August 15, 2008

Empowered Survivor


Domestic Violence 

Domestic Violence has been part of history as long as man has been on the earth.  Sadly it has been one of those areas which were never discussed in families, in police work, or in the judicial system.  When a man chose to abuse his wife and children, people turned a blind eye and ear to the abuse.  The feeling was it was a family thing and no one wanted to become involved.

In 1995-96 there was a survey of 16,500 in 50 states and the District of Columbia.  The survey showed that 25% of women and 7.6% of men who had been abused were abused by someone they knew and trusted.  That survey has probably tripled since that time.

In 2003 30% of all female murders were committed by either a husband or a boyfriend.  Husbands committed 13,000 violent crimes against women in the workplace.  The Surgeon General has stated that domestic violence is the leading case of death in women ages 15-44 even more than any other cause of injury including, car accident, cancer or muggings.

In 1994 women who were separated from their spouse were victimized by their spouses at 1 1/2 times the rate of divorced women.

40% of teenage girls between 14-17 have known other girls who were abused by a boyfriend.  A child who lives in an abusive environment where the father is abusive will have the propensity to continue the cycle of behavior.

The expense of domestic violence on a per year basis is $5 - $10 billion annually in court costs, hospital expenses, safe houses, police, absenteeism and non productivity in the work force.

I am a survivor of domestic violence.  I did not grow up in that type of environment.  I was never exposed to that underside of human nature until I married the father of my children.

The first time I was hit, I was not only shocked, I was numbed.  Sure, I had as a child had fights with my brothers, and the boys in the neighborhood.  That was different.  We were children.  But, I had never seen my mother or my father hit each other in anger.  I had no idea that it would happen to me.

The first time I was hit, I was eight and a half months pregnant with my second child.  My son was three and a half.  He was a witness to his father holding me down and beating me.  There was absolutely nothing my son could do, he was a baby.

Afterward, my then husband became contrite and very apologetic which is the standard method of operation for abusers.  They always promise never to do it again.  I believed him.  Believing was my second mistake.  Not leaving the first time was my first mistake.

My marriage to my children's father was during a time when law enforcement hated to deal with a domestic call.  There were no laws to protect the abused, no safe houses and no resources.  Even if there had been I would not have called.  It stayed in the family.  It was never talked about.

That was my third mistake.

Even though the abusers swear they are sorry, and swear on all kinds of things, that being "My Mother's grave, on a Bible, etc,"; they really don't mean it.  Sure they may mean it in the moment just to get the monkey off their back.  But it is a lie.  I believed the lie.

That was my fourth mistake.

I continued to live this lie to eighteen years.  Why?  You ask.  An abuser is not stupid.  They are not only physically abusive; they are mentally and emotionally abusive.  They slowly and methodically tear down a person's psychic.  They isolate them from family and friends; they control them by intimidation and fear.  He always told me if I left he would kill all of us.  He used Family and Children Services as on of his tools of intimidation.  If I didn't walk a fine line he would call them and of course he never gave a name.  After a while even the strongest will cave, just to keep from being beaten.  However, this does not work either.  The abuser will always find an excuse to be physical.

I always knew when I was going to get hit.  I knew it days before it happened.  I could feel it in the air, and in his body language.  It always felt like a runaway freight train.  There was nothing I could do to stop it.  His mood would change at the drop of a hat and no matter what I did or didn't do, I got beat and worse.

My ex-husband's biggest excuse was “If you didn’t make me so mad, and Why do you always make me hit you?” This was his justification his reasoning his excuse. Abusers will not take the responsibility for their own actions and they refuse to believe they are the one with the problem. It is always someone else’s fault and someone else made them do it.

When I was being abused, he also began to abuse my children. When my youngest daughter was six months old he got mad at me and kicked her across the room in her infant seat.  He would call the other children stupid, and idiots. He constantly put them down or manipulated them to do his bidding. They were always told they would never amount to anything.  My children had no self esteem for many years due to this behavior.

The last day I saw him, I told him that his beating had better good because it would be his last. He almost killed me. I have permanent damage to my body that will never be the same, I have emotional scars that I still deal with and the worst part is my trust level of mankind is zero.    
I moved on with my life. I reinvented myself and learned it was not my fault. The abuse was entirely his fault. It was his crime his nemesis, his burden to bear. I did not cause him to hit me to beat me and to call me names. He made that choice and he gave me no choice.   

