Thinking Out Loud

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So as you all know I started writing my book about my experience with domestic violence, the chapter I am currently working on so far is one of the most difficult chapters. It has taken me a long time to write what I have written so far. It has opened up a wound I thought was healed. I have realized that there has not really been full closure on this aspect of my life. Many tears have been shed while writing previous chapters, so many unanswered questions. So many “Why’s?” and I know those will never be answered, and even if there was a chance for those “why’s” to be answered I know that they would not be truthful answers anyways.

This book is not only about my experience with domestic violence, this book touches on so many sensitive subjects in my life. It is graphic and detailed. I want the readers to feel what I have felt. I believe that that is the best way a writer can write. To bring the reader back in time and travel with me through my life as if they were right there with me.

At the same time I am struggling right now, I am facing things from my past that I never fully dealt with. Emotions about things that have happened and am wondering why I have these feelings. I try to continue typing through this chapter, I get one or two sentences out and I shut it down.

You know, I go through life looking at where I am now and where I came from. Amazed at how I got this far. I get through day by day with a smile on face just loving and enjoying every moment. I look at my dreams and see myself achieving them and see doors of opportunities starting to open. I’ve connected with amazing people all over the world through this blog and other social media. Yet I feel stuck. I usually write blogs to inspire and encourage others but right now I could really use some inspiration and encouragement.

I guess this blog is just a venting blog.

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Domestic Violence Summit 2014

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I was looking for a video to post while I finish writing a blog I am working on and came upon these videos. The domestic Violence Summit 2014 hosted on the Dr. Phil Show.

It is a seven-part series and I just had to share them with you. Let’s raise awareness. Let’s connect. Let’s Inspire and Let’s Come Together!

Up and coming project

 

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Hey all, so I am in the works of creating a newsletter.  I am planning on starting it in September, I thought that would be a great time since it is the 1 year anniversary of my blog page. On my page I have the subscription sign-up on there, I want to focus on gaining subscribers now while I work on newsletters and continue educating myself with creating them, I have a couple in the works already.

This newsletter is a monthly newsletter focusing on encouraging, inspiring, and empowering women. It will be filled with helpful tools, motivational quotes and much more!

I thank you in advance for all your support in my endeavors. Below is the direct link to sign-up for the newsletter. When signing up, you may receive the intro welcoming letter and a confirmation email. It is automatically sent upon sign-up.

Sign-up here: http://eepurl.com/b19Lqz

Join In On The Convo

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Teen dating violence is a serious issue, did you know that close to 1.5 million high school students are victims of physical violence for a dating partner each year? Join me and others as we discuss the issue.

direct link: https:tlk.io/alifeworthlivingfor

or you can find it on my webpage on the left sidebar.

 

Let’s Talk About Teen Dating Violence

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This coming Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 @ 7pm EST. Let’s talk about teen dating violence! We all know how serious this issue is, so let’s talk about it! If we want to end domestic violence we need to reach out to the younger generations!

The direct link to the chat is: https://tlk.io/alifeworthlivingfor

Or you can find the chat on the left sidebar on my page.

Please comment below, or DM me on twitter to let me know if you will be joining in on the conversation.

Why That Title?

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“A life worth living for? I like the name, but what made you choose it?” This seems to be the number one question I am asked when people find out that I have started blogging and they see the title of my page.

When my friend (who is also my editor) and I first discussed and started planning out writing blogs we were also trying to think of a name. It literally just came to me. When I thought of all I had been through in life A Life Worth Living For just seemed perfect. My life’s worth living for and so is yours! We all have a purpose in this world. We all have something to offer and to give. No one is put on this earth for no reason. No matter what some people may think or say. Everyone is born with a purpose. No matter what we experience in life it is all to make us stronger and better. For instance, I believe my purpose is to touch other people’s lives through the tribulations of my own life. To open the curtain of my world and share with others what I have gone through and how I have grown through them. And what better way to start doing that than by blogging right? The feedback I have received is amazing! Something I have wanted to do for so long but was actually scared. Scared of what others would think. I got the opposite feedback. People have been touched, it has open up the doors to bring awareness to situations that are not just my own but to those who have yet found their voice. It brings awareness to topics that so many people know so little about, Or they only know the stereotypical information about the topics.

Why do I blog? Blogging (writing) is also therapeutic when you think about it, it cleanses the soul. You are able to write whatever you want, all your feelings and emotions can be written down. It is a great way to express yourself. With the added benefit that when you share with others you may have helped someone else too.

