Saturday, December 7, 2013


Why Do People Stay in Abusive Relationships?*


People who have never been abused often wonder why a person wouldn’t just leave. They don’t understand that breaking up can be more complicated than it seems.

There are many reasons why both men and women stay in abusive relationships. If you have a friend in an unhealthy relationship, support them by understanding why they may choose to not leave immediately.


Conflicting Emotions

·       Fear: Your friend may be afraid of what will happen if they decide to leave the relationship. If your friend has been threatened by their partner, family, or friends, they may not feel safe leaving.

·       Believing Abuse is Normal:  If your friends don’t know what a healthy relationship looks like, perhaps from growing up in an environment where an abuse was common, they may not recognize that their relationship is unhealthy.

·       Fear of Being “Outed”: If your friend is in a same-sex relationship and has not yet come out to everyone, their partner may threaten to reveal this secret. Being “outed” may feel especially scary for young people who are just beginning to explore their sexuality.

·       Embarrassment: It’s probably hard for your friend to admit that they’ve been abused. They may feel they’ve done something wrong by becoming involved with an abusive partner. They may also worry that their friends and family will judge them.

·       Low Self-esteem: If your friend’s partner constantly puts them down and blames them for the abuse, it can be easy for your friend to believe those statements and think that the abuse is their fault.

·       Love: Your friend may stay in an abusive relationship hoping that their abuser will change. Think about it- if a person you love tells you they’ll change, you want to believe them. Your friend may only want the violence to stop, not for the relationship to end entirely.



·       Social/Peer Pressure: If the abuser is popular, it can be hard for a person to tell their friends for fear that no one will believe them or that everyone will take the abuser’s side.

·       Cultural/Religious Reasons: Traditional gender roles can make it difficult for young women to admit being sexually active and for young men to admit to being abused. Also, your friend’s culture or religion may influence them to stay rather than end the relationship for fear of brining shame upon their family.

·       Pregnancy/Parenting: Your friend may feel pressure to raise their children with both parents together, even if that means staying in an abusive relationship. Also, the abusive partner may threaten to take or harm the children if your friend leaves.


Distrust of Adults or Authority

·       Distrust of Adults: Adults often don’t believe that young adults really experience love. So if something goes wrong in the relationship, your friend may feel like they have no adults to turn to or that no one will take them seriously.

·       Distrust of Police: Many young adults do not feel that the police can or will help them, so they don’ report the abuse.

·       Language Barriers/Immigration Status: If your friend is undocumented, they may fear that reporting the abuse will affect their immigration status. Also, if their first language isn’t English it can be difficult to express the depth of their situation to others.


Reliance on the Abusive Partner

·       Lack of Money: Your friend may have become financially dependent on their abusive partner. Without money, it can seem impossible for them to leave the relationship.

·       Nowhere to Go: Even if they could leave, your friend may think that they have nowhere to go or no one to turn to once they’ve ended the relationship. This feeling of helplessness can be especially strong if the person lives with their abusive partner.

·       Disability: If your friend is physically dependent on their abusive partner, they can feel that their well-being is connected to the relationship. This dependency could heavily influence his or her decision to stay in the abusive relationship.


What Can I Do?


If you have friends or family members who are in unhealthy or abusive relationships, the most important thing you can do is be supportive and listen to them. Please don’t judge! Understand that leaving an unhealthy or abusive relationship is never easy.


Try to let your friend know that they have options. Invite them to checkout resources at the bottom, even if they stay in the abusive relationship.


Some Resources:

If on campus, please dial 11 for Public Safety or contact them at 516 323 3500. Also, please contact Personal Counseling Center at 516 323 3484

If off campus, dial 911 for police or

 Nassau County Coalition Against Domestic Violence at their 24 hour hotline   516 542 0404

Suffolk County Coaliton Against Domestic Violence at their 24 hour hotline  631 666 8833

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence at their 24 hour hotline  800 799 safe(7233)

Love is Respect

Friday, November 22, 2013

Cycle of Abuse

The Cycle of Abuse keeps you fearful and off balance both emotionally and psychologically. Look at the diagram of the cycle shown above... do you recognize this vicious and devastating wheel spinning within your relationship?

