Anger is OKAY Violence is NOT is a book for children struggling with tantrums. I wrote this book for toddlers experiencing anger problems and for caregivers looking for ways to control anger. In the book, positive ways to control anger are discussed. Anger is present, anger is powerful it is important to guide children on how to manage anger. The book also has a message to children who are living with domestic violence and involved with child protective services. My goal is to educate children about what is violence and how to report it. To listen to the program:
Tonight it is a great pleasure to welcome Children’s Author, Ms. Julie Federico M.A. with her award-winning children’s books; aimed at teaching a child knowledge of their body and also safety in their personal life. It’s never too early to begin reading to your children and these vibrantly illustrated books are a terrific resource to engage a child’s imagination, catch their attention, and most importantly empower them with the courage to speak up.
Ms. Federico has written a series of children’s books, ‘Some Parts are not for Sharing’; ‘Anger is OK, Violence is Not’; ‘Students Can Help Keep Schools Safe’;’Bad Guys’ and her newest book ‘Friends Are Wonderful’. Her books are geared for parents & educators to create interaction with the children/students, which then teaches them at very early ages how to speak up when they see harm being committed against another being. Children are a key role and carry more weight when reporting Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, Bullying, and other types of violent crimes. When a child reports their young voice demands attention.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. “15.5 million children in the United States live in families in which partner violence occurred at least once in the past year.” – Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Violent Childhood Experiences and the Risk of Intimate Partner Violence in Adults, 2003. This static rattles me every time I report it. It feels gripping and overwhelming. October is the month set aside to honor victims of domestic violence and seek solutions. I am publishing this now even though it is January. As the pandemic rages through the country domestic violence is on the rise. Study Finds Rise in Domestic Violence During COVID
This article will focus on the most vulnerable victims of domestic violence the children. Many women believe that they can live in a home where domestic violence is present and keep it from their children. They believe that since all of the fighting happens after the children go to bed that they do not hear it. This is false. It is one of the many lies women believe when they are living with domestic violence. It is part of the domestic violence package. It comes from being in survival mode that one believes this. Just know that your children know and move on from there. Your honesty to them validates their reality. If you act as if nothing is out of the ordinary it can make them feel crazy. Because they know what they are hearing is not normal, and they know they are in danger. Children will look to you for answers and if you are wearing a plastic smile it is pure trouble for them. Be honest with your children, they will reward you with love, hugs, and truth. Even if you can not change their reality immediately validate it. I do not believe one should stay in a home any longer than is possible where there is domestic violence and children are present. Domestic Shelters https://www.domesticshelters.org/ is a wonderful agency that offers help. They have a database of every shelter in North America. Type in your zip code and the list of shelters in your area immediately appears. If you are not ready to leave the abuser yet consider these tools to protect your children. Make a concerted effort to find neighbors on your street or nearby that you can call when the children need somewhere safe to go. This is not something that happens naturally all of the time. Parents have to create this and it takes time, it well worth the time. You know the cycle of abuse in your family and you will know when you can have extra children in your home. Secondly, reach out to your child’s teachers. You do not need to get specific unless you want to. Saying to the teacher something along the lines of, “There is a lot of extra stress in our home these days because of ________. I would appreciate it if you could keep an eye on my child and let me know if you think there is something I need to be concerned about. Children will share things with teachers that they won’t with parents. I head of a story where a woman was hiding the abuse from her children, she thought they did not know. Her daughter went to school crying one day and told the teacher that; “Her daddy was going to kill her mother with a gun.” Teachers are mandatory reporters this goes a long way when women are not able to report. School personnel will report for families. Educate your children about domestic violence read my children’s book Anger is OKAY NOT Violence is NOT to your children more than once. This book is available at your local public library or at: www.juliefederico.com I am trying to educate families, offer hope instead of violence and help the 15.5 million children who are without a voice. I am quietly ending domestic violence one book at a time by getting children to report violence. Fourth and this may be the most challenging recommendation find a support system for yourself. People that you can call in an emergency or just on days when you need support. Most of the domestic violence shelters have outpatient counseling. If you are not able to find a support network a counselor is a great starting place. You do not need to stay at the shelter to receive these services. Do not try to do this alone, it is a very lonely path even when others are with you. To be completely alone is a recipe to never leave. Because no one is there with you to tell you what normal behavior is anymore. As time goes on your level of accepting dangerous behavior increases. Lastly, take some time to decide what type of home you would like to create for your children. What does it feel like? What does it look like? This is within your reach maybe not today but definitely in the tomorrows to come. It is never too late to create a happy home. Children need safety to develop and reach their highest potential. There is no greater gift a parent can give than the gift of safety. It is possible to get to higher ground.
I never wanted to be a domestic violence expert. I wanted to cure cancer or buy new tennis shoes for all of the homeless children in the country on the first day of school. I could have gone on Oprah to share my secret knowledge of Science that led to my remarkable cancer cure discovery. Lives would have been saved, families protected. No, instead I got a Ph.D. in domestic violence by default. It snuck up on me; I was in the high school years of my degree before I knew what was happening. I would have never said I was a victim of domestic violence because I was never hit. If I had been mercifully hit one day soon after we were married in June of 1997 my life would have taken a much more positive turn. How can one say getting physically assaulted would make their life go in a positive direction? It is easy. Had I been hit, I would have known without a shadow of a doubt that I was a victim and needed to escape, my family would have rallied around to support me and get me reorganized in an apartment. I would not have had two children with the abuser that sentenced me to an additional 18 years of unwanted abuse. I would have walked freely into a peasant life free of domestic violence. I would have built a life with a man who loved me; I would have had children with a man who loved me. Oh, how I long for this. How I long that I would have been hit, escaped, and rebuilt. No, I was never hit. I have been emotionally abused for now almost 20 years; this is where the expert title comes from, unfortunately. Don’t sign up for this lifestyle; it is hopeless and overwhelming.
