Category Archives: Child Trauma


I hope your week is off to a wonderful start.

I am in the process of planning my content for the rest of 2016 and I’ve hit a mental block.

I’ve been posting content daily for a little more than a year now and think that maybe it’s time for a little overhaul.

As I was trying to figure all this out, I realised something.

Specifically, I’d LOVE your help

What I would love your help with is . . .
• Any burning business related questions you want to ask
• Any particular topics you want to hear me talk more about here on this page
• Would you like or prefer me to share business related information via short video messages?
• What would you like popping into your inbox from me every week? Would you like me to do a weekly/monthly newsletter? If so, what topics would you like me to cover that would inspire and empower you and help you build a thriving business?
• If you would like to receive a weekly/monthly newsletter from me, please provide me with your e-mail address for my mailing list.

If you could spare a minute or so just to give me some feedback I would appreciate it so much. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Would you prefer a short video more than reading posts here? Do you prefer Podcasts to video? Do you want a newsletter? If yes, how often? Weekly or monthly? What topics would you like covered?

Let me know anything and everything that will help inspire me to create content that you will love.

I look forward to receiving your feedback in the comments box below.

Have a lovely week.

Why you attract all the wrong men

Dog_Pink nails

Do you feel like you’re attracting all the wrong men into your life?

If so, you’re not alone.

This is a super common complaint among women today.

If you want to know what you can do about it so you can start attracting the RIGHT men, check out the video below:

Why You Attract All the WRONG Men

This video explains exactly why this has been happening to you and why you actually have more choice in the matter than you think you do.

Do you attract the wrong men or do you choose the wrong men?

Let me know your answer in the comments section below.

Strong woman . . . walk away!

A strong woman will automatically stop trying

Do not compromise your self-worth and dignity by forcing yourself to stay in a place where it is evident and explicitly clear that you are no longer valued.

Take heart and move on with your life, there is a better future waiting for you out there. Trust and believe that better things are still to come for you.

African Lion

Battered Women’s Syndrome
Battered Women’s Syndrome is considered to be a form of Post-Traumatic Stress. Battered Women’s Syndrome is a recognized psychological condition that is used to describe someone who has been the victim of consistent and/or severe domestic violence. To be classified as a battered woman, a woman has to have been through two cycles of abuse.

What is a Cycle of Abuse?
A Cycle of abuse is abuse that occurs in a repeating pattern. Abuse is identifiable as being cyclical in two ways: it is both generational and episodic. Generational cycles of abuse are passed down, by example and exposure, from parents to children. Episodic abuse occurs in a repeating pattern within the context of at least two individuals within a family system. It may involve spousal abuse, child abuse, or even elder abuse.

A son, who is repeatedly either verbally or physically abused by his father, will predictably treat his own children in the same way. When a daughter hears her mother frequently tear down, belittle, and criticize her father, she will adapt a learned behavior which involves control through verbal abuse. Similarly, a child who witnesses his parents engaging in abusive behaviors toward one another, will very likely subject his or her spouse to the same abusive patterns. These are examples of generational abuse.

The episodic cycle of abuse is characterized by distinct periods of behavior that eventually result in an extreme episode of verbal and/or physical abuse. Typically, victims of episodic abuse live in denial of this reoccurring pattern.

Flowers on wooden table

Stages of Battered Women’s Syndrome
There are generally four stages in the battered women’s syndrome.

Stage One–Denial
Stage one of battered women’s syndrome occurs when the battered woman denies to others, and to herself, that there is a problem. Most battered women will make up excuses for why their partners have an abusive incident. Battered women will generally believe that the abuse will never happen again.

Stage Two–Guilt
Stage two of battered women’s syndrome occurs when a battered woman truly recognizes or acknowledges that there is a problem in her relationship. She recognizes she has been the victim of abuse and that she may be beaten again. During this stage, most battered women will take on the blame or responsibility of any beatings they may receive.

Battered women will begin to question their own characters and try harder to live up their partners “expectations.”


