Boobies or Bullies

pink and purple – they represent more than a color this month of October. One color is a “popular” choice for fundraisers — the other is not ūüė¶

iCygnet

October is a month of crisp cool air for those of us living in the Northeast.  Although autumn involved two of the worst events in my life, the fall remains my favorite season.

BreastCancer      Breast Cancer   Breast Cancer

October is the month designated for observing and screening for cancer. ¬†The color PINK is everywhere you look ‚ÄĒ ribbons, shirts, pins ‚ÄĒ¬†hair and food. Boobies are easier to think about and discuss.¬†We get images of nurturing a life of an infant to a sensual adult pleasure. ¬†What‚Äôs¬†not to like about boobs/breasts?¬†¬†Fundraisers for awareness, screening and survivors receive wholehearted support ‚ÄĒ emotionally and financially.

The reports of school violence astound us.  Random shootings for revenge trouble us.  We have become aware of ministers, priests, teachers, coaches, counselors who have crossed the line of comfort to criminal.  It takes years for most abuse victims to step forward from the shadow of silence and confront the creeps.

October is…

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Boobies or Bullies

October is a month of crisp cool air for those of us living in the Northeast.  Although autumn involved two of the worst events in my life, the fall remains my favorite season.

BreastCancer      Breast Cancer   Breast Cancer

October is the month designated for observing and screening for cancer. ¬†The color PINK is everywhere you look — ribbons, shirts, pins —¬†hair and food. Boobies are easier to think about and discuss.¬†We get images of nurturing a life of an infant to a sensual adult pleasure. ¬†What’s¬†not to like about boobs/breasts?¬†¬†Fundraisers for awareness, screening and survivors receive wholehearted support — emotionally and financially.

The reports of school violence astound us.  Random shootings for revenge trouble us.  We have become aware of ministers, priests, teachers, coaches, counselors who have crossed the line of comfort to criminal.  It takes years for most abuse victims to step forward from the shadow of silence and confront the creeps.

October is also Domestic Violence awareness month.¬†¬† But who wants to hear about Bullies? Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault¬†Awareness.¬†¬† The title — just makes us uncomfortable.¬† And, it should.

Most of the criminal acts are not seen on a surveillance camera that caught an NFL player who kicked and punched the person who loved and trusted him.¬†¬† No. Most violence is of a coercive nature. It happens inside the victim‚Äôs home ‚Äď where we are told to keep the offense behind closed lips and doors.¬†¬†Consider¬†the Stockholm Syndrome.¬† One of the multitude of strange lines the abuser said to me was “You talk to your mother too much.”¬†¬† Here is a helpful link to know the signs.

circle-of-violence  Power-control-wheel-9-Clare-Murphy-PhD

The best decision I ever made in my life was getting out of a long-term abusive relationship. The worst part of my life occurred after making that decision.¬†¬† ‚ÄúClassic Abuse‚ÄĚ is what it is called¬†— ¬†impossible to know what is happening when you‚Äôre in the middle of it.
People¬†asked ‚ÄúWhy did you put up with it?‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúWhy didn‚Äôt you leave sooner?‚ÄĚ In addition to corrupt court counsel, I experienced over 2 years of blame and bullying from “friends” and family members. ¬†I never blamed them for not noticing, asking or mentioning what had ALL the signs of abuse (isolation, overworked, siphoned income, covert physical violence, stalking, and harassment).

The legal system continues today in the ongoing problem with abuse of power and control through delays, discounted facts and archaic language in documentation.

If you ask ‚ÄúHow are you?‚ÄĚ — try¬†to pry or she (he) could die from the effect of avoiding the topic of bullying ‚Äď a not yet full blown version of abuse.¬† I was a private person in a public position ‚Äď operating nearly eight successful businesses by the time I had to evacuate my¬†home/town. ¬†¬† We were all in it together — one abuser leading — the rest of us were left in shock from the result.

