Relationships

How Domestic Violence is Threatening Family Life in America

Domestic Violence

Toxic relationships can affect all of us. Sometimes toxic relationships can escalate into something violent. Domestic violence is one of the most prevalent family crimes in the world. While statistics vary in different countries, every country in the world battles with high rates of this horrible blight on humanity. Based on statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the prevalence of domestic violence in America is staggering.

Domestic Violence Statistics

Annually, more than 10 million Americans are victims of domestic violence. One out of every three women and one out of every four men have been victims of domestic violence in their lifetime. The numbers are even more startling when you look at the statistics per minute. On average, 20 Americans are victims of domestic violence per minute. That means in a day 28,800 Americans are battered. Out of this number, over 20,000 of them reach out to local abuse hotlines across the country every day.

In a country with so many freedoms, it is astounding to see so many people perpetrate crimes of imprisonment and abuse against others. Unfortunately, every American knows several victims of these crimes. Sadly, many people fail to see the signs until it’s too late to stop the heavy toll it can take on victims and their families.

Because of the increasing prevalence of domestic violence, it is imperative that victims understand their rights. It should always be understood that no person is entitled to a relationship with another person and no one is entitled to treat another person as a slave or property. 

The Toll of Domestic Violence

When domestic abuse enters a family, it can adversely affect everyone in the home and can become fatal for the victim(s) if not addressed expeditiously. Women are the primary victims of domestic violence and are often victims of stalking. In fact, one in seven women in America are victims of intimate partner stalking in their lifetime. If these issues arise, it is essential to seek safety to take care of your family. Even the accusation of abuse can be damaging to a family, causing families to split apart. The best advice for anyone, including the accused and accuser, is to follow the guidance of an attorney. Domestic violence attorneys understand the law and criminal justice system.

It should be noted that most abusers will try to excuse and deny their behavior. Because of this, it is vital to realize this is all part of their attempts to continue to dominate and control you. Once the safety and security of your family has been established, domestic abuse victim advocates and attorneys can work with you to ensure the necessary proceedings are handled to cut ties with the abuser safely and legally.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Eliminating Toxic Relationships: Banishing Takers

Relationship Problems

(Photo Credit: Sandra Henderson)

Toxic relationships are harmful to your health and life. When you’re continuously giving to someone, and hardly ever receiving from him or her, that’s a toxic relationship; that’s a toxic imbalance. A person like this is a “Taker,” an individual who only values what he or she can receive from you. Takers don’t care about what’s going on in your life and what you may need; they’re only interested in how you can serve them. Mark the “Takers” in your life and flee from them.

Wise Up! You’re Being Robbed

While these Takers, these leeches are robbing you of your time, energy, money, health, and more, they’re progressing in life; however, you’re remaining stagnant or regressing. Are you investing so much in a person that you’re not passionately pursuing your own dreams and aspirations? Have you lost so much time, so much energy, so much of yourself investing in selfish people? Face the facts: They’re robbing you, and you’re letting them do it. Release yourself from the prison of Takers.

Takers Will Question Your Character and Commitment

When you finally release yourself from this carceral bondage, Takers will question your character, deceptively asserting that you’re not a good person because you’re no longer going to let them rob you of your value. Also, they will attempt to characterize you as selfish—as not having a true commitment to helping people. Well, you carried their butts for years and made them who they are today, so they know that isn’t true.

Because Takers are full of wicked pride and have fragile egos and self-esteem, you can shut them up by candidly letting them know that you made them. Yes, let them know you made them. You owe it to yourself, considering you gave so much to them over the years, to claim what you made, what you built: them. Since they don’t want to give you proper credit, and act as if they just arrived at their current station in life on their own, help to disabuse them of their self-delusions, their falsehoods: boldly tell them you made them, you built them. After you do this, they will not bother you much longer. Why? Because they’re exposed.

Invest in Yourself

A person who really knows his or her value and who really loves himself or herself will seriously invest in himself or herself. Don’t let no one and nothing keep you from living your best life, a life where you’re operating deftly and zealously—without any shackles—in your vocation. Spend the remainder of your life being the best version of you. This, of course, does not mean for you to become a selfish person; however, it does mean devote essential attention to your dreams and aspirations.

