Chelsie Birks is courageous. She is courageous because she is a survivor of domestic violence. She is courageous because she tells her story. Many have a preconceived idea of what a victim of domestic violence looks like. Unfortunately, most envision an impoverished home with the victim and abuser both addicts of some sort. However, one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. That means that it is probably effecting someone you know.
Why is it that we are not aware of this epidemic? Most are afraid to speak up. Some are so intrenched in the abusive relationship that they feel as if they are trapped. Many also believe that their marriage is more important than their own emotional, mental, and physical well being. An abusive relationship can happen to anyone, and it’s imperative that we are aware of those around us. Once we are educated on this topic, we can look for those who are possibly abused and notice the pattern of abusive behavior to protect ourselves.
The National Domestic Violence Coalition defines domestic violence:
“Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another. It is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, nationality or educational background.
Violence against women is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior, and thus is part of a systematic pattern of dominance and control. Domestic violence results in physical injury, psychological trauma, and sometimes death. The consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and truly last a lifetime.”
There are signs to take notice when entering a dating relationship. Here are 10 early warning signs from the West Island Women’s Shelter (Click link for a detailed explanation of each:
1. He speak disrespectfully about his former partners
2. He is disrespectful towards you
3. He does favors that you don’t want or puts on such a show of generosity that it makes you uncomfortable
4. He is possessive and jealous
5. He is self-centered
6. Nothing is ever his fault
7. He gets too serious too quickly about the relationship
8. He abuses drugs or alcohol
9. He pressures you for sex
10. He intimidates you when he is angry
Becoming aware of important issues is empowering. Empower yourself by doing your own research, avoiding a potential abusive relationship and supporting someone who may be in need.
Chelsie is like you – full of passion, purpose and a woman of true substance. For years, her voice was silenced but now she is using her voice as a vessel of healing. Read her story here and follow along as she blogs about her experience.
If you are in abusive relationship, seek help. Contact The Domestic Violence Hotline.
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