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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. If you exchange gifts with your husband, boyfriend or a guy friend, and are having trouble finding the right gift, I’ve come up with a list of 10 out of the box ideas for the man in your life.
Good quality chocolate
Chocolate isn’t just for women on Valentine’s Day; everyone can get down with a good quality box of chocolate goodies. My husband loves when I buy him Lake Champlain Chocolates. The only problem is, I can’t resist myself from eating his, so I will often just buy my own as well. Luckily, he prefers milk chocolate and I try to grab a healthier, darker version. There are so many gifts to choose from on their site from gift baskets, hot cocoa’s and boxes of truffles. It’s Valentine’s Day, so we all get a pass to eat as much chocolate as we want!
Does your man like beer? Gift the Six Pack Cooler Tote from Uncommon Goods, so he can bring his beer cold to his next outdoor concert, party or BYO restaurant. It’s like a koozie on steroids!
A personal defense product
If your man is into personal safety, the Mace Brand Pepper Gun is right up his alley. It’s compact and when fired, it can stop an attacker or intruder in their tracks before having to get too close.
Is your guy the grill master of the house? Since I do most of the cooking in my house, my husband likes to be the one to do the grilling (makes him feel like he’s contributing to the meal!). At Mancrates.com, you can choose the Grill Master Crate gift set that includes meat tenderizers, a smoker box, hickory woodchips and a variety of BBQ sauces. P.S. there are also a ton of other “man crates” to choose from with different themes.
A stylish backpack
Are you buying a gift for a fit guy or one who is trying to be? He needs a way to get his sweaty clothes home from the gym. North Face makes a backpack for guys on the go who need to carry his sweaty clothes from the gym.
Everyone should be happy when they look down at their feet. Why not add some flair to his footwear, even if he has to wear a suit all day? Happy Socks bring a lot of style and life to an ordinary wardrobe piece.
Nobody wants your stereotypical father’s big wallet anymore, especially when people rarely carry cash anymore. A slim and well designed wallet, like this American flag leather wallet by TGT Wallets is the perfect gift for someone who likes things neat and tidy, and the products are made proudly here in the US of A.
A bucket list map
I love this idea and am actually buying this for my husband for this Valentine’s Day! We are avid travelers and love to dream about all of the places we want to explore. This visual map that allows you scratch off the places you’ve been and you can also tag the places you wish to go!
A manly scented candle
A candle gift says ‘I like you’, ‘I’m thinking of you’ and perhaps ‘I want your apartment to smell nice too’. These soy wax candles on Etsy are safe, non-toxic and smell of spicy tobacco and hints of vanilla. It’s an inexpensive, thoughtful gift for someone you either share a home and bathroom with or would like to share a home or bathroom with.
An experience gift
I’d much prefer to give an experience as a gift versus a product. An experience can create happy memories that will last a lifetime. Obviously budget plays a big role in choosing an experience gift that can range from a night at the museum or a weekend getaway. Personally, if we can’t get away, I would plan an outdoor adventure for my husband that would include some sort of physical activity (like biking or hiking), followed by a really good meal. Choose something that your guy loves to do and plan a day around it. Throw in any special surprises that you can think of and present the idea in a handwritten card.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
If you’ve never been stranded on the side of the road, you should count yourself lucky. Stranded motorists are often in predicaments that can severely jeopardize their safety and security. Whether a person has locked their keys in their car, or lost the key entirely, being stranded puts you at risk. So how do you deal with this state of vulnerability? It’s hard to plan for unforeseen circumstances but being armed with these five safety tips will help you better navigate the problem and stay safe.
1. Assess Your Surroundings
The first step to staying safe while stranded on the roadside is to assess your surroundings. Take the time to adequately analyze the immediate area around you, then take yourself out of harm's way. Pay close attention to the flow of traffic (if any) and the layout of the road or area that you are stranded on. Scenarios in which you might find yourself stranded can arise at any time and at any place, so always keep a close eye on what is around you.
In some cases, motorists jeopardize their own safety because they neglect to monitor the state of things around them. This puts stranded motorists at risk of being hit by another road user or getting injured on treacherous terrain. You should always assess your surroundings before you do anything else. This also gives you an opportunity to assess the state of your vehicle.
