Domestic Violence; The Hidden Secret

There is a hidden secret in homes all across America that most people chose to ignore. This is my place to share my thoughts, views and occassional rants about the issue of domestic violence. It is my hope that this blog will prove to be an educational tool that will shatter the myths and misconceptions surrounding the issue, raise awareness and motivate all members of society to take a stand against violence against women.

Location: New York, United States

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I Must Be Missing Something

If anyone knows the answer to this or can give me some insight, please feel free. I'm at a complete loss right now. Woman is battered by her husband, he is arrested; minor charge but never the less, arrested. She is issued a stay away order of protection at his arraignment. Of course, the case goes on and on and ends in the usual "stay out of trouble for 1 year and this never happened" scenario. But, out of the goodness of their hearts, the court keeps the stay away order in place. Except, there's one minor problem; the order does NOT prohibit the abuser from being at the business they own together.

Now I know there are many, many people that will give me the "you cannot take away his business", nonsense as the reason for this. My argument however is this. The court obviously felt this person posed a very real threat to the victim and therefore ordered him to remain away from her. So how is it that he's a danger to her everywhere but the place of business? How is it that our justice system, which is viewed as the best in the world, is compelled to continuously make sure the "rights" of the abuser are protected and leave the victims virtually unprotected?

Anyone that wants to argue that the victims are protected will not likely get anywhere with me on this issue as the victim in the scenario I am talking about was brutally murdered by her abuser a few days ago. Shot in cold blood, multiple time. Where? You guessed it, at the place of business.

This woman did not stand a chance. It must be noted that the abuser did not chose to go to her home to do this, he went to the one place he was allowed to be and therefore knew the victim was without protection. She could not call 911 because he was ALLOWED to be there. Had he shown up at her home, she'd have had the opporunity to call for help and possibly keep him out while waiting for the police to arrive. He KNEW he would be able to pull this off because the court, in all their infinite wisdom did no want to take away his means of support and prohibit him from entering a business he co-owned.

So bascially this is how I see it right now. Protect his right to own and participate in the business but do not protect her right to be SAFE at the business.

Disgusting, simply disgusting.

Monday, May 14, 2007

That's What I'm Talkin About!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, so I'm not as consistent with my blog as I'd hoped to be and at times, life gets in the way and I almost forget I even started one. The past few months have been that way and then some. Until tonight when an email rolls in that someone posted a comment on my blog. I check it out and was excited, to say the least. Alright, I know, I'm quite the dork but whatever, let me get back to my point.

I'm going to make this short and sweet. The person that commented on my blog is a gentleman who, while listening to an NPR broadcast pertainig to domestic violence got to thinking and did some research. Quite to his dismay, it was not easy to locate resources for a victim who might want to leave their abusive partner but is reluctant to because they fear the abuser will in turn harm or kill the family pet. The broadcast he listened to is indeed very accurate an many, many victims are not aware that help is available not only for them and their children but for the most helpless family member that many forget about; the family pet.

In my area, pets are now permitted to be named as protected parties on an Order of Protection and through a collaborative effort, the local SPCA will house the pets of victims that need to leave the home for safety reasons. The SPCA locates the most appropriate shelter for the animal based on breed, needs, etc. and will house the animal for as long as the victim needs. Problem is, this information is not readily available to a victim in crisis and unless they reach out to a hotline, they will not come to learn of this option.

Here's where the poster on my blog comes in. After realizing the problem, he did not complain about it for a bit then move on with other things. He's DOING something about it. Not only is he doing something about it, he's doing it in a responsible manner, not claiming to be able to provide a counseling type of site but rather a site comprised of resources for victims to access when their family pet is in need of protection.

Now that's what I"m talking about!!!!!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

He's living his life, she can't even remember her age

I'd like to think I"m an intelligent woman and while I do believe that we do have the greatest justice system in the world, tonight it doesn't seem that way at all.

