Monday, October 28, 2013

Victoria's Story

This is my story….   


It all seems like a blur now, a blip on the radar of my life. You never think it could happen to you, and if it did happen you would tell yourself you’d never stay. I remember thinking that before I met Jim. Once when friends told me about their unhealthy relationships I remember giving them advice, “Just leave! You’ll find better, you deserve better” but what did I know? That advice always seemed to fall on deaf ears. Some of those friends did leave their significant others, some months or years later they would come back and apologize for not listening. Never in my life did I think that I would be one of them.

            I had started dating him my freshman year of college, and everything was wonderful. I felt like I had found someone who really loved me and regardless of my mother’s pleas to not move in with him so soon - because after all I felt like I knew better. Of course my mother had seen warning signs, “he seems a little controlling” she’d say (it echoes in my head now) or “he doesn’t seem to like any of your friends” but I had dismissed those worries because I was in love, and because I felt like my mother was being over protective and over analytical. These would be some of the many excuses that would build up over the next three years.

It had all started with the little things, jealousy over a new friend I had met in school, wanting to keep me in the apartment because we didn’t “spend enough time together”, etc. I remember the feeling of being trapped even then, but never seeing a way out. Early on I came up with every excuse in the book for him; it was my fault he felt jealous because I had a lot of guy friends or he always says sorry after he yells or throws something so it’s really just an accident; more of a “in the heat of the moment” kind of thing. My friends were skeptical, and I remember hiding things from them just to avoid the “we really think you should leave” confrontation again and again. After all what did they know, I told them about all the bad things but never the good- they didn’t know how much Jim really did care about me. He just got angry sometimes, that’s all- who were they to judge?

Soon, I began feeling like I lived a double life. In order to see any of my best friends I’d have to lie to Jim about being at school and doing homework, but the backlash that came back from him when he found out I had lied was terrifying, so it didn’t happen often. He was in complete control of my life.

One time I had went to Barnes and Nobles with my best friends Gina and Lisa to read magazines. I told Jim I had been at school when I received a call from him saying he saw me walking down the street. I left them abruptly without saying a word and ran back to my apartment. When I arrived he had locked me out of our apartment and I sat in the hallway for what seemed like an eternity feeling embarrassed and ashamed. When he finally opened the door he dragged me in by my hair and sat me at the table, I apologized and apologized but he just continued to yell at me. Eventually he finished his argument by spitting in my face and retreating to another corner of the small studio apartment-- I was trapped in with him. A knock on the door came, and he ordered me to the door to answer it. In tears I opened it and there were my two friends from Barnes and Nobles looking frightened. “You didn’t answer any of our calls, we were worried, and we waited outside for 30 minutes for someone to buzz us in to check on you” Jim stood beside me, “She’s fine” he said and slammed the door.

There were numbers of incidents similar to this, he’d get home first after a fight and lock me out, he wouldn’t let me go home to my family for the holidays because he didn’t like being left alone for more than two days, he wouldn’t let my sister stay when she came to visit, he wouldn’t let me answer my phone, I missed school days because he thought I had lied about my schedule, I lost friends because he wouldn’t let me contact them, etc. I lived in constant fear- my body and mind in constant fight or flight mode, but with no option of flight around.

Then the night that really broke my mother's patience came. After 3 years of covering for him and living my life afraid, he had seen a picture of me smoking a cigarette after hacking into a friend’s photo account. I was asleep on the couch when he saw the picture- and was woken up by the tugging and pulling of my hair and being thrown onto the floor. While I knew I shouldn’t have smoked, (it has been a year and a half since I last smoked, just as an aside) he wanted to make a point of getting his opinion across. He picked up my purse and found a hidden pack of cigarettes he then opened and threw at me while I was on the floor while he screamed at me. While holding the back of my head, he shoved a handful of cigarettes into my mouth making me chew them while holding my mouth shut so I couldn’t spit them out or let the vomit out. He then proceeded to put my head through our hallway wall. I was crying hysterically, dizzy and bleeding, when he brought me to the bathroom to flush my head in the toilet until I was unconscious. I woke up to him smacking my face and spitting on me, “CALL YOUR MOTHER AND TELL HER WHAT A TERRIBLE PERSON YOU ARE” he screamed.

“Mom,” hysterically crying and barely being able to get any words out- “I started smoking cigarettes and I’m really sorry” My mother in the truest sense of herself “That’s okay hunny I’m not mad what’s wrong, what is he doing are you okay?” “I am and I love you” and I hung up the phone, he ordered to not pick up her persistent calls. Later, I woke up when he was sleeping and found my phone where he had hidden and I secretly texted my mom saying sorry and that I was okay.

