The Hurricane Of Domestic Violence – 2

the hurricane of domestic violenceThe hurricane of domestic violence has a pattern.

Waves, wind, calmness, waves, winds, calmness, waves, wind, calmness, waves, wind, calmness, waves, wind, calmness, waves, wind, calmness!!!!!!

There is another similarity between a hurricane and domestic violence. We prepare our home to be comfortable, loving, and something we want to call our own. We want to protect our loved ones, memories and our personal property. We would be very sad if one of our loved ones was hurt.

A hurricane comes in waves. The rain comes, and then the winds begin to batter against the house and the palm trees move around looking as though they are going to snap. The pool water even has waves.

There is a calm…a calm before the next wave of a hurricane. Just when you finally feel settled and you are getting back to the calm and sun and play…boom. The whirling of the results of a hurricane comes around again.

If you have never been in the middle of a hurricane, you may not understand the effects or how to prepare for a hurricane. But if this isn’t your first experience, you will understand that a hurricane warning is not something to ignore. It is something that you need to prepare for and accept.

You may get a reprieve, but as soon as you start feeling safe from the winds and flooding…BOOM…it happens again.

Does this sound like a domestic violence relationship that you or someone you know is in?

I am not saying that couples do not have disagreements or have times when they just are not connecting. But, to what extent are you willing to put your life and the life of your children in jeopardy.

Do you know some of the warning signs of domestic violence? Are you continuing to overlook or to cover up what is going on with the hurricanes of your life inside of your home? What do your friends know? What does your church family know? Are you being honest?

Warning Signs of Domestic Violence

  • Calls you names, insults you or continually criticizes you
  • Does not trust your and acts jealous or possessive
  • Tries to isolate you from family or friends
  • Monitors where you go, who you call and who you spend time with
  • Doesn’t want you to work or volunteer or get involved with a group
  • Controls finances or refuses to share money
  • Punishes you by withholding affection
  • Expects you to ask permission
  • Threatens to hurt you, the children your family or your pets
  • Humiliates you
  • Tries to control your life
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Expects you to be available for them all the time
  • Are afraid to express your thoughts
  • Makes everyone else responsible for their feelings and all problems are yours
  • Push for a quick relationship
  • Sees everything as a personal attack
  • Blows things out of proportion
  • Threatens to reveal personal or damaging information to others
  • History of abuse in family
  • Breaks or strikes objects near you, damages property
  • Pushes, slaps, bites, kicks or chokes you
  • Uses weapon to threaten or hurt you or loved ones
  • Prevents you from calling police or seeking medical attention
  • Physical force.

An abuser is like the hurricane that the weather stations report on. First they start by preparing you for the hurricane, and then they give you information that will help you get ready and tell you how many named hurricanes are expected this year. When the first warning or forecast is shown that your area and home may be in danger, they become more intense with the warnings. Then the TV stations give more air time to the weather reports and even cut in to your favorite TV show because there is danger ahead. They have warned you, they have pleaded with you to prepare.

What is stopping you from leaving your hurricane/domestic violence relationship? How many warnings do you need to hear?

Please, take heed. Do you see yourself or someone you know in the warning signs above? Don’t wait until it is too late. Please do not be a casualty.

*To read additional information about the author of this blog, you may be interested in her book called, “It Started With A Hamburger”. It can be downloaded from All royalties go to Reach Out Speak Out.

The Hurricane Of Domestic Violence

the hurricane of domestic violenceThe meteorologists give names to hurricanes. If you live in an area that gets hurricanes, you know there are specific things that must be done to prepare yourself, your family and your belongings.

There are warnings from all media outlets, grocery stores prepare to have the things you need to survive. Home improvement stores keep the stores stocked with things to keep you safe.

Have you ever been in the middle of a hurricane? Some of you have received many many warnings to prepare and to leave your home so that you can be safe.

It takes time to prepare to leave. If you wait till the last moment, or are in a hurry, there
will be situations and things that will be lost. Hopefully this doesn’t include life.

How many of you would consider staying in your home when you have been warned that
you need to leave to be safe? How many of you would know and understand that there are
serious dangers but you just stay in your home and take a chance that somehow, someway
you will be spared from danger or even loss of life?

Wouldn’t you prepare? How about the hurricanes that is in your life? Specifically, the
hurricanes that are happening “inside” your home? The hurricane I am talking about is called
domestic violence.

How does your logic measure up to staying vs. your logic to stay even though you will be in
the path of a hurricane?

Do you see the similarity? Did you know you can prepare to leave safely from a domestic
violence relationship in the same way? You can use the guidelines. What if the authorities
came to your home and drove down your street with a loud siren and microphone warning
you to leave. How long would it take you to leave? Why? Are you waiting to leave your
domestic violence relationship?

Let’s get ready for the hurricane of domestic violence in your home. One in three women
is in a domestic violence relationship. If not you — it is your neighbor, friend, relative, co-
worker or that person in your church at the end of your row.

