IN THE CIRCLE OF VIOLENCE…
Although domestic and sexual violence is quite a common phenomenon, still it is rarely mentioned, because it has been erroneously pushed on to the margins of public life, in the same manner are treated its victims. But why? Because drawing attention to the problem requires finding its solution, which frequently involves time-consuming ‘gymnastics’ and effort. This is what not only eyewitnesses, but also regular specialists – who should take care of this matter professionally, try to avoid.
Sadly, victims of domestic and sexual abuse are most often mentioned when worst comes to worst and not much can be done to avoid this catastrophe. Bystanders are often surprised at the fact that victims of domestic violence stay in unhealthy relationships, which affect not only the victims themselves, but also their families. Surely, it’s related to the their social and cultural awareness, as well as to their personal background. Besides this, there is not enough external intervention, which allows the abuser to feel more and more confident.
How can we change this situation? It’s certain that domestic violence advocates are the bright spots in this gloomy reality. I’m truly pleased to introduce you to my today’s interviewee – Laura Moseley – a woman who transformed from a domestic and sexual violence victim into the advocate of those who now share the same adversity. In this interview you will get to know what she had to struggle with in the past and how her life looks like now.
Passion Piece: Could you tell my readers a few words about yourself?
Laura: I am a single Mom of three (and Nana to one), who survived over 23 years of sexual and domestic abuse. I am a federal social services worker by day, and a domestic violence advocate in my spare time. I am a writer/blogger/community activist/public speaker also. I have been a 5 year survivor and love helping those who are trying to escape abuse. In my spare time, I do blackout poetry, read, photography, go to concerts, and play with Rubik’s cube puzzles.
Passion Piece: You’re the advocate of mental health, especially the one related to people who face/faced DV. What does this abbreviation stand for? What’s the story behind your interest in this particular field?
Laura: I am both a mental health care advocate and a domestic violence (DV) advocate. I survived an abusive marriage of over twenty-three years. He was abusive in every way someone could be to another: physical, verbal, mental, financial, document, sexual, and spiritual abuses. He also abused my pets and children, in order to break me down mentally. Surviving DV provided me with anxiety, depression, and C-PTSD. The physical side of abuse left me with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and fibromyalgia.
Passion Piece: You run your own website ‘The DV Walking Wounded’. What type of content does it offer?
Laura: My blog, the DV Walking Wounded shows the “survival side” of domestic abuse with blog posts that cover mental health practices, editorials and reviews, how DV affects all members of the family, laws, freedom resources for escaping DV, “red flags” (bad traits), “green flags” (good traits), survivor stories, and SO much more!
Passion Piece: What audience is it particularly aimed for?
Laura: My blog’s audience is mainly victims and survivors of domestic abuse, their supportive friends and family, as well as other DV advocates.
Passion Piece: Why is it so difficult for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse to ask for help?
Laura: I believe that there is a lot of stigma and guilt and shame around people that are currently in “active” abuse. They are made to believe that they are imagining all of it from their abuser, and the public “shames” them for breaking up their family and for “making a scene.”
Passion Piece: What kind of support do DV and sexual abuse survivors need?
Laura: Victims and survivors need to be believed AND provided with safety measures by those who care for them (as well as patience and understanding). There also needs to be more training on understanding and protections, as well as the dynamics of abuse, for law enforcement and judges. AND, redefining what intimate relationships are, because they look different. It’s not just men beating on women. Romantic relationships that are abusive have an aggressor/abuser and a victim and law enforcement needs to know how to discern the difference.
Passion Piece: Who can they turn to? How to choose proper specialists and necessary treatment?
Laura: Ultimately, the victim needs to know the best person they can turn to. If they have no one, they will need a DV advocate, which can be found by calling the national DV Hotline number or even the victim’s state DV Hotline number.
Passion Piece: Why did you get interested in blackout poetry? What type of poetry is that?
Laura: Years ago, a friend of mine, a high school English teacher, was introducing it to her class. It was my planning period, so I listened to her lesson and was VERY intrigued. She had bought old books from a thrift store and was tearing out pages for students to cross out things, box what they wanted to keep, and then provided a black marker so that they could “black out” everything that they didn’t want. What blackout poetry is, is taking already printed material and blacking out all but words that you want to use to express an idea.It’s recycling – NO, upcycling. Sometimes you can make a picture out of the things that were not “blacked out.”
Passion Piece: How can it be used to express your feelings and the state of mind?
Laura: Blackout poetry takes things that are already there and you get to “edit” what the written word says. It’s very difficult and clever and gets my brain firing with creativity. It’s very challenging to take what’s there and make sense of it, especially making it state something entirely different!. I enjoy taking “rules” such as etiquette rules for women and “updating them” to today’s standards. It’s hilarious and it’s a blast!
Passion Piece: What is your biggest passion? Is there a thing you couldn’t live without?
Laura: I couldn’t live without reading and writing. They go together like peanut butter and jelly. Reading expands the mind, while writing allows you to get your feelings across. I was denied these things when I was in active abuse. He didn’t like me reading or writing, because it gave me ideas and got me attention. He would read my personal journals and not like what I wrote, so he tore them up. I wrote for a local arts monthly newspaper and he didn’t like me being gone and he especially did not like me receiving recognition! He’d read the books I was reading, then hide them because he didn’t like what they said. I would either read self-help books or mysteries. He didn’t want me becoming “too smart for my own good.”
Passion Piece: Where do you see yourself in the nearest future? What are your plans?
Laura: I want to be a small business owner and I’d like to be an author. My small business would be selling things that help others, such as journals and coloring books. I am on the verge of publishing a few things of my own — not an anthology, but my own works. I enjoy collaborating on anthologies and will continue to, but I think that there is something to be said for authoring on your own, as well. I would also love to be a paid speaker.
Passion Piece: Which motto would you like to share with my readers?
Laura: Safety first! Always! Also, a quote by Mahatma Ghandi: “Be the change you wish to see in this world.”
Passion Piece: Thank you very much for this truly inspiring conversation and I wish you continued success in the future!
See you around!
Photos by: Laura Moseley
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