Creative Question 24 – Ideal Society

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CQ 24 – What would your ‘ideal’ society look like?

My ideal society would be a place built on mutual respect, kindness, love and honor. A place where mankind lives in a symbiotic relationship with nature, like homes built like hobbit houses, lush gardens, lots of trees, clean waterways, and wind farms for electricity. A place where animals are free to roam and not fear humans. It would be a place where everyone helps to take care of everyone else, seeing that all of our needs are met collectively. No selfishness, mean-spiritedness, or discourse. It would be a place of skilled workers and artisans, where each does work that benefits others and in return benefits themselves as well. There would be no politics, no money and definitely no ONE person in charge. A council of elders would guide, not rule. And every man, woman and child would be equal. I would also leave out organized religion and replace it with a simple spirituality, a belief that we are all ONE, with each other and the earth. There would be no need of a military, a government, nor warfare. Peace and tranquility for all.

Of course, this is all a pipe dream because humans ARE selfish, demanding and jealous. Humans are a ‘me first’ species. They don’t care about human, animal or environmental welfare. So long as ‘I’ get what ‘I’ want, to hell with anything else. And this human collective will eventually destroy itself for its selfishness and waste.

(I think this is the last CQ for now, but it was fun catching up *smiles*)

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Creative Question 23 – Wealth

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CQ 23 – What does wealth mean to you?

In regards to monetary wealth and material things, very little. So long as I can take care of my basics – food, shelter, clothing, and warmth – I don’t have much use for money. I am not materialist. I don’t necessarily want or need things, unless those things are books, candles, crystals and bracelets, my only weaknesses. I don’t have to buy the latest gadgets, spend money on jewels, or jet-set around the world. If I had money, I’d probably give the majority of it away to worthy charities.

I measure wealth by quality, rather than quantity. So long as I have a few close friends and am surrounded by a few caring family members, I consider myself wealthy in love and respect. Love, respect and honor are riches I would gladly accumulate, so long as they are genuine.

 

Creative Question 22 – Writing

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CQ 22 – Why do you write?

Writing is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do. It’s in my blood. Hell, it may be my blood. (checks) yes, there does seem to be some inky tar coursing through my veins. As a child, I would write my own fairy tales or stories based on mythology. In my early teens, I wanted to be a journalist. By high school, I was into writing poetry. In college, I learned the art of flash and short fiction. Now I even dabble with drabbles and novellas, and yes, still poetry.

I’ve rarely ever written for an audience. I usually write because I have all these characters running around in my head begging to have their stories told. I figure if I write something that I would enjoy reading, someone else might enjoy it too. What I don’t write for is publication. I could and probably should, but I am not that great a writer and I am just happy with the small audience I have here on WP. Truthfully, I am still in the learning process for writing longer fiction. The fact that I now have three completed novellas still surprises me. It also encourages me that perhaps some day, I will write an entire novel.

I also do a bit of journal writing. This is something I have done on paper since I was a teenager. If I’d kept all of my notebooks from those years until now, I’d probably have about 100 of them. Sadly, I burnt all my childhood journals, and I’ve lost other journals during moves throughout my life. These days, I do most of my journal writing online. Journal writing helps me to work through issues that are bothering me or to reflect on life in general. I love prompted questions and often seek them out, like this one from Kate.

Creative Question 21 – Blogging Career

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CQ 21 – Please share a brief history of your blogging career

Kate also left some questions to consider:

What lead you to start?
Has your motivation changed since starting?
What has the experience been like?
Have you learnt anything?
Has your writing style changed?
What advice would you give to a new blogger?
And please don’t forget to mention some of the highlights along the way – such as the people you’ve met, things you’ve learnt …

