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Posts Tagged ‘Domestic Violence’

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.

Declaring War on the Monster

February 28, 2013 4 comments

One thing I have hoped since I began this blog is that it would educate and inform others. If not that, I had hoped it would at least entertain people to some degree. One thing I have noticed is that more often times than not it educates me. At least it makes me think.

My last article was on Domestic Violence. I thought that it was time to begin looking at the subject and getting feedback from others. As I began actually researching the subject even more some of the things I wrote about, and some I didn’t, sickened me.

It seems that not a day goes by that I don’t open a newspaper or turn on the evening news and am bombarded by horrible stories of violence and Domestic Violence. You notice I capitalize the words. That’s because Domestic Violence has become almost a living breathing thing in my mind. An evil thing.

It’s not that I have just discovered it. Neither have you. It isn’t that it just became an important issue. It always has been. Has it grown in intensity? Yes, I believe it has. Yet even noticing that growth is not the reason it has suddenly came to the forefront of my mind I don’t think. I saw it when I was very young. It is one of my earliest childhood memories. I think it has probably lurked in the back of my mind all of my life like a silent ghost.

The thing that I think brought it forward in my life was a story in the news from Colorado Springs a few weeks ago. A man, I hesitate to call him a “Father”, murdered his two children then took off on his motorcycle. He wrecked the bike and killed himself only a few miles from his home.

How many of these stories do we hear every single day? Often times there are more than one or two stories in the same news broadcast. We listen to them. See them. Absorb them. Then we go on with our lives. I have been just as guilty of it as anyone. Finally I threw my hands in the air and asked WHY???? Have we gotten to the point that we are so desensitized to it that it’s “Just life”?

I haven’t.

I have seen a lot in my life. Looking back I think I have actually sought out violence in a weird round-about way. Twenty-four years in Corrections is pretty much putting yourself right in the middle of violence. I know it, have embraced it, have walked hand-in-hand with it. I would say that I have been, because of that life experience, pretty much as numb to it as anyone else could be. Some would say that gives me an advantage. I suppose in a lot of ways it does. But I have come to the point that I will not be as numb as the average person because of it.

Several years ago the dojo began supporting Family Crisis Services here. This organization is simply one of the most wonderful ones I have ever seen. The people there, many of them volunteers, selflessly give of themselves to assist the victims of Domestic Violence, sexual assault, and sexual abuse. They provide training and education to schools, churches, community organizations, and first responders. They offer a hotline 24/7. They also provide a Safe House for victims and are advocates to them as well even going as far as assisting the victims with restraining orders. They help victims develop safety plans for themselves and their children. There are several other faucets in which they act on behalf of those who cannot help themselves. And everything they do is confidential.

One of the things Family Crisis Services is very involved in is the Take Back the Night Walk to raise awareness on Domestic Violence. Several years ago I developed my Defeat the Darkness Women’s Self-Defense classes and seminars to compliment and work in adjacency with Take Back the Night. Even though the program has been a marvelous success I decided it simply was not enough.

This year Defeat the Darkness has taken on a whole new persona. I have decided to do an all-day event including martial arts demonstrations, guest speakers, and the self-defense program. We intend to collect donations for Family Crisis Services and do everything possible to raise awareness and educate the community.

Since I began working on the event I cannot believe the outpouring of support from the community. I can find fellow martial artists to demos at the drop of a hat. That’s no problem for me. The things I thought would be difficult are turning out not to be as much work as I thought. Within one afternoon I had three guest speakers lined up with the possibility of several others. I wanted door prizes and thought getting people to sponsor the event would be problematic. I had seven sponsors within 45 minutes today. I’m not bragging. I feel lucky and very blessed.

I hope this will be only the beginning. As hokey as it sounds, I feel like I am launching a war on a monster. It is a war I am willing to fight but I fully understand it is not one I can wage alone.

I am adding a link to an article one of our local publications printed (including in it a very nice photo of some of my students working out) on the dojo and the subject.

http://www.canoncurrent.com/category/news/karate-school-fights-to-serve-community/

I urge you, please, stop taking the problem of Domestic Violence with a shrug. Get out in your community. Take action. Make a stand. You can make a difference in people’s lives.

The Other Side of Violence

February 11, 2013 5 comments

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In the past I have written a lot on violence in this blog. Violence, as sad as the fact may be, is a part of life. Violence can be placed in two categories:

Social Violence

Domestic Violence

I have written quite a bit on the Social Violence side of the coin. Actually it is pretty much all I have written about here. Social Violence can be considered acts of violence that randomly happen to us. We are in the “wrong place at the wrong time” sort of scenarios are the ones that make up the majority of Social Violence cases. Like physical assault, sexual assault, robberies, and ect, these types of assault happen for the most part on a random basis. In my Common Sense Self-Defense articles I have provided a lot of information on Social Violence and how to deal with it. There is a ton of information on the subject in this blog. I intend to write more on it later.

In this article I want to touch a bit on the other side of the coin. I want to talk a bit on the dark and very personal torture that is Domestic Violence.

What is Domestic Violence?

A pattern of abusive behavior in an intimate or romantic relationship where one person chooses to control the relationship through the use of force, intimidation or fear.

This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone.

Domestic Violence’s abuse can take many forms. It may range from physical, emotional, sexual, economical, or a combination of these. It can be extreme as we often picture it, or it can be very subtle. In a relationship, it knows no boundaries or age limits. It happens in straight or same-sex relationships. Either sex can abuse the other (yes, women can be abusers to men). It can, and does, happen to teens as well as adults.

We often picture it as we have seen it in movies but Domestic Violence isn’t just an argument every once in a while. Domestic violence describes an ongoing pattern of abusive behavior when one person chooses to control the relationship (most often a romantic relationship) through force, fear, pressure or intimidation. Sometimes it is not even noticeable. Put-downs in public can only be the tip of the iceberg. It can very often be subtle even to the point of withholding money or taking paychecks.

