Category Archives: love

True Expression of Non-Violence is Compassion

The 14th Dalai Lama Speaking in India:

“The true expression of non-violence is compassion”

My ideas about universal responsibility have evolved from the ancient traditions of India. As a Buddhist monk my entire training has its roots in the culture of this great country. In a letter he once wrote to me, Mr. Morarji Desai expressed the situation very beautifully,” One Bodhi tree has two branches, that is India and Tibet.” From a cultural and spiritual point of view we are like one people. Emotionally too I feel very close to this country. In ancient times India produced many great thinkers, whose insights contributed much to humanity’s spiritual evolution. Even today, India is an inspiration, for in the face of great odds, democracy thrives.

Ahimsa or non-violence is a powerful idea that Mahatma Gandhi made familiar throughout the world. Non-violence. It is something more positive, more meaningful than that. The true expression of non-violence is compassion. Some people seems to think that compassion is just a passive emotional response instead of rational stimulus to action. To experience genuine compassion is to develop a feeling of closeness to others combined with a sense of responsibility for their welfare. True compassion develops when we ourselves want happiness and not suffering for others, and recognize that they have every right to pursue this.

Compassion compels us to reach out to all living beings, including our so-called enemies, those people who upset or hurt us. Irrespective of what they do to you, if you remember that all beings like you are only trying to be happy, you will find it much easier to develop compassion towards them. Usually your sense of compassion is limited and biased. We extend such feelings only towards our family and friends or those who are helpful to us. People we perceive as enemies and others to whom we are indifferent are excluded from our concern. That is not genuine compassion. True compassion is universal in scope. It is accompanied by a feeling of responsibility. To act altruistically, concerned only for the welfare of others, with no selfish or ulterior motives, is to affirm a sense of universal responsibility.

As a Buddhist monk, the cultivation of compassion is an important part of my daily practice. One aspect involves merely sitting quietly in my room, meditating. That can be very good and very comfortable, but the true aim of cultivation of compassion is to develop the courage to think of others and to do something for them. For example, as the Dalai Lama, I have a responsibility to my people, some of whom are living as refugees and some of whom have remained in Tibet under Chinese occupation. This responsibility means that I have to confront and deal with many problems.

Certainly, it is easier to mediate than to actually do something for others. Sometimes I feel that to merely mediate on compassion is to take the passive option. Our mediation should from the basis for action, for seizing the opportunity to do something. The meditator’s motivation, his sense of universal responsibility, should be expressed in deeds. Whether we are rich or poor, educated or uneducated, whatever our nationality, colour, social status or ideology may be, the purpose of our lives is to be happy. For this, material development plays an important role to cultivate a corresponding inner development. Unless our minds are stable and calm, no matter how comfortable our physical condition may be they will give us no pleasure. Therefore, the key to a happy life, now and in the future, is to develop a happy mind.

One of the emotions most disturbing our mental tranquility is hatred. The antidote is compassion. We should not think of compassion as being only the preserve of the sacred and religious. It is one of our basic human qualities. Human nature is essentially loving and gentle. I do not agree with people who assert that human beings are innately aggressive, despite the apparent prevalence of anger and hatred in the world. From the moment of our birth we required love and affection. This is true of us all, right up to the day we die. Without love we could not survive. Human beings are social creatures and a concern for each other is the very basis of our life together. If we stop to think, compared to the numerous acts of kindness on which we depend and which we take so much for granted, acts of hostility are relatively few. To see the truth of this we only need to observe the love and affection parents shower on their children and the many other acts of loving and caring that we take for granted.

Anger may seem to offer an energetic way of getting things done, but such a perception of the world is misguided. The only certainty about anger and hatred is that they are destructive; no good ever comes of them. If we live our lives continually motivated by anger and hatred, even our physical health deteriorates. On the other hand, people who remain calm and open-minded, motivated by compassion are mentally free of anxiety and physically healthy. At a time when people are so conscious of maintaining their physical health by controlling their diets, exercising and so forth, it makes sense to try to cultivate the corresponding positive mental attitudes, too.

