Category Archives: domestic violence

The Chickens Come Home To Roost

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I am pissed. I have been in shock, and angry and ready for change. Now I am furious.

Two weeks ago we had another mass shooting at a high school in Florida. Seventeen people died, students and teachers. The surviving students have been absolutely awe inspiring in the aftermath of this tragedy. Organizing, speaking out, taking a stand. Doing everything that we adults haven’t done. I have watched and listened to these kids and cried in sorrow and shame for all that they have lost. Not just friends, but innocence. Senseless. I’ve cried tears of pride for their choice to take this unspeakable tragedy and use their energy and power to make change. As much as what they lived through is what is wrong in this world, these kids are what’s right.

Of course, as happens after these mass shootings, copycats pop up. Who knows why. Maybe they want to somehow ride the wave of chaos to some sort of infamy? Maybe they see it as their chance to be the guy who everyone finally takes seriously? Maybe it’s just some dumbass who wants to be the hero who gets school shut down for a day? Whatever their reason, they contribute to the sense of fear and force us to face the reality that none of our kids are safe.

“They” say that anger is a secondary emotion usually used to cover up fear. I think “they” are generally correct, but not always. Today I am pissed. I got a robocall from the principle of our high school at 6:50am today. There had been a threat made against our school last night about 9:30pm. It was investigated and found to be NOT credible. Good. He went on to say that in light of this threat and to show that they were taking this very seriously, there would be a police presence in all of our schools today. High school, Middle and Elementary. Ok. That angers me on so many levels I can’t even begin. Mostly just the fact that this is where we are today in this country. This is how our kids have to live. That there are kids out there who are so bored, stupid, mentally off, evil, bullied, or needing attention that they will make threats against their fellow classmates.

Active shooter drills are a way of life for our kids. Shelter in place drills have replaced fire drills as the most important skill to learn. WHY ARE WE TOLERATING THIS? Why are we ok with teaching our kids to run, fight, hide ? This is a fixable problem. And we have had YEARS to fix it. And we have failed miserably. And children have died, continue to die. And that is FULLY on us. On me, on you, on our government and our choices. We have not only allowed but literally promoted gun violence, either intentionally or by our silence.

I think people think I’m kidding when I say we need to get rid of ALL guns. ALL of them and now. Not in 10 years, not just semi automatic weapons. ALL guns. Gone. Turn them in, melt them down. Done. I don’t care if you think you “need” your gun for hunting (no you don’t) or for protection (get some mace) or for your God given right (there are zero guns in the bible you wingnut). I don’t care. Get rid of them all. It is the year 2018 and there is no reason for anyone to have guns. None. And you will not convince me otherwise.

I lived in the middle of the woods, on the side of a steep hill with 3 little babies and crack dealers banging on my door in the middle of the night. My closest neighbor was about a mile down the dirt road and she was 78 with slight dementia. I understand being scared in your own home because of BOTH wildlife and criminals. I understand needing to protect your property and your family. I did so without the use of a gun. Oh and yes, it absolutely took the State Police over 45 minutes to show up once they were called. You have NO excuse. I had bats and squirrels and foxes, feral cats, rabid raccoons and 10 point bucks shot by some inadequate hunter and angry in my back yard. No gun needed.

The second amendment means nothing to me. I used to be a “libtard” who would say that I defend your right to bear arms. I used to support your right to hunt, to stand your ground. But, y’all have proved yourselves to be idiots and irresponsible and one child dying from gun violence is one child too many. I don’t think stricter laws will help. Background checks won’t solve this problem. No more guns for anyone would be the best way to start.

We are a relatively young country. We are an experiment. And this part of the experiment has gone tragically awry. So, we do what we have always done and we make a change. We tried allowing guns for our citizens, it didn’t work, so now we get rid of the guns. Very simple. I know, the people who have money invested try to complicate this and make it seem like getting rid of guns won’t solve the problem, but ya know what? They lie.

How about this…we get rid of ALL guns now, and if in 10 years we are still having mass shootings, we can revisit allowing guns in our society. But let’s just try it. Just to see…just to prove me wrong. I dare you.