2. Make Yourself Visible
Visibility has a direct impact on your level of safety when you are stranded as a motorist. This applies whether you find yourself stranded during the day or at night. Always make it an effort for yourself and your vehicle to be visible. If possible, drivers should turn on their hazard/emergency lights. This will help keep other drivers alert and might even get you some help from a kind bystander.
While stranded in a parking lot visibility is also important, as you may be vulnerable to passersby as well as traffic. If you are stranded in a location with very minimal lighting, it makes it easier for criminals to sneak up on you or for you to be harmed without anyone noticing. Try to move to an area with better lighting. However, if your keys are still left in your car, do not leave your car abandoned. Instead, reach out to AAA, an emergency locksmith or other roadside assistance providers.
3. Utilize Personal Safety Tools
Driver’s should make a habit of carrying at least one personal safety tool in their vehicle at all times. Having a personal safety tool handy is one of the best ways to protect yourself, if you are stranded motorist. Sometimes, you will not be able to leave your vehicle to go get help but you still want to ensure that you are protected while you wait. These safety tools range from active safety tools to passive safety tools.
A common example of a passive safety tool would be the Mace® Brand LED Adjustable Safety Band, which helps keep you visible. An example of an active safety tool would be the Mace® Brand Peppergel Distance Defense Spray. Personally, I believe motorists should take advantage of both active and passive safety tools.
Having these tools on you will make it much easier for you to assess your vehicle safely and also protect yourself from any would-be attacker. Drivers can incorporate these safety tools into their road trip safety kit so that they can always stay safe while on the road.
4. Alert People To Your Location
It always helps stranded motorists to alert others to their location and their plight. Telling someone where you are and that you are stranded by your vehicle, only helps to increase your level of safety. It makes it easier for people to reach you and assist you because they know where you are, and they have also been made aware that you are in need of help. If you have locked your keys in your car, you can get assistance or have a friend bring your spare keys or supplies.
Ideally, drivers should have a shortlist of emergency contacts that they can reach out to in situations like this. This list can consist of family members, neighbors or any other close associates. However, motorists should always call 9-1-1, if they believe their lives are at risk while stranded by their vehicles.
5. Be Wary of Strangers
Stranded motorists often come into contact with strangers and while strangers can sometimes be of great help, they can also put your safety at further risk. Criminals often disguise themselves as regular, helpful individuals, so that they can take advantage of someone's trusting nature.
As a safety precaution for stranded motorists, always ask for identification from anyone that comes up to you offering assistance. This might seem like it does not accomplish much but it throws most criminals off guard and might deter them from taking advantage of you. On the other hand, a friendly passerby won’t mind obliging to your request.
Approaching every situation with safety in mind is the best way to navigate life but in the instance where you are already at a disadvantage, having these safety tips handy will do a great deal of good.
As we begin a new year, we seem to be inundated with health and wellness resolutions and information. Yet, January is also home to National Personal Self-Defense Awareness Month. A month to help us increase our personal safety and make it a priority to build safety habits into our daily routines to keep us safer all year long.
If you hear the words self-defense and automatically tune out because you associate it with people training in martial arts, wearing uniforms and shouting “hiyah”, then this article is for you. Self-defense simply refers to the art of self-protection from all kinds of danger. That’s why it is so important for us to discuss personal self-defense habits with people of all ages because it’s never too early to learn how to protect yourself.
As a third-degree black belt in Hapkido (a Korean martial art), I trained for countless hours in the physical realm of self-defense. However, the art in martial arts can also be referred to as the mental and spiritual practice that helps increase our awareness. This in turn helps us to become more strong, safe and confident from the streets to the boardroom. I’ve also learned that most people do not have time to practice martial arts for a long period of time. Therefore, I’ve developed programs for the average person (both male and female) on how to enhance their safety.
Here are a few things that everyone can do to enhance their personal safety this year and beyond without having to learn and practice martial arts for years:
1. Practice powerful body language
Predators are looking for a weak or vulnerable target. The first signal a predator looks for is body language. Your body language will communicate non-verbally with the predator and will either tell the predator that you are aware and alert or distracted, scared and/or vulnerable.
