Chat and Chai with Megs

What is Domestic Abuse?

February 05, 2021 Season 1 Episode 1
Chat and Chai with Megs
What is Domestic Abuse?
Chapters
Chat and Chai with Megs
What is Domestic Abuse?
Feb 05, 2021 Season 1 Episode 1
Transcript
Megs:

Welcome to Chat and Chai with Megs, where we cover all things, policy and technology related that affect domestic violence organizations and the individuals that they serve. This month we're going to be talking about what is domestic abuse, because everywhere I turn , people have automatically assumed that domestic abuse or domestic violence or intimate partner violence is a physical act. But in fact, there's a lot more to it. There's so many different types of financial abuse, sexual abuse, as well as psychological and emotional abuse that are categorized as intimate partner violence, domestic violence, or domestic abuse. So tune in to this podcast to understand what the differences are, what you can do about it and how you can help those individuals and yourself, if you're facing it. Hi everyone. My name is Megs Shah. I am the host of Chat and Chai with Megs and this month we're going to be talking with four panelists, Joelle, Piercy, Lise-Marie Monroe, Sweta Saji as well as Hiral Mankad. Now, as part of this chat and chai, I wanted to talk a little bit about the Parasol Cooperative and then we'll head over to each of our panelists to introduce yourselves . I am Megs Shah, the founder and CEO of the Parasol Cooperative. The Parasol Cooperative is an organization that provides the technology tools, knowledge and services to domestic violence organizations, so they can accelerate what they do best, which is to protect people. I want to try to turn it over to our panelists, to introduce themselves, and we will talk more about domestic abuse, the different types, the stigma around it, as well as what you can do based on the survivor stories we have today for you. Joelle , why don't we start with you? Tell us a little bit about safe and sound and what you do there.

Joelle Piercy (Safe+Sound Somerset):

Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me. Um , so my name is Joelle Piercy. I'm the community outreach coordinator at Safe and Sound Somerset. Safe and Sound Somerset is Somerset county's designated domestic violence response agency. Most counties across the country are required to have an agency that provides a hotline and an emergency safe house. So we are that designated organization in Somerset County, New Jersey. In addition to the 24 / 7 and text hotline, we serve as the emergency safe house. We also have a wide range of services, including , trauma treatment in our counseling program. We have legal advocacy, financial empowerment , as well as a relationship with the department of child protection and permanency or child welfare services.

Megs:

That's fantastic. Thanks Joelle. Sweta why don't we go to you? let's hear a little bit about what Sakhi is doing in New York and what your role there is. Oh, sure.

Sweta Saji (Sakhi for South Asian Women):

Hi, my name is Sweta Saji, I work with Sakhi for South Asian Women. I work as an economic empowerment program manager there. Um, so Saki primarily works with survivors of gender-based violence, domestic violence. We provide them a range of, you know, services ranging from legal advocacy to case management, crisis management. Um, you know, we provide them, you know, financial resources if they are in need of that help. We also do a lot of capacity building workshops, like financial literacy classes in order to assist them in their journey towards financial stability. We also have a youth empowerment program, which works with children of survivors or youth survivors. Um, so those are some of the services and we , provide and our office's are based in New York City and we provide services in all boroughs of New York.

Megs:

That's fantastic. Thanks for that, Lise-Marie, why don't we go to you for the introduction for you, what organization you're in and also a little bit about yourself and your background?

Lise-Marie Monroe (Survivor of Domestic Violence):

Sure. My name is Lisa and I am in Fairbanks , Alaska. I'm a survivor of domestic violence and I am an officer and the grant manager for a parasol coffee cooperatives . Um, I'm so excited to be working on such an amazing project with amazing people. Um, and I actually almost lost my life to domestic violence seven years ago. So I had a pretty severe experience.

Megs:

Thank you, Lise, for joining us. I know it's really early in Alaska, so I promise I'll get you some coffee here soon. Right?

Lise-Marie Monroe (Survivor of Domestic Violence):

Got it. Fantastic.

