So when does it all end? That’s the question I asked myself watching an episode of Law and Order the other night. I watched the character of Goren face down a suspect who was pointing a gun at him who wanted to commit suicide. The man wanted to kill Goren first and Goren said to him, “Who’s going to clean up the blood? Your daughter?” As he was saying this to the man to catch him off guard, he then was able to wrestle the gun from him, and take him down. It so reminded me of the time Daniel had held a butcher knife to my neck and I had asked him the same question. “Who’s going to clean the blood from the kitchen floor? Your mother?” That line had given me just enough time to cause him to stumble in his thinking to allow me to get out of his grasp and have him drop the butcher knife. The scene in the tv show was so eerily similar. My episode with Daniel ran fourteen years ago. The Law and Order episode was a repeat from a few years back.
Did I start to shake? A bit. I was more frozen than anything. All I could think was when is it going to end. And I realized then it never really will. I am the victim of a violent crime, the victim of a violent person, the victim of a psychopath, the victim of a person who committed violent and repetitive atrocities against me. No matter what anyone tells me, those things will always be in my head. I can’t stop them from re-appearing at inopportune times.
I can’t stop watching television. I can’t stop reading books or magazines or the newspaper. There will always be reminders. It’s how I deal with these reminders is how my life will turn out.
I have a lot of nightmares. I still do. In the beginning, I used to have nightmares that I didn’t remember. Then, I would have nightmares that I would remember snippets of. Then the nightmares would wake me up and I would remember the parts from just before I had awakened. Now when I awaken from my nightmares, I remember the entire episodes. And they’re not pretty. I still awaken sitting up, clutching my head, breathing hard, my dogs surrounding me. It sucks. My dogs look at me to check if I’m ok, and they stare at me as they watch me settle back down. Animals are sensitive to their owners. They’re protective. Which is good.
But still, in dealing with all that has gone on, there aren’t too many that truly understand. Actually, there are so few that understand, I rarely bother to talk about my past.
I’ve come across some people that believe there are some women that use the term domestic abuse as a way to escape a life they didn’t want. That they really didn’t have it that bad. These people truly believe domestic abuse isn’t a viable, living, breathing animal. Their belief is that it’s something a woman uses as an excuse to move to a new area and begin a new life. That’s simply absurd to think that way. Obviously, they’ve never been in a situation where they’ve been threatened so severely.
Others believe that stories of domestic abuse are fabricated. That such things actually never happen. There is a current train of thought that if one partner is charged in a domestic abuse complaint, then the other partner must be charged. I don’t understand this way of thinking by police departments. Obviously each case is different, but each response to a domestic abuse complaint does not warrant each partner being charged. Facts must be collected without prior beliefs before any charges can be pressed.
When it’s all done, when the victim manages to escape, to move away, to leave and begin a new life, it’s still never over. The victim still has their memories. They still have the torn shreds of their existence that they have to put back together somehow to create a new life. And when they look around them, and try to see value in the lives around them, it isn’t easy. When they see others treated unfairly, when they see the authorities doing the same injustices to other women as were done to them and more, it only serves to push them deeper into their own abyss. When does it all end?
When people around them talk about abuse as if it’s a buzz word, it only serves to lessen the impact of the trauma surrounding actual abuse. Others begin to think of domestic abuse in a lesser light and dismiss it, unless it involves their world or the unthinkable-death. Anything else concerning it could be hyperbole, an exaggeration by a woman who is looking for attention, and the entire matter becomes dismissed. When will our society realize abuse victims do not exaggerate the horrid ill-treatment that their partners inflicted upon them behind closed doors? They have nothing to gain by reporting this treatment in many of the instances. At times, they are putting their own lives on the line. Why do I say they have nothing to gain? They take a chance of repercussive attacks by their partner. They take a chance of their police department not believing them. They take a chance of being vilified by the very people that they should be trusting and going to for help and support. The chance of the victim gaining something from reporting the abuse is simply time away from the abuser. Time when she may be able to get away. And that’s only if the authorities take the abuser away for a period of time. When does it all end?
