Browsing Category

Abuse

PAVE 015: Work With Perpetrators, differences in Europe regarding Perpetrator programs, Changing the Judical system, creating an European Framework and preventing violence in close relationships with Alessandra Pauncz

Alessandra Pauncz has been working in the field of domestic violence for 20 years and has covered many areas of expertise. She has advocated and worked for victims of domestic violence as a shelter worker, psychologist, researcher, manager, trainer, and in fund and conscious raising at a local , provincial, regional, national and European level ( She founded and ran the first Centre in Italy working with perpetrators (namely the – Centre for abusive men), and set up the National Italian Network of work with perpetatrors (Relive). Additionally, Alessandra has published articles and books like Shifting power: How to recognize and overcome psychologically abusive relationships

She is the executive director of Work With Perpetrators. The European Network for the Work With Perpetrators of domestic violence (WWP EN) is a membership association of organisations directly or indirectly working with people who perpetrate violence in close relationships. The main focus of WWP EN is violence perpetrated by men against women and children.

The overall mission of WWP EN is to prevent violence in close relationships as a gender-based phenomenon and to foster gender equality. More specifically, the mission of WWP EN is to improve the safety of women and their children and others at risk from violence in close relationships, through the promotion of effective work with those who perpetrate this violence, mainly men.

Today we will discuss  why WWP focusses on perpetrators of violence, why perpetrators don’t see themselves as a perpetrator, the differences within Europe regarding to perpetrator programs, why working with perpetrators makes you less helpless and how we can change the judical system.

TOPICS DISCUSSED AND ORGANISATIONS/EVENTS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

2.25: The beginning of WWP

5:55  Why WWP focuses on perpetrators

7:50 Are men really held accountable via the media

9:00 Violence in Italy

11:00 Why the media isn’t helpful and why perpetrators don’t see themselves as a perpetrator

12:28 Is there a big difference between perpetrator programs accross Europe?

15:15 About the coming annual workshop

18:00 The effect of pornography on boys

19:55 Behind the scenes of the European framework perpetrator programs

21:00 Publicly available research

21:45 The different kind of perpetrators referrals

25:00 What a perpatrator feels

28:10 Events coming up for WWP

29:00 What do you want to accomplished?

31:00 Pressing issues that WWP faces

34:00 What kind of change do we need?

35:40 Is a perpatror sorry for himself or for the victim? What does he regret exactly?

36:00 How Alessandra was being haunted by the ghosts who haunted all the women Alessandra has worked with and how that influenced how she looked at the world. And how her son helped her to get rid of those ghosts.

42:00 Why working with perpetrators makes you less helpless.

44:25 Recommending book allen Jenkins

TWEETABLES and QUOTES:

 

MORE ABOUT ALESSANDRA PAUNCZ AND WORK WITH PERPETRATORS:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WwpEuropeanNetwork/

The website of WWP was: https://www.work-with-perpetrators.eu/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/european_network_wwp

BOOKS MENTIONED:

https://www.amazon.com/Shifting-power-recognize-psychologically-relationships/dp/1500227951

https://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Ethical-Parallel-Political-Journey/dp/1905541406/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1534776252&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=allan+jenkins+becoming+ethical

MORE ABOUT PAVE

Website: https://www.aliannelooijenga.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PAVE-professionals-against-violence-podcast-1253878638026611/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aliannelooijenga/

SPONSORS

If you want to be a guest on the PAVE podcast, a volunteer working for PAVE, are you interested in becoming a PAVE sponsor, do you want to help us in an other way, email me to see how we can work together to end the violence against women and children.

email: alianne@aliannelooijenga.com

Abuse, Activism, Interview, PAVE Podcast

PAVE 014: Safe Child Act, ACE studies, Protective Mothers, Parental Alienation with Barry Goldstein

Barry Goldstein is an internationally recognized domestic violence author, speaker and advocate. He is the author of five of the leading books about domestic Violence and child custody, most recently, The Quincy Solution: Stop Domestic Violence and Save $500 Billion. Barry will be the featured speaker at an international conference in Melbourne, Australia on August 3. He developed the Safe Child Act which is the solution to the widespread failure of custody courts to protect children in abuse cases. Barry frequently serves as an expert witness to try to educate courts about current research. He is Director of Research for the Stop Abuse Campaign and co-chair of the Child Custody Task Group for NOMAS.

