Sunday, March 29, 2009
Until today I have never posted the same thing twice. However, due to an unusual amount of email regarding one topic...I decided to again post "I Got Flowers Today".
This is a poem I found long ago. There is no name attached as to who the author is but I felt it appropriate for this topic. The poem is as follows:
"I got flowers today. It wasn't my birthday or any other special day.We had our first argument last night, and he said a lot of cruel things that really hurt me.I know he is sorry and didn't mean the things he said because he sent me flowers today.I got flowers today. It wasn't our anniversary or any special day.Last night he threw me into a wall and started to choke me. It seemed like a nightmare. I couldn't believe it was real. I woke up this morning sore and bruised all over.I know he must be sorry because he sent me flowers today, and it wasn't Mother's Day or any other special day.Last night he beat me up again, and it was much worse than all the other times. If I leave him, what will I do? How will I take care of my kids? What about money? I'm afraid of him and scared to leave.But I know he must be sorry. Because he sent me flowers today.I got flowers today. Today was a very special day.It was the day of my funeral.Last night he finally killed me. He beat me to death.If only I had gathered the courage and strength to leave him.I would not have gotten flowers today".
There are three primary parts of domestic violence. What I'm going to share comes from "Cycle of Violence"...again I don't recall it's original source. Yet, it's something I was given when I first sought help through the women's shelter.1) Increased tension, anger, blaming and arguing.2) Battering, hitting, slapping, kicking, choking, use of objects or weapons. Sexual abuse. Verbal threats and abuse.3) Calm stage (this may decrease over time) He may deny violence, say he was drunk, say he didn't mean it, say he's sorry, and promises it will never happen again.
Many times over these last few weeks, I've implored you to let someone know you are in a crisis situation. Yet, the amount of emails I'm receiving is confirming the vast majority are not doing this. There are various reasons that you are telling me for not doing so...and I understand.My own personal experience let's me see that your reasons for not doing so are valid. However, now that I'm on this 'side' of the cycle of domestic violence, I can see some options that were available that I didn't take advantage of. Don't make the same mistakes that I did. More times than I can count, I had to seek immediate health care. There was never a single time I was asked by a health care professional while ALONE..."are you living in a safe environment?".
If it wasn't my abuser that drove me to the Emergency Department of the local hospital, it was one of his relatives (usually a female). It made no difference if the abuser was there or not...as whoever it happened to be that drove me...they were always in the room. It's not rocket science to know that I answered, "Yes, I'm in a safe environment". We must do whatever it takes to get that health care provider...ALONE! Let them know that you need help and it needs to be now...not later. There may not be a "later".
I know that there are measures built into the health care system to help those in abusive relationships...yet, personal experience has taught me that just because it's "built in" doesn't mean it's followed.
Recently, I wrote about the need for additional surgery. I've also told my readers that I am remarried (almost 2 years now). You cannot imagine the shock I had when I went to the hospital this last time. When my husband and I went to registration to 'check-in', they still had my old information on the "face sheet" with the number of my abuser!
My husband and I both were livid. My husband told the person at registration that this was supposed to have been changed almost 3 years ago. She assured us that it had been changed in their system. My husband demanded that she print out a new "face sheet" to verify what she had just said. When she printed out that new "face sheet"...it was still the same. The information within their system had NOT been changed.
The sudden panic that hit me felt as if I'd been kicked. We were ushered into a different waiting area. This is where we stayed until I was called to go into the "prep area" before my procedure began. I felt victimized all over again. However, my husband's continued insistence proved to be of great benefit. Before I left the hospital they...finally... they had removed all old information off my medical chart. Why did it take almost 3 years to do this? The only thing I can think of is it was not of importance. If it had been, it'd have been removed when I entered the "safe house".
When I entered the "safe house" it was discovered that I needed surgery. My case manager called my physician and let him know where I was and the reason why. She had also called the hospital and let them know, too. I was to receive a call from the hospital later that day to let me know the exact time I should arrive and which entrance to use. When no call came, I let my case manager know this. She suggested to me that I should call them.
You can imagine my shock when I was told that they did call. They let my husband (abuser) know what time to have me there and which entrance to use. This was in 2005! You can understand why I was so upset when now, in 2008, they still had the wrong information. Please understand, I am in no way saying it's like this all over. I'm simply letting you know of my personal experience.
This is the reason I caution you...make sure health care facilities know what your situation is...check...double check...and triple check, if need be. Don't get caught off guard as I did. It may seem extreme that after almost 3 years they had the same obsolete information...but they did. If it hadn't happened to me, I may have had a difficult time believing it. Yet, I must say that my new husband's insistence made all the difference in the world...as I was so panicked, I could hardly speak.Well, it's getting late and I need to stop for now...but not before I remind you that you are being prayed for. There are a vast number of women that I'm connected to, they also read your comments. Their hearts are connected to you. We are committed to your safety and well-being.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
There was a front-page article on stalking. The title was “Stalked to Death”. It was written Friday January 9. I am the one referred to as “Marianne”. You will also learn that although I have been divorced from the abuser, he continues to harass me by stalking me at times. Although he lives 200 miles away, he still drives over here. His photo has been snapped on my friend’s cell phone camera and I have seen him on four different occasions.
I have been remarried to the most amazing man on the planet for almost three years now. Why he expends so much energy to harass and try to track me down, I do not know. I can tell you that continually looking over my shoulder is extremely stressful.
The article in its entirety is below. Due to it being a short piece, there were many facets of domestic assault that were not explored in the article.