I felt like a shadow of a person, I felt I had no identity without Jim. I had built my life around him and while it wasn’t  anything great it was all I had (so I thought). It was embedded in my brain from him – I couldn’t leave, I wouldn’t find anyone who loved me the way he did. I was embarrassed by what I thought was weakness, and ashamed of what I had become. Years before, my mother had left our father for similar reasons, and I felt I wasn’t strong like she. I was depressed and felt trapped. I was lost what could I do? I had alienated myself from people who loved me- I didn’t think I had anywhere to go. I had become complacent with staying because I couldn’t imagine leaving. After everything I still felt like I loved Jim, he was just troubled and I seemed to be there at all the wrong times.

Then one random day (that would forever change my life) I was getting coffee before going to the studio at school and I received a call. My mother and aunt had driven all the way from New York to Philadelphia. Jim was at work, and they were there to move me out. I cried, pleading, “he’ll find me” and “I love him”. My mother and my aunt had enlisted worried friends who came without delay to my aid and moved all of my belongings in two hours into our small car. My mom decided that I was moving to ANYWHERE away from him so I wouldn’t be put through this anymore.

My mother and aunt left later that day, but they made sure to cover all of our bases. We had gotten my phone number changed (which I was unaware of at the time but this can be done in cases like by most phone carriers for free) and I was off the lease at the apartment thanks to my mother’s ability to persuade. I was free at last and suddenly I was even more distraught. I thought I would’ve felt better – I was my own person again. But I was so beaten down I wasn’t sure how I would go on without him; I was preoccupied, confused and once again lost. After all mom’s hard work I just wanted to retreat back to him, and a few weeks later I did. I kept this secret from my mother as I spent the next couple weeks with him before he moved away. Without him moving and without my mother’s work, I’m almost 100% sure I would still be in an unhealthy relationship.

This is not a story of how I heroically came out of this standing on my own, or how I saw some light at the end of the tunnel and knew I’d make it out of all of this a better person. This is a story of how I defaulted more than once, couldn’t believe in myself and needed the help of people who loved me. While some people can help themselves in these situations, a lot of us cannot and you have to know that that is okay and doesn’t make you weak. The people who abuse us are manipulative and brainwashing and will make you feel helpless. It’s okay to ask for help, and to accept a way out. Without the people who loved me and never gave up on me there was no way out of that jail cell I called an apartment with the horrible man that I continued to love, in spite of myself. Sometimes you have to depend on others to be strong for you, and there is always someone out there who will do that for you- there is always someone who cares about you. You are never alone even when you feel that you are.

Unfortunately a few years after Jim, my mother unexpectedly passed away. I think about all the time I could’ve had with her if it wasn’t for him, and how I am mad at myself for not asking for help sooner and trusting the opinions of others around me that I would be okay. Time is all you have with the people you love, and it should never be wasted on people like Jim.

I am now in my senior year of nursing at Molloy, with great grades and great friends. I live with the aunt who came to my rescue almost 5 years ago and saved me with my mother from that life. I have a wonderful boyfriend, who cares more for me than I could have ever imagined and has all the patience in the world for someone who needs to gain more patience for herself. Years ago I never thought I would be where I am today, however I am and it feels amazing.

You can always leave whenever you want, and there are always people who will help you. Don’t ever forget that and don’t ever feel hopeless.



Friday, October 25, 2013


How do I help a Friend Who Is a Victim of an abusive relationship?

BE THERE, your presence is what will matter most! A clam, safe and reassuring environment is important! You will need to be patient, your friend may be embarrassed or guarded and it may take a while before your friend feels safe enough to leave the relationship. It is also very important not to impose your will on your friend, it is natural to want a ‘quick’ solution and therefore we may inadvertently say, “Just leave him or her.”  That very statement may not have the desired outcome!!  Remember: Everyone is different. There isn't any one single solution.

o   Listen. Being there to help means supporting his/her choices.

o   Tell him/her the perpetrator is responsible for the behavior.

o   Help him/her see possible choices and alternatives.

o   Provide information about counseling and other resources both on and off campus.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Survivor Speaks

A Survivor of Domestic Violence Speaks Out:  

It’s NEVER ok to live in fear

My earliest memories are of my Father’s rage….rage directed at me, rage directed at my Mother, and rage directed toward the world. I can remember as a small child hiding under the desk in my bedroom and pulling the chair securely in front of me …not really sure if it was intended to cage me in, or keep him out…either way it made me feel protected.

The memories continue to flow….holes punched in walls during angry outbursts, objects thrown with the intent to mar leaving bruises and scars, and angry outbursts filled with threatening and angry words. This was my normal. I figured it was everyone’s normal.

I was programmed early in my life to believe my actions were responsible for the behaviors of others. I was afraid to say what I felt, what I believed or what I thought…for fear it would bring the turmoil I would do anything to avoid.