To listen to the PAVE podcast Episode 014 with Barry Goldstein  please click here:

About your host: 

Alianne Looijenga is an international speaker motivating organizations to effectively help survivors of partner abuse, child abuse and sexual abuse. She is also the founder of aliannelooijenga.com and the Professionals against violence (PAVE) podcast.   Alianne is a survivor of sexual abuse (including rape); partner abuse; and is the mother of twins who were abused by their biological father after a judge granted him visitation rights when the children were three years old.

Alianne is dedicated to the empowerment of survivors of abuse and to support organisations working to end the violence against women and children.

TOPICS DISCUSSED AND ORGANISATIONS/EVENTS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

2.20 How did you become a domestic violence speaker, author and advocate?

4.00 The definition of a protective parent?

6:29 PAS

  • Bad reputation
  • Court professionals, doesn’t know about the origin of PAS

7.00 Joan Meier ( is a nationally recognized expert on domestic violence and the law, appellate litigation, and clinical law teaching)

8:26 The criminalisation of protective mothers

11.27 Safe child act

20:00 When abusers try to regain control over their victims using the family court system.

25:00 Working with Mo Hannah and being an author.

32:00 How Barry got the nickname “Believer”. (+ court example of bad judgement and the consequences of not being believed by a judge)

TWEETABLES and QUOTES:

“Courts need to use the right experts. The original decision was to turn to mental health professionals as if they are experts in everything. And yes they are professionals in psychology, they are experts in mental illness. But they are not experts in domestic violence. They are not experts in child sexual abuse. And when they try to resolve those issues that’s where we go in really bad directions. When we have an DV issue, courts should use someone who is an expert in DV.”

MORE ABOUT BARRY GOLDSTEIN

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/GoldsteinBarry/

Amazon: Scared-Leave-Afraid-Stay-Violence

Amazon: Quincy-Solution-Barry-Goldstein

The website of the stop abuse campaign is: http://stopabusecampaign.org/about/board/barry-goldstein

MORE ABOUT PAVE

Website: https://www.aliannelooijenga.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aliannespeaks/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aliannelooijenga/

SPONSORS

If you want to be a guest on the PAVE podcast, a volunteer working for PAVE, are you interested in becoming a PAVE sponsor, do you want to help us in an other way, email me to see how we can work together to end the violence against women and children.

email: alianne@aliannelooijenga.com

 

 

Abuse, Activism, PAVE Podcast

PAVE 013: Swaggarlicious- using football to induce confidence and self-worth in people suffering from mental health issues with Manisha Tailor

Manisha Tailor

Manisha Tailor is a trained Head teacher who previously worked as a deputy head in a primary school. She has always had a passion for football and her personal experience of becoming a young carer 20 years ago inspired her to develop work around mental health using sport. In 2013 she received the Woman in Football Award at the Asian Football Awards and was honoured with an MBE in the 2017 new years honours list for her services to football anf diversity in sport. She tutors for The FA delivering equality education as well as one of few female ethnic minority women who holds part time contract as an academy coach at Queens Park Rangers Football Club. 

She has recently published a teaching resource to help teachers and parents create open dialogue around different issues concerning wellbeing and our mental health.  It is titled “Child in Mind” and available to purchase on Amazon.

To listen to the PAVE podcast Episode 013 with Manisha Tailor from Swaggarlicious please click here: https://itunes.apple.com/nl/podcast/pave-professionals-against-violence-podcast/id1203285774?mt=2

About your host: 

Alianne Looijenga is an international speaker motivating organizations to effectively help survivors of partner abuse, child abuse and sexual abuse. She is also the founder of aliannelooijenga.com and the Professionals against violence (PAVE) podcast.   Alianne is a survivor of sexual abuse (including rape); partner abuse; and is the mother of twins who were abused by their biological father after a judge granted him visitation rights when the children were three years old.

Alianne is dedicated to the empowerment of survivors of abuse and to support organisations working to end the violence against women and children.

Manisha Tailor

TOPICS DISCUSSED AND ORGANISATIONS/EVENTS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

0-5:00 About Manisha and Swaggarlicious

12:00 FA’s equality education, football for all, the FA steering group

17:50 Running a business on your own earnings

20:00 How football helped Manisha, because football was a way for Manisha to help her brother with his disease. Manisha’s twinbrother became nonverbal after a series of traumatic events and long term bullying.