My “blogging” career actually began in the late 90s (97 or 98) although it wasn’t called blogging back then. The term weblog had barely become a thing and wasn’t sophisticated like it is now. I taught myself html and began creating my own website hosted by Angelfire where I posted a journal and my poetry. Everything had to be manually updated. The first blogging site that I joined was LiveJournal. I think that was in 1999 or early 2000. I briefly joined Blogger in, I think, 2002, but I never really liked the format (still don’t). Around 2003, I joined WordPress when it first came out and have had various blogging accounts here over the past 13 years. The account I have now, I began back in 2006, I believe, but I didn’t get serious about it until 2011 when I began the blog A Whispered Wind. My themes for blogging have almost always been the same – journal writing and a place to post my fiction and poetry.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that I have been using the internet for over 20 years and during all of those years, I’ve almost always kept some kind of account of my activities.  An online friend had a user board back in the early 2000s and gave each of us our own “room” on the board to write whatever we wanted there. I used Yahoo group boards and my personal manually-updated website during my Pagan Lake days on Yahoo Chat (2000-2005). And once upon a time, Yahoo had a section of your profile where you could have a journal of sorts. That feature (and Yahoo groups) was how I kept up with my friends in an online vampire game from 2004 until around 2007 or 2008 (I think) when Yahoo took that feature away. We used it to post story arcs for our characters in the game. Now, I just post here on WordPress – journal entries, stories, and poems. It’s funny… the technology has changed over the years, but nothing much else has for me and why I blog.

My advice to new bloggers are as follows:

  • Blog about what you are passionate about.
  • Themes can definitely help you to hone down your passion into one or two things. (Even Randomness is a theme *winks*)
  • Be consistent. Pick a few days a week to post or every day, if you are that ambitious.
  • Read other bloggers’ blogs. Like and leave comments.
  • Answer comments people leave on your posts.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned during all of these years of blogging is to have fun. Don’t stress about your blog or what you post. If you are building an audience, they will continue to return if you do those things above. When blogging stops being fun, it’s time to stop. Your audience will notice your lack of enthusiasm.

Happy blogging everyone!

Creative Question 20 – Teen Porn, Pregnancy & Sex Ed

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CQ 20 – Teen porn and pregnancy are on the rise yet basic factual sex education is severely restricted they claim due to mature content?  What is the solution?

Knowledge is Power. Kids are learning all about sex by the time they reach the age of eleven (some earlier) and generally from bad sources – gossip and taunting at school and these days, the internet. I think we had a brief session of sex ed my sophomore year in high school. It was not nearly enough. I’d been taunted and teased sexually by male classmates from age eleven and molested by my sister’s boyfriend at age twelve. I wish I’d had some sex education before any of that began, along with some information on how to handle sexual advances.

Sex education should be taught as early as possible, but no later than  middle school as it is referred to in the US (6 and 7th grades), and it should continue to be taught until kids graduate from high school. But I think it has to go further than just teaching kids about the body’s anatomy and how sex works. There need to be programs on how to handle sexual advances, the proper ways to respect one’s own body and the bodies of others, and boys need to be taught that girls are not objects for their sexual desires and intentions. Parents need to be involved as well. They need to be taught to see signs in their children that sexual advances or molestations have occurred. They need to be taught how to monitor their kids’ time online and what sites their kids should avoid. Whether we adults like it or not, sexual issues begin earlier and earlier these days, and we have to stop being prudish about it.

Creative Question 19 –Road Trips

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CQ 19:  Share an interesting road trip you have been on or are planning

Back in the late 90s, I was living with my then-lover JK. She was a hysterically witty woman from New Jersey who came down to Virginia in the early 90s to visit a childhood friend, fell in love with our mountains and decided to stay. We met through a mutual friend (her then-lover and my high school friend LC) and I began tutoring JK in Algebra and creative writing. We were both taking classes at the local community college. By the time JK and I became lovers, her mother in New Jersey had become seriously ill. It was time for a road trip to visit her.

By this time in my life, I was 25 and taking classes at Hollins College (now Hollins University). The only times I’d ever been out of Virginia were in my late teens when I lived in Burlington NC during my brief first marriage and during my early 20s when I partied with some friends in White Sulphur Springs WV. It was spring break of my first year at Hollins and I was thrilled to be going on this road trip.

Our route took us through Northern VA, into Maryland, a small corner of Pennsylvania and into New Jersey. I think I slept all through Virginia, but I remember JK waking me up when we went through Maryland. We didn’t stop there, just kept driving across the interstate. I remember us listening to the Indigo Girls, Melissa Etheridge and some 70s rock, and the sing alongs. We did a lot of laughing and tossed some witty banter back and forth. We also spent some quiet time. It was easy to be silent around her and not worry about awkwardness. By the time we reached PA, we did stop at a road-side Amish Farmers’ Market. We bought some homemade cheese, bread,  and a gallon of fresh tea. We made a meal of it while we drove on to Livingston NJ.