Megs:

Hiral, will talk a little bit about your experience. Um, tell us a little bit about you, where you work, anything that you'd like to share with our viewers.

Hiral Mankad (Survivor of Domestic Violence):

Sure. I am not affiliated with an organization , but I am a survivor of domestic violence and it's funny that term domestic violence is something that I never thought I would be associated with. Um, and for me, I always envisioned domestic violence, physical, not emotional or financial. Um, so it's , um, you know, a broad term and I am happy to say that I have been out of my situation for, gosh, I left in 2011, it's been nine years and this didn't come close to losing my life, but it was something that really opened my eyes to, you know , what could happen. I am a pharmacist by training and I work at Johnson and Johnson. I've been there for about 20 years and I live in Boston.

Megs:

Thank you again, for joining us Hiral. And, you know, you make an interesting point. There's different types of abuse that are out there. And I think, you know, I was initially when I first , um, you know, was going through my divorce and you know, many people are aware of it and Hiral and I actually met through a support group , um, because of that. And, I did not quite understand that domestic abuse is much bigger, right? Like it's more than physical violence. And I think it would be really helpful for us to be able to shed some light on what types of abuse exists. And, you know, it's, it's one of those things that, you know, once you do understand the different types, how do you really know you're going through it or you're experiencing it? Are there ways and tools that you can use , um, to do that. Sweta, why don't we start with you? Have you experienced that in New York and also at Joelle I'd like to go to you next and should get a better understanding from your perspective of what you notice in Safe and Sound.

Sweta Saji (Sakhi for South Asian Women):

Yeah. You know, I can start talking about like no different types of domestic violence before that, you know, I just want to , um, address like a trigger a lot , like now in case while you're speaking of different types of abuse , uh, there might be cases where, you know, you are triggered, so please feel free to put off your camera, you know, take a few deep breaths so that, you know , you can regulate yourself. Um , I'll start with physical abuse as um , mentioned. Yes. I mean, it's, it's very , um, commonly found abuse and it's very like recognizable, in most cases because sometime , you know, most of the times that leads injuries. So , um, how do you identify it can be like pushing shoving or slapping, you know, it can range , uh , with biting kicking, throwing objects , um, some physical abuse , uh, you know, can also range like locking a person outside the house in the cold, you know, that is also physical abuse, abandoning a partner in dangerous places , um, are strangling. So these are signs of physical abuse. That's how you identify that you are being abused physically. Um, I'll go next to emotional abuse. Um, again, ridiculing or insulting your, you know, your values , uh , beliefs , your religion, race, heritage, that also like , uh , you know, spiritual abuse often it's not address, but , um, um, or, you know, another sign of emotional abuse is withholding approval or appreciation or affection as punished punishment, continually criticizing with , uh , shouting and name calling insulting or driving away family and friends just to instigate like isolation, right. And when , uh , when a survivor, when a victim is isolated, they don't have the community like to draw strength from or discuss it or break the silence. Um, uh , humiliating partner in private and public places just like targeting their self-esteem right through emotional abuse , uh, refusing to socialize, socialize with partner. I had a client who , uh, you know, used , uh , her abuser used to send her , uh , videos of himself inflicting self-harm on himself and threatening her that this is what he will do to her. That is a part of emotional abuse and verbal abuse too. Um, so, you know, by doing all these acts, they just like play with the , um, the victims , um, sense of self, right.

Megs:

So I think the mindset really gets affected by it. Right? And I think that's, that's, what's so interesting. And , and with COVID, it's sort of exasperated the problem quite a bit , um , because now we're sort of being at home with our abuser or someone that they know is going to be using and feel helpless and not be able to help them out. And, you know , so Joelle, I'll go to you, you know, in terms of the different types of abuse that you see at Safe and Sound and how you address them, but also just are there tools and things that Safe and Sound has that you use to help people identify that they may be going through those circumstances?