23:00 Becoming a young deputy head, losing feeling with the game, fueling anger in wanting to be succesful and finding a way to cope with anger, frustration and sadness.

  • Using football to reconnect with her brother and her emotions.

28:00 Chosing for her brother instead of her own dreams, untill he is happy and can take care of his self

29:00 Finding peace and being happy with her life

31:00 Coping with feelings of guilt towards her brother

32:00 How Manisha lives her life to the fullest within the situation she is given

33:00 How children came up with the name Swaggarlicious

38:00 Empowering girls to become changemakers

39:00 Manisha’s ultimate goals and dreams to:

Work fulltime at a professional footballclub and not to only empower those who suffer from mental health but support government bodies, service providers that in the years to come would be an accomplisment.

44:00 what Manisha needs to continue and ways we can support:

45:00 being author of “child in mind” book

47:00 Interesting read: “the effective board member” from Karl George

TWEETABLES:

MORE ABOUT MANISHA and SWAGGARLICIOUS

The website is: http://swaggarlicious.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/swaggarlicious/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Swaggarlicious_

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/swaggarlicious_/?hl=nl

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Child-Mind-teaching-understanding-wellbeing/dp/152721852X

MORE ABOUT PAVE

Website: https://www.aliannelooijenga.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aliannespeaks/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aliannelooijenga/

SPONSORS

If you want to be a guest on the PAVE podcast, a volunteer working for PAVE, if you are interested in becoming a PAVE sponsor, or want to help us in an other way, email me to see how we can work together to end the violence against women and children.

email: alianne@aliannelooijenga.com

To listen to the PAVE podcast Episode 013 with Manisha Tailor from Swaggarlicious please click here: https://itunes.apple.com/nl/podcast/pave-professionals-against-violence-podcast/id1203285774?mt=2

 

Abuse, Family, Feminism, Gender Equality, Health, Mindset, PAVE Podcast, Personal

PAVE 012: Domestic abuse training & sexual violence training in every organisation with Lyndsey Dearlove from UK says NO MORE

Lyndsey Dearlove UK says no more

Lyndsey Dearlove has spent the past couple of years developing UK SAYS NO MORE – a national initiative to raise awareness of domestic abuse and sexual violence in the UK and Bright Sky – a domestic abuse and sexual violence awareness and prevention app for victims of abuse, professionals and for those who are concerned about a friend, colleague or family member. Prior to this Lyndsey has worked with victims of domestic abuse, sexual violence and violent crime for over 15 years.

She has managed domestic abuse outreach support services, refuges, children and family services, Independent domestic violence services (IDVA) and co-ordinated multi-agency risk assessment conferences (MARAC’s). During her time as the manager of the Hillingdon domestic abuse outreach service, she developed the award winning Butterfly Project which is an adaptable model for survivor led – peer support groups. Lyndsey has extensive experience in creating and delivering training around gender constructs, peer support, young people and abuse, risk assessment and management, domestic abuse and sexual violence.

She has delivered training to the Metropolitan police, Local authorities, not for profit organisations, universities and colleges and most recently the National Football League (NFL), where she created and delivered training around gender, domestic abuse and sexual violence. Lyndsey enjoys bringing people to together; to share experiences, ideas, knowledge and expertise and truly believes that only by working together can we end domestic abuse and sexual violence.

ABOUT HESTIA – Hestia delivers services across London and the surrounding regions, as well as campaign and advocate nationally on the issues that affect the people we work with. Last year they supported over 9,000 men, women and children. This includes victims of modern slavery, women and children who have experienced domestic abuse, young care leavers and older people. From giving someone a home, to helping them to get the right mental health support, they support people at the moment of crisis and enable them to build a life beyond a crisis. Hestia is supported by more than 460 volunteers across London who provide specialist skills such as art therapy, yoga, IT, gardening and cooking, as well as befriending and fundraising. Hestia is proud to be the home of UK SAYS NO MORE, bringing together a diverse coalition of individuals, charities, businesses and public sector organisations to campaign for an end to domestic abuse and sexual violence.

