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When Evil Invades Your Home

April 16, 2015 5 comments

Over the years I have posted a great deal on the subject of Domestic Violence in this blog. I have tried to inform and educate people as much as I could. Admittedly I have been away for a while and have not blogged very much at all. In my time off I have expanded my Defeat the Darkness Self Defense Program to include everyone, not just women. I have also became a member of the Board of Directors for Family Crisis Services Inc here in Canon City. All of that on top of running a martial arts school and working at my “retirement job” at Home Depot.

In that time something very dark and evil crept into my life and my home. It festered and grew right under my nose and the nose of my oldest daughter and we were clueless to the evil that I had fought so hard against all of my life growing stronger and more malignant under our own roof. Ifr

Two years ago (and it hardly seems that long ago) when my wife was taken from us by cancer, my youngest daughter was left vulnerable and hurting deep inside of her spirit as we all were. She had a “friend” who was several years older than her. He and his mom gave her solace and support that somehow her family could not. He had entered my family’s life years earlier from contacts and friends of my other, older, daughter and even though his past was questionable I allowed people to convince me that he was reformed and trying to make a new life for himself. I got a call one night from my youngest daughter with a sound of desperation in her voice. He had been arrested and one of the conditions of his being bonded out was that he had a stable home to which he could be released to. After a few minutes of deliberation I reluctantly agreed.

It’s funny how things slowly evolve. It took them months to actually convince me to allow him to move into her room. The age gap bothered me. Yet, I was basically walking a tight rope. My daughter was 17 and her 18th birthday wasn’t far away. I didn’t want to take the chance of pushing her away or risking her moving out and away on her own. I foolishly thought that if I kept her close, I could guard her.

For those of you who don’t know, here are some of the things an abuser does to their victim.

Firstly they instill a sense of “us against the world” in their victim.

Secondly comes isolation. Isolating takes all manner of forms. They will do their best to cut their victim off from all of their friends and even family. “No one will understand our relationship or what we have”. He started slowly at first. He began to make her cut off all of her friends, either in the real world or on social media. He would approve or disapprove of who she could talk to or associate with.

Control is the goal of an abuser. Ultimate and undisputable control. They will even go to the point of saying what job the victim may work at and what hours they are allowed to work. My daughter was only allowed to work at places where there were older clientele or, in one case, only young children in a Day Care facility. Places where there was little or no chance that anyone, especially a male, of her age would come to.

Isolation from friends and control are important but isolation from family is imperative, in our case in the very same house. Most of you will read that and think that it is impossible. Trust me, it is not. They are abusers that are experts at manipulation. They will convince their victim to do things totally out of their character (drugs for example) then use those things as weapons against them. Likewise they will get close to the other people in the victims life and try to get as much on them as they can. They will take things and exaggerate them to make them look negative in the eyes of the victim.

When the abuser has everything in place, all of the mind games, all of the lies and intimidation, they will then begin to feel safe. They will feel in total control. It seems they have a talent for hurting their victims without leaving visible marks. The victim, who has been isolated for so long feels as if they have no one they can turn to. They have been brainwashed into believing that no one cares or will believe them.

The situation will then follow the typical cycle of Domestic Violence. There will be an outbreak of violence. Then the abuser will apologize, not out of real guilt for what they have done but out of fear of being caught. The abuser will make sweet and nice gestures. They will swear it will never happen again. The victim, who wants to believe, will accept the apology and continue to believe that the abuser is really a good person (they have been brainwashed into that frame of mind after all). That leads to the “honeymoon” stage where everything will be nice, peaceful, and wonderful for a while. Then the abuser will begin to get aggravated at little things. He / she will start letting anger and frustrations pile up until the explosion comes and the violent outbreak occurs again.

My daughter was beaten within inches of her life. Her internal injuries were so sever that she had to be transported via helicopter to another city for emergency surgery. She was in the hospital for a week. No broken bones. No cracked ribs, mind you. The force of the impact of his blows and kicks did all of the damage. Someone asked me the most foolish question anyone can ask of a DV victim today. They asked “What did she do to make him that angry?” The answer is quite simple: nothing. The victim of DV doesn’t “do” anything. What happens is not their fault. They are a VICTIM. The abuser can wake up angry at something that has nothing to do with the victim and the victim becomes his punching bag, his outlet for all of his anger. Another stupid and wrong question: Why didn’t she / he leave? I think I have pretty much explained that. Once again, this is not a question to be asked. They are a VICTIM!

We will go on. We will survive. We are lucky. My daughter could have been killed. She could have died at the hands of her abuser. I came home just in the nick of time. Even then, she was so brainwashed that she was trying to cover up and make excuses for the damage to the house. Oh yes, he did a great deal of damage to things in the house. He destroyed things that he knew had personal meaning to the family. The physical damage will heal. With the grace of God the emotional scars will heal as well. Hopefully the bright, intelligent, young woman that was so full of dreams for a future will once again emerge from the ashes of this broken child. Once again, we are lucky.

If you know someone and you suspect there is abuse, please, please, please, HELP. Talk to them. Tell someone. Be there for them. Trust me it may not seem like it right now but sooner or later they are going to need you. If you are in this situation, for the love of God and everyone around you, get help. Listen to these words and take them to heart. No matter what you believe, no matter what you have been convinced of: They cannot be changed. They will not get better. You can not fix them!