Stage Three-Enlightenment
Stage three of battered women’s syndrome occurs when a battered woman starts to understand that no one deserves to be beaten. A battered woman comes to see that the beatings she receives from her partner are not justified. She also recognizes that her partner has a serious problem. However, she stays with her abuser in an attempt to keep the relationship in tact with hopes of future change.

Stage Four–Responsibility
Stage four of battered women’s syndrome occurs when a battered woman recognizes that her abuser has a problem that only he can fix. Battered women in this stage come to understand that nothing they can do or say can help their abusers. Battered women in this stage choose to take the necessary steps to leave their abusers and begin to start new lives.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, help is available. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (in South Africa) at 0800-150-150. They will direct you to safe places in your area where you can seek help.

Is love like the ocean, full of conflict and full of pain?

Brook_Water over rocks

What is love?

What does love mean to you?

Complete the sentence: Love is . . . .

Erich Fromm
Infantile love follows the principle:
“I love because I am loved”
Mature love follows the principle:
“I am loved because I love”
Immature love says:
“I love you because I need you”
Mature love says:
“I need you because I love you”

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
“ . . . let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another, and make not a bond of love; let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.”


Perhaps Love
By John Denver

Perhaps love is like a resting place – a shelter from the storm
It exists to give you comfort – it is there to keep you warm
And in those times of trouble when you are most alone
The memory of love will bring you home

Perhaps love is like a window – perhaps an open door
It invites you to come closer – it wants to show you more
And even if you lose yourself and don’t know what to do
The memory of love will see you through

Love for some is like a cloud – to some as strong as steel
For some a way of living for some a way to feel
And some say love is holding on and some say letting go
And some say love is everything, some way they don’t know

Perhaps love is like the ocean full of conflict full of pain
Like a fire when it’s cold outside – or thunder when it rains
If I should live forever and all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you

And some say love is holding on
And some say letting go
And some say love is everything
Some say they don’t know
Perhaps love is like the mountains full of conflict full of change
Like a fire when it’s cold outside – or thunder when it rains
If I should live forever and all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you

Still . . . I Rise!

Chick breaking out of shell

The world is missing what I am ready to give. My wisdom, my sweetness, my love and my hunger for peace.

Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full of hope? Where are you, wise woman covered in wounds? Where are you?

Still I Rise
By Maya Angelou (1978)

“You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Rose opening Animation

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.”

Watch: Today I Rise

Food for Thought:
• The ability to “rise” repeatedly from such depths is the fruit of tremendous inner strength
• This poem is an obstinate celebration rooted in identification and a desire for freedom
• This poem speaks of the author’s capacity to love, her willingness to forgive and overcome
• The poem emphasizes the individual strength needed to rise above the efforts to oppress, obscure and dehumanise

From And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou. Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou. Reprinted by permission of Random House, Inc.

Gender-Based Violence Command Centre wins Best Technology Innovation world award

Announcement animation

Pretoria, November 5, 2015 – The Department of Social Development’s Gender-Based Violence Command Centre (GBVCC) – a 24-hour call centre dedicated to providing support and counselling to victims of gender based violence – has been named the Best Technology Innovation – Small Centre of the world at the Global Best Contact Centre Awards in Las Vegas on November 5.

As the Gold Medal Winner, this means the GBVCC is ranked number one in the world in its category.

This adds to three other highly acclaimed service awards the GBVCC has won since its launch in March 2014 – the Innovation Award in the Contact Centre Management Group (CCMG) awards, the Changing Lives Award in the Africom Awards, as well as the Golden Award won in the Technological Innovation Awards in London.

Minister for Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini, says the international recognition of the GBVCC communicates the South African government’s commitment to fighting gender-based violence to the rest of the world and places the country at the lead of international best practice against gender-based violence.

“We launched the Command Centre as part of our service delivery improvement programme aimed at responding quicker, more effectively and innovatively to social challenges in the country, Project Mikondzo. Being recognised for best technology innovation in the world confirms that we are on the right track and it inspires us to work even harder to find inventive ways of responding effectively to the social challenges in the country.