UK SAYS NO MORE is a national campaign launched to raise awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault across the UK. The campaign was launched by London charity Hestia in 2016. UK SAYS NO MORE seeks to unite and strengthen a diverse community of members of the public and organisations nationwide to actively take a stand against domestic violence and sexual assault under one powerful, visual symbol. The campaign provides open-source tools and resources for individuals and organisations to take action and get involved in ending domestic violence and sexual assault. Together we can challenge the myths and misconceptions around these issues, share resources and information, and ultimately work together to make real positive change.

To listen to the PAVE podcast Episode 012 with Lyndsey Dearlove please click here:

About your host: 

Alianne Looijenga is an international speaker motivating organizations to effectively help survivors of partner abuse, child abuse and sexual abuse. She is also the founder of aliannelooijenga.com and the Professionals against violence (PAVE) podcast.   Alianne is a survivor of sexual abuse (including rape); partner abuse; and is the mother of twins who were abused by their biological father after a judge granted him visitation rights when the children were three years old.

Alianne is dedicated to the empowerment of survivors of abuse and to support organisations working to end the violence against women and children.

Lyndsey Dearlove UK says no more

TOPICS DISCUSSED AND ORGANISATIONS/EVENTS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

0-19 minutes: About Hestia, UK says no more, Lyndsey Dearlove

20.00 NFL ambassadorprogram where football players teach other boys about what masculinity means in this society, concent in healthy relationships and what their role is to end the violence against women. 

“If I am unable to drive someone home in a car why are you able to decide if you are able to have consensual sex or not”

25:00 No more hub

26:00 UK says no more week

30:00 When Lyndsey is old and is looking back at her life, what does she want to have accomplished?

34:00 minuten Victim blaming Knowledge is nothing untill you share it “

“We have to have domestic abuse training and sexual violence training in every single organisation”

36:00 listening without judging

37:00 an exercise Lyndsey always does with her students to let them feel the reality survivors face when leaving an abuser. 

40:00 Managing UK says no more and working with surviving children

45:00 The importance of education 

49:00 How to leave your work at work

50:00 Taking time to reflect

51:00 With all things going on, what is Lyndsey most eager to solve

57:00 Advice inspiration and a succes story

 

TWEETABLES:

MORE ABOUT UK SAYS NO MORE

Our website is: http://uksaysnomore.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UKSAYSNOMORE/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/UKSAYSNOMORE

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/uksaysnomore/?hl=en

MORE ABOUT PAVE

https://www.instagram.com/aliannelooijenga

www.aliannelooijenga.com

SPONSORS

If you want to be a guest on the PAVE podcast, a volunteer working for PAVE, if you are interested in becoming a PAVE sponsor, or want to help us in an other way, email me to see how we can work together to end the violence against women and children.

email: alianne@aliannelooijenga.com

To listen to the PAVE podcast Episode 012 with Lyndsey Dearlove from UK says NO MORE please click here:

Abuse, Activism, Gender Equality, PAVE Podcast, Podcast, Women's rights

PAVE 011: Fighting your own battles first before you can save others and become a superwoman next door with Upasana Chauhan

Upasana Chauhan

Upasana Chauhan is the founder of Superwoman Next Door. She is an UN Representative  of Manup Campaign, spread across 23 countries to involve men in the battle of Gender Equality. Upasana send me an impressive list of 14 organisations/projects she is involved with including many from the UN, but it would be a too long (although impressive) list to share on this blogpage. If you want to read it for yourself, click here: http://www.womenshealthsection.com/content/documents/Upasana_Chauhan_Resume.pdf

Upasana’s dream and passion is to encourage and empower every girl next door to be courageous to DARE TO DREAM and be her own superwoman to get those dreams. She is on the drafting committee for the Newyork City for CEDAW bill.

To listen to the PAVE podcast Episode 011 with Upasana Chauhan please click here: PAVE podcast with Upasana Chauhan on Itunes

About your host: 

Alianne Looijenga is an international speaker motivating organizations to effectively help survivors of partner abuse, child abuse and sexual abuse. She is also the founder of aliannelooijenga.com and the Professionals against violence (PAVE) podcast.   Alianne is a survivor of sexual abuse (including rape); partner abuse; and is the mother of twins who were abused by their biological father after a judge granted him visitation rights when the children were three years old.