I was pretty amazed at how calm and collected JK was. This would be the last time she would ever see her mother alive, but she never became overly emotional about it. When we arrived at her childhood home, JK’s mother was out of the hospital and relaxing at home. Mrs. K was a lovely woman, cheerful and inviting. She made me feel welcomed right away. It was nearing Easter and since we’d come up for a visit, the K-family decided to celebrate early. Easter meant a special kind of cake (I still don’t remember what it was called) and the only place to purchase this cake was from a small bakery in New York City. I would finally get to see the Big Apple!

We set off extremely early the next day for New York. The bakery was in Brooklyn, but JK wanted me to see ALL of NY City. We went to Manhattan, the Bronx, Long Island and finally to Brooklyn. It was an all day trip and she drove the entire time. No small feat for NY City. While there, we saw the Twin Towers, the Brooklyn Bridge, rode the ferry to Long Island and even saw a live taping of The Late Show with David Letterman. I was in the audience! I couldn’t believe it. When we finally arrived at the little bakery, we bought that cake, tons of bread, and some other desserts. By the time we arrived back at JK’s house, her mother had fallen ill again and was at the hospital.

JK’s mom passed away a day later. We attended her funeral. Mrs. K had left money to this posh Italian restaurant to feed everyone who attended the funeral. It was a lavish affair. No one cried during or after the funeral. We ate, laughed, sang, and danced in honor of Mrs. K. I had never experienced anything like that.

The drive back to VA was a quiet one. JK’s father had loaded us up with tons of food to take back home. We made a brief stop in PA again at the same Farmers’ Market and bought more cheese. We also stopped in MD briefly, but I don’t recall why now. Maybe just a pit stop. By the time we arrived back home in VA, we didn’t get to talk about the trip or her mother. Spring break was over for me and I had to go back to Roanoke VA. I stayed there during the week with a college friend and only came back home to the house I shared with JK on the weekends.

This was the most fun I’d ever had on a road trip, even if it ended in tragedy. Previous ones had always been short trips around VA, WV and NC. I would go on to a brief trip to Georgia once with my college friend for another spring break a couple years later. After that, the longest trip I would take would be with my then-husband from VA to OK. That one was not enjoyable at all. I still hope someday to make two more road trips – one to California and another to Maine.

The Daily Me (Journal) & CQ 18: Bucket List – 12/08/2016

Today’s prompt comes from 100 Inspirational Journal Prompts by Melissa Bolton @ The Mogul Mom

AND

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I realized that Kate over at aroused was still doing her Creative Questions and CQ 18 is the same as this one from The Mogul Mom. So, I am linking the two together today (and I will be catching up on Kate’s other CQs in the upcoming days!)

Your bucket list

I confess, I was actually going to skip this prompt from The Mogul Mom because I don’t have an official Bucket List, but when I was exploring Kate’s blog and realized the topics were the same, I figured maybe this was a sign that I should explore this. After all, how many times must the Universe beat me over the head until I submit? This comes up a lot. Apparently everyone wants to know what’s on someone else’s bucket list.

So, why have I never created a Bucket List? I mean, I am the Queen of Lists, right? I should have one of these. What the frig is wrong with me that I’ve never sat down and explored this phenomenon? I think it is because I know why this ‘bucket list’ thing is so popular (and the rebel in me detests anything popular). It’s a wish list of things to do before you ‘kick the bucket’. And for someone like myself who has attempted suicide 7 times, my only response to this is usually: To Live. I fight the Suicide Demon every day of my life. It is exhausting and I don’t have time to wish for other things. But perhaps that really is an excuse and the rebel in me, well.. is rebelling, because the truth is, there are a few things I would like to do before I am finished with living. And so, for the first time ever, I am actually going to create this friggin’ bucket list. Yes, you are welcome *laughs*

  1. Visit India
  2. Meet the Dalai Lama while in India
  3. Visit the Smithsonian Museum in DC
  4. Visit the Holocaust Museum in DC
  5. See the Lincoln Memorial in DC
  6. Go to San Diego
  7. See the San Francisco Bridge in person
  8. Ride the London Eye
  9. Go to a NY Mets game
  10.  Travel in South America and visit the ancient ruins of the Mayans and the Incas
  11. See the wild horses of NC’s Outer Banks
  12. Visit Isle of Man
  13. Eat authentic food in Italy
  14. Hear whales’ songs somewhere, anywhere in person
  15. Go on an archaeological dig somewhere