Vulnerability looks like rounded shoulders and slouched posture. Vulnerable could also look distracted, which is most of us as we look at our phones while walking down the street or getting into our cars. Strong body language includes great posture with shoulders back and head up, as well as making direct eye contact with everyone around you. This alone could deter a potential attack.
2. Carry pepper spray for self-protection
When you own and carry a Mace Brand pepper spray or gel, you automatically think about your safety when you touch or see that product. The pepper spray in your hands heightens your awareness when you are out running, commuting, walking, or running errands. It sends a signal to your brain that you bought this or were given this product for a reason; to be safe.
3. Learn how to use your body as a weapon
When I teach physical self-defense, this is one of the first physical lessons. You need to know how your body can act as a weapon, if you were grabbed, attacked or threatened.
Hands, elbows, knees and feet are going to be our most powerful weapons and knowing how to strike with them can save your life in many situations. This is where a self-defense lesson or two will definitely come in handy. Even if you do not want to take martial arts as a practice, many schools will offer one-off or a series of self-defense classes to teach you the basics. I highly recommend putting this on your to-do list for 2018 as soon as possible. Not only will you learn how to defend yourself physically but will also leave feeling a little more confident than when you walked in. It’s a byproduct of self-defense training.
4. Avoidance is your best line of defenseIt goes without saying that not being in a dangerous situation in the first place, is the best place to be. That’s not always an option, especially when it comes to surprise attacks. With that being said, there are some situations where we may have the ability to avoid and that usually happens by listening to our intuition. If you have a gut feeling that tells you to not go somewhere, or not trust someone, then it is definitely worth listening to. You never know when your gut may save your life!
Are you sick of setting resolutions around losing weight or giving up things that make you happy, only to give up on them before February even begins? This year, instead of resolutions, how about trying something new to help form a foundation for you to build the most empowered version of yourself?
As a Mace Brand ambassador, my goal is to help people empower themselves to be strong, safe and confident; not just on the streets but in all aspects of their lives. In alignment with the launch of the Mace Brand Purple Empowerment line, I thought it would be a powerful start to the New Year to share three different ways to set yourself up for a stronger, safer and smarter New Year:
1. Set an intention for the year
An intention is kind of like a theme for your life, work and relationships. You can have one theme throughout all of those different categories or different themes for different categories. An intention can be one word or a phrase that sets up a framework for you to live in.
This word or phrase can be used as a mantra throughout the year to keep you focused on your intention when the going gets rough or you start to get distracted.
For example, my intention for my body and health this year is STRONG. Therefore, my framework for my health and body is to take actions that will keep me feeling strong. I will continue to strength train to keep my body strong, cardio to keep my heart strong, yoga to keep my mind/body connection strong and eat foods that will keep my insides strong. When I get tempted to eat foods that will weaken my body, energy and immune system (like sugar), I will simply repeat my intention to stay focused.
2. Develop a healthy habit checklist
If setting intentions sounds too heady for you, maybe developing a healthy habit checklist will be a better fit. Set anywhere from three to seven healthy habits that you will commit to for the year to help set you up for a successful year. These healthy habits can be for all areas of your life including body, mind, career, fun and family. Or perhaps you want to do one checklist for your entire life. There are a number of ways to create this visually but I like to set up Excel spreadsheets for my clients. Habits along the top and dates down the side. Each box on the spreadsheet is used to check off after you’ve completed that daily habit.
Examples of healthy habits can include:
- Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water.
- Break a sweat.
- Write in journal.
- Exercise for a minimum of 20 minutes.
- Give someone a compliment.
- Meditate for 5 minutes.
- Eat 50% of my plate in vegetables.
- Read before bed.
Or any specific healthy habits that you want to incorporate into your year to empower you to be your healthiest self.
3. Set goals and write them down
If you are motivated by reaching goals, then writing your yearly goals will be a great practice for you. Writing them down helps solidify them in your mind and make them more real. What people usually miss is that they should be somewhere visible and accessible so you can review them all year long.
Once you write down your goals for what you want to have accomplished by this time next year, the next step would be to break each of those goals down into smaller goals and write in your calendar what needs to be done by certain dates.
