Sometimes Domestic Violence doesn’t make the front page when it should.

A momentous, life changing new law just got passed protecting Domestic Violence victims and this story was buried on page 18.  The news that made it on to page 1 was good, but not as impactful … {sigh} … such as homecoming weekend, 50th class reunion, new media center at the high school, a new restaurant, and new murals downtown.

Subject:  Your disheartening choice of front page stories

Dear Editor of the Ephrata Review,

Just like so many people in this world, I don’t expect you to have known these statistics, but now you will know them going forward.  😊  We all need to learn together.

I found a BIG story buried on page eighteen of this week’s Review – The Domestic Violence news on the governor’s signing of the Pennsylvania bill last week that requires the surrender of fire arms by accused abusers within 24 hours of being arrested.  What you don’t know is not one of your 10 story choices you made for the front page affect as many people as the DV story.  One in four women are a victim of DV and 1 in 7 men, and these numbers only account for these crimes that were reported to law enforcement and do not account for verbal abuse victims at all.  I don’t see anything on your page one that is as statistically as invasive into the lives of your readers than this breaking news.  I am not diminishing the wonderful stories and accomplishments on the cover, but I hope that since this is Domestic Violence Awareness month it will make the front page in the next week or two?

I know DV easily gets overshadowed by sharing October with Breast Cancer Awareness month but did you know that even though it’s still a disgustingly high number, with 1 in 8 women a victim of breast cancer, it does not affect as many women as domestic violence does in your neighborhood, workplace, church or synagogue?  DV is no respecter of persons, so you can’t escape it, but we are understandably not comfortable discussing or reading about it although it surrounds us all.

We seem to feel more comfortable putting Breast Cancer, or any cancer awareness on the front page of the Review and I get it.  I have found that there seems to be only one somewhat comfortable time to hear about Domestic Violence is when you or someone you love is a victim.  The rest of the time it’s just plain awkward.  I think the big difference between these two life-altering atrocities is that we still look at the victims of domestic violence as part of the problem and not an undeserving victim.  Being a victim means it came upon you without you having anything to do with it, like being a victim of cancer or a car accident.  I don’t think we are at a place yet where everyone views DV victims as being undeserving of the abuse they receive.

I think to make DV more palatable to discuss is that the next part of the dialogue that has to happen is realizing that the victim’s abuser will attack anything in its path that it wants control over.  The victim was a mere placeholder, a target.  If it wasn’t them, it would have been someone else.  Just like a tornado.  If you move into its path, you will become the next victim.  Being a victim of domestic violence needs to stop being a social disgrace just as being a victim of cancer moved away from having a hush-hush social stigma itself over time.  Quit focusing on the victim’s actions/reactions during the crime and then we have more of a chance that they will escape their captivity sooner than later.   If we educate and understand more about DV, we can then create a soft landing pad for victims when they are ready to take the leap.

Abuser’s use their close relationship or proximity to get into the hearts, heads and emotions of their victims.  They use marriage and intimate relationships as a tool, to create a controlling and brainwashing type of environment to have power over their victims.  It does not “take two” to have a fight or argument in a relationship where the goal of one of the partners is to abuse, punish and control.

Here’s a quote from a DV victim “I was just a… placeholder.  I could have been any woman.  It didn’t matter that it was me.  It didn’t matter what I said, how I said it, when I said it or how he interpreted it.  I could have been any other woman in the world and he would have still needed to exert power and control over any woman in that position as his wife.  I needed/ we need to remove the phrase “it takes two” from our vocabulary when talking to women in a DV situation.   We need to stop blaming the victim as if she could have stopped it.”

I think it’s time we quickly move up to the next level of dialogue about domestic violence.  Do you remember the first time you saw Breast Cancer being discussed in public and/or when the sports athletes started wearing pink in October?  This dramatic change moved the dialogue right into our living rooms, amongst mixed company, and now we know more and can discuss the topic freely.  Let’s please all do our part, and use our platforms and newspapers to educate everyone we can on this much avoided topic.

Oh, and by the way, kudos to the Ephrata Borough Police Department.  They didn’t need the Governor to sign this bill in to legislation last week, because they have been proactively requiring the surrender of guns by alleged abusers for many years, along with only a small number of other police departments in the state.

Renee Roberts Kopp

So, I admit I need help. Now what?



If you’ve never been to a counselor, you could easily have a hard time even trying to comprehend how a complete stranger is going to be able to help you in the first place.  But you finally admit you aren’t happy. You’ve been doing life on your own for quite a while and you now aren’t happy with the results.  It’s time to call in the pros.  It’s no different than remodeling your house.  A lot of times you can only go so far in the project and you hit a wall, beyond your expertise level and/or a point where it’s not going as planned.  You can continue to struggle or add some “patches” with hopes to be able to continue to get by, or you can cover over the issue and hope it doesn’t resurface later.  A better option is to bite the bullet and call in a professional and get life taken care of, once and for all.

Once you recognize you are “stuck” in a negative place and/or mindset, and decide you want to make a step towards getting “unstuck”, the next step is choosing help.  I’m not elaborating about that here, but a great place to go to find a professional is www.PsychologyToday.comEMDR Therapy is a wonderful option as type to pursue.  It tends to get to the heart of the issue quite quickly.  If you are a verbal or physical abuse victim, I strongly recommend you find someone that has the initials EMDR after their name, or offers that modality as a specialty.