Okay, now I see why this is so addictive. I could probably list hundreds of things I want to do before I leave this planet, but I will stop for now. Those are some of the more interesting things I’d like to do. I may continue to explore this, now that I’ve opened myself up to it. Of course, most of these are a pipe dream. I would have to be wealthy to do most of them, and I don’t see that happening any time in the near future.

Creative Question 17 – Political Porridge

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CQ17: Do we need to rethink our version of democracy; of elections and governance; of reconnecting with real people and their issues?

It is quite the political season, what with the US Presidential election looming, and since I am of a political mindset today, I figured I would attempt to delve into Kate’s Creative Question.

Normally, I am not a politically-minded person, but I am a history buff, so politics does interest me from a historical point of view. And I will admit that I am not a fan of Capitalism. I am a liberal progressive and I believe in inclusivity. I am not in favor of the top 1% having the bulk of the wealth while the lower 99% falls deeper and deeper into poverty. This is what Capitalism has done to this country, not just now, but throughout our history. In the past, huge monopolies gave the top 1% an economic advantage. These capitalists controlled our country’s wealth through our banking, trade and labor systems. The bulk of Americans lived in poverty-like conditions while these wealthy Capitalists lived in luxury. We saw changes during the late 40s and 50s when a middle class emerged through FDR’s policies and our country became economically strong.

So when did it all begin to go wrong? We can trace the decline of the middle class back to the 1980s when Reagan first proposed his “trickle-down” theory. The premise of this was that if we gave corporations (capitalists) huge tax breaks, then they would open more businesses, thus creating more jobs, and the wealth would trickle down to the lower 99%. It continued during GHW Bush’s administration when he first proposed NAFTA, the North American trade deal with Mexico and Canada. This deal was supposed to allow Mexican and Canadian companies to trade openly with the US. It was signed by Bill Clinton during his administration. What happened instead was that US corporations found cheaper labor, mainly in Mexico, and began moving their corporations out of the US and into Mexico. Other trade deals followed in the ensuing years, allowing corporations to move overseas to China, India, Bangladesh, etc. All of these corporations were looking for the same things – cheap labor, a lax on environmental laws, and more money in their pockets. And who got the shaft? American workers, the 99%.

So now we are looking at the same situation that we faced as a country before the 1940s. Capitalism has once again turned us into an economically backwards country. Those at the top love Capitalism because it makes them wealthy. They tell the American people that if we just worked harder, we too could reap the benefits of Capitalism, but they are merely feeding us a pipe dream. We are being lied to by those who hate the very idea that the 99% could be as rich as the 1%. Both sides of our current political agenda want to keep us living in poverty. They occasionally throw us bones to keep us pacified, but the truth is, as long as Capitalism is the American Way, the 99% will always be poor.

So what is the alternative? There are many corporations in this country who do the right thing. They allow unions and incentive programs, like sharing company profits with the workers. These corporations know that American workers are happy and satisfied when they benefit from their labor. Most of these are medium to small-sized businesses. They don’t get the big tax breaks of large corporations. And perhaps, that is what makes these companies better for our current economic situation. But what is more important is that these companies reflect a more socialistic atmosphere.

Socialism isn’t the “devil” that many Capitalist paint it as such, and it definitely is nothing even remotely close to Communism. Socialism is an unselfish form of government. Its premise is that when we help the less fortunate in our communities, we also help ourselves as a whole. It says that even the lessors of our people have value and should be taken care of – children, the elderly, the disabled. And we do this by everyone paying their fair share of taxes, the poorest and, most definitely, the wealthiest. Critics say that Socialism is Un-American, but those critics have been fed the Capitalistic pipe dream for centuries. It goes back to the days of Kingdoms and fiefdoms.  The wealthy deserve to remain wealthy and the poor must just endure. We see Socialism in action in small communities all over this country – charities, churches giving aid, food banks, bake sales for children’s school activities, etc. Capitalistic-minded people even participate in these kinds of events, but they don’t realize that these things embody the very spirit of Socialism.

