The Tuesday following Black Friday has become an organized day of giving for many businesses. While we make it part of our culture to give year-round (with animal shelter benefit models, etc), this year on Giving Tuesday we are supporting another important local organization: Starting Point: Services for Victims of Domestic & Sexual Violence.
On Tuesday, November 27th, 2018, we'll donate 20% of total sales to Starting Point... And give YOU 10% off all current-run models from Breyer, Schleich, CollectA, and Hagen-Renaker as a thank-you for helping them help women get out of dangerous situations.
Starting Point is a life-saving organization that helps break the cycle of abuse in homes with educational prevention programs, a local crisis hotline, preparation plans to get away from danger, transportation to help women (and their children) get away, and a shelter where they can adjust to life without abuse and prepare to re-enter the world on their own terms. They also offer support groups, court advocacy, and other important services to help victims become survivors.
Many people who have never been in such a situation ask, "Why doesn't a woman just leave?" It sounds so simple from the outside. Yet abuse is an insidious thing, and abusers are devious con artists. Abuse never starts at the beginning of a relationship. For months, even years if necessary, the abuser will play the part of "the ideal man," impressing the woman's family, friends and coworkers with how great he is, as well as the woman herself. So when he finally begins showing his true self in private, the woman begins to question if she caused this change, since he was so great before. This set-up also insures that the people she would usually rely on think he's great, making it hard for her to feel she would be believed if she told them what happens at home. During this time, he makes plenty of appearances with family and at her work to reinforce how wonderful he is. It is all a game of power and manipulation to an abuser, whose true goal is to create helplessness.
Leading up to this point, though, hasn't all been the wine and roses he made it appear. He has very likely taken her freedoms in small steps, such as handling the checkbook and not allowing her to have a debit or credit card, so he controls cash flow. She has to tell him where she is and he calls to check often. These things start small, so they're nothing more than an irritant at first, but they add up. Eventually she finds herself with no money (if she has a job, she turns the pay over to him to "pay the bills"), no time alone to think, and he has very likely begun to separate her from her friends and family as well, to better insure she has no support system. Some men have bought houses and moved their wives and kids far from their families for this specific reason. So once the actual abuse begins, she already feels helpless, resource-less, and that he is her only companion in the world.
Even at this point, most women would leave if the abuse were relentless, but again, abusers use manipulation to retain their hold: There is what is called the "cycle of abuse" which has three parts: First, the abuse happens. It could be an explosive event of violence or verbal and psychological abuse, "No one else would ever love you because you're [ugly, stupid, etc]." After the damage has been inflicted, he suddenly becomes remorseful, sweet and loving again for a while... the part of the cycle known as the "Honeymoon Phase." It's like they were on Honeymoon all over again - He becomes that man she fell in love with. He apologizes for his behavior and promises it will never happen again. This could last days or even months, but slowly tension begins to rise and soon the woman is walking on eggshells again, using a lot of time and energy to try to not set him off, and she knows it's coming. Eventually it does, devastatingly, and the cycle begins again. It's this cycle that's so hard to break, because women tend to be compassionate and easily see that man they fell in love with each time the Honeymoon Phase begins again. "He really is sorry this time," "He says he'll go to counseling," "I know he loves me... I just make him angry sometimes," are all things we've heard from victims.
If any of this sounds like what you're experiencing, please seek an organization in your area similar to Starting Point. They aren't going to force you to leave, but they will help you understand that you're not the only one who has been through this, and they'll give you the tools to help you decide each day whether to stay or to leave. They put power back into your life, and if you decide to leave, they have the resources to help keep you safe while you do. It is never too late to make that decision... until your name appears in the newspaper as a fatality. Life is much bigger and better than you can imagine right now, so please reach out and take back some of your power.
Please join us this Tuesday, November 27th, to give back to a non-profit that is making a lifelong difference for so many. 10% off current items for you, and 20% of all sales to Starting Point.
* Please note that while in my examples, the victims/survivors are female and the abusers are male, it can go the other direction, too, and men who are abused are even less likely to seek help because they're afraid for their reputation as men. We recognize you - I have known a man who survived such a terrible situation - and hope that you will understand that strength comes in many forms... Seeking help when you need it is one of the greatest forms of strength. ~ Eleda