Thursday, September 25, 2014

October - Domestic Violence Awareness Month

It was an honored to have been the recipient of the 2014 Batterer's Intervention Professional of the Year awarded by Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Words cannot express my appreciation for this recognition.  There are many in Indiana working to end domestic violence and I share this award with each of them.

October is domestic violence awareness month.  Many activities will be taking place all over Indiana to raise awareness and get people involved. Here is my kick-start:  Understanding Violence/Abuse.

·         It doesn't start with a black eye
·         It isn't all the time
·         Not all violence/abuse is physical
·         Not all abuse reaches the level of breaking the law
·         Taking inventory of my own thinking and behavior

When I am working with participants at NonviolentAlternatives, there are many goals to accomplish. Raising their awareness, connecting their abuse with their thinking habits and getting them to see how they sabotage their own happiness.

He/she just swept me off my feet.  I have seen the pattern of abuse repeated over and over again.  It was true in my own life for many years.  As humans our need to be connected to others is deeply ingrained.  In our quest to find our special connection to that one person many times we fail to pay attention to the behaviors (warning signs) that might indicate problems down the road. If we listen people will tell us about themselves. There are no guarantees of course, however understanding our own needs helps; accepting our own worthiness reduces the risk of being in an abusive relationship. The first person we must love is ourselves.  Two emotionally unhealthy people make for one abusive relationship. In the beginning the excitement of the new gets in the way of reason and common sense.  We may see or hear those warning signs and choose to ignore them hoping, believing they will work themselves out. And so it begins.

The first time he hit me he apologized over and over and I believed him.  While he didn't hit me again right way, he was abusive in many other ways.  There are periods of time when it feels all is well and we let down our guard.  We convince ourselves the past abuse must have been a mistake; must have “just happened”.  The need for this to be true, that we were mistaken about the abuse is over whelming and prevents us from seeing the truth. It does not matter what another person may so or do, it doesn't give anyone the justification, the right, the reason to be abusive or hurtful to someone else.  This is the very basis for changing the relationships in our lives.  Terry Moore, the director and founder of Nonviolent Alternatives has a copy right on the following which helps enforce this idea with our clients. “There is nothing another person can say or do that can make me say or do something I know in my conscience is wrong”.

While bruises are a clear sign of physical abuse, there are no clear of obvious telltale signs of other types of abuse. As partner violence builds and escalates to the physical stage it is typical to find many other forms of abuse having been used which serve as layers of reasons and fears which leads a victim to believe there are no other options, no way out. The question “why does she stay” has been asked over and over again, I believe the real question is “why does someone abuse?”  Making the abusive behavior focal point and releasing the victim from any “fault” of another’s abuse is imperative.  The wheel of abuse was developed through the Duluth program and can be found at the following link. 

By the time abuse reaches a level that the police become involved; the victim has suffered extensive conditioning to believe she/he is the problem. This belief is often reinforced by the media, or others who do not understand how domestic violence manipulates and the toll it takes on people living in these conditions.  Children living in these conditions have lower grades, poor social skills and low self esteem.  They are learning how to get what they want with abuse and/or are conditioned to become the victim in adult relationships perpetuating the cycle of violence.

Taking a personal inventory of our own behavior and correcting those things we do on a daily basis that might hurt us or others is a starting point in changing the future.  Have I said or done something today that I wouldn’t want said or done to me?  Am I setting the best example I can for my family, my neighbors, my community, am I doing anything to assist others in raising the awareness of violence and changing it?  During this month of Domestic Violence Awareness, what will you do to be a part of the change?  Reach out and change someone’s life.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Smoke and Mirrors

A posting on Face Book listed different laws that had been broken. The final question "Is the list from the NBA or the NFL", then states "No it is Congress".  It would appear to this reader the post (which can also be found on Jonathan Stewart"s (Carolina Panthers) face book page) is about smoke and mirrors. If the attention can be drawn away from the connection of domestic violence and ball clubs and focused somewhere else, the problem will go away or better yet there is no problem.

Partner violence in the United States happens every day. We cannot turn a blind eye from one group to another and justify bad behavior because it isn't a bad as others.  Violence is violence no matter who is committing the violence. Ball players are in the public eye twenty-four-seven and our children look up to them as roll models.  This is not the image I want for my children or grandchildren. The law has been broken, someone was injured, under the letter of the law that is assaulted . Why are we having conversation to rationalize bad behavior? We do no one a favor here. The abuse continues and more victims are created. By taking a stand against violence regardless of who committed the violence is the we will end the violence. Until then it is still smoke and mirrors.

When you witness violence call the police, don't wait for someone to die by the hands of an abusive partner.
Don't judge the victim you aren't in her shoes and have no idea what she is going through daily.
Sometime being emotionally supportive to the victim is the only thing you can do.
Don't withdraw your support because the victim isn't doing what you want them too.
Get involved with a domestic violence program in your area and learn more ways to help.

Mattie Herald (c) 09/24/14

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Kerry Hyatt Blomquist
It's a felony to kick a cat, a misdemeanor to kick a woman

Case Law Update: It is a felony to torture or mutilate a vertebrate animal, but domestic battery remains a misdemeanor in Indiana. See the following case and pass it on---if this bothers you, email ICADV and let's lobby for change.

In Larry D. Knox v. State of Indiana, 02A03-1312-CR-491, this month the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed an Allen County man's conviction of Class D felony for torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal.
     After a cat got into his house, Larry Knox tried to get it out by opening the front door and kicking the cat so hard it knocked out the cat's front tooth. The cat then ran into the bedroom, where he chased it and kicked it a couple more times. Then Knox called animal control.
      Knox told the animal control officer that he didn't like cats and was not threatened it. He even joked how far the tooth had flown from the cat. A veterinarian who examined the cat said it would take a lot of force to knock out the tooth and the cat must have been sitting or crouched down when the incident occurred. Based on the cat's behavior, the veterinarian and animal control officer concluded she was not feral.
      Knox argued that he kicked the cat only after it "came straight at me," but he was found guilty and sentenced to one year in the Department of Correction.
      It's been well established that a person engages in conduct intentionally if, when he engages in the conduct, it is his conscious objective to do so. And engaging in conduct "knowingly" occurs when the person is aware of a high probability that he is engaging in the conduct.
      The evidence most favorable to the judgment shows that Knox knowingly or intentionally mutilated the cat. The judges declined to reweigh the evidence, noting they are in no position to challenge the fact-finder's assessment of Knox's credibility on appeal.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

This type of treatment of women will continue until all women and men stand up and no longer accept this behavior.

View the new cast here.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Stand up…

We have been struggling for years to bring an end to domestic violence, hate violence, intolerance and injustices of all kinds. With the latest addition of the shooting of 2 IMPD officers in less than a year the time is here and now to not just say “NO MORE” but to live with the actions that demonstrate that belief.  No More is the voice for victim of domestic violence and sexual assault which grew from Mariska Hargitay’s Joyful Heart foundation.

Not only do we need to step up for the end of domestic violence, but for all violence.  We have a moral obligation to be the conscience of our society.  Now is the time we begin to build a stronger society which not only speaks out about the violence, but to do whatever it takes to end the violence.  We spend far too much time looking at and fueling the fires of difference.  Retaliation has to stop in order to heal the wounds and scars of the past.  I must be the one to step up and be the change I want to see in the world (Gandhi).  We post all these quotes on our Face Book, Pinterest, Twitter and other social media, yet how many of us are truly living those quotes to the best of our ability in our daily lives?

We go to church on Sunday, and walk past the hungry child in the street on Monday.  We stand in the mists of tragedy screaming to the mountain tops how wrong this is, yet become silent as we walk away until another tragedy happens.  We react to violence with more violence and fear of those things yet to come grows. I stand in the middle and say, “what can I do I am only one person”?  One person can begin the change. When one person steps up others will follow. It begins with me.  I cannot tell my children to respect themselves and others without demonstrating what respect looks like. Our children and others may hear the words and even think “that’s a good advice”, without the actions to demonstrate the truth, these are only hollow words spoken into a vacuum of countless other words.

Let this current tragic death be the beginning of something positive. Take the pledge today and begin saving lives now.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Marriage and Sexual Orientation

I have been reading the postings of pro and cons for same sex marriage. What a sad commentary of our world today. While “we” (heterosexual white people) believe we have made such major strides in our lives, and we know better than others how they should live their lives, there are so many statistics to prove otherwise.  In the United States there is a divorce every 13 seconds.  That’s 6,646 divorces a day and 46,523 divorces a week. (The majority of these divorces are heterosexual white people as at the time of this statistical data collection for the most part same gender marriages were not recognized). 

Looking at our history might give a little insight: let’s see the idea of anything other than heterosexual relationship just doesn't make sense, really?  It was a only 148 years ago the color of my skin decided my worth and rights.  Women were looked at as the property of their husbands until about 1960 when the feminist movement finally got a foothold and women began to raise their voices so their voices could be heard, a short 53 years ago, when white heterosexual males knew better than any female what was best for women. Yet in 2013 we still need shelters for those who need to escape their own homes in order to be safe.
Have we learned nothing from all the oppression that humanity has placed on humanity all because it was my misfortune to have been born, female, a person of color or have a different sexual orientation?  The definition of humanity is: The human race; human beings collectively; the fact or condition of being human.  I don’t see anything in that definition that says unless your sexual preference is anything other than heterosexual.

Following the link below you will find all types of statistics about Domestic Violence in our nation, another example of how well we (heterosexual white couples) are doing it right.  I see real life examples everyday of these statistics as I work for a batterer’s intervention program.  I hear horrifying stories of lives that are torn apart from the violence in their homes. Yet “we” (heterosexual white couples) have the audacity to stand up and tell others we know better than they know about whom they are and who they should or should not love.

This link gives the statistics of domestic violence for America Domestic Violence Fatalities and Homicides / Children Fatalities / Fatality Review

I pray for the day when we truly see each other as equal people with feelings, dreams and hopes, rather than pointing our finger to say what is wrong in another.  I need first to look in the mirror and take a personal inventory of my own life.  Today as yesterday and the day before that, I choose to live by the true meaning of the “Golden Rule” to the very best of my ability.  For me, that means accepting others the way they are.  At the end of the day I know I can rest well having done so.