Conclusion: Seize the Day

If you’ve never read Robert Herrick’s poem “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time,” a classic carpe diem, a Latin aphorism typically translated as “seize the day,” poem urging people to make the most of the present moment, then please read it immediately. Herrick understands that humans have no time to waste. Stop wasting your time on selfish people. Love yourself enough to invest in yourself.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Wheels of Wisdom by Tim and Debbie Bishop: A Book Review

Wheels of Wisdom Book

(Photo Credit: Amazon)

Although Wheels of Wisdom: Life Lessons for the Restless Spirit masterfully penned by Tim and Debbie Bishop is avowedly not a theological book, the inspiration one gains from reading it will allow him or her to experience the wondrous presence of God. Tim and Debbie Bishop, after remaining single until 52, married one another. For their honeymoon, they embarked on three fascinating bicycle tours across the nation—totaling over 10,000 miles. The valuable lessons they learned about God, life, nature, and humanity (including themselves) are detailed in this work.

Instead of traditional chapters, the authors composed 52 “lessons,” with 3 “personal reflection” questions at the end of each “lesson.” The “personal reflection” questions enable the reader to delve deeper into the ideas engaged by each lesson. At the beginning of each lesson, the writers provide powerful words of inspiration to engender an alluring context. As I was reading the book, I found myself constantly highlighting the beginning inspirational words, and these words offer some of the most rewarding takeaways.

Debbie Bishop offers excellent advice for those needing to discover their vocation or remain committed to their calling. She encourages readers to endure the hardships that will inevitably emerge as they walk in their callings, understanding that these hardships are “part of the process” (p. 9).

One feature of their unconventional—to say the least—honeymoon I appreciate the most is how it exposed to them how much they have to be thankful for, especially how blessed they are to have found one another at this late stage of their lives. An enthralling romanticism surfaces as the intense connection between Debbie and Tim becomes more and more clear through what these bicycle tours teach them about their embryonic marriage and the possibilities available to them through their marriage.

For those contemplating marriage, they should read this book to observe how a lasting intimacy, as the one the Bishops possess, requires more than what’s physical; an immutable intimacy reveals a profound spiritual bond. Unfortunately, too often, couples thinking about marrying or newly married overlook unearthing the spiritual imperatives of a healthy, fulfilling marriage. The Bishops, however, challenge these couples to create more mature visions of their own unions.

Both authors emphasize the significance of a willingness to change as critical to a successful marriage. In any relationship, individuals must demonstrate a willingness to change for it to remain satisfying and productive. Tim and Debbie employ their differences as vehicles for loving and appreciating one another more. This lesson about honoring differences is timely for our nation, considering Americans are increasingly become more hostile, even bloodthirsty, over their differences. Our differences should unite us—just as they unite the beautiful couple, Tim and Debbie Bishop.

In short, I highly recommend this fascinating book. Tim and Debbie Bishop and their uncommon honeymoon experiences extend to us a hope of what’s possible when we refuse to lose hope, when we devote ourselves to love, giving it and receiving it, and when we invite God into our lives as our supreme guide and comforter.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud: Summary

Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud

(Photo Credit: Amazon)

In Necessary Endings, Henry Cloud devotes his dominant attention to endings and why it’s vital to terminate certain relationships sometimes. Cloud posits that one’s success depends on how well he or she is able to end specific relationships, and his or her dreams cannot be realized without discontinuing relationships that hinder progress. The author does not give the reader a false impression that endings are easy; he asserts that they are quite difficult. Cloud uses the majority of the pages of the work to offer advice about how to employ endings to one’s advantage.

For Cloud, he finds that humans demonstrate a strong willingness to cope with phenomena that cause them discomfort. He, however, advocates for eliminating unnecessary waste and baggage that we often continue to maintain. A failure to disconnect from troubling waste and baggage prevents one from experiencing life to its fullest.

The book asserts that endings are purposeful and necessary. Cloud explains that one of the most inspiring lessons learned from endings is that we can transcend them, that we can experience tremendous growth on the other side of them. For example, if we are involved in an unproductive relationship—whether a business or personal one—we’re causing ourselves to be in decline. Such a relationship, Cloud argues, can become so a part of us that we think it’s normal to keep it. One cannot truly experience greatness without permitting the unfruitful to end.