In the 1970s,  Lenore Walker developed the theory that most forms of abuse occur within a distinct pattern or cycle. Within an established relationship, the same pattern emerges time after time and is repeated, often becoming more intense

For many victims of relationship violence, it's difficult to recognize when a pattern of abuse has developed. Instead, they often see abusive behaviors as isolated, unrelated incidents. Yet, abuse often happens in patterns or cycles. Abusive episodes are interspersed with periods of calm, loving support, and behaviors that are nurturing and caring typical of the behaviors that initially drew the two partners together. However, the abusive pattern that develops can often become predictable and leading to a source of tension, which evolves into the abusive incident or violence, once again followed by the period of making amends and a period of calm…only to be repeated again.  How often the cycle repeats is different for each relationship. Just know that the cycle does repeat and research has demonstrated that the abuse can escalate over time. 


·       abuser starts to get angry

·       threats, verbal insults

·       fear, guilt – feel like you are “walking on egg shells”

·       unpredictable behavior

Abuse Occurs

·       any incident of physical, psychological, emotional abuse

·       may include financial abuse

Making Amends

·       abuser apologizes for abuse

·       abuser promises it won’t happen again

·       may buy gifts, flowers etc to say “ I am sorry”

·       may try to blame victim for the abusive behavior


·       similar to making amends cycle

·       promises made during the making amends cycle may be met

·       abuser may act like the abuse never happened

·       victim may hope that the abuse is over


Does any of this sound familiar to you or do you know a friend in a similar situation…. If so TALK WITH SOMEONE!!  There are resources out there to help you.


If on campus, please dial 11 for Public Safety or contact them at 516 323 3500. Also, please contact Personal Counseling Center at 516 323 3484

If off campus, dial 911 for police or
 Nassau County Coalition Against Domestic Violence at their 24 hour hotline   516 542 0404

Suffolk County Coalition Against Domestic Violence at their 24 hour hotline  631 666 8833

 National Coalition Against Domestic Violence at their 24 hour hotline  800 799 safe(7233)

Relationship Violence & Healthy Relationships

Did you know…

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a serious, public health problem that affects millions of Americans. The term "intimate partner violence" or “relationship violence” describes physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. This type of violence can occur among couples in any types of relationships and does not require sexual intimacy.

The goal is to stop IPV (or relationship violence) before it begins or to identify it as soon as possible.  There is a lot to learn about IPV or relationship violence. We do know that strategies that promote healthy behaviors in relationships are important.

According to healthy relationships contain a few common key elements:

Communication is a key part to building a healthy relationship. The first step is making sure you both want and expect the same things -- being on the same page is very important. The following tips can help you create and maintain a healthy relationship:

·        Speak Up. In a healthy relationship, if something is bothering you, it’s best to talk about it instead of holding it in.

·        Respect Your Partner. Your partner's wishes and feelings have value. Let your significant other know you are making an effort to keep their ideas in mind. Mutual respect is essential in maintaining healthy relationships.

·        Compromise. Disagreements are a natural part of healthy relationships, but it’s important that you find a way to compromise if you disagree on something.

·        Be Supportive. Offer reassurance and encouragement to your partner. Also, let your partner know when you need their support. Healthy relationships are about building each other up, not putting each other down.

·        Respect Each Other’s Privacy. Just because you’re in a relationship, doesn’t mean you have to share everything and constantly be together. Healthy relationships require space.

Healthy Boundaries are important. Creating boundaries is a good way to keep your relationship healthy and secure. By setting boundaries together, you can both have a deeper understanding of the type of relationship that you and your partner want. Boundaries are not meant to make you feel trapped or like you’re “walking on eggshells.” Creating boundaries is not a sign of secrecy or distrust -- it's an expression of what makes you feel comfortable and what you would like or not like to happen within the relationship. Remember, healthy boundaries shouldn’t restrict your ability to:

·        Go out with your friends without your partner.

