SURVIVORSHIP

Be active, resist and vote!

Hold Abusers Accountable By Electing More Women.

This is a painful and heartbreaking day. The Supreme Court has taken a hard-right turn and is in an all-out war on women’s rights. Here is what we are up against: a patriarchal system that seeks to silence women, take away women’s rights and reward entitled men who believe that they can abuse and sexually assault women while eating-up power.

We must fight back.

• A wave is coming on November 6, 2018. Be a part of it by learning about the women candidates running on 11/6/18 in your area: http://cawp.rutgers.edu/2018-primary-women-candidates-us-congress-and-statewide-elected-executive

• If you are as furious as we are right now, Donate $10 a month to the Voices of Women as we gear-up to provide critical training to survivors of domestic violence and help them share their stories. This November survivors’ voices will be heard loud and clear. VOW will make sure of it.

• Register to vote. For many today is the day to register to vote for the elections on 11/6/18, find out how at vote.gov. 

Be active, resist and vote!

In solidarity,

Voices of Women (VOW)

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Women’s March

One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman” reflects Simone de Beauvoir in her book The Second Sex (1949), and I have been wondering of the wisdom of this sentence for quite some time. What does it take for a female child to mature into a woman, not only physically but also in a mindset?

I have been a daughter, mother, wife and partner, yet, I can safely say, the first time I really understood the price and pride of being a woman was when I realized I was in an abusive relationship and that I had to co-parent a child with the abuser. Not only was the abuse inseparable from the low regard the abuser had for me as a woman and mother of his child, but also from the lack of institutional understanding and support I suffered as a dv survivor at the hands of the Family Courts.

Fast forward, ten years later, I found myself marching in Washington D.C. on the day of Trump’s inauguration and a year later in New York City. It is incredibly uplifting to be able to march for women’s rights and see how our movement has united the progressive forces in this country. At the march in NYC, I saw people campaigning for the Dreamers, LGBTQ rights, the environment, free Palestine and more, all under the aegis of the Women’s March.

I felt a glimpse of hope, a shift in public discourse and accountability in the air. When I reached 45th Street and heard a policewoman in her loudspeaker tell us “this is where the March ends but your fight will continue,” I could barely hold back my tears. Through hard-earned lessons, I can say, I have become a woman, not only in body, but also in the mind.

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Thoughts On “A Better Man”.

A Canadian film and a US Premiere, “A Better Man” was shown at Cinepolis Chelsea on November 15th, as part of the DOC NYC Film Festival. “A Better Man”, the brainchild of survivor of horrific Domestic Violence, Attiya Khan, documented the arranged meetings and conversations between Attiya and her abusive ex-boyfriend Steve, after 20 years with no contact.

Why did Attiya choose to do this? Why did Steve agree to it? What exactly was achieved? These were some of the questions I asked myself. I don’t know the precise answers to these questions, but I’m going to share some of my thoughts with you, addressing these questions.

I believe that Attiya had in mind that if the film were to include an abuser, as long as the abuser was genuinely sorry for the violence he had inflicted upon his girlfriend and the consequential psychological damage that he had caused, then the film could have a more extensive impact on viewers in terms of providing an opportunity for a greater understanding of what happens within an abusive intimate relationship. Could it be that Steve chose to participate, with a similar goal in mind?

Was Steve genuinely remorseful? Yes! To my surprise, I believe that he was. Do I believe that all abusers feel remorse? No, I don’t. And this led me to ask myself: “Are there perhaps different types of abusers? Can I categorize them? Distinguish them?” Maybe those who were abused themselves. And those who are simply sociopaths.

It seemed to me that Attiya attained a good amount of healing via this process and I am delighted about this. When girlfriend and boyfriend, Attiya was just a teenager, and she was hit in the face by Steve many, many times, dragged across the floor over broken glass, (that he had broken), and choked until she passed out. “The sleeper”, she called that.

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Surviving Abuse In My Twenties

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I am 30 now and am already physically tired. I’ve been stomped on, strangled, broken, and bruised; it’s been very real – my body has had its share of turmoil. In addition, my mind has imagined sweet fairy tales of blackbirds flying out of a baked pie, and wolves blowing my house down over and over again. My spirit throughout has been in a state of confusion, being raised Catholic, turned Christian by grace, then to trying to find my voice and beliefs in a stable place. My name is Desiree’ and my desires in my 20’s has circled around being noticed. Problematically, when a particular guy liked me, and my cell phone rang with his caller ID, I was excited :-). Positive or negative, I knew he paid some attention to me. My possibilities were and still are endless: “1st comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in a baby carriage”… the lies of the modern day fairy tale. It is reported that women ages 18 to 34 are at the greatest risk of becoming victims of Domestic Violence (DV). Moreover, it is noted that “DV cost more than $37 Billion a year in law enforcement involvement, legal work, medical, mental health treatment, and lost productivity at companies.”

 

Just like I craved a stable man to notice me, I deeply yearned for my family’s security, passion in the workplace, career accomplishments and education. In my domestic violence relationship, all these things came to a screeching halt. I am very grateful that my life did not end.

 

In the city that never sleeps, or in the suburb that twinkles stars at night, I believe there is a sounding message of real love, pure and understanding; after the purple rain. That message has led me to rebuild my inner faith and survive my 20’s with most of those years in an abusive relationship. Looking back on the forbidden places I’ve conquered, this is not a taboo.

 

My 20’s have been the time of my life. Now as a member of Voices of Women Organizing Project, I’ve reclaimed my power to speak in and through a dominant sisterhood and pave a positive path for that weird and exhilarating space beyond survivorship. The question today is…will you have to be a survivor or witness abuse to really understand? Create a better decade. Support Now. Join Us.

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