Friday, February 21, 2014

Daring Greatly and IPV

You may not know this about me, but I do not board the Self Help Reading Train very often. When I was an advocate, I read a great deal of books that would help me to become a better advocate. Those books ranged from books like The Courage To Heal, memoirs written by abuse survivors, art therapy books that might help me to think about how I interact as an advocate, finance... trust me. It ran the gamut. Now that I stay at home with my children, my reading as turned more towards things that interest me, but when I heard several people talk about the book Daring Greatly, it seemed time to pick it up. If I am being completely candid, my face looked like this for a few months:

The more I listened to the sort of information and tolls that people were taking away from the book, the more curious I became. So, I bought it. I really do find Brown's research fascinating.

Brown talks about the concept of scarcity in her first chapter, as a way to "collect" all the "not enough" sentiments: not good enough, not smart enough, not thin enough, not strong enough, not enough. This is a concept that has not escaped the feminism movement, no matter what branch or tree of the movement with which you identify. Feminism seeks to eradicate the concept that women are not enough. Sure, there are different ideas and approaches, but equality means equality.

When it comes to IPV (intimate partner violence), sometimes it feels different. Folks that typically would fight the concept of mommy wars, or fight for women's equality seem to feel uncomfortable when a woman experiences violence in her relationship. Here are some things I have actually heard said about women in violent relationships:

- She must like the drama.
- She deserves it for having kids with him.
-She is a grown-ass woman and should fight back.

This sort of talk leads me to believe that, in general, most people do not understand the dynamics of IPV. Or how "domestic issues" are handled sometimes with the legal system, but that is another conversation. Why isn't it as simple as being drawn to drama, or deserving it, or fighting back?

 Yep. I am posting it again. I think in many ways, the concept of scarcity applies to this. It is one thing to live in a world filled with messages from the media, advertisers, maybe a few so-called friends that you are not enough. It is a horse of a different color to live in a world where the person that is supposed to choose to love you no matter what and more than anything else in the world, and the person that you love no matter what and you have given your heart to fills you to the brim with not enough. Imagine for a moment that your loved one:

-Told you that, because you are a woman, you are not good enough to me more than his servant.
-Told you that you are not a good enough mother to your kids, and if you left, he would surely take them away.
-Told you he only treats you the way he does because, if you were thinner, he might love you again.
-Told you that your family and friends can't come to your home because you are a slob and not clean enough.
-Said all of the above and then used threats of or actual violence, emotion abuse, sexual abuse and limited your financial access as well.

The fact is that every instance of IPV is different, yet strikingly the same. It is set up to manipulate and control the victim. It is never as simple as leaving, especially since we know the threats and likelihood of lethality increase when a woman leaves.

I read the first chapter of Daring Greatly, and instantly thought about the women I have known that lived with abuse. If we fight to end the "not enough" messages that women encounter daily, then that means fighting to end IPV, and helping women survive abuse and its aftermath.


  1. So good. Thank you for drawing the connection!!

  2. My face looked like that at first too!! So glad we changed our minds. ;)

  3. This is the 2nd blog post I've read today mentioning Daring Greatly... guess I need to read it, because now I am intrigued!!


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