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If you stay, stay safe
I’ve written about people who don’t realize they are victims of domestic violence. (Click here to download a PDF about domestic violence.)
Now let’s consider the victims who DO know but aren’t yet prepared to leave the relationship.
Never mind why they stay — they have good reasons for that, reasons they may not be able to explain fully to others or even to themselves.
If you or someone you know is still in an abusive situation, it’s important to plan ahead for the next assault. Develop a safety plan, using these ideas:
~Identify safe areas of the house where there are no weapons and where there are always ways to escape. If arguments occur, try to move to those areas.
~Know where the nearest pay phone is located.
~Know your local battered women’s shelter number.
~Don’t be afraid to call the police.
~Let family, friends, or neighbors you trust know about your situation. Arrange a signal so they’ll know when you need emergency help.
~Be sure your children know they should never get involved when you are being threatened or harmed by your partner. Teach them to get away from the abusive situation and find help.
~Keep an extra set of keys to house and car, emergency telephone numbers, important papers (birth certificates, income verification, social security numbers, medication for you and/or your children, child’s favorite toy, etc., extra clothes packed in trash bag (not obvious)
~If you are injured, go to a doctor or an emergency room and report what happened to you. Ask that they document your visit.
~Keep any evidence of physical abuse, such as pictures, etc.
~Keep a journal of all violent incidences, noting dates, events and threats made if possible.
~Contact your local battered women’s shelter and find out about laws and other resources available to you before you have to use them during a crisis.
Asking for help from a domestic violence shelter program does not obligate you to go into shelter. If you call a hotline, you don’t usually have to give your name. If you’re asked for your name, you don’t have to give your real name.
These programs exist to help you stay safe. Advocates care about you and want to provide you with the resources you need to live safely and happily. All you have to do is ask….
National Domestic Violence Hotline
The last week of September is when wise people remind us that the freedom to read, the freedom of access to information, the freedom to choose for ourselves is always in peril. This year Banned Books Week is September 27 through October 3, although I strongly suggest that you read banned books every chance you get throughout the year.
The American Library Association provides more information on their site, including lists of frequently challenged books and the ten MOST challenged books. (“A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials.”)
Despite the fact that Americans pride ourselves on our freedoms, we manage to censor or attempt to censor a surprisingly large number of books for the most bizarre reasons. Here are a few of the books that have been banned or challenged in the United States:
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
- Animal Farm
- Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret
- Brave New World
- Brideshead Revisited
- Bridge to Terabithia
- The Canterbury Tales
- The Color Purple
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
- Farenheit 451 (yes, a book about banning books)
- The Glass Castle
- The Grapes of Wrath
- The Great Gatsby
- The Handmaid’s Tale
- Harry Potter series
- The Hunger Games series
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
- To Kill a Mockingbird
- Lady Chatterley’s Lover
- The Lord of the Rings
- Thirteen Reasons Why
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin
This list barely scratches the surface. Thankfully the internet is not yet banned–well, in fact, it is banned in many places–but most of you will be able to access sites about banned books and the actions you can take to stop the madness.
The ALA website also provides web graphics, coloring sheets, videos, and a plethora of information to help you promote Read Banned Books Week.
The most important thing you can do is buy and read banned books, and then brag about it. Speak out against literary censorship.
My own choice for Banned Books Week this year is that anarchistic classic James and the Giant Peach.