Henry Cloud contends that in our personal and business relationships we need to find opportunities to engage in pruning; that is, cutting, trimming those phenomena that have become bloated in our lives. When pruning and endings become natural and welcomed dimensions of our lives, we develop into more successful individuals.

Let a sense of dissatisfaction engender an urgency to end an unnecessary personal or business relationship. One often has to face the reality that he or she will have to be the one who directly cuts the metaphorical umbilical cord to unproductive relationships.

When ending relationships with people, make it clear that those relationships are ending. Don’t dread the conversation involved in ending a relationship; think carefully about what one will say before this conversation occurs. Visualize the conversation and establish clear objectives and desired outcomes.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Juice Soul and L.T. Terror’s “Let Me Have My Way”: A Critical Review

"Let Me Have My Way" Juice Soul

(Photo Courtesy of Juice Soul)

“Let Me Have My Way,” the second single from the forthcoming album Too Dark to Turn Back, features the ingenious collaboration of R&B and soul artist Juice Soul, rapper L.T. Terror and producer Chevalier Coleman. These gifted independent black male talents are among the best in the music industry. Without question, they will soon be household names. Last summer’s hottest song, “Tasteless,” their brainchild, put music fans in the mood for romance. With “Let Me Have My Way,” the hot, the sexy, the romance returns—just in time for summer love and lovemaking.

Trained in the Department of English and Modern Languages at the renowned Albany State University, Juice Soul masterfully wields compelling storytelling in his new single; this engrossing storytelling is a singular and characteristic element in his oeuvre. Mr. Soul’s euphonious, mellifluous vocals never disappoint, never auto-tuned, always delivering classic and disarming sounds that drive the ladies wild.

Drawing on the power of vivid, evocative storytelling, Juice takes his listeners on a journey, a love journey, one where sexual satisfaction is promised. We, the listeners, witness a cohesive and intriguing narrative, one apposite for an episode of a quality television drama.

A general proclivity in postmodernism, a historical and cultural phenomenon and the historical and cultural epoch in which we reside, as articulated by cultural critic and theorist Fredric Jameson and scholar Elizabeth Atkinson, is to welcome disorder and ambiguity. Resisting this postmodern impulse, Mr. Soul proffers a substantive story that’s logical and perspicuous and that resonates—he does not simply string some words together, as is, unfortunately, increasingly becoming the case for many popular singers and songwriters. Even some of his distinctive lyrical phrasing, where the vocal styling appears to blur or fade words intentionally for musicality purposes, still permits audiences to understand fundamentally what he attempts to convey.

The song anticipates feminist critique: both artists respectfully invite their desired women to share in an intimate experience with them. In Soul’s case, he wants it to last perpetually: “I never wanna let you go.” Sexual intercourse for him is communal, appropriately tasteful and delicate, never sacrificing, though, healthy masculine performance: “I’m going to give it to you so nice/Tell me how you feel about this?” The artist expresses a genuine interest in evaluative feedback—even during the sexual encounter, suggesting a true wish to please his woman. As artist, father, and professional, Juice Soul remains relentlessly authentic.

While L.T. Terror maintains this authenticity in the song, the rapper does it in a divergent way from Juice. The sagacious rapper, disabusing potential critics of arguments about the song being too idyllic, too mawkish (and it’s not), communicates frank intentions about his desires for the sexual experience, one ephemeral by design, yet vowed to delight. A central characteristic of postmodernism is an explicit embracing and engaging in textual fragmentation, that is, intentional textual discontinuities, and Terror’s lyrics, from a first reading, seem to represent radical textual fragmentation, especially when one juxtaposes them with Juice’s. Sex, however, does not have to be an enduring commitment; it can be a “one-time” experience, as Juice Soul intimates.

For L.T. Terror, this “one time” sexual interaction will include psychic stimulation: “My favorite position is in your mind.” Although the artist isn’t looking for a long-term physical commitment (and isn’t willing to give one), he hopes the woman will eternally remember their time together: “trying to find a home inside of your thighs.” Candid as possible, though, the rapper does not want good sex mistaken for love: “Might see love inside of my eyes/But that’s one big disguise/I’m such a horrible guy.” In other words, enjoy this magical moment, but don’t catch any abiding feelings.

