The news that Chris Brown allegedly beat up Rihanna is still shocking to most of us. How could such a seemingly great guy--with the whole world in his back pocket--do something so horrible?
The news just keeps getting worse for Chris Brown. Wrigley's dropped their sponsorship and, rightly so, if the photos of Rihanna's bruises are real.
But Joleen is not surprised. She knows way too much about domestic violence, and how easily it can happen.
Now she's doing something about it. She's the group owner of Domestic Violence Survivors: Power of Being Free. The group has hundreds of members.
Here is Joleen's story.
Cafe Kristen: Why did you start this CafeMom group?
Joleen: When I joined the group, I was looking for a place that i could come to for support and people who understood me and knew what I was going through. At that time, there were only 68 members. Now we have more than 500. I inherited the group from another mother who asked me to take it over.
CK: Do you mind sharing your story?
Joleen: I was married at 18 and didn't know what abuse was. I was emotionally and verbally assaulted from the beginning. I was married for 15 years. My abuser like to say things like, 'My way or the high way.' I was always accused of cheating on him if another man even talked to me. I was isolated from family and friend gradually until i had no one but him. i felt that no matter what i did, it was wrong and that i was stupid. By year 7, I sought counseling. I was surprised to find out that what i was in was a very abusive relationship. I was one of the lucky ones. I was only physically assaulted 3 times. Mostly, he liked to throw things at me and tell me what was wrong with me. By 2003, I was in a group support in my local community for domestic violence and left my abuser in August 2003. I also had to leave my two teen daughters because they chose to live with their father, and i did not want to drag them through hell in court. Today, i have Physical custody of my 16-year-old who is emotionally scared from the abuser and can become abusive herself. Now she is in counseling to help her deal with everything.
CK: How has Domestic Violence Survivors helped you personally?
Joleen: When i joined, I felt lost and angry with virtually no support. The group gave me acess to many women, who have been through or are going through the same things I had. It was reassuring that not only i was no longer alone.
CK: How has it helped other women?
Joleen: The group gave women a place to come to to feel safe enough to tell what had happened to them and a lot of them felt finally free enough to get out of their abusive relationships with the support and resources our group provides
CK: Tell me what you're planning in October 2009. How many women do you hope will show up?
Joleen: We are planning on getting together as many our group members and any one in various communities of domestic survivors and victims, We will be wanting to lobby and testify before Congress to help change the laws to improve lives of domestic abuse victims and survivors everywhere.
CK: What can we all do to help prevent domestic violence?
Joleen: To change to reality of domestic violence it all starts with education. By educating the masses we can then change laws, get funds where needed, and help all those who need it.
How are you feeling about the Chris Brown and Rihanna news today? Has domestic violence ever touched your life?