Alianne is dedicated to the empowerment of survivors of abuse and to support organisations working to end the violence against women and children.

TOPICS DISCUSSED AND ORGANISATIONS/EVENTS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

1:24 : Growing up in India

2:50 Paving your own path and paving the path for others 

3:15 NGO “I do dare”, ManUp campaign of the UN, Upasana’s career so far. 

7:00 Is there a change within the men of India, about how they view women? 

7:30 How men teach other men about women’s rights

8:00 Losing your identity as a woman when you marry in India

10:00 What Upasana discovered when she was looking for an arranged marriage

12:00 Passing values on to your children

14:50 What drives Upasana

21:00 When women are objects and have no rights

24:00 How do you re-energize when you fight so hard for other women’s rights?

32:00 Why people believe that they are entitled to judge another human being

33:00 Rediscovering your identity

35:00 Female suicides in India 

I can do anything for them, but I can’t go to their homes with them. Because that is a battle that each one has to fight for themselves.

I had to fight the battle myself inside my own home first. Then only I can fight it globally. You have to first fight it for yourself.

40:00 The importance of financial independence

Take that fear out of your body. Throw the fear out. Fear controls you. You get scared what happens if I do this, or what happens if I do that.

44:00 Upasana’s advice if you want to change other people’s lives

46:00 Why your work should not be about you

48:00 When you respond with kindness and love to people who put you down, you include them into your journey

51:00 How we can support Upasana by sharing stories about women who live next door to us.

“Alianne is equally Oprah Winfrey as Oprah Winfrey is Alianne.

You are your own superwoman in your own way doing your own amazing thing. So is Oprah. The only difference is that the whole world knows Oprah, and your neighbor knows Alianne. But is Alianne any less than Oprah? No. And that’s why I started SuperWoman Next Door.” – Upasana Chauhan 

59:00 Initial ending: yeah kidding, we talked further

1:03:00 Get out of that thing that holds you down

Be your own superwoman. Don’t wait for someone to save you. Nobody will come and save you. You will have to save yourself. There is no prince charming. And even if there is, he can come and join you while you save yourself. But you don’t have to sit and wait around. You have to take control.

1:08:00 Being grateful in difficult times, ending. 

TWEETABLES:

MORE ABOUT UPASANA AND SUPERWOMAN NEXT DOOR

https://twitter.com/upasanac?lang=en

https://www.facebook.com/superwomannextdoor/

Superwoman Next Door website

To submit stories to Upasana:

superwomannextdoor@gmail.com

MORE ABOUT PAVE

https://www.instagram.com/aliannelooijenga

Www.aliannelooijenga.com

SPONSORS

If you want to be a guest on the PAVE podcast, a volunteer working for PAVE, if you are interested in becoming a PAVE sponsor, or want to help us in an other way, email me to see how we can work together to end the violence against women and children.

email: alianne@aliannelooijenga.com

To listen to the PAVE podcast Episode 011 with Upasana Chauhan please click here: PAVE podcast with Upasana Chauhan on Itunes

 

Abuse, Activism, Gender Equality, PAVE Podcast, Podcast, UN women, Women's rights

Emotional abuse or Physical abuse, what is worse?

Emotional Abuse Physical Abuse

People ask me regularly whether emotional or physical abuse is worse. As someone who is abused sexually, emotionally, physically and financially I ought to have an opinion about this. From what I see, most people believe that physical abuse is the worst. Maybe because it is so visible? The pain easier to understand?

Physical abuse

I believe that physical abuse contains aspects of emotional abuse, because the emotional and psychological effects of abuse are also present in this type of abuse.  I remember the first time my ex choked me. That’s an emotional experience that never goes away. True, the bruises faded. My body healed on it’s own. But it took a long time before I healed the emotions coming from that physical experience. Even now, I don’t like it when a scarf touches my neck very tightly. I don’t wear turtlenecks and if I do it is often to challenge myself because I don’t want to connect my past experiences with the feeling of having something around my neck. I want to be free of that burden and don’t give in to negative associations my mind has made from that experience.