Back to Top of Page

So far I have mentioned how a positive outlook can affect an individual. It is also true that the more compassionate a society, the happier its members will be. The development of human society is based entirely on people helping each other. Every individual has a responsibility to help guide the community in the right direction and we must each assume that responsibility. If we lose this essential humanity that is our foundation, society as a whole will collapse. What point will there then be in pursuing material improvement and from whom can we demand our rights? Action motivated by compassion and responsibility will ultimately bring good results. Anger and jealousy may be effective in the short term, but will ultimately bring us only trouble.

Fear is another major obstacle to our inner development. Fear arises when we view everyone else with suspicion. It is compassion that creates the sense of trust that allows us to open up to others and reveal our problems, doubts and uncertainties. Without it we cannot communicate with each other honestly and openly. Therefore, developing compassion is one of the most effective ways of reducing fear.

Compassion is fundamentally a human quality; so its development is not restricted to those who practice religion. Nevertheless, religious traditions have a special role to play in encouraging its development. The common factor among all religions is that, whatever the philosophical differences between them, they are primarily concerned with helping their followers become better human beings. Consequently, all religions encourage the practice of kindness, generosity and concern for others. This is why I find conflicts based on religious differences to be so sad and futile.

It is my belief, for the world in general, that compassion is more important than “religion.” The population of our planet is over five billion. Of these, perhaps one billion actively and sincerely follow a formal religion. The remaining over four billion are not believers in the true sense. If we regard the development of compassion and other good qualities as the business only of religion, these over four billion, the majority, will be excluded. As brothers and sisters, members of our great human family, every one of these people has the potential to be inspired by the need for compassion can be developed and nurtured without following or practicing a particular religion. Today, we are faced with many global problems such as poverty, over-population and the destruction of the environment. These are problems that we have to address together. No single community or nation can expect to solve them on its own. This indicates how inter-dependent our world has become. The global economy too is becoming increasingly integrated so that the results of an election in one country can affect the stock market of another.

In ancient times, each village was more or less self-sufficient and independent. There was neither the need nor the expectation of cooperation with others outside the village. You survived by doing everything yourself. The situation now has completely changed. It has become very old-fashioned to think only in terms of my nation or my country, let alone my village. Universal responsibility is the real key to overcoming our problems. Modern India is confronted by many problems. New initiatives and ideas will respect its stature and ancient heritage. India has responsibility not only to ensure the future happiness of its own people, but also to provide leadership in the world. When India was struggling for freedom, Individuals who really cared for the welfare of the people came forward at enormous personal sacrifices to take the lead. They possessed the courage and determination to face hardship. Now, maybe more than in the past, there is great need for such kinds of dedicated and honest people. It is not a time for such individuals to retire in search of their own narrow happiness. India needs people who can integrate its rich heritage with the modern world, and who have the courage to forgo immediate personal concern for the greater good. This would indeed be a fitting expression of universal responsibility.

Back to Top of Page

Excerpts from a 1991 interview…

Have there been moments in your life when your faith in human goodness was tested?

No.

You’ve never felt in danger of becoming cynical?

No. Of course, when I say that human nature is gentleness, it is not 100 percent so. Every human being has that nature, but there are many people acting against their nature, being false. Certainly there have been sad moments for me. The Chinese suppressions in Lhasa in 1987. 1988, now that was sad. A great many people were killed. I always try to think at a deeper level, to find ways to console.

I understand that you were very angry during the 1990 Gulf War, as angry as you’ve ever been.

Angry? No. But one thing- when people started blaming Saddam Hussein, then my heart went out to him.

To Saddam Hussein?