So our lives really are worth living for. And I hope that in sharing different parts of my life that you too in turn may find your way and purpose as I continue finding mine.

A Life Worth Living For; a life filled with purpose. A life filled with hope and a life filled with dreams.

Twitter: @Shauna_Driscoll

Facebook: A Life Worth Living For

Addiction

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When I was young, in my early twenties, I found that there was a change in the way I drank. It was no longer about the party, or having fun. It started as just being fun. I’d go out with my friends, and we’d stay out maybe later than we should. Then I would drink maybe more than I should. After what I’d been through with my ex, I was living free, and with that freedom came a wild streak I was thoroughly enjoying. Finally, I was in control of myself. If I wanted to drink too much, or party all night long, I could, and no one was going to stop me.

Drinking became the sole focus of my life. I would spend hours a day looking for a club, a house party, a small social gathering to go to, and if there wasn’t one, I created one at my house, all in order to drink until I couldn’t function. It had got to the point where I would drink up until it was time for me to get ready for work. Even when I got to work, my job took a back seat to figuring out how to not drink alone that night.

It seems impossible to me that I survived. I can’t believe my body never shut down from the enormous amounts of Hennessey I’d pour down my throat, or that I didn’t break my neck walking on a flat surface. Crazier though, is that somehow I held together working at least 40 hours a week and was working towards my degree. For a long time, I didn’t look like I had a drinking problem, and I was comforted by that. How could I hold all of this together if I was an addict?

Eventually though, my drinking caught up with me. I dropped out of school. I lost my job. I was hanging out with a group of people I had no business calling my friends. The downward spiral didn’t matter. I could just drink more and forget about it. Alcohol was always there. For four years, it was the best friend I had.

In 2009, I had a life changing experience. I’m not at liberty to really discuss it, and in truth, I’m not ready to. I’ve promised to my readers to share my truth, and my truth is that my rock bottom moment is something I need to keep private. One day, I hope to be able to share my life with total openness. With my first blog post, I discussed an incredibly difficult relationship that I had, and it was amazing the amount of people that reached out to me to say they had no idea what I had been through, or how much my story meant to them. I’m not ready to have the same attention drawn to this one small aspect of my past.
In times of hardship, I have found a deep connection with God. As soon as my ordeal in 2009 was over, I went to church. Instead of drinking in order to feel nothing, I strived to feel closer to God. While the church isn’t for everyone, I was lucky enough to meet a pastor that I truly credit with my recovery. In our first meeting, she made it very clear to me that if I didn’t deal with my past, the abuse from my ex, the abandonment of my father, the loss of my step-dad, I would be right back to drinking, or possibly worse. That meeting I mostly recall through a blur of tears and tissues. I went home and started writing. I learned how to cope with the pains of my past without drowning them in a glass of vodka. It took time for me to deal with the issues I had been running away from for so long. From 2009-2014 I went without a drop of alcohol. Since I feel good about how I’ve dealt with my pain and have accepted what has happened to me and what I have done to myself, I am comfortable having a drink every so often. I understand that for some people, a drinking problem is a one way street, where one drink turns into ten and it’s dangerous to even be around someone else who is drinking, but this is not the case for me. The only problem liquor causes in my life now is when my editor can’t focus and drink at the same time.

Photo Credit:  “Addiction… Thought of the Day.” 945 WCMS. Web. 4 Nov. 2015.

“She Had a Little Rebel in Her…”

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I found this quote by R.M. Drake. It really spoke to me, and I would like to share it with all of you: “She had a little rebel in her. A little chaos and a little gentleness. She didn’t say much and sometimes she would doze off. She would drift away, dream with the stars and that was ok. She had a little fight in her and every time she built enough courage her voice would echo through the sky. She wasn’t complete but she had enough. There was a science to her genius, her madness, her beauty and there was nothing she couldn’t accomplish. She was unstoppable and everything she ever wanted she took, with nothing on but a smile.” ~ R. M. Drake

When I read it; it had me look at my past.

There were times I myself seemed to only have a drop of fight left in me. But somehow mustered enough courage to make it through.

No matter what life has thrown at me, I always managed to catch it bare-handed.

It would seem like life would give me its best shot. Yet, just like a tree in a storm; I may bend but the strength that is deeply rooted within would never allow me to break.

When I wanted to scream; I found a way to laugh.

I somehow knew that I would make it. I knew that at times it would be hard and maybe seem impossible, but I knew I would make it out on top.

