Author: Diana Mejia
Clinical and pastoral counselor
President and founder of Nuevo Sendero
As an immigrant and survivor of domestic violence, she has been educated to help other Women and their families. Diana Mejia spends her time helping Hispanic families who suffer from domestic violence. She guides them and helps them break the cycle of domestic violence and sexual abuse. She develops her mission through support groups, educational workshops, conferences and referrals to the different agencies that provide services for the same cause. Nuevo Sendero, Diana Mejia’s non-profit foundation, regularly participates in radio, television programs, magazines to carry the message of education and awareness about Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse.
Behaviors associated with low self-stem
Self-esteem is the personal judgment that someone makes about their own value, based on the following areas:
Self-Judgment: the patient has negative thoughts and thinks that he or she is condemned to failure. The patient describes itself as “dumb, not-worthy of anything, a failure.” The patient sees regular life challenges as impossible tasks and it encloses itself in self-pity.
Self-Decrease: the patient decreases the value of its own abilities by avoiding or neglecting the real value of them.
Guilt and Concern: these are destructive actions that make the patient punish itself. These indicate self-rejection.
Physical Manifestations: they can be hypertension, psychosomatic illnesses and the abuse of various substances like alcohol, drugs, tobacco or food.
Postponing Decisions: a high level of indecision produces an increased sense of insecurity.
Tips to increase self-esteem
Self-acceptance: this means accepting your flaws and being happy with them. You cannot love other people in a healthy way if you don’t love yourself.
Avoid self-depressive behaviors
Self-image: this is the mental picture that you have of yourself.
Self-respect: this is taking care yourself, your own necessities and your own values. You have to express and handle feelings and actions without hurting or blaming yourself.
Appreciate and celebrate all the things that make you feel proud of yourself.
God is a healthy source of Love. He accepts us as who we really are.
She does not have enough internal strength to leave.
When a woman experiences violence in her relationship, her self-esteem is very low and she believes that her abilities and strength are nonexistent. She sees the abuser as omnipotent and believes that she cannot escape. Most times, the abuser threatens to kill his wife if she leaves. The woman believes it because everyday life shows her that the abuser does what he wants without any problems. The woman feels totally helpless and is too busy surviving to plan or think to escape.
She is scared of the future.
The woman that experiences violence is so insecure of herself that she cannot imagine surviving alone. The abuser always repeats that she is not able to take care of herself.
She keeps believing that he is going to change.
Each time the abuser apologizes for having mistreated her and promises that he will never do it again. It is very difficult not to believe when someone apologizes.
She loves him even when he is abusing her.
We can all remember someone we love very much, even though he or she hurt us. The abuser is still the person that the woman fell in love with and sometimes they have romantic moments together. All dreams of love and happiness are connected to this man. It is difficult for a woman to leave her dreams behind and turn her back on a person she loves and with whom she shared a part of her life.
She thinks is her fault.
The woman believes that changing her behavior will stop him from mistreating her. She thinks that it is all her fault and that something is wrong with her. The abuser reinforces that by finding a reason to mistreat her. She the woman also believes she has to sort things out.
The woman doesn’t have a job or money. If she leaves the abuser, she would not have any financial resource. She doesn’t have where to go and her family doesn’t want or cannot help her. She is scared of working for a very low pay because of her lack of experience and she is afraid of being abused by her boss or coworkers.
She has to take care of her kids and cannot work a full time job. She can’t find or can’t pay for someone to take care of her kids to go to work. She feels that she should not leave the abuser because of her kids. She feels that she has to give her children the best and that means staying in her home.
Her family tells her that she has to take responsibility in making the relationship work. Her friends tell her that she has to stay with him because of the kids. Her neighbors tell her that she would be a bad mother and a bad wife if she leaves him. Her church reminds her that when she got married, she promised to stay with him for the rest of her life. She thinks that nobody will help her, she is afraid to not find where to go, her family is tired of helping her, her friends don’t want to get involved, professionals try to fix the relationship. She stops asking for help because nobody wants to help her.
She thinks that there is no social justice and that the court will say that she is a bad wife and that she causes the violence.
Maybe she is embarrassed to say that she experiences domestic abuse. She knows what other people say about women who stay in abusive relationships and she does not want anybody to know about her experience. She doesn’t want people to know that her marriage was a failure.
Together with the outstanding ladies of the Dominican society, the executive director of Nuevo Sendero, Diana Mejia, received the Medal to the merit citizen from the President of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina. The Medal was given to her for her outstanding national and international work in the fight against domestic violence.
Many ladies were honored for their importance in various areas including economic, political and social work in the Dominican Republic. They received theses awards in celebration of the International Women's Day.
This event was held in the presidential palace of the Dominican Republic. The President Danilo Medina said that women in different historical moments have fought for equality and respect for the social, political and cultural rights of women in the world. Today the ladies that are being awarded at the event represent these women. He also said that he urges them to continue working for the benefit of the community and its development and that they will always have the support of the Dominican government.
Diana Mejia, thanked the president and indicated that she received the award with humility. She is committed to continue restoring homes for society to enjoy healthier and stronger families. Together with Diana Mejía other women were also recognized in addition; Emilia Antonia Guzmán Capellán in Health, María Zunilda Núñez Payamps, in Science and Technology, Algerian Ramona, Aybar Muñoz, Rosana Clotilde Elías Peña, in community and philanthropic work, Altagracia Rosario, Lopez and Juana María Sosa, Esperanza Encarnación Tejeda in Sport, Gina María Ruiz Solís, in Education, Olga Altagracia Mejía de Leclerc, in Portalatina Taveras Chireno and in politics was recognized, Ligia Amada Melo Widow Cardona.
The Minister of Women for the Dominican Republic also attended the event. She said that every day Dominican women are participating more in the development processes of the country. They stand out in both public and private social works at national and international levels.