Yes. Because this blaming everything on him- it’s unfair. He may be a bad man, but without his army, he cannot act as aggressively as he does. And his army, without weapons, cannot do anything. And these weapons were not produced in Iraq itself. Who supplied them? Western nations! So one day something happened and they blamed everything on him- without acknowledging their own contributions. That’s wrong. The Gulf crisis also clearly demonstrated the serious implications of the arms trade. War- without an army, killing as few people as possible- is acceptable. But the suffering of large numbers of people due to a military mission, that is sad.

Did you say that killing is sometimes acceptable?

Comparatively. In human society, some people do get killed, for a variety of reasons. However, when you have an established army, and countries with those armies go to war, the casualties are immense. It’s not one or two casualties, it’s thousands. And with nuclear weapons, it’s millions. For that reason, the arms trade is really irresponsible. Irresponsible! Global demilitarization is essential.

You have spoken, as few religious leaders have, of the dangers of global overpopulation.

Well, the population problem is a serious reality. In India, some people were reluctant to accept birth control because of religious traditions. So I thought, from the Buddhist viewpoint, there is a possibility of flexibility on this problem. I thought it might be good to speak out and eventually create more open space for leaders in other religious traditions to discuss the issue.

How do you feel, then, about Pope John Paul II’s continued opposition to birth control?

That’s his religious principle. He is acting from a certain principle- especially when he speaks about the need to respect the rights of fetuses. Actually, I feel very touched that the pope has taken a stand on that.

Can you also understand the needs of a woman who might not be able to raise a child?

When I was in Lithuania a few years ago, I visited a nursery and I was told, “All these children are unwanted.” So I think it is better that that situation be stopped right from the beginning- birth control. Of course, abortion, from a Buddhist viewpoint, is an act of killing and is negative, generally speaking. But it depends on the circumstances. If the unborn child will be retarded or if the birth will create serious problems for the parent, these are cases where there can be an exception. I think abortion should be approved or disapproved according to each circumstance.

Understand you’ve experienced a major change in thinking about the role of women in the world?

It’s not so much a change. I’ve gained an awareness of the sensitivity of women’s issues; even in the 1960s and 1970s, I didn’t have much knowledge of this problem. The basic Buddhist stand on the question of equality between the genders is age-old. At the highest tantric levels, at the highest esoteric level, you must respect women: every woman. In Tibetan society, there has been some careless discrimination. Yet there have been exceptional women, high lamas, who are respected throughout Tibet.

Back to Top of Page

In a recent issue of the Buddhist magazine Tricycle, the actor Spalding Gray asked you about your dreams, and you said you sometimes dreamed of women fighting.

Women fighting? No, no…What I meant was that, in my dreams, sometimes women approach me and I immediately realize, “I’m bhikshu, I’m monk.” So you see, this is sort of sexual.

In your dreams, you realize this and you “fight” the feeling?

Yes. Similarly, I have dreams where someone is beating me and I want to respond. The, immediately I remember, “I am monk and I should not kill.”

Do you experience rages? Even Jesus had rages.

Don’t compare me with Jesus. He is a great master, a great master…But as to your question, when I was younger, I did get angry. In the past 30 years, no. One thing, the hatred, the ill-feeling, that’s almost gone.

So what are your weaknesses and faults?

Laziness…Other weakness are, I think, anger and attachments. I’m attached to my watch and my prayer beads. Then , of course, sometimes beautiful women… But then, many monks have the same experience. Some of it is curiosity: If you use this, what is the feeling? (Points to his groin.) Then, of course, there is the feeling that something sexual must be something very happy, a marvelous experience. When this develops, I always see the negative side. There’s and expression from the Nagurajuna, one of the Indian masters: “If you itch, it’s nice to scratch it. But it’s better to have no itch at all.” Similarly with the sexual desire. If it is possible to be without that feeling, there is much peace. (Smiles.) And without sex, there’s no worry about abortions, condoms, things like that.

I once read that as a little boy in Lhasa, you liked war toys.