Rose opening Animation

“The award comes just a few weeks before we launch the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children 2015 Campaign and emboldens us to work harder to eradicate violence against women and children. We express our thanks to the organisations who have partnered with us in making this project a reality,” said Minister Dlamini.

The GBVCC uses mobile technology to estimate the location of a victim, assign the closest social worker in the field to the case, and record and receive continuous feedback on the case. When a caller contacts the GBVCC from a mobile phone, they are (with explicit permission) geographically located, enabling the Centre to determine the resources nearest to the caller, whether it be a social worker, a police station, a hospital or safe house. In this way, help is dispatched in quick fashion.

The toll free number to call to speak to a social worker for assistance and counselling is 0800 428 428 (0800 GBV GBV). Callers can also request a social worker from the Command Centre to contact them by dialling *120*7867# (free) from any cell phone.

Girl holding teddy

The GBVCC emanated from the work of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on the Root Causes of Violence Against Women and Children – chaired by Minister Dlamini.

The IMC was established by President Jacob Zuma in May 2012 to reinforce political leadership and accountability in the national prevention and response to the rising figures of sexual violence in our country.

The membership of the IMC comprises of the Ministers of Justice and Constitutional Development; Women; Home Affairs; Police and Basic Education. Through the GBVCC, the work of this Committee is certainly contributing towards the improvement of the country response to and prevention of sexual violence.

Media inquiries: Lumka Oliphant on 083 484 8067 or

365 Days of Violence Against Women – Because We Can!


The 16 days for no violence against women and children is commemorated annually from 25 November to 10 December and every year a theme is usually assigned to the campaign in an effort to get everyone speaking with one voice.

The theme for the campaign in South Africa for 2015 is: “Count me in: Together moving a non-violent South Africa forward”.

Sadly, I find this theme laughable! Why?

Abuse_Woman hiding face

Violence against women and children in South Africa continues unabated because there are no serious consequences for the perpetrators and because, in most cases, the courts and justice system fail the victims, survivors and their families.

All this violence is perpetrated in spite of wonderful progressive legislation which looks good on paper, but in reality, serves no purpose. We have, for example:

• The Domestic Violence Act (which has one of the broadest definitions of violence against women and children)
• South Africa has ratified the Convention on Violence Against Women
• South Africa has introduced a 365 days National Action Plan to end gender violence
• South Africa has instituted a National Council against gender-based violence
• South Africa has prioritised measures for the promotion and empowerment of women, such as setting up a special Government department


In spite of all this, violence against women and children continues. Various studies have shown that 40 – 50 percent of women have experienced intimate partner violence. On top of all this, incidents of violence against women and children still go largely unreported. The approximately 50,000 rapes reported annually are estimated to be about nine times lower than the actual number reported.

Violence against women and children is so firmly entrenched in South Africa and it does not seem to be changing. Instead, violence has become an accepted way to assert and reassert masculinity and dominance.

Abuse_Woman on couch

What we need in South Africa:
• Government to provide resources to enforce the legislation that will send a strong message that these acts are unacceptable.
• Government must help change the cultural and religious beliefs and practices. Reforming gender-violent cultural and religious beliefs will be extremely challenging – almost impossible – if public leaders continue to enforce stereotypical beliefs and practices
• Civil society is in a position to work with people in transforming misguided cultural and religious beliefs and practices and has a duty to see to it that legislation and policies on violence against women are enforced.
• Civil society has to help improve people’s understanding of the relevant laws and policies and restore their trust in Government institutions.
• Civil society needs to publicly condemn Government leaders who speak and act in ways that enforce gender equality and women’s marginalisation.

Abuse_Woman cowering

We need a strong, united, multi-level response from both Government and civil society which is still not happening. Women and children continue to suffer as a result.

I also wrote:
The Stages of Power a mature man must progress through –
Find it here:

Valencia Farmer . . . We will not forget you!