Our government would benefit from adopting more Socialist ideas by giving incentives to companies that enrich their workers through unions and profit sharing programs, by creating a fair tax plan for all Americans (the poor and wealthy), by investing in schools, our infrastructures, and our health care, and finally, by punishing companies who outsource their jobs overseas. We need to stop being a selfish country where we think of ourselves as individuals and only look out for number one. We all have value and we should all reap the benefits of what this country has to offer.

 

Creative Questions 16 – Childhood Memories

CC1CQ 16:  Please share a sweet childhood memory?

All of my fondest childhood memories come from the summers I spent with my paternal grandmother between the ages of ten through fourteen. Grandma was a loving, giving woman. She enjoyed simple, yet hard-working things – gardening, milking cows, raising chickens, canning and cooking. Leisure for her was snapping beans on the back porch or listening to her favorite am radio shows in the evenings after cleaning up the kitchen. Anyone who showed up at grandma’s house would be welcomed with a hug and a cooked meal. I don’t think there was ever a moment that a kettle of something wasn’t simmering on the stove.

Grandma also made me feel important. She made my favorite dishes, saved me jars of chunky applesauce, and whipped up batches of pistachio pudding for me every single year that I stayed with her. There were no televisions in her house, but she knew I loved to read and I was always welcomed to browse my aunts’ bookshelves for something to read (two aunts lived with her). Early mornings, I’d help her with the chickens and cows. By mid-morning, we’d been in the garden weeding or picking vegetables. When it was too hot to be outside, we’d go inside, drink lemonade, listen to music on the radio and I’d read while grandma prepared food. She didn’t like anyone fussing around her stove. Evenings were spent snapping beans or peeling and coring apples. At night, we’d gather in the living room to listen to her radio shows and of course, I’d always have a book in tow.

My memory isn’t what it used to be and it fads more and more each day, so I don’t have any specific memories. Just the lingerings of my time with grandma and what we routinely did each day, because with grandma, each day was a routine. She never swayed from her daily chores, even when she was tired or ill. That’s just the kind of woman she was. Always going about the business of doing things. She taught me that and to this day, I function better when I have routines and something to always be doing.

I didn’t get to spend the last summer of her life with her. In 1981, she moved from her farm back to the small town where she raised some of her kids. That summer, her kids refused to allow her to plant a garden because they said she was too old. I did visit a few times that summer and autumn, but I saw how “wilted” she’d become. Gardening was her life’s blood and she was cut off from it. By the following April, grandma passed away in her sleep. I still cherish the values she instilled in me and I’ve missed her every day since.

Creative Questions 15 – Domestic Violence

CQ15 – Domestic Violence: What can I/we do about this?

Domestic violence hits very close to home for me. I’d like to begin with a little information:

First, I think everyone needs to understand that DV (domestic violence) isn’t just physical violence. PV (physical violence) is generally the endgame of DV. DV often begins with mental and emotional abuse which can and generally does escalate into PV. Many of the abused endure years and years of mental and emotional abuse. Sometimes, the abusers will use degradation, insults, and mind games long before they raise a fist. It is easy to overlook these abuses early on in relationships because the abused is still in the honeymoon phase and deeply in love with the abuser. Many shrug off these attitudes as the abuser is just having a bad day or they didn’t mean it and move on. The abusers will even use those as excuses. There may even be moments of PV involved – a slap across the face, a push or shove, or objects thrown. And then comes the apologies and the make-ups and the wash-overs. Some of these DV moments may even be rare in the beginning, but rest assured, they will escalate. This period is known as “testing the waters” of tolerance for such things. Will the abused fight back or capitulate? The more often the capitulation, the more certain the DV will progress. (Note: some may think that this is victim-blaming, but it is not. The abused may not even realize that he/she is capitulating. He/she may just be trying to keep the peace, but this IS what the abused is watching out for in these early stages. Each give-in, regardless of how small, is all a part of their game.)

Although DV can happen in any home, there is a mindset that comes along with most chronic abusers.