Yes, very much. I also had an air rifle in Lhasa. And I have one in India. I often fed small birds, but when they come together, hawks spot them and catch them- a very bad thing. So in order to protect these small birds, I keep the air rifle.

So it is a Buddhist rifle?

(Laughs) A compassionate rifle.

Let me ask you a difficult question: you are indispensable to your movement. Are you ever afraid you might suffer the same fate as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.?

The thought sometimes crosses my mind. As far as being “indispensable,” people can carry on without me.

Asian scholars say the Tibetans nation wouldn’t have survived after 1959 if you had not been such a skilled political leader. That being the case, aren’t you concerned that the Chinese might try to finish off the Tibetan independence movement by killing you?

Some Chinese have frankly said to Tibetans: “You only have one person. If we take care of that, the problem is solved.”

Have you prepared yourself for the possibility?

Not really, although in general, as a Buddhist, my daily meditation involves preparation for death. Death by natural causes, I’m fully prepared for. If sudden death comes, that is tragic- from the viewpoint of practitioners.

In September, the Palestinians accepted a compromise for regional autonomy. If the Chinese offered such a deal, would you accept?

Actually, for the past 14 years, my basic position has been very similar. There is one difference: In the Palestinian case, virtually every government viewed the territories as occupied and showed concern. In the Tibetan case only the U.S. Congress and some legal experts consider Tibet an occupied land with the right of self-determination.

What was your feeling when you watched the recent signing of the Middle East peace agreement?

It is a great achievement. This issue is just one year older than the Tibetan issue. Our problems started in 1949, theirs in 1948. In those years, a lot of hatred developed. Imagine: Palestinians were taught to hate from childhood. That was seen as good for the national interest. In fact, it was rather negative. A lot of violence took place. Now both sides came to an agreement in the spirit of reconciliation, in the spirit of nonviolence. This is wonderful.

Back to Top of Page

You once wrote that the Chinese want to rule the world. Do you still think so?

I didn’t mean it that way. The remark was related more to the Marxist world intention, rather than Chinese national historical expansionism.

Do you still think that is the case?

It’s changed, I think. That kind of spirit…perhaps in the 1960s, with the Cultural Revolution, it was there. On the Soviet side, Khrushchev realized around 1956 that that kind of goal was not realistic. By the end of the Cultural Revolution, in the 1970s, the Chinese realized that it was out of the question. Now I think the issue is Chinese nationalist historic chauvinism. To them, all other people are barbarians.

Including you?

Oh, certainly! Of course! They are a proud nation. With Marxism gone, the strategy is to reach the economic levels of Western countries. They consider themselves a champion of the Third World, particularly after the Soviet Union collapsed. They see Russia as having become a part of the West. So what you have is the most populous nation, the worst kind of totalitarian system, the rule of terror- with nuclear weapons and with an ideology that force is the ultimate source of power. Their economy was poor, but now it is improving- without changing those other things. Time magazine has called them “the superpower of the next century.”

Does that scare you?

We have already lost our country. But I’m concerned about the world! The world community has the moral responsibility to see democracy in China. Now, how to bring it about? The Chinese intellectuals and the students, they are already a strong political force, and very essential. The world community must give every encouragement to that force. We should not indulge any act which discourage them.

Did you think at the time of the Tiananmen Square uprising that the democracy movement would succeed?

Yes. Actually, the events of the fourth of June shocked me. I did not expect them to fire on their own people.

But if the Chines Communists have been as ruthless against Tibetans as you charge, why not against pro-democracy demonstrators?

Because it was their own people! How could they shoot them? During the Cultural Revolution, this was understandable. Tiananmen Square proved that a regime that would have no hesitation to shoot their own people, such a regime…there should be no doubt about their attitude towards other nationalities.

Given that not-so-optimistic assessment, what possible scenarios for China and Tibet do you see?