No More Silence. No More Violence.

NO more

Thank you to the people¬†I’ve met in my transitional life’s journey.¬† Those who listened with kindness and no blame.¬†¬†I’m still not completely free, but I’m doing fine and flourishing.

Share the Shelter

This link¬†to the newsletter from The Community Action Program of Lancaster County provides some wonderful insight into how women (yes, it’s still predominantly women) survive the destruction from domestic violence.

I was intrigued by the article of the lady who housed pets for victims.   It is interesting to note that there are MORE shelters for animals than for human victims of DV.

When I needed assistance, town police were inept (duped with¬†the con-manipulation) and there were no¬†rooms available in any Lancaster County shelters. ¬† I also learned¬†that a mother of 4 children couldn’t find a place to stay in the entire Philadelphia area.

Carmel Reflection

Carmel reflecting on his days as a homeless cat

Carmel on the Parlor Seat

Carmel on the parlor seat in the coffeehouse

Carmel, my cat, had been locked from his litter box and food on the days I stayed away.   My employee would discover this situation upon entering for her shift.

I was able to flee with my cat at the end of Sept 2011, to a home of a former customer. ¬† The family¬†was¬†willing to let Carmel¬†stay¬†with me¬†for a couple days. ¬† Unfortunately the home owner got weird about her space. ¬†She began to think¬†I might¬†want¬†to move in (no way) after she invited me to teach lessons in her sun room. She had her own dragons to slay . . . ¬† As it turned out, her husband rounded up volunteers to remove many of my¬†belongings and put them in a free storage space for a year — very thoughtful, indeed.

I had to move 1.5 hours away from the town I called home for 27 years. ¬†Three¬†years have passed since I made the decision to end an abusive relationship. ¬†I was able to get out before the physical violence escalated. ¬†I kept my customers and employees safe — but we¬†were¬†out of work¬†and my 7 businesses destroyed within 90 days.

I’m still not completely free but¬†Carmel is here with me today — watching as I write.¬† He’s been my comfort cat through everything. ¬† His day of adoption is coming up early¬†May. ¬† I can finally say that both Carmel and I are doing well ūüôā though we still need a home to call our own. ¬† Anybody got leads?

There’s No Place — Like a Home

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Long and Winding Road

Winding-Road[1]
The path to peace is a long and winding road for survivors of violence.
There may be no guiderails. We get near the edge or end of the road often feeling discouraged.
But when we look around, we discover great beauty and comfort during our travel to wellness.

0_A_winding_road[1]

A problem that really exists – Media, Advertising, Family.
People believe and perpetuate what they see, read and hear.

Time to Heal
_____________
End the old
Begin the new
Reflect and hope
This is a safer year.
_____________
Meet new people
Find new places
Comfort and help
This is a better year.
_____________
Replace a memory
Discover a talent
Peace and laughter
This is a happier year.
_______________________________________
Transitions_Address_Logo[1]
_______________________________________
Songwriters: LENNON, JOHN / MCCARTNEY, PAUL

The long and winding road
That leads to your door
Will never disappear
I’ve seen that road before
It always leads me here
Lead me to you door

The wild and windy night
That the rain washed away
Has left a pool of tears
Crying for the day
Why leave me standing here?
Let me know the way

Many times I’ve been alone
And many times I’ve cried
Anyway you’ll never know
The many ways I’ve tried

And still they lead me back
To the long winding road
You left me standing here
A long long time ago
Don’t leave me waiting here
Lead me to your door

But still they lead me back
To the long winding road
You left me standing here
A long long time ago
Don’t keep me waiting here
Lead me to your door

_______________________________________

Fall2011 – Voices

Winter2012 – Voices

Summer2012 – Voices

Fall2012 – Voices

100 Four Letter Words to Celebrate 100 Blog Posts

OBOE – REED – SOLO. Yes, those are four letter words. SWAN – DUCK – BIRD — they are too. So what’s so FOUL about 4 letter words. Those last words were¬†simply FOWL.