For example, if you want to run a marathon this time next year, then you will likely have a lot of training to do. You can write in your calendar how many miles you will have to run and by when. Start from the marathon and work your way backwards. If the marathon is in December, then by November you will have to do a 22-mile run. In October, you may have to run 18 miles. By August, you’ll have to run 14 miles and so on. Those are just numbers I made up but I hope you get the picture. Big goals are great but remember to chunk them down into smaller goals too.
Lastly, remember to reward yourself when you do reach your goals so you recognize your commitment and hard work!
Cheers to an empowered year and setting ourselves up for success! Happy 2018!
The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is upon us! Excitement is in the air, holiday lights are hung and retail is doing everything they can to entice us into their stores to buy gifts for all of our loved ones.
It’s easy to get distracted this time of year as we shop while still managing work and care for our families as well. Here are some safety strategies to help keep you aware and safe as you enjoy this joyous season.
1. Have a game plan
Before heading out to shop, make a list of what you need and make a game plan. This not only keeps us focused but it can also help keep you on budget. I can easily blow my budget on all the extra glittery stuff that I see and think I need, instead of focusing on the food or gift list that I need to buy. More importantly, lists help keep you focused on where you are going. Remember that predators are looking for vulnerable and distracted targets. When going from store to store or store to car, keep alert and walk with purpose to your next destination.
2. Avoid ATM machines
Try not to stop at a ATM machines during your shopping. Shop with plastic if possible to avoid pulling out wads of cash at the register. You never know who is watching!
3. Always keep at least one hand free
There’s no way you can even try to fight back against an attacker or protect your face if both hands are weighed down at your side holding shopping bags. Use a cross body bag as your purse to avoid being the victim of a robbery but remember to keep the actual bag in front of you and zipped. If you plan on buying a lot, perhaps look into using a backpack to stuff some goods into if you are in a city and will be walking around shopping.
In that free hand, you can carry a Mace Brand pepper spray while walking through parking garages, desolate parking lots, outdoor shopping malls and while getting into elevators. My favorite is the Exquisite polka dot purse pepper spray that looks just like a lipstick or perfume container. A pepper spray in hand keeps you more aware of your safety and can be used against a potential predator.
4. Cover your packages on public transportation
If you are taking public transportation to and from shopping keep all your goods covered. Don’t have expensive toys or fancy gifts hanging out of the bag to tempt would be thieves. If your list is lucky enough to get gifts from expensive designer stores, the branded shopping bags are dead giveaways that whatever is inside is going to cost a lot and therefore, can get a thief a nice payday on the black market. This is where it might again be handy to keep expensive gifts close to your body either in a backpack (securely zipped) or in a cross body bag.
5. Be alert
If you live in more a suburban area and you’ll be driving from store to store or to the mall, your car is going to either be a source of safety or danger depending on the situation. As you head to your car in a parking garage or lot, keep eyes and ears alert and have your phone put away. Your focus should be on walking with purpose, checking out your car (inside, around and under) and getting into it as quickly and efficiently as possible and then locking the doors behind you. This acts as a safe boundary against any potential predator. I also keep an extra Mace Brand pepper spray on the side of my door of my car that I can easily grab, just in case!
Stay safe and enjoy your shopping!
This holiday season is a great time to honor the empowered women in your life. Whether she is a super accomplished rock star or just starting out on her empowerment journey, the following list contains great gift ideas to show your support for her! Check out my favorite holiday gifts for the empowered women in your life!
1. 2018 Planner from Anthropologie ($34)
Setting goals is only done by a small percentage of people – usually known as go-getters! Following through on accomplishing those goals requires planning and tracking. Personally, I am old school and love putting pen to paper when I plan out my year. This planner is gorgeous and efficient but there are tons more to choose from. Grab a planner for your favorite goal-getter!
2. You Rock Quotable Mug ($14.95)
Every empowered woman could use a dose of positive reinforcement every morning. There are tons of positive quotes to choose from but I like the simple “You Rock” mug that easy to compute before I have my coffee. It’s a great gift for any coffee or tea lover.