I just knew that I could accomplish anything as long as I didn’t give up the fight! If I whole-heartedly believe it, I will achieve it.

I think that is one of the hardest things to remind ourselves: That we will make it! That we are stronger than we think. I believe that is why at times we need certain people in our lives. These people remind us of our strengths when we are at our weakest. They remind us of the beauty that shines from within when we can’t see thru the dark clouds that seem to blur our vision.
So, take life by the horns, ride it into the wind. Do not ever give up knowing that you will succeed. Even when we fail (we know we are not perfect), dust off and try again. Failures are not actually bad. They give us a deeper insight into that particular situation. It is just another branch in our tree of life.

Photo Credit:

“Facebook Logo.” Facebook. Web. 13 Oct. 2015. <http://www.facebook.com/stopdomesticviolence&gt;. 

Dear Survivors

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Dear Survivors;

You made it! You got your strength and found your courage. You found your voice and you got your dignity back. It was a traumatic road; but you managed to re-route your GPS and get back on the right track.

You broke through those prison walls, and escaped that living hell. You can now lift your head up and take a deep breath. You are safe!

As a survivor myself I applaud you! I congratulate you for taking these first steps to freedom. I know there are still some obstacles you have to go through as you continue healing, but believe me you will get stronger each and every day. I congratulate you for re-gaining control of your life! You are on your way to bigger and better things. You no longer have to had in the shadows of fear. Those dark clouds have passed and the sun is shining brighter than ever before. It is a new day, embrace it to it’s fullest!

-Shauna Driscoll

Photo Credit: “I Am a Survivor.” LoveThisPic. Web. 11 Oct. 2015. <http://www.lovethispic.com/image/43136/i-am-a-survivor&gt;.

What is domestic violence?

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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, with that being said I will be posting information on this issue. Education is power, so the more widespread this becomes, the more people we can empower to get the help they need.I hope to bring some clarity to this topic as this is something that really hits very close to home for me as you may have read in my last post.

I know that there are several sites out there to offer assistance, and there is no need to fear of “being caught” I know several of these sites have a button on their page that you can click on and it directs you to a completely different site such as a clothing site or a news site. These sites are designed to inform and protect you.

So what is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is violent or aggressive behavior within the home, typically involving the violent abuse of a spouse or partner.

Abuse is to treat with cruelty or violence, especially regularly or repeatedly.

Types of abuse:

·Physical

·Emotional/Verbal

·Sexual

·Financial

·Digital

·Stalking

Physical abuse is any intentional and unwanted contact with you or something close to your body. Physical abuse does not always leave a mark, and may not even cause pain.

Examples of physical abuse:

·Scratching

·Punching

·Biting

·Choking

·Kicking

·Picking something up and throwing it at you, for example; a shoe, a book, or a phone.

·Pushing or pulling you.

·Forcing you to have sex or to perform a sexual act.

·Grabbing your face forcefully to make you look at them.

·Forcibly grabbing you to either prevent you from leaving or to force you to go somewhere.

A lot of people ask the question “How do I escape?” I remember when that seemed like it was totally impossible. From personal experience, the first step is knowing that you are not alone. There is always a friend or family member that you can go to and talk about your situation. No matter how obscure your relationship may be with someone, no one wants to see anyone in an unsafe relationship. I know at times I felt alone and like I had no one to go to, but when I came forward with my story, it was amazing the number of people that came out of the woodwork to offer me strength and encouragement.

Abusive relationships escalate. So it’s important that people are aware of the warning signs to prevent any more harm.

Emotional/Verbal abuse does not include physical contact. It is verbal threats, insults, “checking-in”, excessive phone calls and/or text messages, intimidation or stalking.

Examples of Verbal/Emotional abuse:

·Calling you names

·Putting you down

·Embarrassing you in front of others.

·Keeping you away from your friends and family (Isolation)

·Making you feel guilty when you do not give your consent for sexual activity.

·Blaming your actions for their abusive behavior.

·Telling you what to do

·Telling you what to wear

·Making threats to commit suicide to stop you from leaving them.

·Making threats to harm you, your pet, or people you care about.

Sexual abuse is any action that pressures or coerces someone to do something sexually they don’t want to do. It also refers to behavior that impacts a person’s ability to control their sexual activity or the circumstances in which sexual activity occurs, which includes oral sex, rape, or restricting access to birth control and condoms.

