Tag: october

The RLD on DV: Personal Stories of the Victims

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Continuing this month’s series on Domestic Violence Awareness, I wanted to touch on three more distinct stories, with separate themes.  The first is a horrible story from Kentucky, where a man used the family dog as part of the instrument of violence against his girlfriend.  I have prosecuted cases where offenders will often abuse the family pet, knowing that this is another way of upsetting the victim. But this offender took it one step further.  See her story here.

The next story explores the trauma of a Miami woman who did leave her husband, but he found her, and shot her.  He is still at large; his picture is below. Please read her story here. This Miami Herald story also discusses the challenges involved in domestic violence cases.

Jose Luis Duarte, wanted for Attempted Murder. Photo courtesy of the Miami Herald
Jose Luis Duarte Borrero, wanted for Attempted Murder. Photo courtesy of the Miami Herald

Lastly, Oscar Pistorius, the South African athlete who was known as the “Blade Runner”, was released from prison yesterday to serve the rest of his murder sentence under house arrest.  He was tried for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.  Reeva was shot by Pistorius through a locked bathroom door in the home they shared because, as he stated, he believed she was an intruder. Despite the evidence that came out at trial indicating she was afraid of him, the presiding judge found him guilty of the lesser charge manslaughter and sentenced him to five years in prison. After serving only one year in prison, he will spend the remainder of his sentence in his uncle’s mansion in Pretoria.

Reeva Steenkamp
Reeva Steenkamp

This is a reminder that domestic violence affects all races, all ethnic groups, all socio economic backgrounds, and all countries. I have worked with domestic violence victims who covered their bruises with Chanel sunglasses, to those who scraped by on government assistance.  The evil disease that is DV does not discriminate; neither should we in our assumptions.

M.

The RLD on DV: Why Don’t You Just Leave?

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It’s the age old question asked of domestic violence victims — why stay? If your partner is abusing you, you should leave.

Then comes the judgment, and my favorite line:

“If that was me, I would never stand for that.  I would leave immediately!”

Sometimes, it’s that easy.  90% of the time, it is not.

Keep in mind, an abuser never hits you on the first date.  Or even the second date. An abusive relationship begins much like any other relationship — with love, trust, and wooing. But somewhere along the line, the abuser becomes controlling. S/he begins to isolate the victim from friends and family. The abuser begins to break down the victim’s self esteem. Emotional abuse becomes a key factor. And then physical abuse (if used) begins.

To further complicate matters is the concept of the cycle of violence.  Once the abuser hits the victim, the abuser becomes incredibly apologetic, even tearful.  The s/he promises this will never happen again.  There may be gifts, as well as a temporary change in behavior.  This is called the honeymoon period.  But after the honeymoon enters a period of tension and escalation, until there is another violent episode. The cycle begins anew.

Rihanna, in a recent interview with Vanity Fair, spoke about her highly publicized relationship abusive with Chris Brown.  She said:

I was that girl…that girl who felt that as much pain as this relationship is, maybe some people are built stronger than others. Maybe I’m one of those people built to handle s%&* like this. Maybe I’m the person who’s almost the guardian angel to this person, to be there when they’re not strong enough”. She admitted that she believed she could change him.

See her full interview here.

Her thought process is not unique among victims/domestic violence survivors.  Some believe that they can change the abuser, or that the abuser can go back the kind person they fell in love with. But there are other common themes among victims and survivors of domestic violence relationships: fear, love, family, money, shame, and isolation.

The Huffington Post did a powerful article featuring the stories of six survivors and why they stayed.  Please read with an open mind — it may give some insight as to the grueling journey the millions of women and men endure every day. Read the article here.

24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner.

That’s 12 million men and women per year.

Think about that, and read more stats here.

As always, comments are welcome!

M.

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