3. T is for Transformation ($13)
I know Shaun T personally, and I can vouch that he is the real deal and truly authentic in his quest of helping people transform their lives from the inside out. In his book, T is for Transformation, Shaun shares the sexual abuse he suffered as a child and how he has overcome that and other challenges in his life through the use of his “7 superpowers.” This is an excellent book for anyone who had a rough year, anyone who is looking to improve their life or for that self-help junkie like myself.
4. Mace® Brand Pepper Spray ($16.99)
I couldn’t decide between my two favorite Mace® Brand products so I am including them both. Every empowered woman should have at least one pepper spray to help keep her safe. I love the Exquisite polka dot pepper spray because when I’m carrying it, I feel incognito because it looks like it could be a lipstick or perfume case. I also go out hiking a lot by myself and when I do I carry the Mace® Brand Sport pepper spray model. It features an adjustable strap so it sits right in my hand if I ever need it. This is a great stocking stuffer or Secret Santa gift for a runner, a commuter or any woman who’s into personal safety.
5. Essential oil Diffuser ($29.65)
Have someone on your list that could use help sleeping, breathing, relaxing, waking up, or feeling happy? Apparently, there’s an essential oil that can help with almost every ailment out there. This essential oil diffuser that I have is one example of the many out there that are easy to use. Depending on your budget you can include a couple of oils as well. A good starter kit can include lavender (to relax), eucalyptus (for clear breathing) and lemon (for mood boosting). It’s a great gift for people that like to read in bed, sleep peacefully and relax.
6. Beauty Counter Polished Pout Trio ($48)
Most lip glosses contain toxic chemicals like parabens, BHT and petroleum, that we essentially wind up eating. Some lipsticks even contain lead. Beauty Counter products are safe from these dangerous chemicals so lip lickers need not worry. They often run out of stock on products so best to order fast. Also, you can order directly from their website and not have to find a consultant.
7. Hear Me Roar Book ($14.95)
An oldie but a goodie! Every high school senior and college student could use an extra dose of empowerment. Hear Me Roar: how to defend your mind, body and heart against people who suck, teaches young women how to be brave, increase self worth and roar and defend themselves against predators. This book is a great stocking stuffer for your daughter, niece or friend.
8. Everlane Backpack ($68 - $80)
Keeping your hands free as you commute, travel or shop is a safety tip we can all heed. That’s part of the reason why I love and carry this stylish and functional backpack. I travel around the country with it and throw my laptop in it and get on my bicycle to head to the coffee shop. This is a great gift for a student but also anyone who bikes, travels or commutes.
9. Graced by Grit ($92)
I must have been through countless pairs of black fitness leggings to date, however, the Graced by Grit Better Than Everything legging is by far my favorite. Graced by Grit is a women-owned brand based in Southern California who sources their fabric from Italy, but products are made proudly in the U.S. Every purchase comes with a free whistle in the hopes that women can use the whistles if ever in a dangerous situation. The brand was inspired by a tragic story of a teenage girl who was murdered while out on a run. Graced by Grit is taking a stand for women’s safety! Anything they make is a great gift for any women who likes to exercise and look and feel good doing it.
10. Lake Champlain Chocolate (From $10 - $150)
From baskets of hot chocolates, to truffles, to a vegan chocolate assortment, every chocolate lover would be over the moon to get a gift from my favorite chocolate company, Lake Champlain Chocolates. Based in Vermont, they use local ingredients when possible and all of their chocolates are free of preservatives, additives and extenders. There’s not one product I’ve tried that I didn’t love. This is a great gift from a stocking stuffer to a gift basket for a family, a good neighbor, or a great employee or boss. And of course, the higher the percentage of cacao, the healthier it is!
11. Society Nine Boxing Gloves ($78)
Quite simply, the Bia Boxing Gloves in white and gold are the sexiest boxing gloves I’ve ever seen. And when you feel sexy, you may be able to fight a little harder. Boxing is a hot workout right now and for good reason. It not only helps you burn tons of calories because of it’s high intensity nature of the sport, but it also does make you feel like a badass and help you learn how to hit, duck and block. These gloves are a great gift for any woman who currently boxes or would like to learn.
