Oct. 18, 2011 — There’s been a cold snap and my vegetable garden is done for the year.
This means one thing to me: it is officially harvest season.
The leaves are turning colors, the nights are oh, so cool and mindsets change from outdoor summer fun to inside winter warmth.
One of my favorite holidays closes this month with dressed up ghosts and goblins, pumpkins and candy.
I celebrate with a get-together in my neighborhood, hosting family and friends in the cul-de-sac, delighting in the gathering that comes together around my fire pit.
October is also the designated Domestic Violence Awareness Month and it coincides with the all-important Fire Prevention Week.
Two hot subjects that need to be talked about before they get out of control or too big to handle, resulting in major injuries or even death.
I have spent time at the Susanville Interagency Fire Center (SIFC), the Susanville Fire Department and the Janesville Fire Department in the last few weeks and I am so impressed with the enthusiasm and grave concern the fire and emergency services personnel exude.
The men and women are so friendly and their main focus is directed to the safety of the community, the protection of homes and wild lands and they are genuine in their concerns.
I watched the SFD firefighters at the Rails to Trails event working with small children, exposing them to the serious danger of fire while allowing them hands on training with a fire extinguisher.
The children had fun, and walked away with experience beyond their years.
The Janesville Fire Department hosted kindergarten day and the fun activities were cleverly disguised, age-appropriate trainings.
These men and women at all the fire outfits are amazing people with human compassion that seems hard to come by these days.
It was a treat for me and to honor them for Halloween I will be a firefighter this year.
Thanks for the great icon for me to replicate.
Although it’s not fun to talk about and there really isn’t fun, hands-on training you can go to and learn how to extinguish a heated domestic violence situation, the topic does need to be brought out into the open.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence says that domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another.
Domestic violence is not just between domestic partners; it reaches from small children to the elderly in families and in dating relationships.
It is said children who witness domestic violence between their parents grow up to be abusers themselves or accept abuse as a way of life, creating a continuing cycle for the next generation.
According to the state of California Department of Justice, no one is immune from domestic violence.
This crime touches every ethnic group, every culture, and every strata of society — whether rich or poor, male or female. Acts of domestic violence happen to one out of every four American families and often go unreported.
The real tragedy in Domestic violence is the victim will often minimize the seriousness of the abuse or the actual incidents in order to cope and deal with their abuse.
They may not seek medical attention or seek help when they need it because they fear their abuser.
The abuser may act ashamed of what they have done.
The abused will in turn be reluctant to disclose the abuse to family, friends, co-workers, the authorities, or victim assistance professionals.
And as a consequence, they oftentimes suffer in silence and/or isolation to protect their abuser.
While the common thought may be domestic violence abusers are out of control, crazy, and unpredictable people, the opposite is more likely true.
The use of psychological, emotional, and physical abuse, intermingled with a “honeymoon” period’s care giving love and happiness are deliberate, coercive actions used to continue the submission and control of another.
Abusers may violently assault, and minutes later offer words of regret and unconditional love.
Many abusers buy gifts such as flowers, candy, jewelry and other presents in order to generate forgiveness.
This creates a very confusing state and creates an imbalanced environment for the victims.
Abusers may profess their love and promise they will never harm their partners again; they may even commit to counseling to only break these promises and prevent victims from leaving immediately without getting help — and the truth is the violence will most likely recur.
It may surprise victims of domestic violence to know loved ones usually know that some kind of abuse is going on behind closed doors but they are afraid to push the victim further away because they know the conversation can quickly get heated with the victim protecting their abuser.
This October remember to be safe from hot tempers, burning grudges and explosive abuse.
Fire Prevention acts as a useful tool in many aspects of our lives and I suggest that we all use available services to keep the peace in our families, our communities and our country.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship there is help available.
It is OK to talk about abuse and it is OK to leave an abusive relationship.
As a victim you give up your personal power.
As a survivor you regain your power.
If you can find enough strength to talk to someone about the abuse and you can get them to help you, you will have made a choice to stop the abuse.
I urge you this season to put the fire out on domestic violence.
Keep yourself, your family and your home safe and protected.
Treat people with consideration, love and respect.
Teach children to be fire safe and emotionally healthy.
Dress up as a hero this Halloween!
If you or someone you love is being abused call 1-800-799-SAFE or 1(800)-799-7233
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