List of things to get together when you prepare to leave safely because of a hurricane/domestic violence:

1.   Birth Certificates for all family members
2.   Social Security cards/numbers
3.   Prescriptions (make sure they are full)
4.   Doctors contact information
5.   Oil Change for vehicles
6.   Tires in good condition
7.   Full tank of gas in your car
8.   Extra gas can
9.   Brakes/belts/hoses
10. Car phone charger
11. All bank account numbers and information
12. Line of Credit /loan information
13. Mortgage/rental agreements
14. CASH (if electric is out a credit card cannot be used)
15. Credit card/debit information
16. Any contracts/agreement papers
17. Write down all email addresses
18. Write down all contact information
19. Write down all sign in and passwords
20. Write down your electronic address book
(Internet may not be available to you. You need a hard copy.)
21. Remember vitamins/supplements
22. Passport/Visa/Green Card
23. Write it down!!!Emergency phone/contact numbers
24. Electronic devices powered up just in case you can use them
25. Insurance policies
26. Make an extra set of keys to EVERYTHING
28. List of utility companies with your account # & contact info
29. List of contacts from your work related people
30. Download everything to a thumb drive or other devise for
safe keeping and to have an extra copy
31. Have your children pick out a few of their favorite things
and make sure you take them with you
32. Batteries for all those gaming devices
33. Your favorite clothing/shoes
34. Photo albums (Now is the time to download them to an
auxiliary device.)
35. Our pets are a member of our family. They should get the
same care and preparedness as your two legged children.
36. Shot Records
37. Vet contact information
38. A place that you can be with them at a shelter or home
39. Food / treats
40. Medications
41. Cage or carrying case
42. Flashlight
43. Whistle
44. First Aid Kit
45. Crank Radio (NOAA Weather Radio)
46. Maps
47. Your daily health and beauty items
48. Water
49. Gatorade or hydration drinks
50. Canned foods
51. Hand held can opener
52. Matches
53. A book/puzzles
*To read additional information about the author of this blog, you may be interested in her book called, “It
Started With A Hamburger”. It can be downloaded from All royalties go to Reach Out Speak

You Can Help

The Value of VolunteeringOver the years, the most common question we hear from the public is “How can I help?
There are many ways you can be of help to Reach Out Speak Out. First, we are in dire need of volunteers for our auxiliary committee. All that is required to be on our auxiliary committee is 30 service hours per YEAR. Very doable!

Second, we are always in need of gift cards for our families. Walmart, Publix, Winn Dixie, Walgreen’s, gas stations are key among the cards we give our families for their needs each month. We even have a Scrip Program where you can purchase your gift cards through Reach Out Speak Out and the non-profit receives a percentage from your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more than the face value of the cards you purchase. Third, of course, we always take cash donations! We are happy to provide receipts for your tax-deductible donations for your taxes
Every person involved in Reach Out Speak Out on the Board of Directors, our Advisory Board of Licensed Counselors and our Auxiliary Committee are volunteers. Every penny that we get through the generous donations goes to our families. We have no paid employees!

If you or your organization or your business is interested in hearing more about Reach Out Speak Out, please do not hesitate to ask. You can reach out to me via email at or call me on my cell at 813-985-1970.


Make A Change - DonatingSince becoming the Board of Directors Chair, I have had many people ask me how they can help Reach Out Speak Out. Besides volunteering your time, we can use your talents and of course your treasure! Our families are always in need of gift cards for groceries and gas as well as needing toiletries, gluten-free foods, and even laundry and cleaning supplies.

As Reach Out Speak Out continues to grow, so do our needs for donations and volunteers. We are available to speak to your civic or community organizations about Reach Out Speak Out. Do you attend a church that needs to hear about us? Let us know and we would be happy to speak with your church leadership about how we could help each other!

We are currently in the process of planning our largest fundraiser, The Purple Passion. It is held annually in October during Domestic Violence Awareness month. We have one of the most extensive silent auctions in the city with gift baskets in every price range. All proceeds go to the charity. All items are donated by various citizens, businesses, and foundations as well as local sports teams and restaurants.

If you or your organization would like to donate for this worthy cause, please contact me at or call 813-985-1970.


Volunteering What Good Shall I Do This Day?According to the dictionary, volunteering is considered an activity where an individual or group provides services for no financial or social gain. The services are to benefit other people or organizations.  Volunteering is also a great way to develop skills and is often intended to promote goodness or to improve quality of life. When volunteering, you may find that it has positive benefits for the volunteer as well as for the person or organization served. It is also intended to make contacts for possible employment. Many volunteers are specifically trained in the areas they work, such as medicineeducation, or emergency rescue. Others serve on an as-needed basis, such as in response to a natural disaster or in an advisory capacity.

Reach Out Speak Out is always looking for volunteers. We are looking into different fundraising opportunities and you may be a perfect fit for one or more of the avenues we’re working on. If you think you may be interested in volunteering with Reach Out Speak Out or finding out more of what we’re about, stay tuned for an information session coming soon!

Building A New Life After Domestic Violence

Happy peaceful womanSo, you’ve done it. You’ve left your violent partner, gotten emergency help and you are on the road to a new and safer life for yourself and your children. Congratulations, you’ve shown incredible courage and strength and you deserve a pat on the back. It isn’t always an easy road. You … and your children if they were involved … have been through a very traumatic experience and you may need help for quite some time. Accept the help if it is offered, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Take part in group therapy, seek out counseling and support groups. Search for internet resources where DV survivors get together online and chat.