Joelle Piercy (Safe+Sound Somerset):

Absolutely. One of the , um, one of the best ways to kind of begin to expand our understanding of domestic violence is really to understand what is at the heart of domestic abuse and domestic violence. We do use those terms interchangeably , um, and that is it's a power and control issue. Uh , in fact, the U S department of justice defines domestic violence as a pattern of behaviors that one partner uses to gain power and control over the other person. Physical violence is not part of that definition. Violence can and does occur, but it's more about what power and control it's gaining the person who's using the violence. Also violence rarely happens. The physical violence rarely happens in a vacuum. Um, when we talk to teens, we frequently say, if someone hit you on the first date, would you keep dating them? And they say, no, right. So you have all of those other, other behaviors, the putdowns , the manipulations , um, the threats, right? That kind of prop up that physical violence and are in and of themselves violent as well. Um, because of that effect. So every, almost every organization , uh , domestic violence organization uses a power and control wheel , um, to show that at the heart of all these behaviors is trying to gain power and control over the other person. It's not an anger management problem. Um, it's , uh, it's about, it's about gaining power and control. And so I, I strongly suggest , um, looking at power and control wheels, there's lots available on the web. We also have , um, several different kinds of , for teens and adults available on our website , um, www.safe-sound.org under survivor services , um, so that you can look through and , and again, kind of expand that understanding of what violence is and how it happens.

Megs:

And I think it's interesting, you brought up violence is , um, you know, different terms can be used for it. You know, I'm in my faith on Jain and, you know, we believe violence can be inflicted through words, through thoughts and through our actions. And I think in this case, it's very, very relevant. Um, but I do think that, you know, the definition of getting control is sort of the big thing here. Um, and so I want to kind of walk to , um, Hiral you first, as far as your experience is concerned , you know, with the different types of abuse, as you mentioned earlier, you know, tell us a little bit about what you experienced , um, and, you know, kind of share with our viewers if you're comfortable , uh , sharing it, you know, that that way they can sort of understand and potentially relate to it .

Hiral Mankad (Survivor of Domestic Violence):

Yeah. So , um, I actually married probably a late bloomer if you will, in the Indian world. So I didn't get married until I was 30. Um, so I, you know, was well into, you know, the beginnings of my career. I had a job, a steady paycheck. Um, and when I got married, I married my husband and lived with his parents , um, because he was the older son and that that's what happened. And , um, interestingly enough, while we were dating, which was over the course of 14 months , everything was great, no issues. And, you know, it's funny as soon as that wedding happened, in hindsight, as they say, it's 20, 20 it's as if like a switch flipped. And I recall, you know, moving in and it was just, you know, it was amazing. And for me, even though I wasn't married to my husband, as I think about it, I think I was married to him physically only because really my issue was with his mother, his mother made my life a living hell, day one. And she turned into Jekyll and Hyde, you know, faster than you can say, Oh my goodness. Um, but she was the one I think that really inflicted the abuse over the course of years. I was never good enough the putting down, you know, there wasn't physical violence. Um, she kept me from my family and friends. I had moved across state . So I grew up in Pennsylvania and moved to Massachusetts and I was isolated. There was, and I worked from home as well. So I didn't have that social network, my social network, my support network was all back in Pennsylvania. And it was to the point where, you know, conversations, even with my family became very Curt , very, you know, I didn't want to let on that anything was wrong because part of me felt like a failure as the years went on, because I felt like I failed as a wife, as a daughter-in-law and also as a mom, once I had my child , um, and then, you know, it just, over the course of years, it just got worse and worse. And you know, when I got married, there's a part with the Indian wedding ceremony, where your parents bit you goodbye. And, you know, you're now part of this family and my parents, parting words were , these are your parents now treat them as you would treat us. And so I took that to heart because that's how I was raised when I didn't take into account is do that to a certain point. Not when somebody demeans you and just, you know, you lose your self respect. I think one of the women was just saying, you know, if you hear something long enough, you start to believe it. So here I am, I have a doctorate in pharmacy have master's degree, a bachelor's degree, have a great job, made a steady income, a good income, but yet I was restricted from accessing finances . I, you know, it was put down until told I was, you know , called names and you start to believe in, and it really does start to impact your self esteem. Um , and I think the eye-opener for me was, I think my daughter was probably three at the time . And my mother-in-law had said to her saying, you know, during the course of one of the routes, she had said, you know, you deserve a better mommy. One that loves you. One that cares for you. That night when I put her to bed, it was right around Thanksgiving and I put her to bed and she said, mommy, with tears in her eyes and I said what's wrong? And she said, I don't want a new mommy, I want you so that for me, was the eye opener .