Just because you are in a relationship does not entitle your partner to have sex when he or she wants it. Just because someone does not say no does not mean that they are consenting to it either. Sometimes the victim does not resist or say no out of fear of further physical or sexual abuse.

Examples of sexual abuse:

·Unwanted kissing or touching

·Unwanted rough or violent sexual activity

·Rape or attempted rape

·Refusing to use condoms or restricting someone’s access to birth control.

·Keeping someone from protecting themselves from STD’s or STI’s.

·Sexual contact with someone who is intoxicated, drugged, unconscious or in any way unable to give a clear yes or no answer.

·Threatening someone into unwanted sexual activity.

·Constantly pressuring someone to have sex or perform sexual acts

·Regularly using sexual insults toward someone.

Financial abuse is when someone tells you what you can or cannot buy, and shares control of your bank accounts credit cards, and cash. This form of abuse is particularly dangerous when coupled with any other form of abuse. Financial abuse is often how an abuser forces someone to stay in the relationship.

Examples of financial abuse:

·Giving you an allowance and paying close attention to what you buy.

·Depositing your paycheck into their account and denying you access.

·Not allowing you to view the bank records.

·Not allowing you to go to work, or if you do work sets a limit of how many hours you can work a shift.

·Stopping you from going to work by taking your car or keys.

·Getting you fired by harassing you,your employer or coworkers at your job.

·Using your social security number to obtain credit without your consent.

·Refusing to give you money, food, rent, medicine or clothing.

·Spending money on themselves yet not allowing you to do the same.

·Buying you gifts, or taking you out to dinner and paying for it and expecting you to in some way return the favor.

·Using their money to hold power over you because they know you are not in the same financial situation that they are.

No one has the authority to tell you what to do with your own money. No one has the authority to tell you if you can or cannot work, and if you can how many hours you are allowed to work. You are your own person, your own individual. What’s yours is yours, and what’s theirs is theirs. If you want to buy something for yourself than you are allowed to do so. If by chance you have opened up a shared bank account, I suggest you go and open up a personal one right away, if you are getting paper checks, get that new account and see if your employer has the option of direct deposit. If your social security number was used, report it! And see about changing your SSN.

Digital abuse is the use of technologies such as texting and social media to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a partner. This same behavior is also a form of verbal or emotional abuse done online. It is never okay for someone to lower your self-esteem, make you think less of yourself or to manipulate you.

Examples of digital abuse:

·Tells you who you can or cannot be friends with on social media sites.

·Sends you negative or threatening emails, messages on social media, or any form of messaging on the internet.

·Uses social media sites to keep tabs on you.

·Tears you down on their posts.

·Sends you explicit pictures and demands you to do the same.

·Pressures you into sending explicit videos of yourself.

·Steals/hacks or insists on you given them your passwords.

·Continuously texts you and has you feel like you cannot be away from your phone in fear of further consequence.

·Looks through your phone and checks your photos, text messages, and call history.

Whether on or offline no one deserves to be mistreated. Verbal and emotional abuse hurts just as bad whether it is in person or over the internet.

Stalking is when a person regularly watches, follows or harasses you, making you feel uncomfortable, unsafe, and afraid, A stalker can be anyone, it can be an ex boyfriend or ex girlfriend, a family member, or a complete stranger. The legal definition for stalking varies from state to state, below are several examples of what stalkers may do.

Examples of stalking:

·Showing up at your home or place of employment unannounced or uninvited.

·Sending you unwanted text,letters,emails and voicemails.

·Leaves you unwanted items like gifts or flowers.

·Repeatedly calls you and hangs up, or does not respond when you answer.

·Uses social media to keep tabs on you.

·Calls your employer

·Waits at places where you are known to hang out.

·Uses other people to gain information about you.

·Damages your property such as: your car, or home.

Make sure to save your call logs, text messages, emails, DM’s etc. Even if you need to take a screenshot of something to save as evidence. If you are out and you see the individual make sure to make a note of the place,time and dates. Also jot down names and contact information of any witnesses.

Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, race,ethnicity, sexual orientation, income, or other factors.

Women and men can be victims of domestic violence.

·1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime.

·Men are victims of nearly 3 million physical assaults in the U.S.A.

·Domestic Violence is likely to take place between 6pm and 6am.

·More than 60% of domestic violence incidents happen at home.

·At least ⅓ of families using New York City’s family shelter system are homeless due to domestic violence.

·Domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness among families, according to the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development.

·Women ages 18 to 34 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.