For years when my oboe students voiced concern and discontent about the troubles they had with reeds, I would remark that OBOE was one of the few four-letter words¬†they could speak¬†openly and NOT get in trouble. Then I’d move on to REED. Then SOLO. Students would need a moment to ponder my comments, and then snickered with the flash of insight to the coincidence of their troubled feeling as countered with their LOVE for the same unique instrument.

 

I find that writing my blog has allowed me a way to be FREE with words.¬† At least I hope I don‚Äôt end up in jail for something I write here especially after breaking free from a “domestic” prison last year . . .

A month ago I was chatting online with a young gentleman (Daniel) who frequented the studio and coffeehouse that I owned and operated up until November 2011.¬†¬† He works 2nd shift — as I do.¬† We had a ‚Äúheart to heart‚ÄĚ discussion about the difficulty in finding people who are capable of less than shallow conversation and behaviors.¬† Even at his young age of 24, he had an insight about how a building is nothing without the person or people who existed there.¬† He reminded me that the home/business I had to evacuate a year earlier was just a building, a shell with no soul.¬† The life created, the joy projected, the creativity encouraged, were GONE when I left.

Replacing ME with a photography studio was a bizarre way for an abusive spouse to gain power and control.  Was control more important than stealing my earned income?

I was given a small green notebook entitled GRATITUDE by the couple that gave me a room the first night I evacuated my home.   It took several months till I felt like making note of anything. The words finally came.   After I listed the freedom from abuse, my precious cat Carmel was next on the list of entries.

After chatting with Daniel, I began a list of all the FOUR letter words that popped into my head ‚Äď most were POSITIVE.¬†¬†¬† Here are some of the words:

life – cool – hope – oboe – home – game – mini – food – heal – swan – head – love – book – mind – bake – town – song – sing – rest – feel – care – rain – kind – text – call – talk – blog – cook – note –¬†safe – have – look – lake – cake –¬†cafe – save – rose –¬†tree – leaf – bulb – type –¬†able – good – more – many – most – each – will – want – wish –¬†past – take – show – wise – wait – best – soul – wake – dawn – moon – star – wing – full – help –¬†even – ever – grow – sign – gift – last – lark – part – harp – find – seed – bulb – read – seek – calm – free – milk – fork – high – draw – clay – blue – post – flag – frog – meet – horn – meal – meat – stay – gone – sink – soap – knob – roll – wall – bean – need – pack – oven – band –¬†bell – make –¬†mask – loaf –¬†soon – line – fine – fill – soda – time – pure – sure – move – give – snow – word

Crochet to Comfort

There were 2 magazines that “mysteriously” appeared in my mailbox a few months ago. It has been¬†at least¬†8 years since I subscribed to a magazine.¬† I had no time to read the articles, didn’t want to spend money, plus¬†I would¬†need to dispose of outdated issues. My name was purposely put on a mailing list — a lesser¬†form of harassment than stalking. The first magazine I cancelled, but I didn’t get to cancel the 2nd¬†magazine.¬† It arrived Monday.

I looked at the table of contents,¬†scanned the recipes and then spotted a short article that caught my attention: Handmade scarves for traumatized women.¬† I knew¬†women who crocheted, knit or sewed hats for cancer victims, but I never heard of anyone making something for¬†victims of abuse.¬†¬† A young woman, age 29 (I’m over 50. She’s young to me)¬†suffered from depression¬†earlier in her life¬†as a result¬†of trauma. ¬†At the suggestion of her therapist, she¬†decided to¬†re-explore¬†a craft she learned as a child — crocheting.¬†¬† Within a few months JoHanna¬†gave away the 15 scarves she crocheted to other abuse survivors.

Now JoHanna continues to create comfort through crocheted scarves and offers them to girls and women through her website.