For 20 years of her marriage, Marianne slept in bed each night with one foot planted on the floor. She lived, and slept, in constant fear of her abusive husband. “I would get hit, kicked or knocked out of bed almost every night,” she said. When Marianne (not her real name) gathered the courage to leave her 25-year marriage, she made what she thought would be a clean break, living in a shelter and quickly filing for divorce.
“He eventually moved to the other side of the state, which made me feel like I would be somewhat safe,” said Marianne, who divorced in 2005. “Then I found out he had been driving around our area.”
After leaving her husband, much of Marianne’s behavior had to change as her ex continued to stalk her — even now, when she has since remarried. She has spotted his vehicle at least four times since their split. A friend captured a photo on her cell phone of his car passing through the area, she said.
“He believes that God hates divorce,” she said. “To him I will always be his wife, and anyone else is an intruder.”
One in 12 women and one in 45 men will be stalked sometime in their lives, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime, which defines stalking as a course of conduct directed at a specific person to cause fear.
It can include phone calls, following, vandalism and even threats or harm directed at the person’s family or pets.
Marianne’s ex-husband once attached a GPS tracking device to her vehicle.
As part of January’s Stalking Awareness Month, the Women's Resource Center will host a Jan. 27 ceremony for victims of domestic violence and stalking who have died in the past year.
On Saturday, Jan. 10, a memorial and candlelight vigil will take for Lori DeKleine, who was murdered in one of the most high-profile cases of domestic abuse in recent years.
Lori DeKleine, 43, was found dead in her home on Calvin Avenue on Jan. 10, 2008.
Her husband, a then police officer Ken DeKleine, was sentenced to life in prison without parole for her murder.
Testimony during a jury trial in July showed that Lori planned to attend a stalking seminar before her murder.
Lori DeKleine filed a restraining order against Ken DeKleine in January 2007, about a year before her murder. In it, she wrote, her husband was a “sexual and emotional bully” who stalked her by putting recording devices in her backpack and bedroom. He once broke into her locked bedroom through a window at night, leaving shattered glass and blood, she wrote.
In the past four months, two other local women were murdered by former boyfriends with histories of stalking them. Of all women killed by their intimate partners, 76 percent were stalked by that partner before they were killed, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime.
Danica Flournoy, 23, was fatally shot by her ex-boyfriend, Robert Echols, 29, in a 16th Street apartment complex. Echols killed himself two hours later in Grand Rapids, on Oct. 27.
Echols was searching for Flournoy before he shot her, Flournoy’s mother, Penny McCoy, said at the time. Flournoy had moved into her mother’s boyfriend’s apartment just hours before she was found and murdered.
Esmeralda Aguilera, 31, was shot and killed by her former boyfriend, Reyes Renteria, 31, who also took his own life, on Dec. 7. She filed a restraining order against Renteria six days before her murder.
In the court files, Aguilera described Renteria showing up uninvited at her home, workplace and at a Rod & Gun Club dance.
On Dec. 1, Aguilera wrote that she was seeking the restraining order because “Ray will not stop looking for me we broke off our relationship and he wants me to ‘give him another chance.’ I’ve told him no but he will not stop.”
Marianne said she was too fearful to file again for a personal protection order against her ex-husband.
“The reason we don't want to do anything now is that you have to go to court for that,” she said. “I don't want him knowing my last name.”
One thing the Women's Resource Center crisis intervention advocate Anna DeHaan wants stalking victims to know is that taking the issue to court does not have to mean revealing your location.
“The victim is going to know their situation best, but there is an option to keep your address confidential (on a restraining order form),” she said. “However, the person will know your jurisdiction.”
I want to let you know that it was a fractured eye-socket and broken jaw that finally got me out of that situation...plus a quick thinking neighbor that had heard me screaming. One thing I've learned is that when we think all is well...it may not be. I've found this out since my "ex" is still considered by the police as "unpredictiable".
There have been no posts written in so long. Most of you know I'm dealing with significant physical challenges. Sometimes just getting out of bed is a chore and my sleep is distrubed at night due to pain.
I still wish there were a way I could reach out and hug each and every one of you. Whether I write regularly or not....you are always being prayed for.
PS. One of the women that was murdered, I'd gotten to know while living in the safe-house.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I have been receiving many e-mail letters from women who have told me that they feel that they have nowhere to turn for help. Some have confided that because of this isolation they have had thoughts of suicide. Many others who have contacted me via e-mail also know of women who have confided that they too are similarly desperate. In both cases fear of the abuser and possible retaliation are effective roadblocks. The abuser frequently counts on intimidation as a weapon.
Depression is a very serious matter, one cannot simply snap out of this type of emotional pain. It is truly terrible to lose one’s dignity, no one should feel so alone and unheard that suicide becomes an option. I would like to suggest a possible solution that can aid women who otherwise feel helpless, and hopeless. What I am suggesting is known as a “wellness check.” Anyone who suspects or knows of an impending plan to hurt oneself can contact the local law enforcement authorities. A police department or county sheriff for those who live in rural areas can be contacted through calling 911. An law enforcement officer will dispatched to the residence. A request for a “wellness check” may provide help and save someone’s life.
I know that there is reluctance for people to admit that they suffer from this level of emotional pain and grief. Some people believe that taking such action further erodes their dignity by seeking help. I beg to differ in that the alternative to not getting help may be far more catastrophic. I have counseled many women who have told me that they see no other way. The immediate pain overshadows their logic. Many times these feelings motivate actions that are both powerful and impulsive. Once in motion these plans are hard to stop. Professional help is required.
