As a child, author Dana Love was lovingly taught by her mother how to color pages in her coloring books. She was shown how to stay within the lines, color in the same direction, and allow her imagination to run wild and have fun. This skill would serve the author well through her life’s journey. Love has endured many harsh challenges, including childhood abuse and domestic violence. In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), she contributed the following guest post on how coloring helps her cope. She is also author of the coloring book Beauty for Ashes and shares sample pages below.
Believe It or Not, Coloring is Therapeutic!
When I felt no one could understand what I was going through, and I felt alone during the difficult times in my life, coloring helped me to cope and to heal. I’ve experienced childhood sexual abuse and domestic violence. I’ve had to have surgery to repair my brokenness. I endured the loss of my father to suicide, job loss, and experienced sexual harassment on the job. I did not enjoy any of this, nor did I ask for any of these things to happen to me.
My experiences span the timeframe from a child to an adult and so the fact that I can relate on both levels is a blessing because while I may never have an answer for why I endured mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical abuse, I did overcome. Now, I am passionate about helping both adults and children to overcome their difficult times as well.
Most of us think of children or childhood when we think of coloring. When we were children, many of us spent hours upon hours carefully choosing just the right color and concentrating on staying within the lines. Nothing else mattered. It was just us, our crayons, and the perfect picture. Often, this was a time of peace.
When we color as adults, that same type of tranquility can occur. As we focus on the task at hand, we can let go of what may be troubling us as we are transformed into a time and place where all that matters are color choice and technique. There are many articles and studies concerning the benefits of coloring. Take some time to research the phenomena and then give it a try if you haven’t already.
My dream is that sharing this coloring book and what coloring and being creative has meant to me will somehow assist you on your journey towards healing. It worked for me!
About Domestic Violence Awareness Month
First observed in October 1981 as a national “Day of Unity,” Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) is held each October as a way to unite advocates across the nation in their efforts to end domestic violence. February of each year also marks Teen Domestic Violence Awareness Month, an annual observation raising awareness about the specific ways that abuse impacts teen dating relationships.
No one ever deserves to experience abuse.
- An average of 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a single year.
- Intimate partner violence alone affects more than 12 million people every year.
- Women ages 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 generally experience the highest rates of intimate partner violence.
- From 1994 to 2010, approximately 4 in 5 victims of intimate partner violence were female.
- Most female victims of intimate partner violence were previously victimized by the same offender at rates of 77% for women ages 18 to 24, 76% for ages 25 to 34, and 81 percent for ages 35 to 49.
National Domestic Violence Hotline Online Resources
- Understand Relationship Abuse. We’re all affected by the issue of domestic violence.
- Warning Signs of Abuse. Know what to look for.
- Power and Control, break free from abuse
- Why People Abuse Abuse is never okay. Learn why it continues.
- Abuse and Cultural Context. Domestic violence may look different to different people.
- Start a Conversation. Talking about abuse is hard.
- Ways to Support. A little help can go a long way.
- Why People Stay. It’s not as easy as simply walking away.
- Help for Abusive Partners. Change starts with a commitment to do so.
NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE: Call 1.800.799.SAFE (7233)
How to Help During Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Amy Ridings, Director of Communications at Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support in Dallas, Texas, offers these steps so you can get involved and make a difference this October:
- Find a local shelter and get involved. There are tools available online that allow you to search your area for shelters. Many shelters are in need of donations and volunteers – by checking your local shelter’s website or calling to see what you can do, you can make a direct, positive impact on the survivors in your community.
- Wear purple on Thursday, October 22 for #PurpleThursday. Purple is the official color of DVAM. If everyone participating in DVAM wears purple, we can show survivors that there is a community of support surrounding them and fighting for them. We also encourage you to take a picture in your shirt and post it to social media with a fact about domestic violence and the hashtags #PurpleThursday.
- Help us spread the word! Whether you’re a part of a corporation or a book club, you can make a difference and join us in our mission. Consider inviting Genesis (or a shelter near you) to your workplace to give a virtual presentation on domestic violence, or have your staff or coworkers participate in an Amazon Wish List donation drive! Many shelters also have resources available online that you can share with family and friends if you’re unsure about what to do.
Top photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash
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