If you know of anyone (even yourself) who needs a special boost of comfort to continue moving forward through life, contact JoHanna.   She will wrap you with woven warmth to heal your head and heart.

Participation in art, crafts, music, reading have always provided therapeutic comfort for people in need.   JoHanna has found HER voice through her crochet hook and she creates scaves for strength to girls and women who have thankfully survived their episode of abuse.   Thank you JoHanna!

 

Justice for Jessica

A tragedy occurs in towns every day.  Many go unnoticed. Many are overlooked.  Some make national news.   The  tragedy of Jessica Ridgeway brings to heart the need for vigilance from violence.  Look for the signs of abuse or danger BEFORE a crime happens.

We were not¬†able to save Jessica from the horrors of a violent predator.¬† Our hope is that the killer will be found quickly.¬†¬† After the violence,¬† stay in contact with the residual victims of the crime — the family and the friends. The survivors need nourishment to overcome their own trauma.

Jessica’s friends will now live in fear for quite some time.¬†¬†¬†¬†They will suffer from residual fear — a common reaction to any form of violence.¬†¬†¬† It is extremely disheartening that the legal system as well as law enforcement officers ignore the signs and effects of mental fear when it is presented to them.

Mental trauma from abuse lasts far longer than physical effects.   Police will only get involved if there is a definite sign of physical trauma.   Law enforcement appears to ignore or are unwilling to recognize the emotional, mental, psychological abuse that is the precursor to physical violence.

We can’t accept the concept of waiting till someone is missing, injured or dead to intervene.¬†¬†¬† We need to be proactive to notice signs and not be afraid to ask probing questions.¬† The worst that could happen is your embarassment for asking.¬†¬† The best — one less victim of violent crime.

Bully Pulpit and Paper

A notice was in my in box from Facebook was waiting for me today. I don’t always have time to click and open all the notices, but this came from a long-time family member. There has been quite a lot of press for the last couple years about bullying. I contend that bullying is the precursor to abuse — so we need to keep working to train all ages to recognize and reduce bullying before all our lightly funded Domestic Violence Centers are even more overloaded with victims. My title’s history comes from an expression by Theodore Roosevelt¬†from the early 1900s.¬† (He had trouble with his BULLYing¬†wildlife — many were mounted on his walls.)

“A teacher in New York was teaching her class about bullying and gave them the following exercise to perform. She had the children take a piece of paper and told them to crumple it up, stomp on it and really mess it up, but do not rip it. Then she had them unfold the paper, smooth it out and look at how scarred and dirty it was. She then told them to tell it they‚Äôre sorry. Now… even though they said………… they were sorry and tried to fix the paper, she pointed out all the scars they left behind. And that those scars will never go away no matter how hard they tried to fix it. That is what happens when a child bully’s another child, they may say they‚Äôre sorry but the scars are there forever. The looks on the faces of the children in the classroom told her the message hit home. Copy and paste this if you are against bullying.”

As a survivor of DV, education is only a step in providing important information. No matter how much we know and understand, there are ways a “bully” or full fledge abuser can be slow and cunning in their effect to slowly take over and work against another person. The signs are there, however they can be masked through “classic” techniques and many modern means.


Click here for instructions to make an origami swan.

The “crumpled paper” analogy provides a visual and physical teaching tool and will reach those who make the choice to apply it to their life long learning. Sadly, there will be some crumpled papers that will be tossed in a trash can, burned in a barrel, passed over by police — and lost to the legal system.

For those of us who stay true to a higher “CIVILized” character, the behavior of bullies has to be stopped before it becomes CRIMINAL. The line of demarcation is not very wide.

I experienced clever, slick long-term bullying within the walls of a former “marriage” and “home.” I also experienced first hand the bullying through insensitive funded institutions, community counsel and predatory placement of proprietors.

My final solution to the bulling I’ve had to bear?¬†¬† Turn the crumpled paper in to an Origami¬†swan!