I take great pleasure in introducing this blogger to you. Shelia started working with me as my event planner in my previous ministry work. Her work in the field of Domestic and Sexual Violence has transformed the lives of innummerable women and children. She’s a real dynamo! Enjoy!!!
— Dr. Kim
IS LIBERATED LIVING REALLY LIBERATED?
Liberated living is joyful, fun and exciting! You can go where you want, do what you desire, and even travel all over to see the world. However, for some people, liberated living is not liberated at all but comes at a cost. For them, liberated living means power and control at the hands of another – doing what they want, when they want, and how they want. Some must ask for permission to go visit family and friends. They have to check-in every few minutes concerning what they are or are not doing. At times, they are not able to even leave the house at all. Whenever a person uses physical and sexual abuse, controls finances, uses the children, makes threats, etc., these are tactics used to get and maintain control in a relationship. That’s not liberated living; that’s bondage!
Working in the field of Domestic and Sexual Violence for over 15 years, I’ve seen the pain, scars, and trauma that Survivors endure from hitting, slapping, kicking, punching, burning, etc. No matter the race, education, economic status, etc., no one deserves to be subjected to any form or type of abuse. Assaulting another person is a crime and Batterers must be held accountable. We must keeping fighting to liberate Survivors from this violence. This important work must continue. Unfortunately, so often Survivors are told the following:
“What did you do to get slapped?”
“If you’d only keep your mouth closed, this would not happen to you.”
“Why don’t you just leave?”
“I would not allow anyone to hit on me!”
Instead of blaming the Survivor, we need to challenge the Batterer by saying,
“Why do you use violence to solve problems?”
“Why don’t you just leave when you do not agree?”
“There are programs available for Batterers who use power and control in their relationships; you need to get help!”
In order to embrace liberated living, SURVIVORS: You must accept that you CANNOT change an individual.
In order to embrace liberated living, BATTERERS: You have to admit and accept that you have a serious problem with violence. YOU need help.
Liberated living for a Survivor is knowing that it is NOT your fault. Liberated living for a Batterer and a Suvivor is knowing that violence is never the answer or solution to solving an issue. Keeping yourself safe is a start to embracing true liberated living. You CAN live free of violence! Call the police. Get a Personal Protection Order (PPO). Get support from family, friends, and co-workers. Leave. Move out or move away. Make a safety plan and use it. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) to find shelters in your area that service Survivors of Domestic Violence. Shelters will assist you with housing, counseling, support groups, legal assistance, etc.
Please know that God has not called you to a life of abuse, torment, and torture. You CAN embrace a life of liberated living that includes joy, peace, and happiness!
Shelia Y. Darden, a Detroit native, lives in Ann Arbor, MI. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Her work in the field of Domestic Violence, spanning over a decade, focuses on counseling battered/abused women and children. She’s also counseled women in prison seeking clemency. A multifaceted entrepreneur, Shelia owns an event planning company, works as a Standardized Patient Instructor for University of Michigan, and continues to work with troubled and at-risk youth through Wedgwood Christian Services. Shelia is also a licensed Respite/Foster Parent with Monroe County Community Mental Health Authority in the state of Michigan.