  1. They were most likely abused at some point in their childhood, or saw abuse to a parent as a child.
  2. They were quite likely either a bully or the bullied as children.
  3. Some have a narcissistic personality or are sociopaths

Narcissistic abusers usually prey on anyone whom they consider to have a weak personality (whether or not they do). As a general rule, they like companions who are compromisers, introverts, easily persuaded, or who have an illness of some kind that make them vulnerable. Narcissists like to control others. Sociopaths usually seek companions who are popular, extroverted and have strong wills. They consider those types of personalities a challenge and delight in tearing them down. These are not hard and fast rules, just as not all abusers are Narcissists or Sociopaths, but the majority are one or the other, or both. Keep in mind, Narcissists generally do their abusing covertly during the early stages of relationships; Sociopaths generally do their abusing out in the open and early on, especially with PV. Neither of these have the ability to show genuine remorse for their deeds or compassion toward their victims.

My own personal story begins with a 13 year marriage to a Narcissist. When we met, I was an independent woman in my mid-thirties. I’d always worked and taken care of myself. However, I’d just been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder. Keep that in mind. Our relationship began fairly well. He was a generous man and attentive. We had some ideological differences, but for the most part, we had a lot in common and got along fairly well. The abuse began slowly. He would occasionally criticized me about my weight, even as he would say that he preferred “plump” women (we had met in a BBW chatroom on AOL!). He would try to enact “rules” about how he wanted things done, even though he was a truck driver and only home 4 days a month. And he tried to dictate which friends I could have or family members I could associate with. All of this was subtle for the first 4 years of our marriage. Then he decided we needed to move 1000 miles away from all of my current friends and my family.

During these first four years, I was dealing with my mental illness, often having numerous medication changes which altered my own personality. His subtle mental and emotional abuses were, however, beginning to impact my life. To keep the peace and my sanity, I often capitulated – a grave mistake. Giving in to his desire to move from VA to OK was the biggest capitulation that I made. After the move, the DV only escalated more. He had me isolated, often completely alone for weeks at a time, and at his mercy. He didn’t want me to work because of his paranoia that someone would break into our home with no one there, and since I was dealing with my mental illness, I agreed not to work. I had no friends and any time I tried to make one, he found reasons not to like the person and would do everything in his power to make me or  that friend break our friendship. Even the criticisms increased. By this time, I’d lost quite a bit of weight due to depression and even that didn’t please him. In fact, it only made matters worse. My body was now completely distasteful to him and he made no qualms about telling me so (he had a large breast fetish and mine had shrunk considerably due to the weight loss). The mind games came more often too. He would deliberately hide things and then put the objects back after I’d searched for days and worked myself into a frenzy over it. He’d call me crazy and erratic for my behavior and say other humiliating things to me over the incidents. If I did anything that displeased him, he would rant and rave and throw horrible screamfest tantrums. It would be nine years before the PV began. This came with pushing and shoving and throwing things at me. Thankfully, he never struck me outright, but the shoves into objects resulted in back and shoulder injuries. Those are just small examples of the abuse I endured. I will save why I stayed and how I managed to leave for another post some day.

I know this has been a long-winded reply to the question asked and I haven’t even answered the question, but I felt that some information and my own personal story were important. So, what can I/we do about Domestic Violence?

  1. We need to teach our children that violence is not the solution. This means both female and male children because not all abusers are males.
  2. We also need to teach our children that their lives have value and meaning, to give them a sense of confidence about themselves, and to ensure them that they do not deserve to be abused.
  3. If you are a parent and you see signs of narcissism and/or sociopathy in your child, get him/her and yourself psychiatric/therapy help ASAP. Although there doesn’t appear to be permanent treatments for these two disorders, there are some indications that early therapy can help.
  4. We need to educate the public more on DV, especially the police and the judiciary. Speak up and speak out about your own personal stories or those of friends and family.
  5. If you are the victim of DV, LEAVE as soon as you are able and get into programs for DV survivors – safe houses, therapy, and support groups. This involves a plan to leave – storing money and clothing somewhere safe for you and your children, finding a safe place to go, and developing an escape plan (when to safely leave).
  6. Remember, a restraining order may or may not keep you safe. The best option is to move far away from the abuser, if you are able. And, unfortunately, that may not even keep you safe. Depending on how violent the abuser, he/she will do anything to keep you his/her victim. That is why education on DV is so important!

I am sure there are other solutions to this problem, but my mind is growing foggy, so I will leave it at this for now.