Therefore, what I am advocating is a chance to take a time out away from the abuser. This is only a suggestion but I know that “wellness checks have saved many lives. I know of a situation where someone recently called for such a wellness check and the police arrived in time to save the life of a young mother. Had someone not called for a wellness check when I was living with my abuser, I could have been killed.
Let’s never forget that we are “our brother’s keeper”…Is it ever too late to do the right thing? If I could, I would (((hug))) each one of you. Be reminded that there is an army of women praying for you.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Those of you that have been reading this site are well aware that I had surgery again on Oct 8. Things did not go as smoothly as we had hoped. This is the reason I have not posted anything recently. However, to those of you that have sent emails...I have read each and every one.
I wish I could say that physically things are looking up...but they are not. There are still times I cannot sleep due to discomfort. As soon as I get recovered enough, I need to return to the neurosurgeon to look further into the brain lesions that were discovered. Yet, within these last two days the Lord has done a new thing for me. Even now thinking about it...I am filled with delight.
There have been a few Christian sisters He has brought across my path. Just as the title of this post..."The Beginning of A New Day"...having these ladies in my life is that new day!
Many of the emails I've received have asked numerous questions. After carefully reading all the emails I've discovered that all questions have already been answered within the many posts I've done on this site. I encourage you to take your time and read through them.
I'm currently working within state government to try and change how funds are allocated between the counties regarding obtaining more help for domestic violence victims. This seems to be a long process as there are many hoops to jump through. Rest assured that although the fight is long the women behind this cause are very strong and determined.
There is still a need for your prayer support for the health issues of which I'm struggling. Rarely am I even able to leave my home...when I do, it is only for short periods of time. However, whenever I am able to get out I am thrilled. The fresh snow on the ground...the way the snow hugs the trees and bushes is absolutely gorgeous. Plus, the way the scent of the pine trees in winter is wonderful! Today, I saw two cardinals. This surprised me as I thought they headed south for winter...obviously I was wrong.
This post is shorter than usual, but I am only able to be up for short periods of time. Be reminded there is an army of women that are praying for you. Don't take chances with your safety...there is help available. Use the resources I have listed on this site. I wish I could (((hug))) each one of you.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Last week, I had to go the hospital for a whole battery of tests that needed to be completed prior to my surgical date. Keep in mind I have been remarried for just over two years.
You can imagine my shock and outrage that on the "face sheet" of my chart they had listed "next of kin contact information". THEY HAD MY ABUSER'S NUMBER LISTED! Immediate fear gripped me. Had they already called him with any information (this was my thought)?
Thankfully, my beloved husband was with me. He (a medical professional) was equally outraged. Before we left the hospital that day, the correct information was on the "face sheet" of my chart. If anyone would have told me the hospital could have screwed something up like this so badly...I would not have believed it. Yet, it's true. They messed up royally.
This alerted me to the fact if it can happen to me, it just as well could happen to anyone. PLEASE...ladies, if you have any procedures done, whether in patient, or out patient: Check over every single bit of information. Check, and double check. Do not allow anyone to tell you, "Oh, it's all OK." That's what they told me...thankfully....we looked!
The other source of stress right now, is knowing that as soon as I've recovered successfully from this surgery...I have to go back to the neurosurgeon to continue looking into the reasons for all the lesions I have on both sides of my brain. Only some of the reason is clear...and that is repeated head trauma after all the years of abuse. Another thing I was told that it could be MS...as there are medical indicators that would suggest this. Yet, it needs to be investigated more thoroughly.
To those of you that pray, I certainly covet your prayer support. I don't know when I'll be able to do my next post. I was told that some hospitals have access for their patients to the internet. Yet, it never occured to me until right now that I should have asked. :(
I have a little more to do yet before we leave. I will close out for now. Usually, I end my post by saying I wish I could (((Hug))) each one of you...but right now, I wish I could get a (((Hug))) from you.
Monday, September 1, 2008
It seems like I'm fighting a war on three fronts. I have lesions on both sides of my brain. Tests are inconclusive...yet, MS has not been ruled out. It's also been said that some of these lesions are most likely the result of repeated "head trauma" over the years while living in an abusive marriage.
Recently, I was referred to a cardiologist due to complication in another area. The doctor ordered a whole hosts of tests to be done. After all tests results were in, I was not prepared for the results. Without going into much detail, I will be seeing a cardiac surgeon on Sept 10. The problem is, I don't know exactly how much damage has already occurred. Can it be fixed?
My husband is a medical professional. He's been trying to find research regarding what we were told. I can see the concern in his eyes...those unspoken words between husband and wife. The other issue is the fact there has not been much research into this particular problem. This has caused much frustration and anxiety for both of us.
In the midst of all this, those of you struggling within an abusive relationship...I have never let go of you in prayer. Again, I want to remind you there is an army of women that are also praying for you on a daily basis. The emails I receive have let me know of the triumphs that have come to some of you...other emails have told of the sorrow due to the ongoing abuse. The thing I know for sure...there is a way out!
If that seems like a bold statement, it was intended to be. The reason I know there is a way out...is due to the fact I'm out of a toxic relationship that lasted almost 25 years. I wish I could give each one of you a (((Hug)))...be reminded that I care.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
- A man gets in a fight in a bar and snaps a pool cue over another man's head (concussion, sutures) because he did not like what the other man said.
question? Who's the perpetrator and who is the victim ?
- A man gets cut off on the freeway and he decides to follow the other man and when the other car stops he starts a fight with this man (Broken nose). Again who is the victim?
