are the precursor to more abusive acts? I am also concerned that some women feel that people will perceive them as being weak when they get up and take a stand. I believe that this is why so many women go inside of themselves and never tell anyone. They don’t believe that anyone will care or try to help them because they were careless enough to attach themselves to an abusive partner.

The woman, from my neighborhood, who has two children, died because of DV. The effects of DV linger and become a part of the psyche of the person who has endured it. It also effects the lives of other people; it has venom that poisons the lives of future generations as well. The effects of this case will linger in the minds of her two children for the rest of their lives. Domestic violence is clearly more than just one isolated incident.