·        Participate in activities and hobbies you like.

·        Not have to share passwords to your email, social media accounts or phone.

·        Respect each other’s individual likes and needs.

Healthy Relationship Boosters: Even healthy relationships can use a boost now and then. You may need a boost if you feel disconnected from your partner or like the relationship has gotten stale. If so, find a fun, simple activity you both enjoy, like going on a walk,  going to a sporting event, or out to dinner and talk about the reasons why you want to be in the relationship. Talking to each other and remember why you “like” each other and why having a relationship is important  to each of you!!

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Journey of Hope & Courage

We are so touched by the sharing of this story we wanted her message to be heard by others. We asked her permission to publish the story and we are grateful she agreed. So here is her story of hope and courage. 

 ~~ John & Teresa ~~

Liana’s Continuing  Journey of Hope and Courage
 This is absolutely wonderful. I was silent about being a victim for so long and did not know how to break loose from it. I married four times to four abusers and did not understand why I chose that type of men. It wasn't until recently through letting myself go through the hurt and anger all alone and going to counseling to understand I was finally strong enough after over 20 yrs of being a battered wife, a victim to the cruel hands of another to be freed. It destroys a woman, it destroys all she is and she has to start completely over to learn about herself and learn how to function as normal as she possibly can. This is not easy, this is horrifying and so many people don't realize that it is not as easy as they think to walk away because you get broken down and that is all you know and you don't feel like you are worthy of a good person being in your life. There is so much more to being a victim than I ever realized myself. I'm always going to be that victim because of the fear I have and the hurt so deep inside that will never go away. These Men don't realize how badly they destroy that woman they claimed they love. It is a battle to deal with for the rest of your life. I suffered PTSD because of the horrifying violence I went through and caused me to have a mental breakdown to the point of almost no return. I was terrified and didn't think I had the strength to ever be somewhat normal again. But women, there is hope. I made it through. I ended the violence on myself and through myself I want to help others reach that goal. I'm a survivor. I survived and at times I was in a very dark place and thought that I would die being a victim. These women of violence need help. They need love, and care and sometimes it is all about they don't have money or nowhere to go and they makes them stay getting abused because it is more fearful to not have anyone to turn to or a safe home to go to so they stay. I know, because I stayed, I stayed until it almost destroyed me. Going through my last divorce I realized that even the courts don't understand fully of how destroyed a woman becomes. This is like murder. The violent hands kill the person you are and if you survive you basically have to be reborn, in order to not live through the hurt every day, you have to have a completely new identity. I'm not talking about hiding who you are, I'm saying, you don't even know who you are. You become a totally different person; you have to shake off the old, the hurt, and the damaged broken down girl that cried herself to sleep every night, alone, no one to care enough to rescue her. People knew but either they didn't care or didn't understand the severity of what was happening. I broke the silence finally after 20 yrs. and all I want to do now is show women, it's ok, you can leave and you will survive, there are helping hands, there are people who care, I care, I care so deeply for women that I don't even know that are going through or have gone through being a victim. New laws need to be put into place that automatically puts those violent hands locked up in jail for a while instead of a slap on the hand, probation and a fine. That is all my ex got. And then I had to live somewhere in secret so I would be safe from him finding me to hurt me and they do come after you if they are not locked up. It is not fair to a woman to have to hide when she has already hid for so long. She should be able to freely live her life without fear of her attacker getting to ever have the chance to hurt her again. I went through so much more than what I wrote. And sometimes I still cry but it is ok to cry. I just wish one day I could feel whole again. And even though I’m stronger today, I'm not whole. There is a big part of me that was taken from me and I don't know how to get it back. I decided that no matter how painful and no matter how my life ended up I had to finally walk away. I knew it was going to be hard and scary. My therapist told me one day that the pain that I was going through was the same pain that a person feels when a loved one dies. It is a grieving process that you go through. And trust me, it was awful. I think this is why some women keep going back because the grieving process and the unknown is so terrifying, even though they don't want to be abused, it is familiar to them unlike the loss they have to face and go through when they finally break the silence. These women need help, more than you could ever imagine. I still need help and reassurance and I lean on my Savior Jesus Christ. Through God, I broke away and didn't go back for the first time in my life. I just want to know, is there a happy ever after. Can my heart mend? Will I ever be really loved? Awareness does need to be raised because as a survivor I'm here to tell you, these women, we don't need you to hold your hand out for just one day, we need it for as long as it takes and sometimes it is very long. I would love the opportunity to speak out. Thank you for taking the time to read this, I know it is long, but to me, this is the very short version. Thank you again for holding your hand out. Still holding on to hope.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Is This Abuse?


