She fuddles with her fingers, her eyes begin to water intensely as she stutters upon her words, fighting to release the pain that has been stricken upon her for many years.
She is Janice Turner, and is a domestic violence survivor now advocating for the cause. Turner however, is still inflicted with the reality of mental and physical abuse everyday.
“I was exposed to domestic violence at a young age,” explained Turner gripping her hands tighter as she spoke. “I grew up in an abusive home and as I ventured out on my own, I found myself in other abusive relationships.”
Turner has suffered from memory lost as a result of her violent encounters. She can’t even recall the numerous times she has been dragged, stomped or choked by her abusers. The 47-year-old was introduced to drugs through her assailants and was addicted for 15 years.
“I thought since it was my lifestyle, it was the way I was suppose to live. Although (the abuse) didn’t feel good,” Turner said.
Domestic violence counselor LuWanna Parson agreed that denial is a trait displayed by many domestic violence victims.
“You can’t live life based on emotions,” Parson said. “Victims value certain things, yet still have the perception, this is the life I have to live. Counselors have to help bridge that gap and let them know they are accountable for their lives.”
Parson suggests that victims follow certain coping mechanisms when recovering from an abusive relationship.
The victim should first recognize they have a responsibility for themselves and their children, focus on the signs of abuse in the beginning of the relationship, don’t believe domestic violence myths and take accountability for one’s mistakes.
Experts say violence is often a cycle that continues to proceed, unless the proper assistance is sought after. Turner is experiencing this sequence in her offspring’s behavior.
“Now as a result of my abuse, I watch my sons abuse their girlfriends mentally and physically,” Turner added. “Even to this day I am still being delivered from the abuse mentally. A lot of it is self-condemnation. I want mothers to know they are stewards over their children and they will have to answer to that someday.”
The problem some professionals acknowledge is counselors sugarcoat methods and don’t realize those teachings are disregarded, and in return the victim suffers more.
“Counselors need to be more resourceful. They need to possess attributes such as honesty, genuineness and confidence in self-disclosure,” Parson said. “We have to relate to (victims) on their level. The more open we are with each other, the more help can be received.”
Domestic violence may be a topic that makes one shiver at the thought of it, but matters are even worse when one knows the tragedy, but remains silent. Often times these suppressed emotions can cause one to be depressed, promiscuous, addicted to drugs and become a danger to themselves and society.
“We need to stand up! I feel I have an obligation to help people,” Parson added in confidence. “Lots of people are hurting and dying, especially our kids. The healing process is most effective when we are all on one accord. Everyone in this world is created for a purpose and they actually do matter.”
domestic violence forum
Light of the World Missionary Baptist Church, 4646 N. Michigan Rd. will host a domestic violence forum Aug. 5 and Aug. 12 at 7 p.m. Bishop T. Garrott Benjamin Jr. is the guest speaker along with other community leaders. For more information call (317) 254-5922.