Without going into great detail, I cannot for the life of me figure out how it is even remotely right that someone beat their partner about the head multiple times with a metal object and leave them for dead on the floor. As if that isn't bad enough, even though they were arrested and charged and spent the night at the local precinct, they were released from court the following day on a very, very low bail. I'm talking a $300 bail. Sure, the case will go through court and they have a court order of protection against them, and they might, by some very slight chance spend some ridiculous amount of time like 30-60 days in jail for this but before any of this happens, and I'm not even convinced they'll have it that bad, they're free to carry on with their day to day life, business as usual. Free to enjoy themself in anyway they choose.

Their victim on the other hand, doesn't have that luxury. See the night the bad guy spent in jail, the victim spent in the hosptial having their head stapled. The morning after when the bad guy was released, the victim was still in the hospital, not able to remember what happened to them. The following day, the bad guy was driving by the victims home with their friends, the victim while now at home, couldn't even raise a fork to their mouth to feed themselves. Weekends have come and gone and the bad guy I'm sure, is out enjoying themself. Maybe the thought of having to go to court soon enters their mind, but they clearly aren't worried as they've made some pretty obnoxious phone calls to the victims family about the situation. Weekends and any other day of the week for the victim are made up of trying to walk around the house, using the restoom, showering and feeding themself all while being constantly dizzy and experiencing constant pain. Tonight the victim had to go to the hopsital because they had a siezure earlier in the day and now compares themself to a young child who has to learn to walk, eat and understand what is being said to them and form full sentences.

Tonight, when asked how old they are by the emergency room doctor, the victim could not remember.

I can't help but wonder what the batterer did tonight. I can't help but wonder if it ever entered their mind that their actions have left a previously intelligent and independent person reduced to the mental and physical capabilities of a 2 year old child.

But hey, who am I to say anything. The important thing here is that the batterer was treated correctly in court and isn't being held in jail pending the next court date unnecessarily. That's fair, right?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Ugh, can it get any worse?

Just when I was thinking I didn't have anything else to write about here, some jackass gives me a reason to keep going. I'm not sure which part of this story disturbs me more; the fact that he attempted to hire someone to kill his wife of six years or the fact that he wanted it taken care of last week, as to not disturb his Christmas celebration. Are you friggin kidding me, man? How the hell can this man even dream about celebrating Christmas after he would have payed someone to kill his wife? Last time I checked, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ; the savior of the world, if you are a Christian. Somehow I'm thinking that Christ and the murder of a spouse should never be discussed in the same sentence. But then again, that could be just me.

Here's the background of the story; guys family arranges his marriage to this woman six years ago. They have a 2 year old child. He owns his own company and recently purchased a 1 million dollar life insurance policy on her. He approaches a friend about killing his wife. His friend realizes he's clearly out of his mind and goes to the police. Cops get involved and send an undercover detective to see if this guy is for real. Hell yes he's for real. He gave the cop a deposit for the job and instructed him to kill her quickly when she's in the city the next day and get it over with. Why the rush? Well you see, he didn't want to disrupt Christmas for the family. Yeah, cause the death of his sons mother, his parents daughter in law and his in-laws daughter, sister, etc, will all be but a passing memory come Christmas, which is NEXT WEEK at this point. Excuse my choice of words here but this guy's a real asshole, plain and simple.

So, he gets arrested. Police have everything recorded and on video. They have the money he paid the detective. What does his family say at the arriagnment? Can you take a guess? Okay, I'll tell you..."my son is a good man" says his mother, "I don't understand any of this" she proceeds to say. Sorry lady, but if my kid ever contemplated killing his spouse, I'd let him rot in jail and I'm pretty sure the last thing I'd be thinking is he's a good person. Meanwhile, the night he was arrested, his poor unsuspecting wife got worried because he never came home and filed a missing persons report on him.

My heart goes out to this woman because I cannot even begin to imagine what I'd be feeling if I ever found out my husband was planning on having me killed. And, it doesn't look to me like she's going to get any type of support from her in-laws considering they're sticking to their "he's a good man" story.