You may ask what about your children? My children suffered. They have had to learn that if one really loves another one does not abuse. They have had to learn that their father has faults and that he is an abuser. They have had to deal with their own dragons and leave the past in the past and become better because of it.

The statistics I quoted at the beginning of this piece is only a small portion of the abuse which is epidemic in our world. I would stand to reason that those numbers should be at least three times higher. Domestic Violence is still the silent killer among women and children. It is still the unspoken crime in many homes and relationships. I was one of the lucky ones. I finally got out.

We have to ask ourselves, is our future, which is our children worth turning a blind eye to domestic violence? Is the senseless murder of women and children worth hiding our head in the sand and pretending it doesn’t exist? My answer is I think not. The statistics must come down instead of going up. We must save our future.

·     The eldest of five children, Yvonne was born May 17, 1951 in Atlanta, Georgia.  Raised in East Point, Georgia, she moved to Jackson County, Ga. until 2006 then moved to Port St. Lucie, Florida where she currently makes her home.
·     Licensed bounty hunter for the state of Georgia.
·     After a 34 year absence, returned to college in 2004.  Graduated with honors in Criminal Justice with an Associate’s degree from Lanier Technical College in 2006.
·     Nominated for the prestigious GOAL award in 2005 which encompasses all of the technical colleges.  This award is based not only on excellence in academics but also leadership, positive attitude and the willingness to excel in one’s major.
·     Beta Sigma Phi Sorority
The Dream:
·     Since learning to write at the age of five, Yvonne has wanted to be an author.  She wrote her first novel Stan’s Story beginning in 1974 and completed it in 2006.  Publication seemed impossible as rejections grew to 10 years.  Determined, she continued adding to the story until her dream came true in 2006.
The Inspiration:
·     Yvonne’s brother Stan has been her inspiration and hero in every facet of her life.  He was stricken with Encephalitis at the tender age of nine months.  He has defied every roadblock placed in his way and has been the driving force in every one of her accomplishments.  He is the one who taught her never to give up 
The Author:
Yvonne is currently the author of several novels, including:
·     Stan’s Story- the true story of her brother’s accomplishments, it has been compared to the style of Capote, and is currently being rewritten with new information for re-release.
·     Tangled Minds - a riveting story about a young girl’s bad decision and how it taints everyone’s life around her yet still manages to show that hope is always possible.  This novel has been compared to the writing of Steinbeck and is currently being written as a screenplay.
·     Brilliant Insanity - to be released in July 2008.
·     Silent Scream - to be released in fall of 2008.
Yvonne’s Philosophy in Life - “Pay it Forward”:
“In this life we all have been helped by others to attain our dreams and goals. We cannot pay it back but what we can do is ‘pay it forward’.  It is a simple concept.  By helping three people, those three people help three more people and soon that becomes nine.  Those nine people each help three more people and the giving continues. As you see, it is the power of three. Our giving comes back to us ten-fold. So one could say it is three to the power of ten.  We all started out with nothing.  By using this philosophy we can help one another and share the goodness of life’s wealth."
Speaking Engagements:
Yvonne is an accomplished motivational speaker and is available for speaking engagements.  Previous engagements include:
·     April 2008 at IRCC - “How to Sell One’s Self in the Business World” presentation to the student body.
·     April 2008 at The Palm Glades Girl Scouts Council Sixth Annual Luncheon as the featured keynote speaker - “Dreams, Goals and Aspirations” presentation.
·     May 2007 at Lanier Tech - “Succeeding in Life” Power Point presentation to the student body using the concepts of Stan’s Story.
·     May 2007 at Blackshear Baptist Church - Power Point presentation entitled “Acceptance of Self and Others”.
·     May 2007 at IRCC - “How to Reach Your Goals - It’s Never Too Late” presentation to adult women returning to school to become professionals in different fields.

Book Signings:
Yvonne is available to autograph books and welcomes the opportunity to attend local events, bookstores, conventions, schools, writer’s clubs or any other function interested in her books.
Contacting Yvonne:
All inquiries should be directed to Yvonne:

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