Basically, the Chinese Communist regime, it’s only a matter of time: It will change. World wide today, there is a growth of freedom and democracy. And the democratic movement, inside and outside China, is still very active. Once the Chinese are willing to listen to others’ problems, the Tibetans will not be against the Chinese nation. My approach is in the spirit of reconciliation. Certainly we can have an agreement. In the meantime, the international community must support Tibet and put pressure on China. Without that, our own approach, according to the last 14 years of experience, has no hope of response.

In closing, I read somewhere that you are predicting that the 21st century, unlike the 20th, is to be a century of peace and justice. Why?

Because I believe that in the 20th century, humanity has learned from many many experiences. Some positive, and many negative. What misery, what destruction! The greatest number of human beings were killed in the two world wars of this century. But human nature is such that when we face a tremendous critical situation, the human mind can wake up and find some other alternative. That is a human capacity.

Pasted from <http://www.spiritsound.com/bhikshu.html&gt;

Advertisements

Groupie Love


Music, the universal language that the musician presents to the world. Their passions, dreams, loves, desires, hopes and fears conveyed through the instruments that they play. We show our love for the musician with cd purchases, t-shirts, posters and other trinkets we may run across. We attend concerts, tune in to our local radio shows and broadcasts, and new cd release parties in hopes of meeting our artist and expressing our hearfelt gratitude for showering the world with their song. For some, these chance encounters are lasting moments we share fondly with family and friends. Those meetings leave an indelible impression upon our minds, that we reflect upon for time to come. For others these meetings symbolize a way to gain noteriety if the encounter involves sex, money, gifts or even long lasting communications with the artist. However, for some artists these are mere chance encounters that result in satiating desires. For the fan, these encounters lead to misunderstandings, because the starstruck does not realize that they suited a need for the moment. This misunderstanding results in heartbreaks and for some of the most extreme cases a restraining order because the fan had resorted to stalking their obsession.

According to the dictionary this fan could be classified as a groupie:

1. a young person, esp a teenage girl, who is an ardent admirer of rock musicians and may follow them on tour.

2. an ardent fan of a celebrity or particular activity

I have had the opportunity to view first-hand the antics of the love-lorn that attaches itself to the artist like a parasite, the infestation too much for even a vaccine. Sounds dramatic I know, but working with Independent Artists, I have witnessed sheer psychotic behavior from adoring fans. According to the dictionary the groupie is a “young” person. What concerns me is someone in their late 30s and 40s traipsing about the nation for the love of someone because of their profession and status.

There are women that completely lose their sense of self because they want the love of their obsession. I have watched one that completely invalidates her children because she would rather sit under her “star” and have her world crumble right beneath her feet. Just for the sake of saying she had him for the night. True stories, sad situations and people.

Let’s talk about the one that insinuated herself into the artist’s life under the guise of helping him with his business. Her days are filled with running away other groupies because she fears her “spot” in this man’s life will be taken away from her. He doesn’t realize that her intentions are not about helping him, but rather acquiring him. She does everything under the sun for him, yet balks at the sight of other women he flaunts before her. In his eyes, they are merely friends, and she is just there helping him. In her eyes, he is completely disrespecting her and she won’t tolerate it.

I would like to say that she could be the most dangerous to this man because she could snap in any instant if her livlihood with this man is threatened. He doesn’t see that, yet, he doesn’t realize that for every woman that he sleeps with he is sending mixed signals because afterwards he complains that they are all too clingy. He wants the ability to have what he wants, without the attachments. Every woman he chooses to be with suits a purpose with him. They fill a void in his life. He runs when things get too deep, and his lack of focus on his music alone is enough to make you step back off of the payroll.

It’s like a comedy of errors. These women hang on to his every word. Each one cooking, cleaning, paying his bills and meeting his every need and desire. Older women who for some reason or another need to have someone else validate their existence in life. A musician can make them happy. This is what is discussed amongst them. His skills and abilities could make them happy. I scoff at the comments, because when he sends them on their ways they are like hurt children, waiting by the phone for his next call.