 

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A Little Ditty About Domestic Violence…

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abuseIt’s Domestic Violence Awareness month so allow me to Aware you. So many people think of DV as some scummy dude beating the crap out of his girlfriend in some shack. When they think of a woman who “allows” herself to be in that sort of relationship they think of a weak, unwashed, poor, overwhelmed, ignorant woman who was probably born into poverty. I’m here to tell you that those perceptions couldn’t be farther from the truth.  DV is NOT just about being hit. It encompasses emotional. mental, sexual and financial abuse. Abuse is about control. One person wants to control another. When they can’t control, they get very angry. They take their anger out on the victim. It’s not right, it is not the way “normal” people go about having their needs met, but an abuser is not “normal”.

Abusers are not just men and they are not just “bad boys”. Most abusers appear to the rest of society as normal, upstanding citizens. It can’t be said enough, abuse is about control (or the illusion of control). The abuser wants TOTAL control over their partner. It stems from a personality disorder which may or may not be connected to a mental illness or an addiction. It has some to do with their upbringing, possibly a trauma, possibly their environment, but definitely a “screw up” in the wiring of their brain. As far as the person who becomes involved with an abuser, sometimes it is a person who’s own upbringing, environment or personal mental health/addiction issues make being with an abuser feel comfortable and familiar. It is a complicated issue. And not one easily remedied.

Statistics show that an abuser, with professional help, has about a 5% chance of changing and those that DO show signs of change actually only change abuse tactics. They might go from being overt to covert, they might stop physical abuse but switch to emotional abuse, or stop sexually abusing their partner only to financially abuse their partner. Most of the abusers I know ARE “nice guys”. Young people need to be taught, both boys AND girls, how to treat others. They need to see it modeled by ALL the adults in their life. Their parents, school officials, church, coaches, medical professionals, every single adult. Controlling another human being is basically impossible. We all have choices. Sometimes we need help to make the best choice for ourselves. Support and education are going to help…but not just for the person in the abusive relationship, for ALL of society.

I have heard recently that I don’t look like someone who would have been in an abusive relationship. That I don’t seem like the type who would have “allowed” that. Yes, well, I’m not sure how to take that. I know it is meant as a compliment or because the person telling me that sees me as “strong” or not that “type”. This is further evidence that there is no “type” of person who becomes a victim of an abuser. It can and does happen to anyone. There are only two outcomes to being in an abusive relationship : freedom or death. We always have a choice. Always. The choice might be between life or death, it may be between homelessness or warmth, it may be between poverty or comfortability. I’m not saying they are easy choices by any means. That is where we, as a society, can step up and help and support. We can ease the transitions, we can support the choices that will lead to lives being free from abuse.

The most dangerous time for a person in an abusive relationship is when they are trying to leave. On average, it takes a person 8 attempts before they finally break free. That might look like the victim leaving, demanding change from their partner, seeing some change, going back, having the abuse start again, leaving, demanding change, seeing change, going back, having the abuse start again…it looks like insanity to the rest of us. But make no mistake, a person involved with an abuser is invested in the relationship. The abuser truly is a powerful person in the life of the person they are abusing. No victim wants to be abused. They don’t. They don’t ask for it. They want what we all want. To be respected, loved, treated with kindness, trusted. An abuser knows that. And an abuser uses that to their advantage to stay in control of the relationship and ultimately the victim. 70% of DV murders occur when the victim is leaving or has left the relationship. Many of those murders are committed by a partner who had NO history of physical violence against the victim. He may never have hit her, but as soon as he knows he has lost all control over her, he has nothing left to lose.

Some people leave after the first punch. Some people leave after the first rage. Some people leave after hearing rumors. Those people are not better than those who stay. They are just less invested. They are not stronger or smarter than those who stay. They just have a different path. I hope that those people who have had a brush with DV would be able to be compassionate and kind rather than condescending and that they would use their experience to really look inside themselves and find a way to help those who need it. Never underestimate the power of isolation. But never underestimate the power of support. We are only as sick as our secrets. DV is a dangerous thing. For the victim, the family, the friends and for all of society. We can change. We do have the power, it lies within our choices. We are not weak, we are not helpless, we are brave and we can do this, together.