Megs:

Yeah . I , I think it's, you know, different cultures, we have different sort of expectations as well. And it's not always your significant other inflicting the pain, although they do play a big part in supporting someone who might be like your mother-in-law and for instance, right. I think where , um, where I, I struggled with this a little bit, right. In terms of the stigma and in the , um, the spectrum of abuse , I think that there's a stigma that all cultures have. Um , and I'd love to hear Lise-Marie from you about, you know, sort of your experience. Was there a stigma associated with you sort of, I know it was sort of a very abrupt situation, so it might be a little bit different in that context, but I'd love to understand a bit more about what you experienced if you're willing to share it with our viewers here.

Lise-Marie Monroe (Survivor of Domestic Violence):

Yeah, absolutely. And , um, the near fatal attack, obviously it was very abrupt, but , um, the emotional abuse began quite a while before that. Um, and I think here I'll, I really relate to having to play a certain role. I think that that's a really big part of what we take on and it , it leaves us limited. So I was a military wife and actually I also married at 30 , so that's really funny. Um, and so, but my, my now ex-husband was born and raised in Cuba. So we were dealing with very, very different cultural understandings. And , um, we were only married for six months before he deployed. And it was while he was deployed that the emotional abuse began , um, paranoia about me stealing his money about me, cheating on him, I'm going to leave him calling me names. Um, it was, it was a very severe switch. And , um, he was dealing with extreme circumstances. Um , he was dealing with near-death situations on a daily basis, so he was suffering from severe PTSD. So I think that that's really important to keep in mind as well is like it's very, it's typically a very complicated situation. Um, and I too had a vibrant career. I, actually identify as a feminist. I have psychology degree. I , uh , I also never saw myself as someone who would end up in a situation where domestic violence would play such a huge role in my life. And ultimately what ended up happening just to give everybody context for that was he did have a flashback and he strangled me. Um, and I went through all four of the stages , uh, proceeding dying. So I literally did almost lose my life. Um, so I'm happy to be here. I'm also happy. Uh, and I think compassion, the compassion that I have for my ex-husband is actually quite pronounced because I realized how much he was dealing with. So I'm also happy for his sake that I am still here because life would also be very different. Um, as far as stigma goes , um, I think for me, the stigma was not so much about domestic violence, particularly, but again, relating back to the role. Um, as a military wife, I was, I was in a situation dealing with somebody who was essentially obsessed with violence after coming back from such a severe deployment. So I was trying to weigh what was normal, what wasn't normal, what should I put up with? What shouldn't I put up with? You know, what was dangerous, what wasn't dangerous. Um, I was told as a military wife, by my fellow friends who had, has been said, it had been deployed several times that if he had a nightmare, that I should throw a shoe at him from across the room and not try to wake him up because he might be in a state where he had no idea what, who he was, where he was and what was happening or who I was. Um, so there was like this, the stigma around , um, calling abusive situations, abuse, even though he wasn't trying to abuse me necessarily. He was dealing with trauma and trauma responses and triggers. Um, that was the stigma I was dealing with the most. Um, I set a very clear boundary with him because his temper, when he came back was extreme, it was very explosive. And , uh, so I set a very, very clear boundary. And I said, if you ever touch a hair on my head, we're done, that's it, I'm leaving. And I, I didn't have, I had social support. I had a career. I , I was, I was very independent. Um, so I had those capabilities, which not all women do. Um, but I drew that line. And so when I was in the hospital, the night that I was strangled and, you know, we , we had been in a year of counseling prior and things were going great. And, you know, we just didn't know what we were dealing with. We didn't understand how dangerous it could be. Um, and so I think really heartened to, to take it seriously and to try to view it from an objective point of view and not from a context where maybe violence is , um , normalized or , um, you know, more acceptable because of , of the situation. So, and that could be cultural, that could be , uh, you know, the military ideals, whatever it is. Um, so that's, that's really where it stood out for me, that stigma plays such a huge role.