I often listened from my room as my Mother incurred the wrath of a hideous temper that could be woken from its dormancy by an infraction as small as opening the “wrong” canned vegetable at dinner time. She was a talented professional woman with a successful career, yet she accepted demeaning physical and emotional abuse on a daily basis. When the attacks would move from her onto me she would leave me to fend for myself as she hid in her bedroom. In her mind she was incapable of protecting her child or changing her circumstances.

 She instilled in me a need to sacrifice myself, no matter the cost, to ensure calm.  The fear of the violence and irrational behavior was far greater than any sense of self I had.   Apologizing for things I didn’t do, changing my plans to soothe others changing moods, and never speaking my own truth for fear of bearing the brunt of unwarranted anger. This “enabling” mentality is what poisoned my ability to have healthy relationships myself.

As I navigated my early adulthood I found myself in a series of relationships that left me bruised and battered both emotionally and physically. I was forced to take physical relationships further that I wanted to for fear of being hurt.  I was afraid to “be myself” for fear I may do or say something that would upset my significant other and would make me the focus of his anger once again. I lived a very closed and lonely life for many years.

When my life became completely unmanageable I finally sought help. I found a wonderful skilled counselor who helped me unravel the many layers of the onion that was my life. I learned that it truly is NEVER ok to live in fear. The people you hold close in your heart should be there because you want them there, not because you are afraid of what will happen if you put them out.  You deserve to live your own life, not one that is manipulated by fear. You deserve to be happy, and it is ok to want that.

What amazes me as I look back on my life is that many people saw the signs of what was happening, but no one said anything. There were obvious bruises and cuts, there was screaming and crying often heard coming from my childhood home (and later my apartment), and there were many events missed because of fictitious illnesses designed to conceal signs and effects of violence. If some of the bystanders had stepped in and said something or guided me toward resources perhaps I would not have had to endure the pain to the extent I did.  Perhaps my mother would have found her strength and lived a much happier healthier life.

There is no real way to know. But moving forward please understand the power you have as a caring observer. You truly have the power to change lives for the better…use it wisely.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

In case you need us...

Did you know that 1 in 4 women have experienced relationship violence? The Partner Project at Molloy College is collaborating to break the silence associated with relationship violence. There are people who care about you and are here for you. Please feel free to contact:

Campus Ministries at 516 323-3225 or 323-3226

Student Counseling at 516 323-3484

Public Safety  - John Amodeo at 516 323-3405

Nursing           - Teresa Aprigliano at 516 323-3659

We are always

Monday, October 21, 2013

It's all about staying healthy and being safe

College poses many challenges for students; multiple exams on the same day, late night study sessions that leads to a lack of sleep, poor eating habits due to time constraints, and an endless stream of coffee, carbonated drinks, and designer drinks made specifically to keep a person up for hours at a time.  Also, not to mention the time dedicated to actually enhancing the college experience by attending social and community events, showing your support for your school’s student/athletes by attending games, and simply hanging out with new friends. However, even though you’re young, the combination of all these things challenges your ability to perform at your highest, transit to and from the campus safely, and in the long term, poses health risks. Remember, youth doesn’t protect you from health issues.

There is a connection between health, safety and success. The better you feel, the better you will perform!  Here are some helpful hints from those who care about you:


·       Eat a healthy breakfast – It’s important to feed your engine and start your day off right! As you know, the days pass quickly. If possible, carry something with you at all times. A piece of fruit or health bar will keep you going until you can sit down, eat, and go about your day.

·       Hydrate – Water is essential to good health. Regardless of the temperature outside, your body loses water daily. Everyone should be drinking water throughout the day. It is a much healthier alternative to liquids designed for a quick boost of energy.

·       Moderation – Portion size is a must! Studies have shown that people eat more when transfixed on the T.V. or social media. Take your time and savor what you eat! It will help with digestion and contribute to better health.

·       Wash your hands when possible and use the hand sanitizers around campus. Germs are everywhere. While it is impossible to be germ free, clean hands are essential to good health!

·       Quit smoking immediately – IMMEDIATELY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

·       Alcohol – Ask yourself one simple question. Do I drink alcohol because I actually like the taste or do I do it to fit in? If your current crowd, criticizes you for being strong enough to say, “No.” Find another crowd. It won’t be hard to do.  

·       Please remember a sip of alcohol is too much to drive! As the TV commercial states, “Buzzed driving is drunk driving!”


·       Take a walk – When possible, walk to your location! Any amount of exercise can improve overall health. Heart health is important, even for college students! When you walk, remember to be aware of your surroundings. Try to walk during the day and do not become distracted by your cell phone or other devices. Do not text and walk!! When possible (especially during the evening hours), take a friend along. You’ll be surprised how much distance you covered by simply conversing.

