October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Good Morning,

October has arrived and with it the Month of Domestic Violence Awareness. This is a topic that is very close to my heart as I am a proud survivor.

I am one of the lucky ones that managed to get away with my little dog, hid at a friend and then moved to a new city where we were both helped.  If I had left her I know my ex would have carried on abusing her so the minute I could ran, we ran.

Baby since has passed away, but she was my inspiration, my hero, my trooper and my lifeline through those dark days, and when she passed it was when I was finally in my own home so she knew I was safe, and could then open my doors to a new pup, and Layla arrived to live with me.  Layla wears a tag that says: Shelter Survivor which speaks for both of us.

Today I am not going to talk about me, but “The Power and Control Wheel” of Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence. This gives us a better understanding as to what happens behind closed doors, and why so many victims stay in the relationships.

  1. Threats – The abuser will threaten to kill or abuse the pet during the relationship or if left behind. (I stayed in mine as to protect Baby.)
  2. Isolation – Refusing vet care for the pet. Isolating the victim that the pet also suffers as it is not socialized with other dogs. It is as if you are living in a cage.
  3. Emotional Abuse – Giving away or killing the pet to take away her source of unconditional love.
  4. Economical Abuse – Refusing to permit her to buy pet food or vet care
  5. Legal Abuse – Custody battles over pets. This is heart breaking as they file charges against the victim claiming theft if she leaves with the pet.
  6. Intimidation – Harming or killing the pet and then saying to the victim “Next time it will be you…..” They do this to family and friends who assist with the victim and pets getting away.
  7. Denying and blaming – Blaming the victim or the pet when something happens.

An abuser will want to control everything, and if he or she does not have that, we, the humans, kids or pets become the victims of his or her anger, although he/she will never admit it.

So when people reach out and talk about wanting to leave a Domestic Violence relationship but cannot leave their pets, these are some of the reasons and I from experience would have rather carried on suffering the abuse to make sure Baby was safe, than left her in a house where she would suffer.

Pets do not understand abuse the way we do and they should not have to suffer at the hands of an abuser of any kind as they give us the unconditional love and loyalty that unfortunately humans do not do.

October is also the National Month of Adopt a Shelter Dog Month so reach out to a Shelter and give a dog a new home, as I always say about Layla – from pound to princess.

Be safe, have a wonderful week, with a woof of love from

Layla

 

Running from a Domestic Violence Relationship

TGIF !!!


As you know October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and I am sharing my story today again as it is 10 years since Baby passed away and feel, she being my hero should be remembered.


It is easy to tell victims to run but it is a complicated process and can be very difficult especially if your abuser controls the finances so something I always tell victims is hide somewhere in the house or outdoors if safe, a small bag with your documents and whatever cash you can save. Put in that bag whatever your abuser will not not notice is missing as to not cause anymore friction in the house. 

If you can and a friend or family are aware of the situation talk to them about helping you get away if you do not have a car and try to carefully plan whatever you can ahead which will help making the hard decision a little bit easier.


Please note that there is a shortage of rooms in shelters so try have a back up plan so that you do not land up on the streets and try find someone to take your pets that they will be safe. An abuser will not hesitate to harm your pets if you run and they are our furkids so we need to make sure they are safe.


Baby was my hero, she had kept me alive during the relationship, because of her I was able to go for walks and so much more. She kept me alive and thank goodness I had her in my life. 

When I ran I was fortunate to have a friend who picked me up from the house with my dog and hid me at her place till I could get out of the city. I did not have money as my ex controlled the finances so whatever I had was very limited but I sold jewellery to help me buy a ticket to get out of the city where I was living.


Upon arriving in San Francisco I found that shelters did not allow dogs so a wonderful Domestic Violence Organization stepped in to foster her while I was sorting myself out. Since I ran things are changing and slowly pets are being included and the DV organizations are talking more about pets and assisting those that have them.  


She joined me in the shelter about 2 months after I got there, stayed with me in  transitional housing and then we finally moved to our own home, a place to live happily with no drama, a peaceful happy home. 
About 3 months after we got into our own home, she suddenly contracted IMHA and within 48 hours passed away, 5 October 2010. It was one of the hardest days in my life as my angel had gone and I was left alone trying to sort my life out. 


My home was empty, lonely and I felt that it was not fair that when I finally could give her everything she left me but as a friend of mine said to me : She came into your life when you both needed each other (she was a rescue) and left you when you were safe so that you could open your home to a new furkid.


Three months later it happened and I rescued Layla and the rest is history.
So what I have decided to do is to give back and at the moment I am doing a workshop to become a Domestic Violence Advocate so that I can hopefully help others, pets included and be their voice.


If you know anyone that is in an abusive relationship, reach out, offer help and then let them decide what they want to do, BUT if they know that you are there for them and their pets it will hopefully make the decision a lot easier.


Take care everyone, be safe and remember you are not alone,
With a woof and love from Layla

The Domestic Violence Hotline : https://www.thehotline.org/