 Relationship violence is a pattern of destructive behaviors used to exert power and control over a partner. Relationship violence usually involves a series of abusive behaviors over a course of time.

 Warning Signs of Abuse

  Relationships exist on a spectrum and it can be hard to tell when a behavior crosses the line from healthy to unhealthy or even abusive. Use these warning signs of abuse to see if your relationship is going in the wrong direction:

• Checking your cell phone or email without permission
• Constantly putting you down
• Constantly texting you or calling you –needing to know where you are all the time
• Extreme jealousy or insecurity
• Explosive temper
• Isolating you from family or friends
• Making false accusations
• Mood swings
• Physically hurting you in any way
• Possessiveness
• Telling you what to do
• Repeatedly pressuring you to have sex
If you believe your relationship is not healthy, please talk with someone. Your safety is very important. There are resources available on and off campus.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Keeping Yourself Safe

Ultimately the responsibility for preventing sexual and domestic violence is on the shoulders of those who commit the acts. A victim/survivor is never responsible.

The following are some safety tips to keep in mind. This list is not exhaustive, but provides some valuable tools. If you are feeling unsafe, there are people on and off campus who can help you understand your options and resources available. (See list of links below)Additionally these people can provide further safety planning strategies.

 Helpful Safety Tips:

  • Trust your intuition and your instinct. If you are feeling unsafe or uncomfortable, you are probably right.
  •  Know your limits; sexual and relationship wise. Be firm with your decisions and limits. Only you can define what your limits are. You have the right to say "NO" or leave at any point if you are uncomfortable or feel unsafe.

  •  Vary your travel routines and schedule patterns. Keep information regarding where you are on a need to know basis. This information shouldn't be publicly available and easily accessed except by folks you really trust and need to know.

  •  Keep your phone charged and on you at all times. If possible memorize emergency numbers and key contact people in the case of personal emergency. Another option would be to have important numbers written down and saved somewhere you could easily access. Consider downloading Circle of Six, an app for phone that makes contacting someone real simple!

  • Be practical and aware while you are consuming or around alcohol. Ensure that you and your friends have a plan about expectations for the party or bar and a way to get home after. Avoid assuming someone will "take care of you." It is important to go with a clear plan that all of your friends follow to keep each other safe and well.
  • Be aware of the privacy and personal information settings on social media, email, and other internet sites. Avoid sharing your personal information, address, phone number, and passwords. "Checking In" on sites like Facebook and Twitter and other apps can put you in danger.
  • Be aware of your surrounding at all times. Keep a keen eye on the people and places around you. Stay alert.

  • If you fear you are being abused, stalked, and/or harassed, there are resources and options for you. Documentation will be crucial in getting aid and other safety measures put in place. Contact Public Safety for more information. Their telephone number is 516 323-3500.
  •  General safety tips are important to keep in mind as well. Be aware of the where you are walking. Stay in lit areas. Stay in groups as much as possible. Lock your doors.

  • Trust your gut and your instincts and honor your feelings of safety and discomfort. If you experience sexual or domestic violence you are not to blame and there are resources are available.
 Some resource links: