New Year New Advocacy

 

As 2018 approaches, it is a time to reflect. As I reflect on what happened in 2017, I am mad as hell. Every month in 2017 there was a Domestic Violence related death. From men losing their lives at the hands of their wives, to the elderly dying at the hands of abusive care takers, this year was a horrific display of how tragic domestic violence can truly be. 

I have devoted myself to empowering women. When I started my domestic violence organization almost 5 years ago, my plan was to really address the underlying issues of trauma in women in our communities.  As I made my way across the different  communities of New York City, I learned a lot about the effects of trauma. 

Trauma runs deep. Sometimes so deep that we fail to recognize it. So deep that it could have possibly been from before your own lifetime. So deep that it goes back 7 generations. Yes, 7 generations deep. Now that's way deeper than your Daddy not showing you love. That stretches centuries, across continents and oceans for some of us. Waves of trauma that crash onto our unsuspecting beaches only to echo the hurt of our ancestors. 

I began to ask questions within my own life. A lot of deep questions to access that pain, reveal it and heal it. I went through a journey of independent healing and as I healed I noticed that my healing opened my eyes to the pain of others. During this time, I was a part from my significant other. What happened? A toxic swirl of my trauma and his sent us on an emotional rollercoaster ride that we were both very willing to get off of without each other.  However, in our time apart we were both digging. Digging deeper in order to grow and change. Not for each other, but for ourselves. Our journeys brought us full circle after 3 years. Back into each other's arms, but now it was different. There was an openness and a level of maturity that was never present before. 

Here is what I learned: My previous abusive relationships stretched further than my boyfriend in college who verbally and physically destroyed me. This abuse went back in time. The relationship I had with my own Father, the relationship my Mother had with her mother, the relationships my Grandmother was missing with her parents and so on. The more I learned about my past and the family who came before me, the more I understood my present situation. 

The more I learned about my partner's past, the more I understood how we got to the point we did, and how cumulatively we poisoned each other's lives with generational  toxicity. It forced me to look at myself and analyze the things I was doing and saying to attribute to my partner's pain. It was the key that unlocked the love that we both wanted so desperately to have in our lives and weren't able to provide in a healthy way. 

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My partner and I both went on spiritually and emotionally impactful journeys, but there was something that differed. Support.  As we both continue to heal, I learning how important it is for men to be able to grow and heal on their own. However, not every man has the strength or the knowledge to take this path alone. Support from other men is key. Not in the way that women support each other, but in the way only men can support each other. A brotherhood where a man feels connected and accepted. He feels supported and "held up" by male figures. Some that he may have been lacking in his own life. Men that span all ages and backgrounds, and are able to provide strength and encouragement but above all else, acceptance and love. 

This makes way for a new type of advocacy, one that involves men healing seperate from couples therapy. Healing independently in circles of men who can provide the unique support they need. Now I look forward to 2018 knowing that my organization hunks4hope.com can do just that. We can't continue the cycle. Lets dedicate 2018 to healing families and begining a new year of hope. 

 Photo Credit: Jose Pagan  

Photo Credit: Jose Pagan