Cases are backed up in the court systems and abusers information is not privy to the proper authorities. Some of these people are serial abusers, yet this information is not disseminated to the proper channels so judges can make proper decisions. When will this type of backlog be cleaned up and when does it all end?
Real life is not tv. What people watch on their flat-screens at home does not happen in America. At least as far as the judicial system, as far as questioning of suspects, and wrapping up a case in an hour. When you see police departments become aware of an abusers past in a television program, and the detectives talk about all of his other infractions concerning his DUI’s, or his arson’s, his history with fighting, his history with a lack of control with authority, his history of traffic violations such a serially-long list of running red lights and/or speeding constantly throughout his driving career, that should signal a red flag. Unfortunately, to the police, in their minds, depending on the individual officer, it may or may not. Some may simply write it off as the “good old boy syndrome”, or “the bad boy”. But it’s not. It’s breaking the law. Simply put, it is someone who constantly breaks the law, without any conscious desire to stay within the limit of the rules of society. This is a person who obviously sees their life as untouchable where they can do as they please to whomever or whatever they want. You know that, I know it and others that have been affected by this abuser know it. Yet, all of his infractions don’t matter when he is finally brought into court. He is only tried on the one charge that brought him there that day. Although he may be a serial abuser, it doesn’t matter. When does it all end?
As long as the authorities allow these men to behave the way they do and turn the other cheek to them, which in turn, allows these men to raise families with children who see convoluted and twisted parenting on the abusers part, this type of behavior will continue. These children will grow up to allow it. Statistically, the boys will mature into abusers and the girls will mature into women who believe there is a reason that they should be abused. Children accept what they have been raised to accept. Obviously, this is a blanket statement, and not all of these children will grow up to be this way. Some will be able to break the ties that bind them and become functioning adults that live within the confines of our society. They will be damaged tho from what they have seen. Is it fair to them that the authorities have allowed this behavior to perpetuate in their homes? When does it all end?
It’s time for legislators to enact stronger laws that truly penalize abusers. It’s time for our governments to create real programs that place abusers in programs that attempt to re-habilitate them. It’s time that our government support programs for women and children that have been victims of abusers. It’s time for our government to create programs for these children to understand they are victims, too. And it’s time for legislators to make police departments finally understand what domestic abuse truly is about and force them to follow laws in a standard procedure through federal guidelines strictly or they themselves will fined.
There is so much work to be done. Attitudes need to be changed across the board. Fear needs to be taken out of the equation. It can only be taken out if victims know that authorities will be supportive and help them in the best way they can. Victims are being frightened on a daily basis in the most torturous, horrific ways that people can not even imagine. Why must police departments frighten them even more and not offer them sanctuary from their captors?
Society won’t believe victims either if the victims aren’t privy to the proper help of if the abusers aren’t punished. After all, if a story is told about abuses being carried out, and yet the abuser goes free, how can someone understand that the story is true?
Only in America this happens. The land of the free. Where serial abusers go free to run wild and continue their rampages. Continuing their pillaging of human souls, their deprivation of women, their violent acts against human bodies that may or may not be caught or land them a few months in jail. It’s only when the abuser steps over the line and kills their target, then perhaps, depending on their financial resources, will they spend more time in jail. And while the abusers continue their acts with glee, the victims attempt to report them to their local authorities. And they are grilled to the bone about the how’s and why’s and are you sure he did this and what did you do to provoke him to do this questions while the abuser again goes free to contemplate his next action. Yet the abuser is never questioned in this fashion. He is asked, “Did you do this?” And this is what children of America see. The officer grilling the mother nastily with disdain, while the household cowers in fear, waiting for the next attack. That’s not protection. That’s another attack. When does it all end?
Teach everyone you can about domestic abuse. Teach your children that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Teach them that there is hope. Stand up for your rights. Be firm about your beliefs. Be passionate and strong. Carry on and know that you are a good person. Fight back. Learn the appropriate laws and use them as necessary.
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