Emotional abuse

The thing with emotional abuse is this: it is harder to recognise and to comprehend especially because it is so vindictive, often hidden and not very obvious. It is harder to understand and to recover from it.  Healing emotions, in particular in situations of child and partnerabuse is very difficult. The effect abuse has in your life, both short and long term is enormous. The path to healing is a difficult rocky one that needs constant awareness.

Healing process

If you look strictly; with physical abuse it is your body and the body does the job itself (NOTE: if someone is not abused to the extent that he or she has broken something or in pain for the rest of his/her life of course).

With emotional abuse YOU are the one who has to work. Most likely there are patterns of emotional abuse that have existed for a long time, maybe a feeling of dependence, lack of self-confidence and you might have given control to the other person for so long that you don’t know who you are and what you want anymore or now afraid of making choices. Maybe you don’t dare to say no to the other person and always give in by doing what the other person expects you to do and you probably don’t know why exactly. It is probably hard to accept that you are the victim of abuse and to understand how and in what kinds of ways you have been abused. Next to that you might have to deal with the controlling and manipulating behaviour of an ex-partner or parent that can linger on for years after breaking up the relationship making it hard to create new healthy patterns.

Physical abuse contains aspects of emotional abuse. Physical and emotional abuse can be equally difficult to heal. The difficulty of healing depends on the type of abusive situations and the thoughts you created around that experience.

How do you interpretate the abuse?

I believe that both emotional and physical abuse have in common that emotional abuse is involved. And where emotional abuse is involved there is work to be done to recover from it. Change won’t happen automatically. Although I am known for my opinions I cannot say what is worse; emotional or physical abuse. Because that depends from one person to another.

The way you interpretate your experience with abuse will determine how you feel, not the experience itself.

None of these two options can be a “winner”. Both are hard to recover from. There is no price to be given. There is only compassion from your fellow survivor who has felt a lot of emotions like you do.

Abuse, Mindset, Personal

Break the silence: How to tell others that you were abused

Break the silence: How to tell others that you were abused

How do you tell your family and (new) friends that you’re a survivor of domestic violence and/or sexual abuse?

Some will say that you just have to “just say it” and others will say you have to plan carefully.

The problem with the first suggestion is being too impulsive, and the problem with the latter is that by planning too much, overthinking too much, you likely will procrastinate and/or create unnecessary worries and anxieties.

I have heard a lot of people say they just want a successful outcome.

But what is a successful outcome? Is there even a successful outcome?

Second: you can never control the “outcome” or the reactions of the person to whom you are telling your story. Nor should you want to, because it is in the reaction of the other person that you can see the value of your relationship with them. It is not your job to be busy thinking about what the other thinks and does. It should be your goal to think about how revealing your secret will benefit you. Telling someone you are a survivor is something you do for yourself.

Although I never hid my story of sexual abuse from my mother, I didn’t tell my story to the rest of my family until I was 26. At first, I was silent to protect my beloved grandfather; after that it was to protect my aunt who was married to the abuser; and as a child, it because I was afraid of the stories of child protective services. And because my uncle threatened, “What would happen to your poor mom” if he wasn’t there to help my mom out with things around the house.

With the help of my friend, I’ve written a looooong document where I told all of my uncles, aunts, and adult nephews and nieces what happened.

I sent the letter and my family went silent. Well… At least until my uncle the abuser responded to prosecute me for defamation. Thereafter I decided to file charges against him for sexual abuse because I discovered the statutory limitations on abuse hadn’t expired yet.

After a little while, my older nephew called me. He told me he was the only one in the whole family who didn’t know that this had happened despite the knowledge of his father (my uncle) and his mother (my aunt).  I had told what happened to someone close to me and that person had told my aunt and my grandmother, and apparently, everyone knew in my family knew after that.

The whole family knew the whole time! I had a really big family. And nobody did anything or talked to me about it!

My nephew concluded the phone call that he would await the judge’s ruling in the case of defamation.

The judge’s ruling was in my favor. Except for the brief phone call from my nephew and the prosecution for defamation, I never heard from my family again.

This experience showed me that there is a difference between family by blood and your chosen family by heart. I am truly more happy to have people in my life who truly love me for who I am and who stand up for me and stick with me when the going gets tough no matter what than the forced family who did nothing to show they cared.

So, back to the second question: what is a successful outcome?