There is one that literally stalks him. In person, online you name it. She looks at his MySpace page daily, and even stalks the other women that makes comments to him. She literally spends innumerous hours each day trying to get closer to this man. When he finally tired of her, she immediately went into denial and appeared at his doorstep every chance she could. She even told him that if he stopped communicating with her she would kill herself.

Now that woman has the potential to be VERY dangerous because it could result in fatal attraction. She has small children at home that she uses to get closer to him. Because she knows he loves children, they are like props, just a way to gain his attention.

At concerts it is fun to just stand on the sidelines, because the show before the concert and after the concert is quite entertaining. The women will even attach themselves to the people working in the “camp” to get closer to their obsession. Personally for myself, I normally have to filter innumerous emails and phone calls from these women because they are merely trying to get closer to their target. I gave up on friend requests in MySpace just for that fact alone…

I love music just as much as anyone. I support Independent Artists and Musicians alike. There is a fine line between obsession and appreciation.

The Art of Thanks / Gratitude

I wanted to post this blog after the holidays because we oftentimes are so caught up in the moment that we forget “Thanksgiving” should be an everyday occurrence and not just one time a year.

Gratitude should be everyday, all day….Think about it, there is so much to be thankful for, and if we give thanks, we show appreciation. We should show appreciation for our lives, our family and our friends. We acknowledge the good, the bad and the indifferent with just a simple phrase: “I Am Thankful.”

Now before you dispel the idea of being thankful in these trying times, remember that no matter how big the issue there is still something to be “Thankful” for. Look at the fact that you have your life, you were able to wake up in the morning to give thanks for the day (regardless if it is raining or snowing, the beauty of Gaia is still something to behold). Don’t focus on your situation focus on the beauty of “Life” in general)

Give thanks to the people in your life: you husband, your wife, your sister your brother, your mother, your father. If you can think of anyone in your life, give thanks. This exercise should be practiced daily, and then it will become second nature to you. Give thanks for all that you cherish and all that you may wish for (yeah thanking what you want, just puts those good vibrations into the Law and could bring your wishes to fruition)

I have had the opportunity to reflect on a number of things over the holiday and wanted to share them with you. I am thankful for my family and friends because they have kept me grounded, afloat and enlightened. My sister I am truly thankful for because not only is she my best friend, but she is the only one that can deal with my ADD…yeah I drive her crazy! (not clinically diagnosed, but if I had to say I had a problem, it would be a disorder to settle down to one thought, one idea, one chair (god I can’t stay seated for long) and roll with it! In my head I have billions of things going on at once, but hey….I can tell you what you just said to me, while I am on the computer, watching TV, listening to music, talking on the phone all the while I am taking pictures!) *whew*

I am thankful for people that have crossed my path, especially these past few months. These people have afforded me opportunities that I am forever thankful for. I am thankful for my talents, skills and the opportunity to share them with others.

I am thankful to newfound friends, may we grow as we keep our heads to the sky…
I am thankful for my helluns (my dogs); you know they say that when you stroke a pet it automatically lowers your blood pressure. I believe it, but then again there is nothing like retrieving the toilet paper the puppy has strewn around the house or fighting her for the LazyBoy!

I am thankful to my mother for the refrigerator and cabinets that seem to overflow with food! Maybe one day she will actually “hear” me when I tell her I am a vegetarian 😉 I have mad love for my mother! I give GRATITUDE for my father….he was the ROCK and solid foundation for the family (miss you Big Poppa!) I am THANKFUL for my 96 year old Grandmother! I LOVE YOU NANNY!!!!!

I am thankful to be able to write this to you.