·       Stop by the Fitness Center. Our center is not only a great way to either start the ball or continue the ball rolling to better health and appearance, but it’s also a great way to develop new friendships and supports! The tough part is getting there. Once there, it will be just as hard to leave!


·       If there is one thing that college students do not get enough of, its sleep. According to the World Health Association, in order to maintain health, 8 hours of sleep is recommended. Now while that might sound impossible, consider taking a quick “cat nap” when at home. Think it’s impossible? Try this: take an average day and jot down the amount of time you socially converse to others (calling, texting) and the time you spend on social media. Add them up and see if you could have fit in a 20-30 minute power nap. Remember it’s not only about academic performance. It’s also about the safe operation of your vehicle and in some instances, equipment that could cause injury or death. Being the slightest bit tired decreases your reaction time and can make you more prone to errors/ accidents.

·       Try to master time-management – If possible, avoid all-night cram sessions. Believe it or not, a rested mind is more capable of remembering than one that is sleep deprived. Also, if you have a roommate(s) talk to each other and know ahead of time when one of you needs to “recharge” your batteries.

·       Again, avoid liquids that are designed to keep you going. The quick fix does more harm than good. Hydrate with water or perhaps an unsweetened ice tea. A piece of fruit is also a good alternative! Remember, there are no quick fixes in life and the long term health issues will eventually occur.


·       Please remember your safety is tied to your health. Never walk away from your cup, glass, or plate! If you do, get another one. You never know who may put something in it whether purposely or by accident! If someone offers to buy you a drink that isn’t secured in a bottle, accompany them and take it directly from the person.  

·       Check on your roommate(s)/friends. Are they back from the party, library, gym etc.? Know an approximate time of return.

·       Take a yearly physical – Regardless of gender, a routine exam could save your life. Ask your doctor about breast examinations and lifestyle choices.

·       Distracted driving is life threatening - It’s been said a million times, but don’t operate any electronic device while operating a car. Do not text and drive—NO ONE can multi-task while driving a car!! On long trips, recognize the importance of the “navigator” seat. Two pairs of eyes are always better than one.


·       Be good to yourself – Take a moment for a peaceful thought. Call a loved one or a friend. Take a moment and listen to the world around. Take a deep and relaxing full breath. Smile!

·       A song – Take a moment and listen to a beautiful song. See how music can take it down a notch for you. Music is good for the soul.

·       Consider all the possibilities in life - Don’t allow a stressful relationship to occupy your time.

·       If you’re in an abusive relationship, talk to someone you trust - Find your voice, break your silence.  The loss of a relationship can be tough however love yourself and find your own peace. ----  F.L.Y. (First Love Yourself)

·       Take advantage of the College’s counseling center and services – share a part of yourself. You don’t have to do it alone.

·       Volunteer – Become part of something greater than yourself. Make a difference. Share the ideas that you’ve dreamed about and written in your notebook.

·       Believe in yourself – Remember a bad grade does not define you. Support yourself, reach out for support. There was a reason you chose Molloy. Allow Molloy to give back to you.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

What is an order of protection? And should I have one?

An order of protection is a document issued by the court that forbids an individual from engaging in certain behavior.  For example,
  • an order of protection can forbid a person from having any contact with the victim. 
  • the person can’t go to the victim’s home, place of employment, or school, or contact the victim via email, phone, text message or any other electronic means. 
  • An order of protection can also require an individual not to assault, threaten, harass, or stalk a victim. (according to NY

At Molloy College The Department of Public Safety's priorities include personal as well as community safety. The Department requests that every individual who currently possesses Family Court, Criminal Court, or Supreme Court Orders of Protection submit a copy to the Department of Public Safety. Once received, the Department will file a copy with the Rockville Centre Police Department.

Orders of Protection are not only designed to keep an individual safe but also the community in which the individual works and/or studies. The Public Safety Department is mainly comprised of retired police officers, detectives, supervisors and commanders, highly trained in such matters. Those individuals who come from other backgrounds have received training in safety, tactics and investigative techniques from members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and local law enforcement agencies.

Remember, every time an order is renewed, you must again file a copy with the Molloy Department of Public Safety. The Department assures all those who file that every effort will be made to keep identities and details  confidential.

  • A Family Court Order of Protection's purpose is to prevent violence within a family or intimate relationship.
  • A Criminal Court Order of Protection's is usually issued following the arrest of an individual for committing a crime against another.
  • A Supreme Court Order of Protection is issued in an ongoing divorce case.

  If you have any questions regarding Court orders, contact the Department of Public Safety at 516.323.3500, ext. 3503 or 3504.

 Orders of Protection Information - Molloy College

Friday, October 18, 2013

Just the Beginning

Welcome to our blog concerned with raising awareness about Relationship Violence. The Partner Project is a collaborative effort to address issues of relationship violence through education, research and conversation. We hope to being to break the silence associated with relationship violence.

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