- A woman is accused of not having dinner on the table at the designated time, in response to this the husband beats the wife resulting in (concussion, sutures on bottom lip) the woman was late because her child was injured on the playground, but her husband never gave her a chance to say "why" she was late. Now who's is the victim.
The reason for the exercise is that I believe that a compassionate understanding person would recognize that in each case the person who was beaten is the victim. One can easily determine that in these examples nothing was done to deserve this aggressive act. Now some of our more learned Biblical "scholars" who grace these pages with their comments, that a woman needs to be corrected and brought into submission under her husband's authority would really be condoning the rage of a violent act. Image if you will the in each case the perpetrator is the same man. Was he thinking Biblically each time he acted out and allowed rage to control him, or only when he beat his wife. Do you that read the Bible and adhere to loving words of our LORD believe that rage in the form of uncontrolled anger is prescribed by the text? In each case above the man let his emotions rage and the resulting violence is always barred by law and punishable by jail time.
You can couch violence against one's partner in purely Biblical terms but I believe that you are lying to yourself, when you fail to see that it was rage, uncontrolled anger and after the fact defended by the abuser as an act of Biblical correction. If you can show me how fractures, concussions, sutures, destruction of person property, and very often death are justified by the Bible when in fact what we are really looking at is rage pure and simple then I will print your comments. Since I know that you can't please refrain!
Dozens of you have forwarded to me an article written by a Baptist "Scholar". You've requested that I respond to the outrageous remarks given by it's author. I plan on doing this, but desire to not only read it, but listen to an audio version as well. Many times you can pick up on nuances in an audio version that may otherwise be absent in text. Although, I can't imagine anything being worse than what I've already read.
I found an excellent survey to help in determining if your relationship is abusive. Many times we make excuses for our partner. The reason I can say this with such confidence is that I made excuses, too. This survery was found on a site that also deals with domestic violence issues. www.aardvarc.org . This site had many other links and 'help tools'.
Relationship Quiz: Am I In An Abusive Relationship?
Instructions:Enter the number of points next to each question depending on the severity of each item:
Never: 0 points
Rarely: 1 point
Sometimes: 2 points
Frequently: 3 points
__ My partner teases me in a hurtful way in private or in public
__ My partner calls me names such as "stupid" or "bitch"
__ My partner acts jealous of my friends, family, or co-workers
__ My partner gets angry about clothes I wear or how I style my hair
__ My partner checks up on me by calling, driving by, or getting someone else to
__ My partner insists on knowing who I talk to on the phone
__ My partner blames me for their problems or bad mood
__ My partner gets angry easily, leaving me walking on eggshells
__ My partner throws or destroys things when angry
__ My partner hits walls, drives dangerously or does other things to scare me
__ My partner drinks excessively or uses drugs
__ My partner insists that I drink or use drugs whenever they do
__ My partner accuses me of being interested in someone else
__ My partner reads my mail, goes thru my personal space/items (ie. purse)
__ My partner keeps me from getting a job or finds ways to cause problems at my job
__ My partner keeps money from me, keeps me in debt, or has "money secrets"
__ My partner sold my car, made me give up my license, or won't repair my car
__ My partner has threatened to hurt me
__ My partner has threatened to hurt my children
__ My partner has actually hurt my children
__ My partner has threatened to hurt my pets
__ My partner has actually hurt my pets
__ My partner has threatened to hurt my friends or family
__ My partner has hurt a friend or family member
__ My partner has threatened to commit suicide if I leave
__ My partner has struck me with hands or feet - slapped, punched, kicked
__ My partner has struck me with an object or threatened me with a weapon
__ My partner has given me visible injuries - bruises, welts, cuts
__ I have had to administer first aid to myself due to injuries from my partner
__ My injuries have been serious enough to seek treatment - doctor, hospital, clinic, paramedic
__ My partner forces me to have sex when I don't want to
__ My partner forces me to have sex in ways that I don't want to
__ My partner has been in trouble with the police
__ My partner acts one way in front of others, and another way when we are alone
__ My partner is secretive or lies about past relationships
__ I feel isolated and alone and have no one I can really talk to
__ I have lost friends because of my partner/partner's actions
__ I no longer see some of my family because of my partner
__ I have thought about calling the police because of an incident of violence
__ I have actually called the police on one or more occasions
__ I am afraid to call the police because of threats from my partner
_____ TOTAL POINTS
0-17: Generally Non-abusiveThese are likely to be the sorts of strains that are not unusual in relationships. Do NOT, however, make the mistake of brushing off any incident of violence or threat of violence, no matter how isolated!
18-58: Moderately AbusiveThis is a home experiencing some violence at least once in a while. It may be that this is a relationship where violence is just beginning. In a new relationship there is good reason to expect it will eventually escalate into more serious forms and may occur more frequently.
59-95: Seriously AbusiveScores in this range indicate a seriously abusive relationship that can, under outside pressure, or with the sudden strain of a family emergency, move into the dangerously severe range. Serious injury is quite probable if it has not already occurred. Please consider getting help, even leaving.
96 and up: Dangerously AbusiveIf you scored in the top range, you need to consider even more seriously the option of leaving, at least temporarily, while you consider your next move. The violence will not take care of itself or miraculously disappear. Over time the chances are very good that your life and/or the lives of your children will be in danger.
Monday, June 23, 2008
From the comments I've gotten on this blog, it's obvious that most of you had run into the same difficulty I had. The problem was thinking that your church or the medical profession would readily help you.