·More than 4 million women experience physical assault and rape by their partners.

·1 in 3 female homicide victims are murdered by their current or former partner every year.

·Domestic violence costs more than $37 billion a year in law enforcement involvement, legal work, medical and mental health treatment, and lost productivity at companies.

MOST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INCIDENTS ARE NEVER REPORTED.

·Every 9 seconds in the U.S. a woman is assaulted or beaten.

·On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.

·1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of (some form of) physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

·1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

·1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.

·On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.

·The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%.

·Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime.

·Women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner.

·19% of domestic violence involves a weapon.

·Domestic violence is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior.

·Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries.

These stats are only of those incidents that have been reported. Can you imagine what the numbers must really be like? Take me for example, I never called the police when an incident happened, even after I left. Out of pure fear of what he may possibly do to me. Imagine how men must feel. To report that they are being abused (even if it’s not the physical aspect of it).

What people who have never been in a domestic violence relationship fail to realize is that just walking away is so much easier said than done. It’s not so easy to just break up and walk away!

Fear: He or She may be afraid of what may happen if they leave. They may have been threatened or been told something would happen to their child or a loved one.

Believing Abuse is Normal: They may not know what a healthy relationship looks like. They could have grown-up in an abusive environment.

Fear of Being Outed: If they are in a same-sex relationship and have not come out, their partner may use it against them, using it as blackmail so they don’t leave.

Embarrassment: It can be hard for someone to admit that they are being abused. They may feel that it is their fault, and worry that friends and family will judge them.

Low Self-esteem: He or She may constantly get put down by their partner, and may even be blamed for the abusive behavior. It is very easy for them to believe these statements and think that it is their fault.

Love: Some may stay in the relationship hoping that their partner will change. Hoping that things will go back to the way they once were. Some just want the abuse to stop, not the relationship on a whole.

Nowhere to Go: Some may think that even if there were a way to leave, that they do not have a place to go or anyone to turn to. What some fail to realize is that the abuser isolates the victim. They keep them away from their friends and family. Leaving the victim feeling helpless.

So I am sure you’re all wondering; “What can I do to help?”

The most important thing someone can do is be supportive and listen. Do not judge!! Please know and have some understanding that an abusive relationship is not easy to just walk away from. Assure them that there are options available. For instance the websites that are listed in this blog. You could even research avenues for them in their area and pass the info on to them.

If you have any questions please feel free to go on to my contact page and send me an email. I will do whatever I can to help.

Is This Abuse? – http://www.loveisrespect.org. (n.d.). Retrieved September 26, 2015, from http://www.loveisrespect.org/is-this-abuse/

Loveisrespect.org gives detailed information on what domestic violence is, and the different forms of domestic violence abuse. They strive to educate the youth to help prevent and end abusive relationships. The website has an ample amount of information on the different types of abuse as well as ways to get help and to help others.

Safe Horizon :: Moving victims of violence from crisis to confidence. (n.d.). Retrieved September 26, 2015, from http://www.safehorizon.org

Safe Horizon is a website which has a lot of statistical and factual information, and resources on how to get help. Their mission is to “provide support, prevent violence, child abuse, sexual assault and human trafficking to move from crisis to confidence.”

Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved September 26, 2015, from http://www.ncadv.org/learn/statistics

ncadv.org is dedicated in giving victims and survivors of domestic violence a voice. They strive in bringing awareness to the public by offering programs and education to increase understanding of the impact that domestic violence has.

Photo credit: “Psychology Today.” : Health, Help, Happiness Find a Therapist. Web. 8 Oct. 2015. .

#PutTheNailInIt

PutTheNailInIt

Safe Horizon has launched a campaign Put The Nail In It to encourage people to donate to the cause of ending domestic violence. The campaign encourages people to paint their left ring finger purple to show your support in raising awareness to domestic violence. #PutTheNailInIt
Donations help with sheltering victims, legal fees, providing counselling, and more. Please visit the link to see how you can help!

Photo credit: “Today I Might….” Today I Might. Web. 7 Oct. 2015. <http://www.todayimight.com/category/nails/&gt;.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month!

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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month!

Be on the look out in the next few days for a couple of blogs I will be posting. Let’s get together to raise awareness. The more we educate ourselves and each other, the more lives we can save!

Feel free to comment on this post for any questions regarding D.V. that you would like to see discussed. Also, I encourage all survivors to share their stories. You have a voice and I want your voices to be heard. You made it! You deserve it!