I think it’s about the enormous weight falling from your shoulders. There is no dirty secret anymore. The meaning you give to this abuse becomes less heavy; you essentially free yourself. It opens the doors to accept yourself for who you are, to acknowledge that you have nothing to be ashamed of, and to fully express yourself.

Back to the original question: How do you tell your family and (new) friends that you’re a survivor of domestic violence and/or sexual abuse?

It is important to not “overthink,” you cannot possibly know what the other person is thinking, so stop wasting your time doing so.

Ask yourself: What is your reason for telling?

  • Is your goal to explain your past to another, or maybe your behaviors?
  • To tell someone else why you have certain fears or why you are struggling with depression, suspiciousness or certain sexual issues?
  • Maybe you seek validation and moral support? To let it all out and to heal this wound in your heart caused by the secret’s damaging characteristics?
  • Do you want to protect other (future) victims?

Before you enter the conversation, think things through:

  • How do I explain why I didn’t tell someone sooner (some people most likely wanted to reach out to you sooner)?
  • How do I want to tell (via a written letter, meeting somewhere or maybe both)?
  • When do I want to tell it; it is best to schedule a moment when you both have time for this type of conversation.

As you sit down with the person you feel most comfortable with, someone you trust and who is most likely to believe you, you may still feel nervous. Tell the other person you feel nervous and that you need support from that person after you have told them your story (that gives the listener an idea how he/she should react since your story can come as a complete shock and that person doesn’t know how he/she is allowed to comfort you).

You have to prepare yourself for possible letdowns, too. Sometimes people will have trouble believing you. Remember how difficult it was to accept what happened to you. It’s a good thing to have compassion for the recipient of your story. Others might need time to accept it, too.

At first, it may seem easier to hide from others what you’ve been through. But the secret will grow until you become sick, and it bursts. Whenever you are ready to let this secret go, do it on your own timing, with the people you trust the most. And if you tell others, you can take the people you trust most with you to support you when you tell your story to others.

Some notes:

  • Writing a letter can be a good alternative to a face-to-face meeting if you think that you might be interrupted when you are telling your story. A letter can also help to serve as a guide when you tell your story. It also helps when you have trouble with expressing yourself under pressure.
  • Advice from a therapist can really help before you drop the bomb. He or she can discuss your goals with you, the probable outcomes the conversation can have, and can practice the conversation with you.
  • It is important to know that telling is hard but keeping something like this secret, will damage you deeply, and thereby infect those around you.
  • You have nothing to be ashamed of. You are not alone. 1 out of 3 women are victims of abuse. You have the right to be true to yourself and to tell your story.
  • There is no good or bad way to tell your story.
  • This too shall pass.
  • Most importantly: we need more people to show the world who they really are.

The first time is the heaviest. After this, you gain confidence and it becomes easier every time. Maybe you want to tell others after this, or maybe you don’t. For some, it helps to talk about it more often, while others may not be ready yet to deal with the strong emotions they experience when they talk about the abuse and trauma. It’s okay. It’s important that you break the silence and accept that this is a part of your life. It has shaped you into the person you are now. It’s time to let go of shame. It’s time to break with the victim inside of you. It’s time for you to move on and to start living.

Abuse, Family, Family by blood, Mindset, Personal

How to talk with your children about abuse

How to talk with your children about abuse

One of the hardest things you do after a relationship with an abuser has ended, is talking with your children about their abusive father or mother. Sometimes it can feel if you have to weigh each and every word on a scale and if you are tiptoeing on a very thin string.

Perhaps you’re wondering whether you should bring up the topic when your child doesn’t mention it, how you can talk about what your ex-partner did to you, and what you should actually do with your own emotions. Below you can find a couple of tips. Choose the ones that feel right for you.

Set some ground rules with yourself

Just like there is an age restriction on tonnes of films, it should also exist in your imagination during conversations with your child. Your child is mentally not ready to hear all the horrible details of what their father did to you. You then push all kinds of adult emotions into a tiny body, and your child doesn’t have the mental capacity, nor the ability to handle it. Keep adult topics far away from your child’s ears. In my house I have the strict rule; subject A (which I never mention out loud) is only discussed at night when the children are asleep, and preferably when the children are staying elsewhere. My children don’t have to know that I was sexually abused for ten years and that that is the reason why my mother doesn’t cycle in the abuser’s street. They don’t have to know they were born early because I was abused by their progenitor. They have their own history with him, their own trauma, and that is bad enough. Apart from that, I just want to let them be children.

