Wednesday, 10 September 2014

What's Love Got To Do With It?

More than just a line in a catchy song but a question I ask when I hear about domestic violence.

What exactly comprises domestic violence?

Domestic violence (closely related to domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence and intimate partner violence) is a pattern of behavior which involves violence or other abuse by one person against another in a domestic context, such as in marriage or cohabitation. Intimate partner violence is domestic violence against a spouse or other intimate partner.

So it would appear that often the person closest to us such as our partner is the perpetrator of such behaviour. It's very hard to feel loved in this kind of environment.

On this week's Real Love Show we had with us Motivational Speaker, Awarded Broadcaster and National Ambassador of Domestic Violence UK, Jenni Steele.

Jenni experienced domestic violence  as a teenager and shared with our audience her journey into self-confidence and personal  accomplishment.

Jenni's abuser was her first love. Someone she felt emotionally close to and who she thought loved her. 

Jenni says "after being punched up so bad that I was left unconscious, I was saved by a neighbour. I never went back."

Something Jenni shared which I found so useful was that sometimes people judged without realising they were doing so. Like so many women, including some who have been on my show previously, Jenni told no one what was happening to her.  One of these reasons was judgement from friends.

I asked her "Jenni, how can this be, if it were me and my friend was being abused I would feel angry on her behalf and want to immediately confront the person in question, such would be my indignation".  But Jenni explained people often come back with the reply "that could never happen to me", "if that was me, I would do this" and this type of response makes the individual feel they are to blame. That they are in some way culpable, that they were allowing it to take place.

I thought to myself, what a very good point. That's exactly what is happening. It doesn't help, strengthen, bolster or encourage the victim at all. In fact it makes them less likely to open up and tell someone what is happening.

So can I use this post to simply encourage anyone that hears another individual's story to suspend the judgement. To simply listen. With compassion and help them any way they can. If it is to go along with them to the police. If it is to hold their hand while they reach out to organisations such as Women's Aid or Jenni's charity Domestic Violence UK, then let that suffice.

And let it be known, it is NEVER the victim's fault. They are not to blame. There is never an excuse.

President Obama said the following just after the Ray Rice incident where the footballer knocked his wife out cold during an argument,

"Hitting a woman is not something a real man does, and that's true whether or not an act of violence happens in the public eye, or, far too often, behind closed doors."

“Stopping domestic violence is something that's bigger than football – and all of us have a responsibility to put a stop to it.”

We all do indeed!

Listen to Jenni here on the Real Love Show

Patricia Benjamin
Life Coach and Relationship Coach
Talk Show Host
Sound Women 200 List
Top 100 Most Influential Black People in Digital/Social Media
Christian Women in Media International Network Leader
BEFFTA Best Radio Personality