Let’s jump ahead to having chosen someone and scheduled your first appointment.  At your first session you will experience an “Intake” where you will fill out paperwork and answer a lot of questions.  You can approach this as either going in to a friend’s house for a social visit, or like going to the Emergency Room of a hospital with a gaping wound.   I have learned it’s best to expedite the whole process and picture it as if I am “rushing” in to the ER and need help NOW.

It is totally expected that at your first sessions, you just aren’t sure what to share.  Not only that, but you aren’t sure how much to share either,  but then we unfortunately end up holding back.  Some of us have a fear of possibly shocking our new counselor with what we think, or have done, and at this first, and subsequent sessions want to “sell them” on what a great person we are.  So sessions can easily end up becoming a “get to know each other” format and not going in to the depth of any issues.  When we do this, we are either stalling and/or trying to surmise if they are “safe” enough with whom we can share our private self. 

Keep in mind that scenario is the typical “dance” of how relationships work with our friends.  We only share so much at a time to see if they are in agreement with us or if they can relate to what we are saying.  If not, we they just stop sharing that compartment of our lives with them.  Keep it in perspective that this counselor is someone you are paying, to offer a professional service.  They are a professional and have heard it all.  Holding back is not the best choice.  You will not shock them.  Although you will share possibly more with them than any ONE person in your entire life, they still are not acting in the capacity as your friend. 

So let’s change the mindset here and approach your therapy sessions as you truly are:  you have a major issue big enough for you consider sharing it with a stranger and give them your hard earned money.  Don’t forget this.  However, as you walk in to their office, at this exact moment you may not be in severe “pain” anymore.  You may be feeling “ok”.  This is where you need to remember back to the torment and tortured feelings that caused you to phone or email to make this very appointment.  Bring that emotion to this meeting as if you walked in to an Emergency Room.  In that setting you would end up exposing any area of pain without being asked or probed to do so.  You would share all you know about how it happened, and any details about how the wound makes you feel and what your fears are if it is not fixed.  And then you would step back and let the doctor lead.  Then the best case scenario is that you would follow what they say needs done to get the wound fixed.   In this same way, share the innermost wounds in your heart and mind with your counselor.  Don’t hold back.  This is not the time.

I believe if you can stay in the mindset that you are in an emergency situation and not trying to “sell yourself” to someone to get them to like you, you can keep your sessions moving quickly and get to your goals much faster.  They can’t push you in your sessions, they can only gently nudge, and the rest is up to our own self.  One must truly set the pace for their own growth.  I’m simply suggesting that you be aware of this and do your best to “let it all hang out” in your sessions.   Save your money and use your time wisely by deciding to be a person of full disclosure before you walk in to each session.  You will be glad you did.    

My NEWEST Anthem Song: “Listen to me. Am I loud enough?”


     Stumbled upon this song today. It showed up in my iTunes “hot list” of recommendations for me. With only the bare minimum knowledge of Latin, I did however recognize the word “voce” in the one song title to be the English word “voice”. Well that’s just enough of a nudge these days to peak my curiosity. So out of the four songs recommended for me, this song “Viva Voce” by The Rocketboys got my choice for a click through. One more click, entered my password, and ninety-nine cents later, I own it.

     WOW is my rating out of ten for this song.  It also gets my unsolicited vote to be THE anthem of 2015 for the Domestic Violence community.  It deeply touches on some lyrics really close to my heart also – speaking thanks to “my team”, as I have nicknamed them; those who continue lifting me up these last two plus years as I crawl out of my own silence, finding my voice …

“To all the people I know that listen
LISTEN TO ME, hallelujah!
To all the PEOPLE I know that PRAYED for me
For my safety, hallelujah!

CAN you HEAR me NOW?
I’m SINGING OUT as LOUD as I know how
But AM I LOUD enough?
I got MY VOICE and you got YOURS
so let’s make a little NOISE

The Rocketboys – “Viva Voce” (Lyrics Video)

When violence is involved, it changes everything


If you approach counseling a couple where there is physical or verbal abuse as if you are doing marriage counseling, then you have already derailed and are hurting the victim even further.  You cannot address this like you would a difference-of-opinions type argument expecting to work things out in a reasonable way.  When violence is involved, violence changes everything.   This is a domestic violence situation and its not just a disagreement.  Don’t make it worse. Get out of the way and get experienced abuse counselors involved immediately.

Thursday Thought — How to Support an Abuse Victim


A MUST READ for ANYONE who may at ANY TIME IN THEIR LIFE have a conversation of ANY length with a victim of verbal/physical abuse. (Note: verbal abuse always proceeds physical abuse in a relationship but verbal abuse doesn’t always evolve in to physical abuse. I lumped them together to be inclusive of all victims).

A Cry For Justice

If you would like to make a significant difference in the life of an abused woman you care about, keep the following principle fresh in your mind:  Your goal is to be the complete opposite of what the abuser is.

The Abuser:  Pressures her severely

So you should:  Be patient.  Remember that it takes time for an abused woman to sort out her confusion and figure out how to handle her situation.  It is not helpful for her to try to follow your timetable for when she should stand up to her partner, leave him, call the police, or whatever step you want her to take.  You need to respect her judgment regarding when she is ready to take action — something the abuser never does.

The Abuser:  Talks down to her

So you should:  Address her as an equal.  Avoid all traces of condescension or superior…

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