Sad, really sad that there are people with such little regard for human life. If you're not happy in your marriage, how about this for a novel idea...DIVORCE. Oh that's right, divorce is no good, it'll bring shame to the family. It's just better to kill her or have her killed.

Disgusting, simply and utterly disgusting.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Violence is fine as long as you're a sports star

As I sit here watching the game with my future husband, I cannot help the outrage I"m feeling right now. We're watching the game and they mention another game today in which a player kicked another player in the face, not once but twice. The guy ended up requiring somewhere around 30 stitches or so to close up the cuts and of course, the perpetrator is very, very sorry for his behavior. What will be the worst that will happen to him? Suspension? Fine?

Funny, if I walked into work tomorrow morning and kicked one of my co-workers in the face I can be sure to expect 2 things to happen; 1) I'd be fired instantly and 2) the police would be called.

Why is this type of behavior acceptable when it occurs within the context of a game? This was not an accident, the guy was down, helmet off and this guy KICKS him in the face TWICE! SO, I vent to my fiance about it for a few minutes but clearly he's tired of hearing me. Just as I try to regain my compsure, there's a commerical with a player talking about the good thing about football. This man, star, role model for children had the NERVE to say that you get to hit people and hurt people without getting in trouble for it. What's worse is that NBC feels this is just fine to air on television. Needless to say, I'm launched into a tizzy all over again.

It makes me think of all the sports "heros" that are charged with domestic violence and face little to no consequence for it. Here are people that boast about being role models for children, etc. and the teams take zero action against one of their so called "role models" that beat their partners.

Another sad realization as I sit in my recliner on a Sunday night that our society is in for serious trouble if we all don't wake up and make some changes. I don't want to think this way, but I can't help but feel that we've all resigned ouselves to the fact that violence is all around us and is, do I dare even say it; acceptable?

Ahh, sooooo much to do, so little time and energy.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

No, You Must Be Mistaken

"Pete's a great guy, I've known him for years", "Who, Pete? No way, he never fights with anyone", "Mr. Smith would never do anything like that. He's the best 3rd grade teacher in the district; all the kids love him", "Pete Smith is a wonderful neighbor, he's always willing to help out and is a lot of fun at our yearly block party".

These are all statements made by people that are convinced that they know Pete Smith, a third grade teacher in a quiet suburban area. He appears to be a great guy to everyone that knows him; always happy, charming, willing to help, cares about others, etc. Sadly, all of those that think they know Pete, don't really know him at all and their comments attesting to his character will only make things that much more difficult for his wife of 20 years.

Pete's wife just found out that their young child, barely school age has been sexually abused by Pete. This animal committed the unspeakable against his child. He has physically, verbally and emotionally abused his wife for 18 out of the 20 years they've been married. His wife kept quiet all of these years out of fear. Fear of retaliation, fear of the unknown and worse of all, fear of not being believed. Pete worked very hard to ensure that she would never do anything to protect herself. He repeatedly told her all of it was her fault and she had better not go to the court for protection because he'll lose his job. Mary attempted to get help once but was met with shock and disbelief. Not Pete, he could never do these things.

This time is different. After having her young child describe sexual acts that a child that age could never even imagine, Mary didn't care who would believe her. In the blink of an eye she got herself and their four children out of that house. She sought protection from the court, child protective services became involved.

It's not an easy road ahead for Mary and her children and the court cases are still going on. Imagine standing face to face with this person that you committed your life to, who in turn, abused you and your children. Imagine standing there listening to them make small talk with court personnel and present themselves in the most charming, intelligent, respectfull maner possible. Imagine hearing the Judge read all of the allegations and the report submitted by CPS and the appointed law guardian indicating reason to believe that the sexual abuse allegations are credible and yet, this person holds firm that they have no idea what the court is talking about. Imagine this person trying to say that YOU are mentally unstable and have convinced the child to say the things they said.