I grew up to Earth, Wind & Fire so a great deal of my positive vibes I attribute to the messages they delivered in their music. One song in particular stands out in my mind, “Gratitude.” That song always affected me, and every morning, not even realizing that I was doing it, I was singing the song, “I want to Thank you…yeah….I want to Thank you….” (that was like the hook) and giving thanks… (I totally thank EWF for the powerful messages they instilled in me!)
Giving thanks is not hard, acknowledging all that you have in your life should be second nature like brushing your teeth… Just be thankful for everything….

Tha Eastsidaz say it best, “….just be thankful for all you got, if it’s just a little bit it’s all you got….you might not have a car or a big gold chain, stay true to yourself and things will change…” (“Be Thankful,” Tha Eastsidaz, Tha Eastsidaz)

Love is Life…

Give Love, Share Love, Be Love….

Cynthia

Domestic Violence

Riding home the other day on the bus I was talking to one of my friends about her current living situation. Her boyfriend is now pointing guns to her head and placing knives at her throat because she doesn’t come home when she is supposed to or he thinks she is cheating on him. She assured me she was going to ask the guy to leave and I wanted her to see that the level of violence towards her is escalating at an expedious rate, and once he hits that mark, there is no point of return….well the young lady sitting in front of us turned around and apologized for eavesdropping on us but explained to us that she too is in the same situation. She explained that her boyfriend is now in jail because he tried to kill her by choking her.

Now before anyone says that I have no right to say anything to these women because I don’t understand what they are going through, understand that I was there, and their pain was my pain, all too real….

Through her tears I was able to get a little bit of background on their relationship. Since they had been together for seven years, I knew he had well enough time to establish control over her and manipulate her every thoughts and feelings. My friend was sitting and listening to her becoming aggravated, but it was definitely something that she needed to hear. I began to cry with the young lady as I told her my story. As I related to her that I was able to get away because I ran and hid in the woods in a Long Island community, I got away from the violence and the destruction. Yes I was beaten, choked, punched, kicked, and destroyed to the point that I had no one to seek solace from. I was isolated, I was emotionally and verbally abused, I even contemplated suicide because I knew there was a better way, and I wanted to be removed from the pain.

My friend slowly began to reveal all of the trauma she too had been through and began to cry as well. Finally a couple of young ladies who had heard the stories passed tissues and they too began to reveal their stories. So here is the front section of the bus full of tears trying to show this young woman and my friend that there is a way out. They need to believe in themselves. When I asked her if she valued herself, she told me she didn’t know if she knew how to love herself. I knew that feeling…after awhile you stop believing you are someone capable of a better life and begin to see yourself as someone MEANT to endure pain because you’re not worthy of happiness. Yeah, I knew that feeling all too well!

I wanted the young lady to understand that her life was valuable. I wanted her to see that she was somebody worthy of love…Healthy, unconditional love. I wanted her to understand that she could get away, and heal and grow….but as her stop was nearing, she said she would take him back because she knew no other way….Oh how I wished I could have reached her! Oh how I wished I could have gotten her to understand that there is a better way, but it began with her. When she got off the bus she thanked us for listening to her, my friend and I looked at each other, the two young ladies sitting ahead of her looked at us, and I stopped the bus driver before he pulled off and asked him to give me a moment as I got off the bus and hugged the young lady (something told me I would never see her again), my friend got off the bus too and hugged her, and so did the two young ladies….I gave her my number, please call me…please don’t go through this alone….We also told her there were safe houses and plenty of support groups that could help her see it through.

We thanked the bus driver and he pulled off….My friend said the young lady would take him back and continue to do so until he killed her…and I looked at her and asked….what are you going to do? She assured me she would be ok…she would ask the guy to leave. I told her as long as my name is Cynthia, she would always have a place of solace….