Megs:

Yeah and I think it's different, you know, as you said, I think with someone who's coming back from a traumatized, extremely traumatized situation back into a relationship , um , and then there's those instances where, you know, stigma around cultural stigma still exists as well. And I know in New Jersey , um, you know, it's , uh, it varies in terms of the different cultures and what they encounter and a lot of it. And when I found , um , Joelle, I don't know if you've seen this and in safe and sound is, you know, people struggle to call the police or to call for help from someone who may not be a family member. Um, you know, and I think that it's important , uh , for our viewers to understand, but that's not the only channel to request help. Right. Um, maybe talk a little bit about what are those channels of , of , um, help that they can reach out to and what are the best ways to sort of engage so that they can do it in a safe way.

Joelle Piercy (Safe+Sound Somerset):

Absolutely. So the one thing we want to stress to people is that you don't have to be ready to leave a relationship, to get help, to access help. Right. Um, you know, so what we recommend is the hotlines, the domestic violence hotlines is that , um, you don't have to, again, be thinking about leaving it. You don't have to be in a certain place in your relationship. You're not required to call the police, but what they do is they safety plan with you and they create customized safety plans that address those individualized concerns. Um, I know when we have people that safety plan with us, if they don't feel safe calling the, we have come up with other options, who can you call, who are some safe people you can call , um, if you're not ready to leave the relationship, how do you stay safe while you're in the relationship? What are some safety tactics while you're arguing? Um, you know, part of that is emotional safety finding people that you can talk to about this that may not be giving you some of that push back that you're scared of, or, or have experienced before. That's all part of the safety planning. And so, as I mentioned before , most counties , um , and across the country, some counties combined, but most counties have their own domestic violence agency. If you're not sure what your local one is, you can call the national domestic violence hotline. I have that number it's 1-800-799-SAFE. And , um , they will provide some of that immediate support information , um , the individualized safety planning, but they can also get you connected with your local organization for additional services. And like I said, at least with our organization, I know a lot of other DV organizations, there's no requirements in terms of having to have a restraining order or anything like that. Um, you know, no matter where you are on your journey to safety and healing , uh, there are resources available.

Megs:

Thank you so much, Joelle. I think it's important for everyone to recognize that there are organizations like safe and sound here in New Jersey there's organizations all over the United States. And, you know, I will say then the phone numbers, the links and everything we talking about here will be included in the video when we do publish this out to you guys. But I do want to make sure that I get a better sense of, you know, in, in the context of the different States , um, and, and Sweta I'll go to you for this one, you know, for the different States, there's different procedures. You know, if there was an instance where I, I read from somewhere and heard from another person that, you know, a potential way to reach out for help could be a medical professional. Um, can you talk a little bit about, you know, how , um, our medical professionals like doctors, primary physicians, pediatric physicians , um, how they can really play a part in helping individuals with abuse?

Sweta Saji (Sakhi for South Asian Women):

Sure, sure. So I can give you some examples of , uh , of my client interactions . I've had clients where they have been , uh, you know, referred by their medical professional , that they have this disclosed to them that now they're going through this abuse. And , uh , they have reported , I had them report , um, uh , like maybe it just like placing a simple flow to psyche and, you know, telling them we're connecting the survivor to our office. So that's where, you know, we get the information about these clients and they call them again, as Jill said, we had them with safety planning and, you know, connect them with financial resources. Um, you know, we have pediatricians who're connected with our organization who called us because you know the mother is close to them. They know what they're going through? Or lawyers have , there's been , you know, mothers are survivors was going and interacting them, you know , seeking legal help, and they need resources to get out of this difficult situation. And we connect them through the legal organization . So I think the first part is , uh , you know, the start of the conversation is like breaking the silence, disclosing it to some trusted person, identifying a trusted person in your community or in your friend circle or in your family. You know, it doesn't have to be one person. If one person doesn't work out, go to the next person. You know, I , when I was working with children who were in an abuse situation, I used to tell them that identify five adults or more one doesn't have like go to the next one. So identifying that person is very, is very significant because they can give you access to see a safe phone during a crisis, and that can give you the immediate help. So yes, you can like , um , you know , um, maybe a medical professional or a legal professional or your family member or a friend talking about the abuse or your experience is to start. Definitely.