Ironically, the divergences between Juice Soul’s lyrics and L.T. Terror’s form a totality, a unified whole, one reflecting real possibilities, diverse interactions and reactions, and nuanced notions of authenticity.

The track can be purchased on iTunes, and one can hear it on all digital streaming platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal.

Let’s make this single go viral by sharing this piece and keeping the song in constant rotation on our favorite listening devices and music platforms.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Juice Soul’s “Made Her A Woman”: A Relationship Counternarrative for the Fellas

While male artists, especially those in R&B and Hip-Hop, often receive charges of employing sexist, patriarchal, misogynistic and divisive imagery and language, Juice Soul, Jason Williams of Augusta, Georgia, offers a mature, balanced and compelling counternarrative to those charges. Too many songs across musical genres present an oversimplified ultimate reason why numerous intimate heterosexual relationships fail: it’s the man’s fault. Yes, admittedly, men, more often than not, create the core challenges and problems that plague relationships and inevitably lead to their undoing. In many cases, however, women contribute significantly to these relationship challenges and problems. “Made Her A Woman,” one of the hit tracks from Juice Soul’s 2005 100% Concentration album, boldly, yet respectfully, ventures into this frequently slanted, deficient in nuance discourse.

Juice Soul’s dexterous melding of urban contemporary R&B and neo-soul lends itself useful to illuminating his characteristic deftness in relating an enchanting story through song. The powerful art of storytelling represented in “Made Her A Woman”—and most of his works—facilitates heartfelt emotions expressed. Although the title, “Made Her A Woman,” might give the impression of a standard patriarchal song, the artist deploys an ironic title, to surprise, challenge, unsettle. Early in the song, Mr. Williams disabuses the listener of any thoughts about this work being laced with misogynist or patriarchal words or themes.

Juice Soul Jason Williams

(Photo Courtesy of Juice Soul)

The artist longs for his former love to appreciate the substantial contributions he made in her life that helped her to evolve into a mature and productive woman. Her unwillingness to give him the gratitude he deserves results in a vexing loneliness; a loneliness that engenders a primarily dejected mood. Pain, however, seems to motivate the artist to rise above the limitations of his extant inauspicious circumstances, communicating a slight sense of optimism about his future love life.

Williams’ oeuvre appears intimately grounded in realism. The type of raw emotion and zeal he delivers suggests mostly biographical content rather than purely fictional content, which could explain why his songs connect so strongly with fans.

“Made Her A Woman” taps into the universal human condition by engaging common feelings experienced: loss, loneliness, heartbreak and disenchantment. As an adroit and shrewd lyricist, Juice Soul always releases a sincere, candid piece. This track conveys an important message: heterosexual men’s relationship narratives possess great value, and when artists proffer those narratives without fear, we behold poignant, beautiful art—the type of art represented by his Summer 2016 song featuring rapper L.T. Terror, one of the best songs produced this decade, “Tasteless.”

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Consequences of Being the Other Woman

Adultery

(Photo Credit: Singapore Divorce Lawyers)

Why allow yourself to experience the misery of being “the other woman”? When you become the other woman, you’re exacerbating the low self-esteem problems already present. You should value your body as more than a commodity only useful for a man’s exploitation. If you sleep with a married man, you will suffer numerous consequences. Do wonder why you’ve become such a messy woman? It’s the life you’re living with another woman’s husband. Do you wonder why your depression continues to grow more severe? Yep, you guessed it; it’s the sinful relationship you’re engaged in with a married man.

At some point, you should become exhausted with struggling to find a private room or office or house to have sex in. Is it really worth it? It’s quick, weak and little anyway, right? To cap it all off, you only get it when his wife is away. See, that’s setting yourself up for failure, for pain. You’re an option and not a constant.

Men who commit adultery typically have several other women. When you, therefore, sleep with him, you’re just one of several to get his little filthy genitals. He’s nasty and you’re nasty; he’s a whore and you’re a whore.

In short, stop being a whore and get your own man. Leave that woman’s husband alone.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison