The Evil That Men Do


 

 

This is October and it is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. For those who do not know, I have 26 years of experience working in Domestic Violence. I have worked in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and now in North Carolina. Domestic Violence is everywhere here in America. It is also found across the globe. It stems from cultures being based on patriarchal patterns. In a patriarchy, the males must have the power and control. In Domestic Violence, power and control is what the abuser is really after.

I ask you to look around you at your life and at the lives of the men and women in your life. Any of them could be being abused. Abuse can start while dating in high school, in college, on the wedding night, when you announce you are pregnant. It can begin because the abuser’s boss denied him a promotion, he did not make his sales goals. He cannot control himself/herself and you carry the bruises and fractures from this lack of control.

 

In 2003, the cost of DV in terms of medical care, mental health services, and lost productivity at work total up to $48.3 billion. Add to this the lives destroyed, the children who grow up with battering as their role model and will continue the stereotypes and battering spirals out of control.

 

Some people think that DV only effects the poor or marginalized in society. They are very wrong. Because we keep confidential records on batterers, we know that batterers can be middle class, they can be your state senator, your minister, the kid who bagged up your groceries, or you sat next to in church or mosque. While shopping, you may share the mirror with a battered woman in the ladies room, you may sit next to one at the theatre.  Statistics show that 30-50% of homes have battering in them. That is a lot of people living in fear and violence.

 

After the first time you are abused, the abuser will tell you it is your own fault. You should have done what you were told to do. You made the attack happen. No, you didn’t. Don’t listen to the lies coming out of that mouth. No one has the right to hit another human being. You are not owned, you can’t be told what to do or what to say. You are not crazy as many victims have been told. You are being abused if you are being pushed, slapped, pinched, punched, having your hair pulled, being stepped on, deprived of sleep, called filthy names, kept locked in the house, not allowed access to finances, raped (even if you are married), having food thrown at you, or bones broken.

 

Going to church, temple or mosque will not stop abuse. Nor will it heal your abuser. God does not want you to stay in a Domestic Violent situation. Not in the Middle Ages, not today, not ever. God does not want you to live in fear and violence.

 

Where to go? Ask a police officer or taxi driver where your community’s DV shelter is located. They will know and probably take you there. Once you go to shelter you will be safe with a roof over your head and your children’s if you have them. You will have a bed and food. There will be counselors who will listen to your story, listen to you as you decide what you are going to do next. You may want to get your own apartment, go back to school, move out of town or get a restraining order from the court. The shelter will provide you with counselors to help you achieve the goals you have set for yourself.

 

The battered women’s shelter movement started in the 1970’s and I helped to start one of the country’s first shelters. It was a grassroots by-product of the Women’s Movement that I am very proud to have been part of. Mostly, I am proud to have been able to help women and children out of a living hell and into a life where they could grow and thrive.

 

Domestic Violence is not going away. The statistics are increasing each year in each American community and in cities and villages around the world. Batters often start by hitting where bruising will be covered by clothing. The victim will often be kept in isolation away from friends and family. The abuser has more control this way and outsiders have less influence.

 

In today’s world full of social media, teens are often battered physically and emotionally with texts and on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, or Twitter. This can be extremely frightening to a teen so it is important to keep communication open with them so they will not be afraid to talk to you. In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control published statistics that showed that 2 million injuries have resulted from intimate partner violence every year.

 

You don’t have to be a statistic.  Get help, get out.

 

Namaste

Barbara

 

 

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Family battering

Family battering

 

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WE MUST STOP THE VIOLENCE. NO ONE DESERVES TO BE ABUSED OR TO HAVE TO LIVE IN FEAR.

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Surviving Abuse and Floods


DebbiHarris

First I Had to Survive My Husband Stabbing Me 42 Times. Then I Had to Survive the Louisiana Floods.

Deborah Harris was just getting her life back on track when horror struck for a second time in one year.

This story contains extended descriptions of graphic violence.

Around 8 p.m. on August 13, 2016, Deborah Harris woke up and realized her mattress was wet. That’s when her 17-year-old son Daniel rushed in shouting, “Mama, we gotta get you out!”

Flood water was pouring into their Baton Rouge home so quickly that Daniel and her oldest son Nathan, 20, had to think fast. Harris can’t get around without a walker and a cane, so they scooped her up and carried her into the back of a truck. The rest of the family and friends living with them piled in—nine in total, plus the family’s four dogs.

But water gushed around the truck at speeds they couldn’t fathom, flooding the engine and preventing their escape. They were stranded in front of their house, watching as the water kept rising. Daniel and Nathan rushed to rescue their three cats from the attic while Harris frantically dialed 911 over and over and over.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana after the mid-August floods

I Would Never Hurt You


In reality, in the United States, a lot of men say “I won’t ever hurt you”, but they will look benignly at bruises and fractured bones or black eyes, and feel that they haven’t done anything.

 

But they have.  They have physically abused you.  They have battered you.

 

And they will promise over and over again not to ever do it again.  But they will.  And each incident will be a little worse than the one before.

 

An abuser is trying to break your self-esteem, your self-confidence, YOU.   He wants to control you and keep you in his power.  When he says you can’t leave him , what he’s really saying is he can’t lose his power and control over you.

 

You need to contact your local shelter or the national help hotline.  Get counseling.  Make an escape plan, before you’re hurt so badly you don’t care anymore that you’re hurt.  Leave, before he kills you.

 

There is legal help for you in every state.  The laws and penalties for battering vary by state, but your local shelter will help you get through the process.  They know what to do.

 

It is time to begin a new, violence-free phase of your life.

 

All you have to do is reach out.

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Namaste,

Barbara

Just What is Domestic Violence?


I have begun again to volunteer at a Domestic Violence shelter here in North Carolina. It feels good to be back once again to the cause the helped to form me as a feminist.

 

Domestic Violence is not only physical, emotional, sexual and psychological violence. Psychological violence is intense and repetitive degradation, creating isolation and controlling the actions or behaviors of the victim through intimidation or manipulation to the detriment of the individual.

 

A battering incident is rarely an isolated event. Battering tends to increase and gradually become more severe as time goes on.

 

The newest stats show us that 85% of women experience at least one incident of battering in her lifetime. One in three women are abused emotionally and physically.

 

Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors used to establish power and control over another intimate partner that often leads to the threat or use of violence. Many victims suffer multiple forms of abuse. Approximately 40% of women report that the first assault by their partner occured during pregnancy.

 

Physical abuse includes but is not limited to hitting, spitting, biting, pinching, slapping, twisting an arm, punching, or tripping. After the first assault, the abuse may be frequent or infrequent, prolonged or brief, severe or mild. The purpose is to gain power and control over the intimate partner.

 

Victims of emotional abuse often say that it takes longer to recover from emotional abuse than most physical abuse. It can take a lifetime to heal from emotional assaults. Anyone can be abused, male or female, straight or homosexual. And there is no excuse or reason that is ever acceptable for the Domestic Violence. There is no legitimate or viable reason to hit an intimate partner.

 

There are laws to protect victims in every state in the continental United States. There are also laws in Hawaii, Alaska and all 0f the US possessions. There is relief for every victim of battering.

 

There are many reasons for Domestic Violence and each are true to a certain degree. Each carries a certain amount of truth. Primarily, the theories distract police and the court system from the real truth. It works! Battering allows the perpetrator to get what they want. It is really that simple.

 

More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) of women and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) of men in the United States experience Domestic Violence during their lifetimes. They have experienced rape, physical violence, and /or stalking by an intimate partner. This is from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 report.

 

It is a crime to commit Domestic Violence and marital rape is a crime in all states and all American possessions. We have to stop the violence.

 

Peace on Earth begins at home. No More Violence! 

 

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This is what an abused child looks like.

This is what an abused child looks like.

 

The majority of victims are strangled at least once. often before a homicide.

The majority of victims are strangled at least once. often before a homicide.

Domestic Violence vs PTSD


First of all, to all the men and women who have sacrificed for our country, I thank you. I am a pacifist but you have given much to America. Second of all, thank you to all of the spouses, parents, and friends of a soldier who went away to fight in a war. I hope they came home whole and well. If your military person did not, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you have lost. It isn’t enough, but I hurt for all the men, women and families and friends who have an empty spot in their hearts. Be proud of them. I am just sorry that the human species feels a continuing and constant need to be violent. War doesn’t solve anything. May all of America’s sons and daughters who have passed, rest in peace.

Recently, Sir Patrick Stewart was in Texas doing a press conference, and a woman asked him a question.  His answer is a revealing look at both Domestic Violence and PTSD in soldiers returning from the war front.

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The ultimate truth is that violence and war solve nothing. They actually intensify what is wrong in the world.

 

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   REST IN PEACE

Arlington Cemetery, Washington DC, America

Don’t Live with Violence


If you are living with violence, you must protect yourself and your children and get out. We all go into a relationship feeling love and having dreams. Your wedding day was just what you had wanted it to be. You had a beautiful honeymoon and you were so happy and so in love. It was a perfect wedding night.

Now, you are dressing for dinner. The two of you had had such a lovely afternoon and a delicious dinner. People toasted you in the dining room and when the band began to place you danced in your husband’s arms. A nice man asked to dance with you, but your husband said no. He was pretty quiet for the rest of the evening.

He decided you were going to go up to your room. You didn’t really want to leave but tomorrow was sightseeing. He says nothing on the way to your room. You are thinking about the nightgown you are going to wear to bed. He walks into the room behind you; then shuts and locks the door. You turn around with a smile on your face and he opens up his hand and hits you so hard that when you look in the mirror, you see the red hand print.

You are stunned. What happened? He is yelling and calling you names and telling you are a slut because that man asked to dance with you. You face aches. He grabs your arm and twists it while telling you that you will never dance with anyone else. He is shaking you so hard that your teeth chatter. You are trying to get away and are terribly afraid. What is going on?

He walks out, slamming the hotel door. You stand there with tears running down your face. Why did he get so upset? What should I do? You clean up and carefully get ready for bed. Carefully, because your face is very sore and your arm hurts. You cry yourself to sleep.

In the morning, you wake and his side of the bed is empty. You are shocked and very confused. Then the door to the hotel room opens and he walks in. He looks awful. You can tell he has been crying. He has brought you a huge bouquet of red roses. He is sorry. He never meant to handle you in a violent way. He loves you and it will never happen again, he swears. He kisses you and cuddles you and you make up. Your world becomes whole again. He is so wonderful to you, considerant and thoughtful.

Life goes on. Everything is fine. And one day, a girlfriend calls and asks you if you want to go shopping. You said, “Sure.”

You quickly get ready to meet her at the Mall. You leave a note on the kitchen table in case you will be late coming home.

You and your friend shop, have lunch and a couple of glasses of wine. It had been such a fun day. You are now a little bit later than you expected, but you left a note. No problem. You walk into the house and call out, “I’m home.” Your husband walks into the living room where you are hanging up your coat and begin to show him your purchases. His voice drips with sarcasm. “Where have you been?” You mentioned the note you had left. He says you hadn’t had his permission to go shopping. What? What is he talking about?”

He grabs you and punches you in the face. You hear a crack and then another punch. You go down to the floor and he begins to kick you. He kicks you where bruises will be covered with clothing. You are screaming at him to stop and he is screaming at you. He accuses you of meeting a man and cheating on him. He picks up your purchases and throws them everywhere. You can’t stop crying. He holds up the nightgown you bought to wear for him and he rips it apart. He screams you had worn it for your lover.

He took you to the hospital and refused to leave you side. You had taken such an awful tumble down the stairs. The staff allows him to stay. There isn’t much they can do for you. They bind your torso, give you pain meds, suggest you carpet the staircase which your husband agrees is very important. You go home with your discharge papers and he gently helps you out of the car when you reach home.

He is again sorry. Terribly sorry. It will not happen again. Please don’t leave him. He can’t live life without you. He will kill himself if you leave. You are in agony, the pain pills are making you fuzzy and soon you just fall asleep.

You used to discuss this type of incident with your Mom and your sister. You met a woman who is being battered but what she suffers is so different from what happens to you. As the months and years go by, your lady friend went to a Domestic Violence shelter. You never see her anymore. The shelter moved her to a new state so she could start again with a new identity. Your mom develops Cancer and he gets edgy when you go to see her. The day your Mom dies, you feel totally lost and there really isn’t anyone to talk to. You don’t realize that he has gradually isolated you from all of your friends and your sister. He calls them trouble makers. He is the one who really loves you. The only one who loves you.

Now, you just do what he says. Nothing matters anymore. Then one day you think about the battered woman you had been friends with. You wonder if the Domestic Violence Shelter is still in town somewhere. You get ready and call a taxi. You tell the driver what you need and he delivers you at the Shelter.