It is certainly not my intention to say that all churches, and all medical personnel are not willing to help. Yet, it's been my own personal experience that where you think there would be help...there may be no help at all. Many of you have echoed similar experiences.
However, now, I've finally gotten the "ear" of a few medical personnel and a few church leaders. It appears that with the majority of the medical professionals, they are content to rely on their statistics to gather necessary information on the demographics of the problem and how to best be of assistance. Yet, statistics can be skewed to the view of the one gathering the information.
I still get many emails from you telling me that some (not all) nurses in the Emergency Departments, or Immediate Care facilities are not even bothering to look up from the keyboard when they ask you, if you are living in a safe environment. You are also telling me that you are not being asked this when alone...and this is critical, that you be alone! None of us, having been in an abusive relationship would ever admit to being abused with our abuser standing right there. Personally, I've found it unsafe with anyone being there. There were many times my abuser refused to even take me to the hospital for treatment, instead having his sister or another female relative accompany me. Needless to say, I could never admit to abuse in front of them, as they always reported back to him what I said.
Then there are many churches, like the one I was involved for over two decades (and in leadership). It was here that I was told, "That's just the way he is"..."What are you doing to "provoke" him"..."You have no Biblical grounds for divorce"..."You need to adapt yourself to your husbands plans"...and a numerous array of reasons why the abuse was "my fault".
I encourage you to read previous posts I've written as there is an enormous amount of information contained within them. You can read for yourself, the betrayal of a friend of over 20 years...the total disconnect of my own pastor...the lack of help from the medical community...including the hospital calling my abuser to tell him the time to have me at the hospital and what entrance to use!
There was a time, while attempting to make a hasty retreat from my abuser, I fell off the porch. This resulted in multiple fractures, torn hamstring, etc. During this time, I received a letter from my pastor. This when I still thought that, perhaps, my pastor would understand and intervene with some sorely needed help. I was so excited when I received the letter, I tore it open immediately.
Below you'll see a 'verbatim' account of a bit (for privacy purposes, I'm not publishing it in it's entirety) of his letter. After reading it, I was devastated. Obviously, I am not going to include names of individuals.
Sincere Christian Greetings!
I have been informed a couple of times and most recently by (another church leader) that you are unhappy with me because I have not called you concerning your absence from church.
Let me say first of all, you have been contacted numerous times through my wife and Pastor ( ) either directly by phone, by mail or through your husband. We have tried to show concern for you. Secondly, I rarely call a woman for or about anything. Thirdly, I have been very cautious about ministry problems; giving my time to the living and not the dying.
If you have an issue with me, the appropriate thing would have been to bring it to me.
You walked out of this ministry with no word or explanation. An ordained minister by definition is a “mature one.” You should be focusing in on what you did and how you did it rather than being upset with me for what you think I should have done. I am disappointed in your behavior.
The Holy Spirit has revealed more to me about your situation than you may be aware of.
I do love and pray for you.
There was absolutely no validity to a single issue...not one. And at no time was I contacted by anyone. My absence had nothing to do with the church...it had everything to do with my abuser. He said "The Holy Spirit has revealed more to me about your situation than you may be aware of." I was left to wonder, if the Holy Spirit, indeed, had revealed anything to him...why he didn't seek to intervene.
Another letter he'd written me of a perceived wrong doing on my part...I was not even within the United States. However, no one bothered to check his or her facts. When it was discovered that I wasn't even in the country...no apology was offered...no anything.
It took many months working with the Assault Counselor to finally come to realize that the abuse was not my fault, and that the church I was a part of was "toxic". Numerous times, the Assault Counselor would ask me "What church did you come from?" I never answered her, although she asked me at each session. Finally, during our last session, she asked again. This time, I asked her why she wanted to know this information. She said,"I want to make sure we don't refer any of our clients there." This was the only reason, I did tell her. When I told her, she nodded her head...as she had heard the name of this church before.
There are enormous resources available to help those of you in crisis. I simply wanted to let you know that your help may not come from where you think it will. However, don't give up and certainly don't back down...as there is help! I have some resource contacts on my site.
Help also comes in unexpected ways. This is what taught me that a 'coincidence is when the Lord decides to remain anonymous'.
If I could reach out and (((hug))) each one of you, I'd do it. Be reminded that you are being prayed for by an army of women that care!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Rarely have I ever done an article back to back. There are so many emails I receive regarding each article I've written, that I've purposely left them up for about a week before writing a new one. However, due to some of the most ridiculous "comments" I've gotten, I decided to go ahead and post back to back.
It's my desire to let my readers know of some of the mean spirited and ignorant "comments's" that come my way. Some even cloak their disdain for women by quoting the Bible. Now, I do need to let you know for each one I allow to be published there are about a dozen others like it, that I cannot publish as they are just too vile.
There is a serious "disconnect" between the description of Domestic Abuse/Assault and the description within the minds of the abusers. Below I'm going to copy verbatim just a few of the "comments" that I did allow to be published on my blog. Once you read them, you too, will see the irrational thinking between truth and reality. It's not rocket science to understand that abuse is always wrong...no shades of gray. The Lord would never condone this violence upon any of His children.
I made the decision to not change so much as a word. I left in the spelling and grammar errors.
Those of you that have been reading this blog all along also know the "comments" I receive from numerous women that tell me their churches are not helping. You also tell me that the medical profession has let you down as well.
Many of you have told me that when asked "Are you living in a safe environment?" You are asked this question with your abuser present, and rarely, if ever does the intake/triage nurse even look up at you from the keyboard when addressing you.