Waterfall and rainbow

If you click on the “About Us” tab on our website, you will see that Women Demand Dignity was started as a result of a brutal attack on Alison Saayman who was nearly killed in her home in Observatory, Cape Town; it was also the year that 19-year old Valencia Farmer was gang raped and left for dead, living long enough to name her murderers.

Valencia Farmer was 14 when she was raped in an abandoned house in Eucalyptus Street, Eersterivier, in June 1999. She was repeatedly stabbed and her throat was slit.

She crawled into the street where a neighbour found her. She died in Tygerberg Hospital, but was able to tell police who her attackers were.

Picture of Valencia Farmer’s naked bleeding body will stay with me forever

Rose opening Animation

New arrest in 16-year old murder – a surprise for victim’s mom


The questions currently being asked are:

• Who will support the mother emotionally while she is suffering secondary trauma all over again?
• What sort of financial compensation will this traumatised mother receive during this time and afterwards?
• Where will the emotional and financial support come from?
• How will our justice system deal with this case? Will the perpetrators receive life sentences?
• Where are all the activists who made their voices heard 16 years ago? What are they saying/doing today?

What are your thoughts?

Do let us know . . .

Understanding your Family Background

Mom_Dad_child sitting

Understanding your family background helps you make connections between your past experiences and your present behaviour.

What do you see in your own violent behaviour now that connects with your own childhood experiences?

Please note:
• Any negative feelings experienced, or your reactions to being abused, are just like those your partner(s) might feel when they are being abused.
• What you felt like as a child, witnessing your mother or father’s violence, is what your own children feel when you are violet, frightening or intimidating.
• Your past experiences of violence does not excuse your own current violence, but it can help you understand your own violent behaviour, which could be leading to your own son or daughter’s behaviour.
• Physical “disciplining” is no justification for abusive behaviour. It is not “necessary” in teaching children.
• It is not disloyal to question your parents’ methods of disciplining children. Your parents probably did the best they knew how, it was probably the only way they knew.

Children Faces (Windmill)

Abusive behaviour does not “just happen” See previous post here:

• It is fed by abusive beliefs and intentions
• It is supported by denial, blame and excuses
• It affects others
• It is possible to choose a non-abusive alternative (as mentioned in my previous post)

Personal Plan for Change:
• Take a blank sheet of paper
• Across the top of the sheet of paper write: Plan for Personal Change (Heading)
• Directly below your heading, write your name in big, bold letters
• Draw two columns on your page below your heading and your name
• The column on your left should be called “Changes I need to make”
• The column on your right should be called “How I will change” (what I need to do)

Remember that your plan can be as long as you need it to be. You are free to add additional items as you go along and learn more about yourself and your behaviour.

This Personal Plan for Change is a written record of the goals (Changes I need to make) and (How I will change) to which you are committing yourself in order to become the best you can be and to stop your abusive behaviour.

Forgiveness doesnt excuse behaviourpg

The steps you take and which you commit yourself to must be realistic and should be focussed on changing specific abusive behaviour, for example: by asking: “What behaviour would my spouse want me to change?”

During this process, when an issue arises, tur it into a goal for you to work on which you write down (add to) your Plan for Personal Change.

Clip Art Graphic of a Pillar Cartoon Character

Family background questions to ask yourself (find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed to think about these questions in order to answer them). Give yourself time to think about each question.

1. How were emotions expressed in your family?

2. As a child, what was the one phrase you remember hearing most often from your parents?

3. How were you praised? Criticised?

4. How is your present behaviour affected by your family of origin (i.e. your parents and siblings). What emotions, thoughts and behaviours come from growing up in that family?

5. In what way are you similar to your dad? In what ways are you similar to your mom?

6. How did individuals in your family handle anger?

7. How did individuals in your family solve conflicts?

8. What methods of discipline were used?

9. How did you react or respond to the discipline?

10. How did individuals in your family express love and affection?

11. Think about the way children were treated in your family of origin (how did your parents treat you and your siblings) – and the way you now treat your children. What is the same? What is different?