That romantic relationship can be between two people who are married, divorced, living together, dating, with kids, without kids. It can be between teenagers, young people, adults, the elderly, between a man and woman, two women, two men, two people from any race, culture, nationality, religion, and from any neighborhood, economic status or educational level… Domestic violence can affect anyone.

It is important to understand that people commit domestic violence because they choose to do so, not because they can’t stop themselves. I think our modern society too often wants to place blame for something anywhere except the place it needs to be…on the person who committed or is committing the negative behavior. Abusing someone is a CHOICE.

We should all know the signs of Domestic Violence, not only to protect ourselves but to possible warn or protect others.

What are the Warning Signs?

•extreme jealousy or insecurity
•constant put-downs
•possessiveness or treating you like property
•telling you what to do
•constantly checking in on you
•explosive temper
•making false accusations
•isolating you from your friends and family
•preventing you from doing things you want to do

What Can be Done?

If you suspect someone you know is being abused, what can you do? The answer is not as simple as one might first think. Unlike in the movies we can’t just storm into the home and stop the violence as much as we might like to. Unlike Social Violence self-defense courses do little good because many people either do not realize they are actually being abused or refuse to admit it.

How can a person not realize they are being abused?

You have to understand that a lot of Domestic Violence / Abuse is psychological as well as physical. It is a pattern that over time has become, in the victim’s mind, normal. If possible pull the victim to the side, get them away from their abuser, and have a serious talk with them. Try to educate them and explain to them that what is happening is wrong. You can also inform the proper authorities. Help Lines and Hot Lines are abundant and easy to find. One thing to keep in mind: you are involving yourself in a very volatile situation on both sides. You absolutely have to use some discernment in how you act and the actions you take. You also must be willing to accept that the victim may not be willing to listen to you or accept your help. Remember, they think in many cases that nothing is wrong. The abuser is already a violent person in one form or another and may at least verbally assault you. In reality you must have a great deal of wisdom and courage if you attempt any form of intervention.

If you are being abused you need to:

Realize you are being abused.

You are in a cycle. You have been brainwashed to certain degree. You have to come to grips within yourself that you are a victim. Most importantly you have to realize that IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Remember what I said earlier, people CHOOSE to abuse someone. The idea you have done anything to deserve abuse is part of the cycle that the abuser has set into place in your mind. They have put you, your life, and possible the lives of your children in a nice little box…or cage.

Get Help

There are many organizations out there that are ready and willing to assist you. I support and work with such an organization that not only offers support and counseling but can also offer abuse victims and their children a place to go, a Safe House so to speak. Find these people and accept their help. No matter what you have come to believe, you are being victimized and you need help and support.

Get Out!

Just as it is with Social Violence you need to separate yourself from the thing that is harming you. You need to “escape”. If there are children involved this becomes even more critical. Perhaps your abuser isn’t harming your children physically but there are mental and emotional scars they are enduring that will last them for the rest of their lives. You may believe with all of your heart that things will get better. You may think that eventually you can change that person. Things will NOT get better. You will NOT change your abuser. In all probability without professional help, things will get worse.

You Are Not Alone

As I said, there are people out there that can and will help you. You are not the only person that has had to endure the pain and suffering you are experiencing. Inside of each of us is the heart of a warrior. That heart can take many different shapes and form each warrior differently. One of the main characteristics, the main traits, of a warrior is courage. You have to embrace the warrior within you and find the courage to act. You have to find the strength to reach out for help. Once you can do this you will find that you are truly not alone.

Young Lady, you need to call us

January 2, 2012 4 comments

My daughter was sick and we took her to the doctor Friday. After finishing up at the office we went to th local Walgreen’s to get her medication. As we were leaving and heading for our car I noticed a small red car parked on the right side of us and a green mini van parked on the left. A young couple was at the red car and there were two very young girls, one in a baby carrier, were inside the vehicle. Both the van and the car had windows smashed out and covered with plastic.

As we got inside of our car I saw that the couple was having a full blown argument. The babies were crying. We began to back out and I told my wife to not leave just yet. We sat and I watched the confrontation. The girl got into her car and attempted to close the door, the guy grabbed the door and I put my hand on my own door handle ready to do what had to be done. The girl slammed the door closed and the guy walked to the van, got in, and drove away.

Saturday my wife returned to Walgreens for more medication. We have all been under the weather of late. As she was heading for her car the very same scenario unfolded right in front of her. Same vehicles, same couple, same parking places. As she approached them the guy grabbed the girl. My wife than yelled at him and ordered him to let her go or she was going to call 911. The guy tried to make up some excuse or something and my wife ordered him to get in his van and leave or face the consequences. Surprisingly, he complied.

My wife walked up to the girl and asked if she was alright. She then gave her one of my business cards and told her, “You need to talk to my husband”. The girl looked at the card and replied “Karate?” My wife told her her to just call, that I could help her.

So this is to that young lady: You need to call me. If by some miracle you read this, you need to get in contact with me. No, I’m not wanting to train you to be a killing machine. I do know people who can help you. The kind of behavior being shown by this young man will not stop on its’ own. You can make up excuses and justify it in your mind as much as you want, but it will not stop until you take steps to stop it. The windows in your vehicles being broken out tells me there is a very strong tendency for violence here. You have two very young girls that depend on you. You can’t let them suffer from this.

So I’m asking you very honestly and sincerely, please get in touch with me and let me get you in touch with some people who can help you before something worse happens. Even though you gave my wife your name I won’t mention it here. Nor will I mention it to anyone else at any time. You know who you are and you know in your heart that you can’t let this continue.

Young Lady, you need to call us.