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:


The Deafening Silence of Relationship Violence

The Silence Surrounding Domestic Violence is Deafening – from Huffington Post

Posted: 11/07/2013 4:39 pm

As a very vocal advocate for the eradication of domestic violence, I am greatly frustrated by the apparent indifference our culture has towards domestic violence and the cancerous destruction it has on our families. A greater discussion was warranted, especially in October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, to inform those in abusive relationships of resources available to victims and abusers in hopes of bringing an end to the violence. A candid conversation was needed to educate the masses as to what domestic violence is, who is being affected and how domestic violence can kill the victim's body, mind and spirit.

Despite aggressively pitching dozens of television programs and attempting to leverage my television relationships, no one was willing to talk about domestic violence - even in October - Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Nearly three out of four
(74%) Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. Therefore, this topic would have been of great relevance to the vast majority of viewers. Still, producers and hosts choose not to discuss domestic violence despite their abilities to produce segments that would have been informative, moving and possibly, life saving.

So why the Industry-wide "NO"? One producer candidly stated that the topic is 'heavy" and a "downer" to an audience of people who have traveled to the studio or watch on the television, to escape the misery in their own lives. Then, my common sense kicked in and I came to grips with the reality that domestic violence is so prevalent and epidemic in nature, that there exist a very strong possibility that someone calling the shots is an abuser. There is a great likelihood that someone on the decision making board is embarrassed by her victimization. Domestic violence happens behind closed doors and for many, that's where they want the conversation to stay also.

The grim truth is that the producers are correct in there assessment as to what people WANT to hear, but that does not give them an out for not providing what people NEED to hear. The sad reality is that most people don't passionately care about domestic violence. The clandestine excuses are: it's a private family matter; people should not air family dirty laundry to the public (no matter how bloody it is); there are two sides to every story so we don't get involved and pick sides (even though only person is being battered); it happens all of the time - people work it out themselves.

The bottom line is that many people will not appreciate this atrocity, that is - domestic violence - until it impacts their lives in personal ways. Yet, I challenge my fellow compassionate beings to understand that domestic violence has a rippling effect that can greatly traumatize our lives as innocent bystanders.

Consider how these real-life scenarios of domestic violence could have affected you.

·        Someone in your circle of friends is smiling on the outside but is being abused at home. In fact, every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten and everyday in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.

·        Some man you hold in high-esteem for being a good friend, boss, employee, leader or colleague is actually a pathetic asshole, bullying and abusing his partner and children. In 98% of domestic violence cases, the perpetrator is the man. 

·        Some child on the playground is bullying your child because she is mimicking the abusive behavior she experiences at home.

·        Your adult child doesn't call much anymore and seldom comes around because she is being abused at home and is too embarrassed to ask for help. Domestic violence includes isolation from family and social contacts, physical and sexual assault, harassment, threats, blaming, name-calling, withholding money, controlling behavior, stalking, verbal abuse, etc.

·        The teenager, from your neighborhood, feels like his life isn't worth living because that's what he's been told at home. Subsequently, he decides to shoot up a school and also end his life.

·        You are buying stamps at the post office and a stalker enters to shoot and kill her boyfriend .

·        A child dies, while being "watched" by Momma's boyfriend, because the permitted form of discipline is beating/abuse which eventually goes to far. The national news story becomes of interest to you because the father, whom the victim never met or knew, is an all-star professional football player.

·        The "perfect" mom, with whom your children had play dates finally cracks from the hidden abuse and shoots her children, abuser and self.

·        The house on fire, wherein a mother and her 12 year old daughter hell-bent on committing suicide due to the continual domestic violence are entrapped, catches fire to your house and burns your memories down.

·        Your child needs counseling because he learns that his best friend was killed by his mother in a murder/suicide because she could no longer take the daily domestic abuse.

·        Your co-worker comes into work hungover quite often and it has affected your team performance and thus your annual review. You are unaware that many victims of domestic violence use and abuse alcohol as a coping mechanism

Domestic violence occurs every day, all over the world, in every neighborhood and to every demographic of victims. Please talk about it. Lend your non-judgmental support to someone you think needs help and give financial assistance to organizations that are passionate about ending domestic violence.