Find (independent) help

Many children have difficulties to talk about their emotions, so when you notice that in your own child, it is time to get help. Find an independent child psychologist to talk with your child.

Let them talk

When my children want to talk about it, I do this without judgement. I let them tell their story. I don’t interrupt their conversation by, for example, talking about myself. I don’t give them my vision, but when possible I provide them with support to continue talking. Sharing is good, and it gives me an idea of how far they’ve come in their development and trauma processing.

Safety first

I have not allowed my children to go with their biological father after they had been abused by him (about which you can read more here: http://www.aliannelooijenga.com/infringing-the-rules-despite-the-consequences/. Despite penalties, threats of juridical hostage, and increasing the penalties, I always put my children’s safety first.

I once told my children they would never have to see him again, which I started to regret when youth care forced me to let them see each other again. I had given them my promise and couldn’t keep myself to it. Nevertheless, I will never let them be alone again, since that is too dangerous.

Be honest towards your children.

When my son told me I wasn’t clever for having chosen such a stupid father, I agreed with him. I am honest about what happened in the process (though, of course, I don’t bother burden them with unnecessary insecurity).

Indicate your boundaries.

You don’t want your child to lose themselves in all kinds of nasty fantasies. Let your child finish, but do indicate your boundaries.

My children know the abuse is not their fault. Children always have the tendency to blame themselves, which is something I have been vigilant for from the very beginning.

Pay attention to your child’s drawings.

My children used to make drawings in which the abuser was very tall and they were very small. They also made drawings in which they drew him as very ugly, after which they crumpled up the paper and threw it away. Later they would make drawings in which they were very tall. When I saw them drawing something like that, I always joined them to talk about it. I gave them space so they could use their drawings to tell me what they were thinking. Of course, I thought the drawings were horrible, but by not reacting emotionally and by giving them my time and attention, they felt safe to tell their story.

Don’t force conversations;

let it come from your child. Forcing when a child isn’t ready will only cause your child to withdraw even more.

Praise your children.

Show your child that you see and recognize and understand his/her feelings. Give compliments.  My children receive loads of compliments. About having dried the dishes well, that a shirt looks very nice, reminding them that they are strong etc. Together with them, I strengthen their self-image.

Watch your child.

Children pay an enormous amount of attention to the reaction of adults. Show your child that you believe (in) them and will be there for them and have their best interest at heart.

What if your child misses their father?

We have never been in that situation because at the moment when an affective bond should have developed (during the imposed moments of contact), that didn’t happen. But whatever your situation is; talk to your child about their emotions. Find the space in your heart to talk about the good moments that have happened, find neutral words (i.e. don’t say, “Well, and that moron of a dad of yours”, don’t play down the events and explain what you can.

Be patient.

Abuse is already hard to understand for an adult, but for a child it is completely unfathomable. Be patient if your child has put some walls in front of you or struggles with feelings of loyalty towards the abusive parent.

Discuss healthy boundaries.

Talk about how one should treat another. That it is never okay to physically, sexually or emotionally hurt another living being. And ofcourse, what your child should do and to whom your child should go when someone crosses those boundaries.

Empower your child

Humans have a tendency to tell themselves all kinds of negative things about why they are unworthy of something. And what you tell yourself, you will believe. So give your child some positive affirmations. Plant those little sentences in your child’s head. Rewire their brain and program empowerment in their brain. A few example of sentences you could use:

1.) I am loved

2.) I am strong

3.) I am worthy

4.) I am fierce

5.) I can acchieve anything

6.) I am save (but only if it is the right thing to say of course)

7.) I am powerful

8.) I have a beautiful soul

You can also listen to the video below or check out this website to find other affirmations for kids you can use. Remember to frequently tell your children the same affirmations so they will remember them.

145+ Powerfully Positive Affirmations for Kids

Love,

Alianne

Morning Motivation Starting off with positive affirmations can set a great tone for how your day unfolds. Learning this from an early age can be very beneficial in the esteem and confidence of a child. We are all Destined for Greatness!

Posted by The DFG Movement on Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Abuse, Family, Family by blood, Mindset, Personal, Speaking