Megs:

You know, I, I did research a little bit in Chicago. Uh , there's actually a great program that goes through and trains hairstylists and aestheticians that do facials and, you know , um, I know my, my hairdresser that I go to, which I don't go very often, but she knows me really well. And so I can open up about things that I normally wouldn't. I know it's not exactly the most safe environment to be talking about these things that people won't feel comfortable, but, you know, to point out what Sweta was saying in terms of the physicians and safety planning, as well as Joelle , um, you know, safety plans are intended to give you the sense of safety, right? The intent of them is to make sure that, you know, what steps need to be taken and what steps will be taken to make sure that you are actually going to get to a safe environment or someone, you know , um, and a large part of why we're doing this , uh , session and to kick it off. You know, the reason is we need to raise awareness of what you can really do about these situations. If you know, someone who's facing it or you yourself are facing it. So having said that, I think what I'll do is I'll go around and just do a quick set of final thoughts that you want to leave viewers with. Um, in terms of things, to look out for anything that you'd like to add to what we've already talked about, why don't we start with your well, and then we'll go to Sweta, Hiral and then Lise.

Joelle Piercy (Safe+Sound Somerset):

Yeah. I just want to sum up that as all of you have been saying really well it's that we all play a role in ending this , um , stigma can, as we've been talking about can play a big role in a lot of different ways. And so one of the best ways that you can help with this topic is just talking about it, talking about it to friends, mention it, sharing articles , um, because first Of all, it brings awareness. Um, it makes it more likely that the people who need services will get the information they need, unfortunately, with COVID. Um, it has been harder for people to get access to that information. And so by helping to share it , um, you're, you're making awareness more possible. But the other thing you're doing is you're establishing yourself as a safe person to talk about this topic, you know, by spreading awareness, by making this an issue you care about , um, you make it easier for people who know you to reach out to you, if you need help and then you can connect them to service. So thank you so much for listening. This is, this has been a lot of fun.

Megs:

Thanks for being here, Joelle. Sweta?

Sweta Saji (Sakhi for South Asian Women):

Um, so I think domestic violence is a horrendous crime and , um , I think the first step of breaking the cycle of violence is talking about it. And as Joelle said, like spreading awareness by, you know , talking about it, talking about your experience, or if you have the knowledge, the safety information, sharing it with a person who you think might be going through an abuse situation , um, in that that helps a lot , um, you know, to some of , uh , some at all, like thank you for, thank you all for sharing your stories. Um, it has been a really helpful for me and for the viewers to understand the abuse. And I think that's how we , um , start to break the cycle of violence. Right. And so thank you for your commitment and your passion.

Megs:

I agree. You know, I think the one thing that really struck me in here as I go to you with this is because, you know, I think people also have this perception that domestic violence is, is, you know, not something that I will ever encounter, you know, being professional and, you know, I've, I'm an educated woman that this will never happen to me. Um, and I think it's, it's refreshing, but also alarming to hear that , um, you know, that you're one out of the situation that you were in. Um, but also the fact that there is no race, creed, gender, social status that is unaffected by this. And I think it's important for us as we start to talk about , um, you know, domestic abuse and what you can do and how you can actually reach out for help, that it isn't something you should be embarrassed about. It isn't something that you should hold back from asking for help. And it starts with just a conversation and it could be as simple as posting an anonymous question on a support group. Um, you know, we have a lot of mommy groups and, you know, local selling sites that we have that, you know, in Hillsborough , I go into the , the swap and sell site. And sometimes there's people that are posting things on there, but, you know , you could just post an anonymous question, reach out to the administrator of that group and see if they'll do it. Um, and you know, I've noticed that people do that, right? So here, I think what I'd love to hear from you is just what are some parting thoughts? Um, you, I know being in South Asian community, there's, there's several, several different layers of stigma around what we face as far as domestic abuse is concerned. Can you maybe provide some of your last thoughts around this?