If you or some you love is living with emotional abuse please know it is abuse. It is abuse that is much more damaging than physical abuse because it does not present like abuse. There are no physical signs that you are being harmed. It is easy to ignore the signals and dodge the danger of this isolating lifestyle. If you look deeper and you will see all of the signs of domestic violence without the physical aspect. Please seek help, please get to higher ground before it is too late and you have two children with your abuser. 18 years is too long to live in the haunting shadow of court ordered visits with a man who should be put into jail rather than receive custody of his children.
I have written a children’s book for children living with domestic violence. I believe it is a lifeline to them, giving children the correct and age-appropriate information they need to escape. You can buy Anger is OKAY Violence is NOT at www.juliefederico.com or at your favorite bookstore. This book is also available in Spanish. Help is available please do not suffer alone.
October is Domestic Violence awareness month. I don’t think one month is enough time to shed a lot of light on domestic violence, it is a very complex issue. But in light of this month’s celebration, I wanted to offer hope to women living with domestic violence. If hope can be found when your life has been turned upside down and you can not really tell anyone what is going on.
The people who say domestic violence is not real are the same people who say the Holocaust was a hoax. Domestic violence is real, the pain is real, the chaos and dysfunction equally as real. It is unfortunately true, it is all too real. I think when you admit out loud that it is real, you can begin to accept the current situation, and then most importantly begin to change it.
You need to think only in these simple terms and not shovel grief, regret, and guilt on yourself. Many women spend so much time trying to answer the peaceful sleep interrupted question, “How did I get here? How did I not see this coming?” That they lose sight of the more important question, “Why am I staying?” Don’t spend too much time trying to answer questions that will not benefit you greatly. At this time you need to conserve your energies, don’t look backward only look forward. Where do you want to be next Christmas morning, do you want to wake up to a peaceful holiday? Or more of the same dysfunction?
Abuse is calculated and you were groomed to accept this completely inappropriate behavior that you are living with now. It started with many small acts that sacrificed and ignored your needs. At first, it is so easy to dismiss this behavior. For example, you never get to eat at the restaurants that you like, only the restaurants that he likes. This theme goes to you trying to turn up the heat in the car while you are driving. He turns it off and says, “You are not cold.” Each of these things in isolation is not cause for alarm. In an abusive relationship, this behavior will lead to other inappropriate behaviors more damaging. What the abuser is doing is baiting you. He is sending out small problems to you, not eating at your restaurant, not allowing you to use the heater. He does these intentional low lying behaviors then watches your response. To your credit you probably just thought this issue was about the heat in the car, right? It isn’t but at the beginning, you would not know this. It is not until you educate yourself about abusers’ behavior that you start to see how you were led into this abusive relationship. It was task by task, item by item. No one meets someone for the first time, goes out to a nice dinner, and gets beaten up on the way home. This would be waaay too easy. All of your self-protective sirens would be ringing at full speed. You would get out of the car and say, “I never want to see you again!” The abuser knows this intuitively they are an expert witness at human behavior. In the beginning, abusers are hands down some of the most charming people you can meet. They appear like the boy next door and will do anything for you. There is no standard timetable on when this changes, it just changes over time. Abusers are very patient while they create a seemingly perfect life with you only to turn the tables later. If none of your needs ever get met and there is an unbalance of power in the relationship you are in an abusive relationship. You may wake up every day upset and unable to identify what is bothering you. Think of the unbalance of power, how as a couple you are always working to meet his endless need list. Your needs never make the cut, this makes people feel anxious and unloved. You are not crazy, you are living in an unhealthy relationship. I think you should put this on a post-it note in your office. So often the abuser wants you to believe you are crazy, this absorbs them of any wrongdoing. Seeing small things like this can make a big difference in your thinking. It can lead you on the path to wellness.
You should not spend your time changing something that does not need to be changed. Domestic violence needs to be changed, domestic violence is not fair to those in its ugly web. The damage that it does to children is life-changing. If you have young daughters you are training them to accept this type of behavior in their future relationships. If you have boys you are grooming them to be junior abusers. Either of these things is enough for women to make changes to leave. Many times women can not make changes for themselves because they have fallen into the belief of their abuser that their life and their needs are worth nothing. I say if you feel into this belief, in time you can fall out of it.
“You are special too, don’t lose yourself.” Ernest Hemingway
Before women can even begin to think about leaving they have to take stock of their relationship. They have to see the abuser as calculated and completely intentional in his behavior. Their favorite trick is to get you to believe that your life and your needs are not important. They work to get you to this point by repeated abuse, but then in time, they can back off because you believe this to your core. They step back, smile at their twisted work, and silently celebrate that you are seeing yourself as worthless. Don’t fall into this trap and it is a very large, tight, deadly trap. Step back, become an observer in your own life, and see things from a different perspective. When you become more objective you will start to see what is really going on. It is not good news, don’t freak out. Just become aware, notice things, start to accept your reality. Don’t try to change what is happening in your house, I think this is a waste of your precious energy. Abusers don’t’ change, you can change, you can live happily ever after. For next steps visit www.domesticshelters.org for life-changing resources. You are not alone there is a team of people waiting by the phone for you:
1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
For the month of October, I am offering Anger is OKAY Violence is NOT at a significant discount on my website: www.juliefederico.com