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

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

Thursday, August 17, 2006

How Does This Make Sense?

Maybe it's me. Maybe I expect too much from people. Maybe I foolishly expect people to not just do their job to get by but to do it well and take some pride in what they do. You know...actually THINK about what they're doing once in a while? Imagine you're a criminal prosecutor (District Attorney) working in arraignments one morning. Next case on the docket is a lovely gentleman who was arrested the evening before for beating and strangling his wife. The arrest paperwork in front of you indicates that she lost consciousness and was rushed to the hosptial. Now, as the prosecutor and person working on behalf of the compalining witness (victim) you have the capability of requesting an Order of Protection for the victim. There are 2 types of orders a Stay Away and a Refrain From with the Stay Away being the most restrictive meaning just that, stay away. As you approach the Judge for the arraignment, you submit the application for the OP but instead of requesting the Stay Away considering the severity of the abuse, you request the Refrain From which will allow this guy to go back into the home THAT AFTERNOON. Why do you ask for the Refrain From? Well, that's simple, when the victim isn't present in the courtroom the DA's office doesn't want to force a Stay Away OP on them if that's not what they want so they only request the Refrain From. Okay, that's the STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE. THIS is NOT the STANDARD situation. The victim was removed from the scene to the hospital and IS STILL THERE which would explain why she's not in the courtroom for the arraignment.

I just don't get it...these people are supposed to be working on behalf of the victim and in their best interest but couldn't think outside of their little box and get the Stay Away. No, instead this woman was released from the hospital the next day and went home to find her dear husband waiting for her. She has now been forced to leave the marital home and is staying w/friends until the court sees it in their hearts to hear her application to modify the OP to the Stay Away.

Brilliant folks, simply brilliant.

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