12. SeaVees for J. Crew Glittery Sneakers ($88)
Who’s says comfort can’t be cute? I’m all about wearing stylish sneakers as much as I can while I travel and when I’m working. Not only will you be able to run faster when needed, they are also safer for your back if you stand and walk most of the day. Wearing heels can do significant damage to your lower back by tightening your calves if worn often and over time. These glittery shoes are great for the holiday and your back. They’re a great gift for a student, someone who commutes or just loves comfy shoes and glitter.
The holiday season is coming quickly! Jennifer Cassetta sits down to share her favorite Mace® Brand safety products to keep her family and home safe.
by Debbie Riddle, Stalking Awareness Advocate
This time of year, people celebrate the spooky and scary. But Halloween-related creepy is a far cry from matters truly terrifying, like stalking. Stalking is a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment or contact directed at a specific person to induce fear.
Since October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I wanted to take a moment to share some truly chilling statistics about stalking:
- 7.5 million people are stalked in the US in one year.
- 89% of femicide victims who have been physically assaulted had also been stalked in the 12 months prior to their murder ( stalking is an extremely dangerous behavior )
- 61% of female victims and 44% of male victims of stalking are stalked by a current or former intimate partner, 25% of female victims and 32% of male victims are stalked by an acquaintance.
- About half of all victims of stalking indicated that they were stalked before the age of 25. About 14% of female victims and 16% of male victims experienced stalking between the ages of 11 and 17
- 11% of stalking victims were stalked for more than 5 years.
- 46% of stalking victims greatest fear is not knowing what will happen next.
My sister, Peggy Klinke, was a victim of stalking. She endured years of emotional abuse, harassment, surveillance, threats and terrifying behaviors before she was murdered by her ex-boyfriend and stalker. I am sharing her story in hopes that my efforts will help others prevent or avoid similar critical situations.
For additional information and stalking resources that can help prevent future violence and keep ourselves, our families and our friends safe, please visit http://stalkingmuststop.org/
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month, but just because the month will come to an end doesn't mean our work towards ending abuse stops. Watch as safety expert, Jennifer Cassetta, breaks the silence by discussing domestic violence facts and ways you can continue to support and take your stand to help end domestic violence.
October can often bring to mind pumpkin spice lattes, sweater weather and Halloween costumes. But, did you know that October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month?
Domestic violence, still a very much taboo topic, is happening behind closed doors all over the United States and beyond. In fact, on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
There are many myths surrounding domestic violence. Here are just a few and the actual truth and facts to dispel them.
Myth #1: Domestic violence is purely physical and includes battering, beating and sexual assault.
The truth is domestic violence is not just limited to someone being hit or battered by his or her partner. Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats, and emotional or psychological abuse. Batters use a range of tactics to terrorize, frighten, manipulate, humiliate, harm and sometimes kill an intimate partner.
Myth #2: Domestic violence victims are only women.
All genders experience domestic violence from both sides; as the victim and as the abuser. Statistics show that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been physically abused by a domestic partner.
Myth #3: Domestic violence only happens to low income, women of color.
The truth is that wealthy, well educated individuals of any race are just as prone to violence as anyone. Celebrities who have spoken publicly about being victims of domestic violence include: Rihanna, Robin Givens, Nigella Lawson, Halle Berry, Shakira and Sarah Hyland.
Myth #4: The victim of domestic violence can simply leave the relationship.
The truth is that only the abuser is to blame for being abusive. And the emotional rollercoaster that the victim is taken on leads to damaged self-confidence and many times, downright fear of standing up to or leaving the abuser.
The abuser often uses a cyclical pattern where he or she will abuse, feel guilty and/or scared of getting caught, create excuses for their behavior, act normal again, fantasize about abusing again and then set up the partner for abuse again and justify it.
Many times a victim has no safe haven to go to where they may be safe from their abuser. Many are scared for their lives and don’t have the financial resources and supportive network to leave and start a new life.
Myth #5: Alcohol, drug use, or mental illnesses are usually causes for domestic violence.
The truth is that alcohol, drug use or mental illness do not cause domestic violence, even though sometimes they may go along with it. In general, the cause for domestic violence is when an abuser has learned this behavior and chooses to abuse.
Blaming alcohol or drugs is an excuse and a way to deny responsibility. Both may sometimes be a trigger for an attack, but they are not the underlying cause. Many sober people are violent and become abusers as well.