The Ariana Mae Hatami Foundation is a benevolent organization for which its sole purpose is to meet the critical needs of young women, daughters, sisters and mothers who are unable to defend themselves from violent offenders or free themselves from abusive relationships.
According to the Huffington Post (updated 2/13/15):
“The number of American troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2012 was 6,488. The number of American women who were murdered by current or ex male partners during that time was 11,766. That’s nearly double the amount of casualties lost during war. Domestic violence is not a singular incident, it’s an insidious problem deeply rooted in our culture — and these numbers prove that.” Three women are murdered every day by a current or former male partner in the U.S. The number of women in the U.S. who experience physical violence by an intimate partner every year is 4,774,000. The number of women who will be victims of severe violence by an intimate partner in their lifetimes is 1 in 4. The percentage of women who are stalked by a current or former male partner who are also physically abused by that partner is 81%.
The number of days of paid work women lose every year because of the abuse perpetrated against them by current or former male partners is $8,000,000. The number of children exposed to domestic violence every year is 10,000,000. The number of women who have been killed by men in domestic violence disputes since 2003 is 18,000.
But statistics does not get to the heart of what we do. We make meaningful connections between our benefactors and those victims and families that are suffering emotionally and financially.
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior characterized by the intent to gain or maintain power and control over his or her partner. The abuse is typically established over time. It frequently begins with shaming and insults, a shove or by alienating the survivor from family and friends. With time, the abusive behavior can evolve into violent threats or actions, intimidation, humiliation, coercion and manipulation.
Domestic violence can take many forms and includes but not limited to the following. Verbal abuse that targets a partner’s emotions and psyche. There is constant criticism and minimizing a partner’s worth or blaming them at every turn. What use to be a loving and mutual relationship has turned into sexual abuse by manipulating a person into having sex by using guilt or threats. As the pattern of abuse escalates, the person becomes physically abused or any force that causes pain or injury such as, hitting, kicking, slapping or secondary injury due to things being thrown and smashed near the person.
Know The Signs
Domestic violence is often more than just physical abuse. It is a besiege of behaviors that can strike subtly or without warning. Identifying the signs of an abusive relationship can initially be difficult because of indirect tactics the violent offender uses to gain power and control. It is common for a survivor to recognize abuse for what it is when she is hit for the first time but perpetrators know how to be charming, convincing, coy and self-effacing when exerting power and manipulation.
It is essential to increase awareness of the hostile patterns in an unhealthy relationship and being able to make a major step toward healing. It is crucial to invest oneself in conversations in order to help others in understanding why and how domestic violence occurs. Common signs of an abusive relationship are when a person:
- Prevents contact with friends and family.
- Causes embarrassment or shames you in public.
- Critical of your appearance whether it is clothing or your God-given physical attributes.
- Attempts to control what you wear or how he/she wants you to look
- Withholding access to money or demanding that you ask for permission to spend money
- Has unrealistic expectations that you should be available at all times
- Dismisses or denies the act of abuse, like it’s not a big deal or blames you for over-dramatizing
- Bullies or terrorizes you and the children or threatens to take away the children
- Plays countless mind games
- Destroys personal belongings or secretly vandalizes property
- Threatens to kill pets
- Threatens to commit suicide
- Forceful grabbing, shoving, choke hold, sexual assault, slapping
- Intimidates with lethal weapons
- Denying you medical care or forcing drug use
If you would like to know more signs of abusive relationships, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline at www.thehotline.org.
How You Can Support a Survivor
Never underestimate your power to make a positive impact on the course of a survivor’s healing journey. You do not have to be an expert, you just have to be available, to be yourself and be that source of comfort that comes naturally. If you are the person that someone wants to confide their dilemma and is seeking your support, guidance and compassion, then consider yourself blessed.
Although you can’t take away what happened to someone, you can do several things that will make a difference.
There are times when you don’t even need a lot of words to be there for someone. Learn about “deep listening” as it will convey love, acceptance and your intent of being “the rock” the person can rely on. This will truly lessen their burden of isolation, self-blame and secrecy.
The healing journey can be long and challenging so reminding a survivor in the days that follow that you are available for ongoing conversations really is invaluable and will further empower the survivor.
Be the person that someone will know without a doubt, that you believe in them and you’re committed in supporting them through this very difficult time. Some helpful phrases may include: “I am so sorry this happened to you; This is not your fault; I am so glad you told me; I’m not going anywhere because I’m here for you no matter what”.
It is very unfortunate, but our society is full of presumptuous people touting high-handed attitudes and inclined to victim blaming myths. Never listen to these false messages. Violence and abuse is NEVER the victim’s fault. The perpetrator is the only one that will never live down that responsibility and shame. You can communicate this with firm but gentle reserve.
“I know it feels like you did something wrong but believe me you didn’t; The responsibility is on the person who hurt you; I guarantee, you did not deserve any of this; Whatever this person says to justify themselves in hurting you is total lies; No one ever has the right to hurt you, nothing is acceptable”
3. Ask what more you can do to help
Violence and abuse is about power, manipulation and control. It is crucial for survivors to recognize this and regain their sense of personal power. Advising someone to take action is a good thing, but do not push someone for which they are not ready. Simply ask as to how you can support them; determine if you can take on some action items if the survivor is open to it.
You can best help a survivor by offering options and leaving space for them to decide where to go from there. Below are some national resources which can direct someone to local resources.
5. Care for yourself
It’s important to care for yourself as you support another person. Second hand trauma is real and can impact you in such a way that shakes your core and weakens your resilience; this is the reality of trauma. You cannot be your best self in your supportive role if you are too tired to listen with care or you are overwhelmed with your own emotions in response to another’s trauma. These feelings are valid and you must take time for yourself that rejuvenates your soul.