I must confess that this has happened to me, too...and more times than I can count. A couple articles back I relayed to you exactly what happened to me when I was going in for (what I thought would be) outpatient surgery. It was beyond outrageous! If you hadn't read it, I encourage you to do so.
I've located a profound truth in the movie titled "The Great Debaters":
- Who is the Judge?
- The judge is God!
- Why is it God?
- Because HE decides who wins or looses, not my opponent.
- Who is your opponent?
- He doesn’t exist.
- Why doesn’t he exist?
- He is merely a dissenting voice to the truth I speak.
- Speak the truth!
So, to those of you out there who have heard from anyone* that : you don't support your husband, you need to stick it out, if you follow your mate this wouldn't have happened, you need to adapt yourself to your husband's plans, you have no Biblical right to seek a divorce, you've provoked him to anger or any other comment that keeps you in the bondage of violence and emotional cruelty you can look your oppressor in the eye and believe that God knows who's right and who's wrong. They* are merely a dissenting voice to THE TRUTH YOU SPEAK! Therefore, to you these people do not exist. If you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem.
* Church leaders, neighbors, family, do-gooders, medical professionals, your own self-doubt and anyone that's not walked in your shoes.
You already know how I'm going to close this article...I wish I could reach out and (((Hug))) each and every one of you that are hurting.
So often the tears of fear, frustration, loneliness, isolation, regret and most of all, tears of believing that nothing could truly ever change for me, regarding the years of abuse I'd been accustomed...led to deep despair.
After all, I had already gone to those in leadership above me within the church. Hadn't I been told that it was me that must be doing something to provoke him? I believed this, and set out to be the "perfect wife". Although, his out of control fits of anger were well known even in board meetings---and always excused his behavior as "That's just the way he is".
Needless to say, there is no such thing as being "perfect" at anything. Even though I was trying my best to be the "perfect" wife...I had once forgotten to turn out the light in the garage. So enraged he'd become that he threw a hammer at me, fracturing my jaw. There are literally dozens of instances I could give to validate that being "perfect" has no bearing upon someone that decides to become angry.
Recently, I came across some information that surprised even me, it has to so with stalking. Due to the fact I'm considered highly educated, I thought I could depend on my natural abilities. It was pointed out, that often those are the very ones that make the easier targets! The article below comes from "No Nonsense Self-Defense" written by Marc & Dianna Mac Young. This is not the article in it's entirety, but dealt with the subject matter I brought up within this post.
This is THE most common mistake women make when it comes to stalkers. Bottom line here, if the guy
a) didn't already know he could take you
b) was afraid of you and what you can do, and
c) wasn't pretty sure he could get away with it --
HE WOULDN'T BE DOING IT IN THE FIRST PLACE!
While it is terrifying to believe so, such a person has been studying you like an insect. He knows your strengths, weaknesses, blind-spots, emotional reactions and what lengths you are willing to go to better than you do. That is because he has been studying you, testing you and training you like a dog to react a certain way. And that is no exaggeration, such people are expert manipulators and usually have a long time dealing with you before the problems became this severe. You are playing against a stacked deck already. No matter how confident, self-assured or competent you think yourself, realize that he knows your strengths and weaknesses before hand and is building his strategy around that knowledge. You have been the victim of a prolonged interview that is now escalating.
If he even thought you had what it takes to wait in the shadows near his front door with a shotgun he wouldn't be doing it. Not that we are recommending this course of action, but stalkers do know who not to mess with).
In fact, women who are generally competent and professional in their lives are MORE likely to be stalked! That is because while they are competent and confident in "civilized" dealings with men, this is a situation where the normal social conventions (which provide a significant leveling influence) simply don't exist. Being suddenly cast adrift in shark infested waters is frustrating, terrifying and unknown. And that is exactly what he wants you to feel.
Remember stalkers think of themselves as "laws unto themselves." In order to maintain this delusion they need to operate in isolation. That is to say they need to find people who are too proud to ask for help and will foolishly attempt to handle the problem by themselves. It is the woman's pride, confidence in herself and her abilities -- and her shame for "finding myself in such a stupid situation" that keeps her from immediately seeking outside help. (This described me perfectly)
And those are the very things the stalker is relying on you to do so he can keep on doing what he is doing.
That is why you need to call in the cavalry and as much reinforcements as you can. And that means, police, lawyers, friends and neighbors. Also realize that this situation is going to cost you...self-defense courses, training, lawyers, court fees and possibly moving and changing jobs.
There is no easy answer to this problem. It's a long time coming and it will be a long time going.
Tears were a daily occurrence for me...often there would be several outbursts of tears. As hard as I tried, I could not hold them back. Yet, each time I wept, I made sure I was alone and no one could hear me.
One day, while weeping, I was reminded that the Lord understands the "language" of our tears. Suddenly all the tears I'd shed, allowed me to know that nothing had escaped the hearing of the Lord and He was well able to bring me to freedom. This is exactly what happened.
Those of you that have been following these articles since I first began this 'blog' know exactly what I'm referring to, so there's no need to repeat myself. Those of you who are unfamiliar with all that's been written to this point, I encourage you to do so. I'm sure it will uplift your hearts to "see" that no matter how dark it may seem for you...there is "One" that cares and will will bring you to a place of safety.
Again, more than anything else, I wish I could give each and every one of you that are hurting a big (((Hug))). Since that's impossible, be reminded that there is an army of women that read your comments and are praying for you on a daily basis.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
The below statement was taken from "Stalking (Part 2) Victims' Problems with The Legal System & Therapeutic Consideration.