Hiral Mankad (Survivor of Domestic Violence):

Yeah, I think , um, one of the things that I would, you know, looking back, like I said, hindsight is always 2020, but looking back, like if something doesn't feel right, follow your gut. Um, the other piece of advice and I was guilty of it was staying in event situations because of the kids. That's never a good thing. I think, you know, I realized after the fact that I am a better parent, when I'm happy, you know , I don't have that baggage with me. Um , the other thing, you know, don't be afraid to ask for help. You know, we have so many resources, like all of the groups that are represented here, but even megs . And I met on a social media site on Facebook. I mean, granted, I had already gone through my issues at that point, but my philosophy has always been if I can help one person then , but I've gone through, but go on these sites find the support. And I really wish that the fight that I've been on was there when I was going through my issues, we have technology available. The thing that I used was J offered and I'm sure a lot of other companies offer also it's called the employee assistance program . So I called EAP. And it's funny when I got hired 20 years ago, I'm like never going to use this, but I did. And the counselor I had was fantastic. And she's the one that helped me identify that what I was going through was abuse . And I even like challenged her. I'm like, I'm not hitting me. I'm not being shoved. The EAP was a fabulous resource. Um, and don't be afraid to ask for help because I know at least in my culture going to a therapist is like, Oh my goodness, what's wrong with you. Don't be afraid to ask for help find your support network, whether it's somebody that you don't even know online to find ways to be able to connect with people, because, you know , once you find that support network they're there. And for me, like my support network, I used to travel once a week while I was married. That's where my office is in Philly. So it was then and there where I was able to talk to my brother, I was able to talk to my closest friends. So find the people that you know, that are going to support you and then are safe harbors for you to talk about what you're going through.

Megs:

Yep . Thanks, Hiral. Really appreciate that. And I think you bring up a good point is that, you know, when you, when you can reach out and you feel comfortable reaching out, you should reach out. I think the comfort level is really what drives us to a point where we don't.

Hiral Mankad (Survivor of Domestic Violence):

And I think a lot of us, especially, you know, as moms , You think twice, three times, a hundred times before you pull that trigger because your whole life is gonna change. But unless you realize that yourself and you know that that's the stuff you need to take people around. You can tell you that but you're not going to take that step until you make that choice .

Megs:

Yeah. And I think it's an intrinsic choice and I almost, it's almost a societal culture, a culture sort of upbringing that we've all had, which is, you know, make your marriage work. Um, and you know, and I think to Joelle's point, you don't always have to be in a situation where you're ready to leave your marriage. Right. I think a large part to do with understanding who you are, what you're comfortable with, because that will actually help you in your journey to recovery. Right. Um, and you know, at times there are instances where the spouse may not recognize that their actions are abusive. And so having the tools and working with therapists and working with advocates that actually know and have the know-how to support you in doing that can actually make a big difference as well. So , um,

Hiral Mankad (Survivor of Domestic Violence):

I was just going to say, I think you bring up a good point. Not everybody leaves their marriage, but it's okay to recognize what's going on and to maybe have or seek couples counseling. Yes. It's always an option.

Megs:

Lise are your, are your audio situations resolved? Nope. Still nothing. Well, I, I will , uh, you know, the , the beauty of zoom is that it's great to connect with people remotely, but then the audio video challenges around it are always , uh, always fun to overcome. But first of all, I want to thank each and every one of you, I think this has been a very informative session and I'm hoping that our viewers can really take what you've said and either pull themselves out of situations that are abusive or help friends and family that might be going through it. So thank you again for taking time to talk to me and joining me in this chat and chai session, I am really excited about , um, you know, how, how we can all work together to create that parasol of protection , um, for those individuals that are encountering it. So thank you again.