You talk with a counselor, have a bite of lunch. They explain what they can do for you, including legal representation. You decide to go home and pack a suitcase. You have to get away from him. So you go home. The shelter gave you a list of things to bring. You are moving as quickly as possible and try not to forget anything like your medicine. You hear a small noise behind you and you turn. Your husband is standing there screaming that you cannot and will not leave him. He pulls a revolver out of his jacket and shoots you dead. The neighbors hear the screaming and the gun shot and call 911. You are dead on arrival at the ER.

More women are killed trying to get out of a battering relationship than at any other time. Abusers have a motto. I call it a motto because it every one that I ever worked with would tell the woman, ” If I can’t have you, no one will.” I can tell you from my experience that they mean it.

Does this mean you should stay? No. Never. But the leaving must be planned in advance and in secret. No one can know where you are going. There is an underground railway to move women who are in the greatest danger. Some abusers are just much worse than others. Though none of them are good. Usually a well executed plan can take a month or more to put into place. Don’t go back. He will kill you in time or you will kill him trying to protect yourself. There are so many women and men working to help abused women. You are never alone. Domestic Violence is a crime. The court system will punish him for what he did to you.

If you are a man being abused I must give you the same advice. Abusers don’t stop abusing. Male or female. They will simply move on to another partner and begin the battering again. People care about you. So try to get out. Try to get to a safe place, a shelter or even a hotel. Talk to counselors and the police. No matter what, it is never all right to hit another person. You deserve better. You deserve to not live in fear and violence.

Zentangle Copyright Barbara Mattio 2014

 

Guns and Domestic Violence


Originally posted at Ms.Blog, msmagazine.com

The impact of gun violence on victims and survivors of domestic violence cannot be overstated. The statistics are chilling: Approximately 2 out of every 3 domestic violence homicides are committed with firearms; the presence of a firearm in a domestic violence situation increases the likelihood of homicide by at least 500 percent. At least 44 percent of mass shootings are domestic violence-related, and 61 percent of all femicides committed by men wielding guns in 2013 were related to domestic violence .

These statistics are only the most publicized, easily quantifiable manifestations of the intersection between domestic violence and firearms. Guns are used to terrorize far more often than they are used to kill. A survey by the National Domestic Violence Hotline found 16 percent of respondents’ abusers owned firearms. Of respondents whose abusers owned guns, 67 percent percent believed their abusers were capable of killing them.

These statistics are staggering, yet they are more than numbers—they are people. My colleague, Rob Valente at the Hotline, quotes two survey respondents. One respondent disclosed that her husband owns over 100 guns. She never knows where the guns are, or how many guns he is carrying at any given time. Another respondent tells of repeatedly waking up at night to the sound of her abuser releasing the safety on the gun he is holding to her head.

Recognizing the role of firearms in domestic violence, Congress passed the Lautenberg Amendment prohibiting people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence or people subject to permanent domestic violence protective orders from owning firearms. In enacting this prohibition, Congress took into account two important factors that differentiate domestic violence from other forms of violence: 1) Domestic violence misdemeanors are frequently pled down from felony charges and involve felony-level violence; and 2) Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors rather than a single incident, so there is a high likelihood an abuser will reoffend.

Although the Lautenberg Amendment saved countless lives, it is no longer adequate; society has changed and the law must be updated to reflect these changes. Under existing law, the definition of domestic violence only includes abuse perpetrated by a current or former spouse, cohabitant or biological co-parent. Dating abuse does not trigger the firearm prohibition, despite the fact that current or former dating partners commit approximately half of all domestic violence homicides. Likewise, people convicted of misdemeanor stalking are not prohibited from owning firearms, although stalking is a key indicator of lethality; a 10-city study found that 76 percent of women killed by intimate partners were stalked before being murdered, and 85 percent of women who survive murder attempts were stalked.

Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act of 2015and its companion bill from Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Minn.) and Robert Dold (D-Ill.), Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act, expand the existing domestic violence prohibitor to include dating abuse and stalking. These narrowly focused domestic violence bills could save countless lives without infringing on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans. We at the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, our colleagues at other organizations, advocates across the country, victims and survivors call on Congress to demonstrate their commitment to ending domestic violence by passing these two bills. The time for talk is over—it is time to take a stand!

 

 

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If a man or a woman stays in a violent home, their life will continually rotate around the cycle of violence. Help is available. Look at this cycle and see if it is familiar to you.

If a man or a woman stays in a violent home, their life will continually rotate around the cycle of violence. Help is available. Look at this cycle and see if it is familiar to you.