As of this moment, Law Enforcement has still not located the animal that did this to my daughter. My rage and anger are only controlled by the love I have for my daughter and the knowledge that she is going to need me now more than she ever has in her life. Please, if you are out there and you are being abused, if you know someone that you suspect is being abused, DON’T LET THIS BE YOUR STORY.

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Ultimate Defeat the Darkness

You’re Doing It All Wrong

April 8, 2013 2 comments

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The dojo completed our Defeat the Darkness benefit for Family Crisis Services last Saturday standing against Domestic Violence, sexual assault and abuse. At the end of a very long day I was exhausted both physically and emotionally. We raised approximately $600.00 toward ending Domestic Violence in our community.

I learned a lot that day. One of the greatest lessons I learned was that all though some people are apathetic to the plague of violence that is rampant in our nation today, there is a host of others that are caring and concerned about the people around them that are suffering silently.

The speakers left an ever-lasting impression on me and I hope to the audience in attendance. These people, many of them volunteers, touched my heart and soul. I even found the courage to tell my own tale and all of it brought tears to my eyes at times.

There are some that turn a blind eye to the subject. There are those who want to help in the beginning, find out what a task, a battle, there is in front of them and back away. Although I understand this aspect of their thought pattern, I wish these people would at least be honest to the public and the victims.

One person related a story to me of a group who went full throttle into helping with the problem. These good-hearted, community-oriented people were great in the beginning. Then at the end of a past Take Back the Night Walk when everyone had gathered in the park (there’s a nice photo and article on this in the archives of this blog) people were allowed to stand up and speak openly. Some people publicly announced they were taking a stand against abuse. Others found a voice and told their own stories of how they had been abused.

This “community- oriented” group and its’ leaders were offended by one or two of the stories that were told. They found the outpouring of emotion and sometimes grief from these people too graphic and offensive. In what I can only consider their self-righteousness they chose to pull out and no longer support the move.

Are you crazy?

Want graphic? How about this…if you have a deep wound and you rip the scab off of that wound, it’s going to bleed! If you have a diverse group of people gathered together on the subject of Domestic Violence and abuse, emotions are going to rise to the surface because the thin veil that is holding back all of that pent up anguish is going to be torn away. This is the real world not some sanitary environment you have created where the boogie man lives outside somewhere. The boogie man lives right next door to you. He may be hiding in your own home. Real life is not a fairy tale where stories of dragons and monsters are told. We don’t live in the Middle Ages where priests told stories of demons and monsters living “out there” in the forests and had rituals and magics which would get rid of them which were never really used because at the end of the day no one had actually saw a monster. This is the 21st century. We have our own dragons and monsters and they are real. We really see them every single day when we watch the news or read the paper.

If you are out there, especially those of you who teach martial arts, and you have this kind of mind set, you need to wake up! The monsters are real. Violence is real. Abuse is real. People come to you in order to learn to defend themselves. Some of these people have experienced violence. They have been attacked or know someone close to them who has. They have met the monster. They have shook hands with the Devil. They are looking to you for help. For you to sit in your little make believe world and refuse to accept that is wrong. For you to teach people self-defense methods and techniques that you’re not even sure will work in real-life is wrong. Most of all and most important, for you to be angry or offended at a person for opening their heart is wrong! Don’t get angry or offended at the victim for opening up. Get angry at the crime. Get angry at the suffering! Get offended at the fact that we see this every single day an treat it like it’s “just life”. Or even worse, we ignore it completely.

In other words: You’re doing it wrong and your heart is in the wrong place. What is even worse is that in your pious indignation you are hurting the very people you claim to want to help.

Take your blinders off. Stop thinking about your reputation and your desire to make money for a moment and realize that you have intentionally put yourself in a position of authority and knowledge. People look to you for guidance. They look to you for advice. In a lot of very deep and personal ways, they look to you for compassion and understanding. If you’re going to place yourself in a position to help people then do it. If you don’t have the talent, knowledge, or courage to see it through then stop dancing around the thing. In the end you will get someone hurt either physically or emotionally.

I’m not a professional counselor. I have no degree. I do not want people to look at me in that manner. However I want to help. I am committed to help. In that commitment I have made connections with people who are professionals. I am set up so that if anyone comes to me and needs help I can direct them to people who can help them.

I suppose you could say I am a “professional” martial artist although I hate to use that term. I am trained and I have real-world experience with violence. I can, in that capacity, teach people how to defend themselves. Although I do attempt to increase my knowledge and continue to learn, I have no need for outside self-defense programs, catering to women or otherwise, to augment my teachings, line my wallet, or fatten my bank account. In that aspect I can confidently contribute to ending violence. I’m not a savior. I’m not even, in my mind, a leader in this fight. The volunteers that man those phones 24/7, the people who put victims up in safe houses, the staff who counsel and advocate for the abused, those are the leaders and heroes in this fight. I’m just a voice. I’m just a single pair of hands that are outstretched to try to help. I am a simple Sensei who refuses to turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to what is going on. I have seen enough real violence in my life that I am not so thin skinned that I would turn my back on anyone simply because I felt “offended”. If you are one of these people yet you have set yourself up to be a champion for the cause; You’re doing it all wrong! And I have to wonder what else you claim to be or take up a cause for that you will simply walk away from because you find something offensive or something doesn’t fit into the nice little box of your life.