Don’t jump into a new relationship too soon. You need time to heal, both mentally and physically before you are ready to be a part of a new relationship. You need to learn to trust again. Research shows that women who form new relationships too soon after abuse are more vulnerable to new abuse. Take your time. There’s no rush. It is important that you are OK with being with yourself before you add another person to the mix.

You may be feeling that you will never be able to trust again. You may be thinking that all men are alike and that you will never feel safe in a relationship again. Believe me, you WILL feel better and be able to move on. It is different lengths of time for different people.

Sadly, domestic violence toward women is something that happens, but it is something that you CAN and WILL get over. Just don’t do it alone. Make the most of all the help that is readily available to you.

You’re Not Alone!

You're Not AloneYou’re not alone!

When you are in the middle of a domestic violence relationship, you feel like you are the only one! Not true.

Reach Out Speak Out is dedicated to ending the silence and stigma around being an abused person. Most every city has resources for battered women and shelters to make sure you are safe. If you find yourself in such a situation, reach out! If you are not safe, call 911 and the police will help you get to safety. If you connect with others in similar situations, it will help you find the strength to become a survivor.

In reading, I have found a site where you can read stories of others in DV situations. When you have a moment or need inspiration check out This webpage has numerous resources and lots of stories about others going through DV too.

One of my favorite mantras on domestic violence is that “you will never be a survivor as long as you remain a victim”.

The Value Of Volunteering

Value of VolunteeringHave you ever considered the value of volunteering? There are numerous benefits to volunteering: development of connections and networking, creates a sense of altruism, helping others is good for body and mind, generates a feeling of fulfillment, advances life skills, builds community, develops relationships, gets you socially active, and perhaps most importantly- it’s FUN!

At Reach Out Speak Out, we are always looking for auxiliary members. We only require 30 hours of volunteering a year, which averages to 2 ½ hours a month. A good portion of that time is spent in our major annual fundraiser, Purple Passion, in October. There are a number of ways to help:

Main fundraiser (Purple Passion) help

Set up/break down for events

Gathering items for silent auction

Sending thank you notes

Encouraging clients

Praying for families needs

Artistic help for assembling gift baskets

Coordinate small fundraiser



Car maintenance

Reaching Out and Speaking Out to your friends about domestic violence

This is far from an exhaustive list but gives a few examples of ways everyone can be involved and help. With so many people in religious settings involved in a DV situation, one of the most needed things is simply being aware and sharing that there is hope and help.

If this sounds like something you or someone you know would be interested in helping with, please contact us!

Impact Of Popular Culture On Domestic Violence

Impact of Popular Culture on Domestic ViolenceThe impact of popular culture on domestic violence is not something to which I had honestly given a lot of thought. Even though I’m a survivor. A couple of weeks ago, though, the movie “Grease” was being played. And it got me thinking.

I have always loved that movie. It came out in 1978, just a few weeks before the mall opened in my little one-horse town. It had a huge influence on my friends and me. At fifteen, in a small town that most of us dreamed of getting out of, it was bright and lively and rebellious and just plain fun. We walked around quoting lines for months. I can still sing (not well) every syllable of every song from that movie.

When it was on a couple of weeks ago, though, I  started thinking about how the Sandy at the beginning of the movie was not the same Sandy at the end of the movie. She changed. For a guy. For a guy who treated her pretty shabbily when he was around his “cool” friends.

How often have I remade myself to be what someone else wanted in order to not rock the boat? To not be criticized? To not be discarded and unloved?


Having been in abusive relationships, I find myself wondering if this is where and how it begins for some of us. Books and music and movies that say we’re not good enough just as we are so that when we meet up with a narcissist or other type of abusive personality, we are “easy pickings” for them. I’m pretty sure that happened to me. I grew up on Harlequin romances, movies where the princess/heroine is rescued by a man, and in a culture where we don’t air our dirty laundry. We neither Reach Out nor Speak Out.

If you don’t mind, I’d like us to explore this during March. It’s a time of spring and new beginnings. Let’s dig up the weeds and instead fertilize what’s good in us — because, as the saying goes, God doesn’t make junk! 


Reach Out Speak Out Celebrates Five Years!

Reach Out Speak Out Is Five
Reach Out Speak Out Celebrates Five Years!

Reach Out Speak Out is celebrating five years of service as a non-profit to families that are in a domestic violence relationship. The organization was started by Paul and Jan Porter seven years ago. The emphasis is directed toward helping those in the faith-based community.

On February 23, Reach Out Speak Out had a celebration which all Board of Directors, Advisory and Auxiliary members were invited to attend. 

The new chairperson was installed. Elizabeth Sullivan is a domestic violence survivor. She’s a mother of five and a businesswoman and is well aware of what it takes to be a survivor. The outgoing chair, Jan Porter, will continue to sit on the board and serve in the capacity of treasurer.

More information on the board members, advisory committee and auxiliary can be found here.

You can also find us on Facebook.