When I should have been working on math, instead I was talking to my student about the black eye she was trying to hide under her shades. The night before, outside of a convenience store, they fought, he punched her in her eye, took her money, and left. While inside the store, he had been going through her cell phone. Apparently, he found something he did not like. He did more than just tell her. She made an effort to call the police but they did not show fast enough and he was gone. She called her sister to exact some street justice but they could not find him either. Now here she sat, mentally and emotionally distracted, with a puffy, bruised eye, covered in make-up and hidden with shades, claiming fault because she usually deletes the stuff out her phone before he sees it. Wait…what?!?!
Yes, in her mind, she found a justifiable reason as to the assault. She had decided she was not going to deal with him ever again, so he would never have the chance to put his hands on her again. She just wanted her money back. Huh? What?!?! It became clear, quickly, that this was not the first time she experienced some form of domestic violence. Considering where I teach, exposure to any violence is not surprising. When it is experienced by and cyclical for one of my students, I take it personal. My hope is some of what I said to her will help another find her voice and decide to disallow certain things in her life (like domestic violence), thus designing a life of happiness and purpose in line with what our Creator intended before we were even conceived. Here is some of what I said.
If you look at the people around you, it is an indication of what you believe about yourself. We are mirrors. Everything in us is reflected in our fashion, choice of music, what we read, what we do for fun, and who we allow in our lives. Take inventory of your friends and associates. If you have the same type of negative people are around you, who abuse you, hurt you more than help you are, and create regular chaos and drama; then you cannot fault them. The one thing all of those people have in common is You.
We attract what we believe we are worth. There is something in you that says it is okay to have someone to cuss you out and tell you that you are not going to be anything without them. There is something in you that says you wouldn’t know what to do with a brother who will only use his hands to hold you and not hit you. There is something in you that says believe it when you are told you need that person that hurts you or you will be alone and no one will want you. That thing in you that says all that trash and more is acceptable, is the part of you that is broken, in pain, and most of all is disconnected from your Creator; from God. Because if inside you were connected to the one that created you, you would understand how He intended His creation to be treated, how to be used, and the purpose behind your existence.
We could definitely blame someone for putting their hands on us. They do not have the moral or legal right to do so. But if we take responsibility for what we allow in our lives, then suddenly we are requiring more of ourselves and demanding more from others. I say we demand more because we have always demanded or allowed something. We train people how to treat us. If we allow something once, the precedent has been set that will allow it again, and again, and again. If we demand the respect of someone from our first encounter, they understand what it will take to continue any form of relationship with us. My point is to understand that you have power. The right for someone to abuse you was given to them way before they lifted a hand to you. Whether you choose to file a police report or not, I want you to do the work inside so you do not continue this cycle or toxic people and poor choices you are in now. God wants so much more for you and so do I. None of that matters until you want more for yourself.
Report domestic violence. Speak up against domestic violence. Stop domestic violence.
Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) www.thehotline.org