"Law-enforcement insensitivity toward domestic violence has already been well documented. Police often feel that, as opposed to serious crimes such as murder, domestic issues are not an appropriate police responsibility; 'private' misconduct should not be subject to public intervention, and, because few cases result in successful prosecution, pursuing domestic violence complaints is ultimately futile… This sense of futility, reinforced by the media and the courts, may be transmitted to the victim.
In cases involving ex-lovers, the police may have equal difficulty in being sympathetic to the issues involved. As in the case of Ms A, society often views stalking as a normal infatuation that will eventually resolve itself or as the actions of a rejected lover or lovesick individual, more to be empathised with than censured . Victims often report feeling that the police and society blame them for provoking harassment or making poor choices in relationships. Authorities may have particular difficulty understanding the woman who continues to have ambivalent feelings toward the offender…
In terms of the laws themselves, there is a history of ineffectiveness in dealing with crimes of stalking . The nature of the offences themselves makes investigations and prosecution difficult, because surveillance and phone calls often have no witnesses. Barriers to victims using civil actions against stalkers include dangerous time delays and financial requirements. Temporary restraining orders or peace bonds have been used most commonly and are generally ineffective, partly because law-enforcement agencies have limited resources to enforce such measures. Even if caught, violators receive, at most, minimal jail time or minor monetary penalties. Sometimes the offender just waits out the short duration of the order. Persistent, obsessed stalkers are usually not deterred."
By no means, am I using this statement to suggest that the law enforcement officials are falling short in their duty to "serve and protect". I wanted to post this in answer to the questions many of you have asked and statements of frustrations you've told me regarding the lack of understanding you receive.
The other big obstacle I'm hearing from a vast number of you, is the lack of help you're not receiving from your local churches. There have been emails sent to me from Alaska to Florida with very similar testimony. I'm told that because you're a woman, it's assumed there must be something lacking in you that is provoking abuse. Until it happened to me, too, I think I'd have had a difficult time believing that.
Especially since I was in a leadership position within my local church, I thought surely I would be taken seriously and listened to. However, in reality, it was quite the opposite. It was told to me that since my abuser (now ex-husband) was attending church and I was not...that my relationship with the Lord was called into question and was told that I "needed to adapt myself to my husband's plans".
In earlier posts I went into considerable detail concerning me personally with my local church. If you hadn't read those particular posts, please, take the time to do so. The lack of consideration to so much as "listen" added emotional pain on top of everything else that was taking place within my home.
Yesterday, I was at the doctor's office, when in walked a member from my (former) "church". She is someone I'd known for over 20 years. She appeared to be so happy to see me, and told me how much she missed me. Next she let me know that she didn't know why I had gotten divorced. I let her know that it was due to years of domestic abuse. As soon as she heard that, she suddenly got busy looking through the magazine she had picked up when she walked into the office. This was further indication that there's a serious disconnect with some "professing" one thing, yet, doing quite the opposite. Please, do not think I'm saying all churches are like this...as I know for a fact they aren't. Although, my own "church" were I'd served in leadership for well over two decades did NOTHING to help me. Again, I went into considerable detail on this in previous posts. Please, if you hadn't read them, I encourage you to do so.
There was one church that helped. It was a mainline denomination. They didn't care that I wasn't a member. They never asked for details. What they did do, was see that I was in a crisis in needing food (after I had left the "safe-house")...and did what they could to help. Each time I went there, I was treated with dignity and respect. Then the receptionist asked if I'd like to see the pastor. Strictly out of courtesy, I said OK. This pastor was nothing like the pastor's I'd been used to. He asked me if I had any outstanding bills. When I told him yes...he asked me to bring them to him the next day. When I showed up the next day with those bills...he wrote checks for them immediately...no questions asked. Their willingness to "listen" is what started me in the direction in the healing of my wounded heart.
I'm going to copy a comment left by someone on the previous post. The author, is obviously someone that has a heart that understands and perfectly illustrated the absurdity of the 'mind set' of the abuser.
As a father of a young daughter, I must object to some of these comments from bible quoting individuals Women must submit? To what? broken bones, black eyes, shattered self esteem, endless trips to the hospital. What Lord do you pray to? Tell me something why don't you then tell the Doctor that "you were correcting you partner's deficient attitude?" You could not even pass that off in church if you brought her there instead of the emergency room. If I made such comments that "women are men's property" or that "The woman is to be subject to the man. This is not new information. You forget that its the man that takes care of his female. It's her job to take care of him",I would be ashamed to have a y chromosome. If my male gene constitutes the right for me to force submission then what sort of man would I be? Experience tells us that cooperation between partners is the most effective way to achieve a satisfying relationship. Ask yourself this is, if you achieve your means by striking fear into an individual how secure are you? It is most likely your insecurity that causes you to want to dominate someone else. The Lord God never intended such violence. "Blessed are the peace makers for they shall see God."
The individual that wrote this comment, truly, does "listen" and understands. I want to encourage you, that although you may have run into 'road blocks' in finding someone that will really listen and offer help...there IS help available. The first step in receiving that help is to tell someone.
Numerous times I've let you know that there is an army of individuals that pray for the readers of this blog site. They are connected to you through their prayer support...never forget that. More than anything else, I wish I could give each and every one of you a big (((HUG))).
Friday, May 2, 2008
Now I know those were two of the worse places to run...there are numerous things in there that can be used as weapons. Another place I would try and run, was the garage...another big mistake. Then there was the time I was attempting to run out the door, while being chased. The fear produced the running and the running caused a bad fall from the porch resulting in numerous fractures...another bad idea.