Then it was time to get off the bus…

Wikipedia definition of Domestic Violence:

Domestic Violence occurs when a family member, partner or ex-partner attempts to physically or psychologically dominate another. Domestic violence often refers to violence between spouses, but can also include cohabitants and non-married intimate partners. The term “intimate partner violence” (IPV) is often used synonymously. Other terms include wife or husband beating, battering, “relationship violence”, “domestic abuse”, and “spousal abuse“.[1] Family violence is a broader definition, often used to include child abuse, elder abuse, and other violent acts between family members.[2] Some legal jurisdictions have specific definitions.
Recent attention to domestic violence began in the women’s movement as concern about wives being beaten by their husbands, and has remained a major focus of modern feminism, particularly in terms of “violence against women”. [3]

Domestic violence occurs in all cultures; people of all races, ethnicities, religions, and classes can be perpetrators of domestic violence. Domestic violence is perpetrated by, and on, both men and women, and occurs in same-sex and opposite-sex relationships.

Awareness and documentation of domestic violence differs from country to country. Estimates are that only about a third of cases of domestic violence are actually reported in the US and UK. In other places with less attention and less support, reported cases would be still lower. According to the Centers for Disease Control, domestic violence is a serious, preventable public health problem affecting more than 32 million Americans, or more than 10% of the U.S. population (Tjaden and Thoennes 2000).

Domestic violence has many forms, including physical violence, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, intimidation, economic deprivation or threats of violence.
Domestic violence is physical, sexual, economic, or psychological abuse directed towards one’s spouse, partner, or other family member within the household.

The U.S. Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) defines domestic violence as a “pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.”[5] Domestic violence can take many forms, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional, economic, or and/or psychological abuse.[5]

The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service in the United Kingdom in its “Domestic Violence Policy” uses domestic violence to refer to a range of violent and abusive behaviours, defining it as:
Patterns of behaviour characterised by the misuse of power and control by one person over another who are or have been in an intimate relationship. It can occur in mixed gender relationships and same gender relationships and has profound consequences for the lives of children, individuals, families and communities. It may be physical, sexual, emotional and/or psychological. The latter may include intimidation, harassment, damage to property, threats and financial abuse.[6]

It’s real, approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States.
In 2000, 1,247 women and 440 men were killed by an intimate partner. In recent years, an intimate partner killed approximately 33% of female murder victims and 4% of male murder victims.

Access to firearms yields a more than five-fold increase in risk of intimate partner homicide when considering other factors of abuse, according to a recent study, suggesting that abusers who possess guns tend to inflict the most severe abuse on their partners.

Of females killed with a firearm, almost two-thirds were killed by their intimate partners. The number of females shot and killed by their husband or intimate partner was more than three times higher than the total number murdered by male strangers using all weapons combined in single victim/single offender incidents in 2002.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, between 1998 and 2002:
Of the almost 3.5 million violent crimes committed against family members, 49% of these were crimes against spouses.
84% of spouse abuse victims were females, and 86% of victims of dating partner abuse at were female.
Males were 83% of spouse murderers and 75% of dating partner murderers
50% of offenders in state prison for spousal abuse had killed their victims. Wives were more likely than husbands to be killed by their spouses: wives were about half of all spouses in the population in 2002, but 81% of all persons killed by their spouse.

African Americans, especially African American Women, suffer deadly violence from family members at rates decidedly higher than for other racial groups in the United States. However, it is observed that research concerning family violence among African Americans is inadequate.
Overall, African Americans were victimized by intimate partners a significantly higher rates than persons of any other race between 1993 and 1998. Black females experienced intimate partner violence at a rate 35% higher than that of white females, and about 22 times the rate of women of other races. Black males experienced intimate partner violence at a rate about 62% higher than that of white males and about 22 times the rate of men of other races.

African-American women experience significantly more domestic violence than White women in the age group of 20-24. Generally, Black women experience similar levels of intimate partner victimization in all other age categories as compared to White women, but experience slightly more domestic violence. (Estimates are provided from the National Crime Victimization Survey, which defines an intimate partner as a current or former spouse, girlfriend, or boyfriend. Violent acts include murder, rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault.)

Love is Respect

1-800-799-SAFE (7233) 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

If you need immediate assistance dial 911