Saturday, March 08, 2014

I didn't know it was domestic violence - guest blogger

Inhale, exhale. My heart is pounding in my chest because I'm writing this so please bear with me. I decide to write this guest blog to tell my story. I'm not going to name drop because some family members still refuse to accept what they saw as abuse.

No one told me that what happened was domestic violence. I had a mom, dad, brother and a sister that I love very much. In many ways, I am still a scared child. It's hard for me to separate the love from the hurt. Our parents are gone now but my siblings and I are all in recovery in each of our own ways.

Growing up, the school taught me about good-touch, bad-touch. They said it was abuse if someone touched me where my swimsuit would cover it up. Nobody said anything about somebody touching you where jeans and a shirt would cover up.

That's what they taught me at school. The touch I learned at home was different. I call it now the shut-up touch. Whenever one of us came to close to talking about 'family business' our parents had a way of shutting us up. Pinches, hits, slaps... this is what I knew.

My friends families were the same way. They didn't say so but you could hear their parents yelling. Across the street, down the street, behind my house, it was all the same. My parents yelled and hit each other. Their parents yelled and hit each other. We went around pretending that it wasn't happening or that it wasn't any big deal. It was like we were in a movie or something.

I'm changing all that now. It's taken me two bad relationships and a million dollars worth of therapy to get where I can write about it. When the therapist first said it was domestic violence it blew me away. I was like um okay whatever etc. I looked it up online and had some more sessions with her. Damn. It did fit. :(

When you're dealing with crap there's nobody that can tell you what to do. You have to be ready to deal on your own time. There is no fairy godmother that's going to do it for you.

Things are okay now though. I've come through it and learned a lot. I'm not being robbed of my self-esteem hourly and for a couple years life has been really good. I'm with a good man who loves me now. He wants what's best for me and I want the same thing for him. My husband's family was the same so we both know what violence does. We talk and when we disagree we get some space and talk when the dust settles.

Our daughter will be two and she has a happy place to call home because we are making it work. There isn't any more domestic violence in my home anymore. I guess that's what I wanted to say.

A.J.M.

Originally published 9/24/12

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A word about sponsorship links

For as long as anyone can remember, sponsorship variations have been a key way for nonprofit organizations to raise funds. For organizations like Hope for Healing. Org some of those sponsorship opportunities have included  text links or other advertising placements on the website. This was a common and accepted practice for years.

The internet is constantly changing and evolving. It is a very different place now than it was just a few years ago. Recent changes across the internet may now be penalizing some sites that purchased or sold advertising links or online sponsorships. 

This was a widely accepted practice a few years ago. Now it's a big no-no to some search engines. The search engines aren't trying to knock nonprofit organizations out of funding or hurt agencies that serve victims of domestic violence. 

What they are trying to do is make the internet a more user-friendly place by burying crappy sites at the bottom of the pile. Any action has unintended consequences. Some (not all) nonprofit blogs have gotten caught in  the mix. 

Thanks for your helping us help survivors of sexual and domestic violence and their friends and family. Your support is vital. 

As far as we can tell, everything seems to be okay with this site. However; if you've sponsored us online and want the link removed, just let us know. If you want the link to remain, then there is nothing that you need to do. The email address to use is hello@hopeforhealing.org. Just put "sponsorships" in the subject line. We are happy to respond as quickly as possible. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Contact shelters to ask about donating toys

We have received emails from people asking how to help children this holiday season. Our suggestion is to contact your local shelter to ask about donating toys. Sometimes families are forced to flee to a shelter right before Christmas. This almost always guarantees a last minute toy crunch.

When a family comes in at the last minute, staff will scramble to find toys and some will buy things out of their own pocket. We have known advocates and staff to make Christmas smaller for their own family because of a last minute need. No one wants a child who believes in Santa to wake up without a toy.

Donating funds or gift cards to a shelter may be another way to help. There is one thing about designating funds. Please specify that the gift can be used to fund general operating expenses if it is not fully used to purchase toys. Shelters need electricity, water, household items and staff salaries. These are often funded  through the gifts of people like you and me.

Contacting your local shelter is the best way to find out what the needs are and how to help.