So many of you that email me are asking similar questions. Since most of the questions are regarding "how" to stay safe until you leave, is the reason for this article. Keep in mind, that you all have variations to your particular situation and must 'tailor' the information given to meet your personal situation. I've gathered some very helpful information from a variety of sources. Each article I write I'll be sharing more and more.
If any of you are thinking that things can never change for you , that simply is not true. Take a look at some of the comments that are in the 'comment section' after each article. You'll see that there are ways for you to finally become free. The information below is from the Sequoyah County Sheriff's Department.
ARE YOU ABUSED?
Does the Person You Love…
· “Track” all of your time and activities?
· Constantly accuse you of being unfaithful?
· Discourage your relationships with family and friends?
· Prevent you from working or attending school?
· Criticize you for little things?
· Anger easily when drinking or on drugs?
· Control finances and force you to account for what you spend?
· Humiliate you in front of others?
· Destroy personal property or sentimental items?
· Hit, punch, slap, kick, or bite you or your children?
· Threaten to hurt you or your children?
· Use or threaten to use a weapon against you?
· Force you to have sex against your will?
THERE’S NO EXCUSE FOR ABUSE
MYTHS vs. FACTS
Myth: Violence in families affects only a small percentage of the population.
Fact: 2-4 million women are beaten every year; in Oklahoma, 340,000 women are beaten on a regular basis every year; the FBI says that a woman is beaten every 15 seconds in the United States.
Myth: Poor families are more likely to experience violence than middle income and affluent families.
Fact: Violence in families crosses all economic, class, race, and educational levels.
Myth: Drinking causes violent behavior.
Fact: Although drinking and/or drug abuse are present in over half of all violent incidents, abusive behavior will not stop when substance abuse stops. Alcohol and drugs may lower inhibitions permitting more aggressive behavior.
Myth: Wife abuse doesn’t cause serious injuries.
Fact: 40% of women killed in the United States are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends. Emergency rooms report that the majority of cases of women seeking treatment for injuries are the result of abuse.
Myth: Religious faith prevents violence in families.
Fact: Persons of faith are no less vulnerable to abusive relationships than the general population. In some cases, religious beliefs are used by the abusers to justify their forceful and controlling behavior, and to obligate victims to remain in destructive situations that threaten their physical safety and emotional well-being.
Myth: Children need their father even if he is abusive.
Fact: Children need a stable, nurturing environment, free of fear and chaos, in which their self esteem will be preserved and enhanced.
Myth: Witnessing abuse doesn’t affect children.
Fact: Children who witness violence are 700 times more likely to abuse or be abused as adults than children who grow up in non-violent homes.
Myth: Once a batterer, always a batterer.
Fact: Battering is learned behavior and it can be changed. Help is available.
Myth: A battered woman can always leave home.
Fact: There is no law compelling a battered woman to remain in an abusive situation. However, there are a number of reasons that make leaving extremely difficult.
Myth: There is no help available for a woman wanting to get out of an abusive relationship. There is no place available to help her and her children.
Fact: Help is available. No woman has to remain in an abusive relationship because she has no place to go and no money to go. Any sheriff’s office or police department can help a woman obtain this assistance.
THERE’S NO EXCUSE FOR ABUSE!
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SAFETY PLAN
You Have a Right to be Safe.
SAFETY DURING AN EXPLOSIVE INCIDENT
A. If an argument seems unavoidable, try to have it in a room or area where you have access to an exit. Try to stay away from the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom or anywhere else weapons might be available.
B. Practice how to get out of your home safely. Identify which doors, windows, elevator, or stairwell would be the best.
C. Have a packed bag ready and keep it at a relative’s or friend’s home in order to leave quickly.
D. Identify one or more neighbors you can tell about the violence and ask that they call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home.
E. Devise a code word to use with your children, family, friends and neighbors when you need the police.
F. Decide and plan for where you will go, if you have to leave home (even if you don’t think you will need to.)
G. Use your own instincts and judgment. If the situation is very dangerous, consider giving the abuser what he wants to calm him down. You have the right to protect yourself until you are out of danger.
H. Always remember – YOU DON’T DESERVE TO BE HIT OR THREATENED!
SAFETY WHEN PREPARING TO LEAVE
A. Open a savings account and/or credit card in your own name to start to establish or increase your independence. Think of other ways in which you can increase your independence.
B. Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents, extra medicines and clothes with someone you trust so you can leave quickly.
C. Determine who would be able to let you stay with them or lend you some money.
D. Keep the shelter or hotline phone number close at hand and keep some change or a calling card on you at all times for emergency phone calls.
E. Review your safety plan as often as possible in order to plan the safest way to leave your batterer. REMEMBER – LEAVING YOUR BATTERER IS THE MOST DANGEROUS TIME.
SAFETY IN YOUR OWN HOME
A. Change the locks on your doors as soon as possible. Give a copy to a trusted neighbor or family member.
B. Call the police if your partner breaks the protective order.
C. Think of alternative ways to keep safe if the police do not respond right away.
D. Inform family, friends, neighbors and your physical or health care provider that you have a protective order in effect.
I want to close this article by saying I'm well versed (now that I'm free) on all the information I just posted. However, I want to make it crystal clear that it's not always as "black & white" as most portray it to be. There are variants on EVERY situation...so keep in mind you must 'tailor' your specific needs around the information provided. Above all else, never feel you are alone in this, because you are not. There is an army of women that read your comments for the specific purpose of praying for you.