Domestic Violence: Is More than Romantic Abuse
Effects of Domestic Violence
A group of women and I came together to work for progressive and meaningful changes for women in our community. We all have many things in common, such as we advocate as women of color for people of color. What we have all learned is that we all have a passionate regard to work for the end of Domestic Violence.
While the group of us are working to build something better and more functional in a community among dysfunction, as women of color we have to work harder, we have to go above and beyond our male and white counter parts. As they have privilege and are from a community that makes a way for them to succeed due to their being from dominant groups. As women of color, we struggle against men to be able to move forward, and we have the insecurities of women that we are required to maneuver around professionally. If there is ever a need for proof of this, you can look at how black women leaving domestically violent relationships are treated. You can also look at how black women that have been raped are treated. The responsibility of taking care of our assailants is placed on us because we are expected to be care takers and load bearers.
We are constantly reminded of why we need more support in our community. We are repeatedly told that not only do we have to be better, but even when we are better, we still are not good enough. Because we don't have the privilege of looking to someone that has the ability and saying "...for this endeavor, may I have help?" We have to jump through hoops of fire, swing acrobatically from the trapeze, stick the landing, master the ceremony, and put on the best show in order to get the support that we need. In other words, we need to dot every i and cross every T", while being the proof reader, editor, and may still be told "no."
Meanwhile, we are women recovering from being in relationships with men that took clear advantage of our ability to produce and succeed. They took what we had to offer, allowed us to create opportunity for them to grow, and then those very men had the privilege and the audacity to make us fight for every thing that we were able to carry with us out of the relationship. They made sure that they humiliated us and demeaned us so much that when we left them, we were not only broken but too ashamed to be able to admit how vulnerable we truly were.
What our culture refuses to acknowledge is that partners that abuse have privilege. They have the ability to create issues with the money that their partners make, and they can use manipulation to take power from their partner, be it through love, or simple manipulation of the powers that be. It is Privilege that allows abusers to get away with abusing the people that love them.
It is privilege that allows abusive partners to continue with their careers, lives, and journeys as the abused have to pick ourselves up off the ground, dust ourselves off and learn how to start over. It is privilege that allows white people to be able to be seen as misunderstood or challenged, while people of color are still questioned even after they have shown their integrity and value. It is privilege that has progressed the divide between women that allows white women to be able to move forward and progress through difficulty, and to forget and distance themselves from their struggles with abuse, that allows for the minimization of the experiences of women of color.
Women of color are reminded of this every time they are spoken down to by a health care professional, or not given proper care to be able to breastfeed their child. We are reminded that we experience the opposite of privilege. We experience struggle, and it is privilege that gives white women the ability to choose to ignore the struggle for women of color.
As a woman of color, I have understood the LGBT and recognize the value of understanding human variety. I, however, am tired of having to constantly prove that my efforts are just as valuable. When Black women were marching with the Feminist movement and fighting for the comforts of white women to be improved, white women saw change. While in our community, pay was still lower, education was still under valued, and our efforts were still not taken as seriously as the efforts of our male and white counter parts. Now, it is happening all over again. It is my LGBT family that I have supported and marched for. Spoken out for and participated in the advancement of LGBT rights with, and has not shown the same support for women like me that have experienced partner abuse, and have had to work even harder to find, create, and build opportunity. I am disappointed that I have stood with my LGBT family, and supported efforts to expand and respect the rights of people that may be trans, pan, or intersexed, but when it comes to my efforts, how often is the difficulty of being a woman of color, and experiencing judgment and discrimination taken into regard?
I am working to build a League of Sisterhood, which is focused on supporting sisters. Women that get judged for being taken advantage of and that get very little support from their community or their families. I am passionate about this because it is a reality for many sisters. It is women of color that must always return as a Phoenix and rise from the ashes. It is women that have to work so hard to hold our communities together, while others work diligently to tear communities apart. Often times, it is men that rush to war, and create destructive opportunities, while it is women that work to create peace in the midst of storms. However, it is women of color that are currently still trying to find footing as we "resist" this racist administration. It is women of color that are pushing forward to speak to the value of the lives of our men and women, but it is still women of color, that are experiencing limitations from men in our communities. We are still struggling to be heard and understood compassionately.
I ask everyone that reads this to stop and think about the women of color that you encounter regularly and just reflect on what they must have gone through to get to where they are at. You may not be able to walk in my shoes, but if you can respect my struggle, then there may be hope for building ally-ship in this place, yet.