Imagine, hearing your neighbors and friends make comments about how wonderful this person is even after all of this has come out in court. Imagine being allienated by all of your friends and in-laws because Pete has now lost his job. Imagine nobody taking a minute to comprehend what has happened and heaven forbid, place some responsibility on the person that committed these hideous acts.

You never, ever know what goes on behind closed doors and yes, even the most well liked teacher in the school district could be abusing their partner.

You never really know what someone is capable of. Not only is abusing your partner in any way, shape or form horrible and inexcuseable, but it's the best kept secret on the block.

Obviously names and details have been changed for confidentiality reasons however the main points and premise are 100% true.

Any thoughts?

Thursday, August 31, 2006

And the beat goes on....

Here we go again. I feel like a broken record at this point and sometimes can't even stand to hear the same thought in my own head over and over again but here I am, once again amazed at the lack of awareness, education and information on this pesky little problem referred to as domestic violence. Let's see, where do I begin...

I speak with a woman a few days ago who had been physically and emotionally abused by her boyfriend for years. She finally got away from him, only to be stalked for the past year. Has he ever been arrested for this stalking? No and I'm not even going there, that's a rant for another day. Anyway, she goes to the local convenience store one evening not too long ago and when she walks out, there he is. Approaches her as she's getting in her car, grabs her by the hair and throws her to the ground. Then proceeds to stand her up and punch her repeatedly about the head and face. Once his hand starts to hurt he moves on to attempting to choke her. Mind you ,this is all taking place in a PUBLIC parking lot and people are coming and going. You'd think someone would intervene, right? WRONG! Not only didn't anyone attempt to help her or at the least, call 911 from their friggin cell phone but a car load of young men pull into the parking lot and proceed to cheer him on shouting "hit her again". This poor woman only got help when the person working in the store came outside and her boyfriend left. A trip to the ER, 2 broken ribs, a broken nose and slight concusion later, he was finally arrested.

What the hell is wrong with people and what kind of society are we living in where nobody would stop to help this woman? Worse, what are we coming to when the young men in our society think it amusing to beat a woman and encourage their cohorts by cheering them on? This behavior is nothing short of animalistic and we had better wisen up because from the looks of things, we're all in trouble.

Okay so and then I get an email from a friend this afternoon asking me to add my 2 cents on a message board he runs because a woman has posted that her husband is physically abusive to her, controls all aspects of her life and as usual, blames her for everything that he does to her. This message board is predominantly women and the replies I was reading had me shocked. This is not the first time a topic such has this has been posted and I always see the same replies. Things such as "I'd just leave him", "File a police report so you have proof for your divorce" and the famous "I'm so sorry to hear this". Then of course there were the people making comments and suggestions that they see on tv shows; get a restraining order from the police, those telling her she cannot get help unless she makes a police report, those telling her to threaten him with leaving, etc. Not only is this information INCORRECT but it can place a woman in this situation in far more danger than she's currently in. Perfect example of a little knowledge can be very dangerous, just as dangerous as no knowledge at all. FYI folks, it is NEVER, EVER adviseable that a dv victim threaten their partner with leaving the relationship nor is it ever wise to "threaten" to call the police or obtain an Order of Protection.

DV 101 Rule # 1: Domestic Violence is based on POWER and CONTROL and leaving the situation no matter how it is done takes the power and control AWAY from the abuser. This can enrage them and therefore place the victim in serious danger as many will not stop until they regain that power and control.

DV 101 Rule # 2: If you want to help someone in a violent relationship, do not patronize them by saying you're so sorry for them. That will only make them feel worse about their situation. Instead get the correct information to give them or encourage them to call a domestic violence agency for assistance. Do not EVER force them to do something and for the love of God people, no matter how well meaning you might be, do not ever base your response on something you saw on the latest episose of Law and Order or a Lifetime tv movie. This is real life!

Lastly, please don't base your response on what Oprah or Dr. Phil suggest. I like Oprah just as much as the next person but her celebrity status does not qualify her to speak on this topic and many times she is misinformed and quite judgemental of her guests.

Enough said, rant over...carry on

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