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Posts Tagged ‘domestic violence’

Zilch. Zero. Nada.

Every year, between 133 million and 275 million children witness domestic violence in their home. What should this number be? Zilch.

In the United States, EACH DAY four children die as a result of child abuse or child neglect. How many children should die because of this? Zilch.

In the United States, four women per day are killed by someone who is supposed to love them and honor them. How many of these women should be killed? Zilch.

In the United States, 78% of the child fatalities due to child abuse and/or neglect are are a direct result of the parents. What should this number be? Zilch.

The statistics go on and on and on.

What can YOU do? Listen and watch for opportunities to make a difference in your community. Is there an election involving domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, or any other kind of abuse in your area? If so, speak up. Vote. Make a difference. Local communities need to do what they can do to make a difference. They can set up shelters, community centers, and inform the public. You can help make that happen. If you know someone who is being abused, you can help support them through it. You can make a difference in their life. You can help inform them. You can help make an escape plan. You can.

Until the statistics reach “zilch” we have to keep on working toward that number, doing anything we can to help the problem; to help the victims; to make survivors out of victims.

For the rest of the posts in this series, click here.

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Xenodochial means being friendly with strangers, kind of the opposite of xenophobic. How does that fit in with abuse? Well, that’s one of the traits of an abuser.

An abuser’s traits include:

Charming. An abuser is a charmer, someone who can impress strangers by their politeness, inclusiveness, friendliness. He/she is the last person someone would image would be abusive because he/she is soooo nice and soooo friendly and soooo easy going. To strangers, anyway.

Behind closed doors, an abuser is controlling, irresponsible, irritable, narcissistic, isolating, and impatient. He/she will not allow his/her partner to associate with friends or family because he/she wants to control everything their partner does. He/she thinks the world revolves around him/her and everything is about him/her. Everyone should be doing what the abuser wants them to do.

The abuser often is going from one project to another, seemingly unfocused on any one thing.

An abuser is often alcohol or drug dependent.

The abuser is usually someone with numerous failed relationships. He/she will abuse over and over again. They are often the type of person who will not be able to commit to a relationship, leaving one when things get tough (like a pregnancy, financial problems, the birth of a child, illness, etc.).

An abused adult may be someone that either was abused as a child or lived in an abusive household. He/she has learned to abuse from someone.

They often have a history of abuse related arrests.

They get more and more violent. Shoving becomes punching. Spousal abuse becomes child abuse.

They blame everyone else for their abuse, refusing to take responsibily for their abusive actions.

But to strangers, he/she is friendly, the perfect host, charming, nice, supportive. Xenodochial.

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Although I live in the United States and a lot of what I have posted has to do with the United States, abuse is by no means exclusive to the United States. Abuse is a worldwide problem.

According to the International Center for Assault Prevention (ICAP) approximately forty million children under the age of fifteen are victims of abuse or neglect. Internationally, up to 36% of girls and 29% of boys have suffered child sexual abuse. Between 133 and 275 million children worldwide are estimated to witness domestic violence annually.

According to Living Without Abuse (UK) domestic violence leads to an average of two women being murdered EACH WEEK and thirty men per year. The BBC reports that in the UK, one in ten children is neglected.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that, in developed countries, one in ten elder is abused each month. However, only one in twenty-four cases is reported so the estimates are considerably on the low side. In under-developed countries, the problem is far worse.

Pick any country and search for abuse statistics. You will be shocked. It is not an isolated problem. It is a worldwide pandemic.

Something needs to be done.

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The other day I told you about Gloria (not her real name). Today I was going to write something entirely different but last night something happened that brings me to an update. A hopeful one.

Last night Sam hit her again. He had been drinking since the night before and all day yesterday. He blew up and started throwing things at her and yelling at her. He beat her with a shoe because he was “not going to lay a finger on her.” She took the boys into the bedroom and locked the door. He broke the door down. Apparently, the boys were screaming at him to stop and were very upset. The police were called and he was arrested but because he didn’t hit her with his fists, the arrest was for a misdemeanor harassment charge. He was to be booked and released as soon as he was sober. She called me and I spent the night with them in case he came back that during the night.

Today she is bruised and sore all over her back with shoe marks all over. The boys are still talking about it, even the three year old. She says she won’t allow him back in again. The kids were there and upset. The first thing one of the boys said to me last night was “Daddy is never coming back home again. He hurt Mommy and I was yelling at him ‘Stop! Stop! Stop!’ and I was crying.” We watched a movie and he kept talking about it during the movie, obviously upset about it. So I am hopeful that she won’t let him back home. He’ll be under a “No Contact” order until he goes to Court. He’s actually on probation from the first charge three years ago so we are hoping they will terminate his probation and make him serve the full jail term. That will keep him locked up for a couple of years. Enough time for them to move on. I know it won’t be easy for them but they will be so much better off without him constantly causing fear in her and the boys.

Join me in crossing my fingers and saying a silent prayer that Gloria sticks to it this time. This has to be the last time.

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My mom and dad are fighting again. Well, at least my dad is fighting with my mom. I can’t hear her saying anything but I can hear my dad yelling at her and saying some of the words we aren’t supposed to say because they’re bad words.

It happens all the time but more when my dad doesn’t have to go to work the next day. He starts out happy but then he ends up angry and yells at all of us. My mom sends us to the other room or to bed if it’s night time. He keeps yelling at her and sometimes I can hear him slap her or hit her. Sometimes I can hear him push her down on the floor or against the wall.

This time it was because my dad yelled at my brother and got up to hit him and my mom got in between them so he couldn’t hit my brother. Instead, she sent him to bed along with the rest of us and when we left he started yelling at her and calling her names then he hit her.

It happened last night, too. And a few days ago. My birthday was last week and it happened then too, after everyone went home. He always starts when everyone is gone. He’s nice to everyone until the company leaves then he starts hitting us and yelling at us. He has a whip. It’s made out of a long extension cord. He folds it in half and whips us with it. Then my mom comes and tries to get him to stop and he starts whipping her, too.

It happens all the time. Over and over again. All the time.

For my other 2016 A to Z Challenge posts, click here.

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All citizens have a responsibility to protect those who cannot protect themselves.

Without a meaningful consequence for violating Oregon’s mandatory reporting law, there is little incentive for compliance. Without a real risk of meaningful punishment, laws that impose a duty to act have no deterrent effect.”— Erin K. Olson, Portland attorney and a co-founder of the Oregon Crime Victims Law Center. 

What is a mandated reporter? A mandated reporter is someone who is required by law to report suspected abuse (child abuse, domestic violence, child neglect, and elder abuse all have specific lists of those who are mandated to report such abuse). In the case of child abuse and child neglect, the list of mandated reporters encompasses many specific people in the medical, educational, legal, law enforcement fields as well as other fields. Some states also make any adult working with a children’s club or organization (Cub Scouts, Girls Scouts, Boy Scouts, Campfire, Y, etc.) a mandated reporter.

Mandated reporters are required to report when they suspect abuse or when they are told by a potential victim that abuse has/is occurred/occurring. That means that if a child comes to school and tells a teacher that his/her parents are abusing them, that teacher is required to make the report to the local agency for child protective services. They don’t have to have actual first hand knowledge of the abuse. They are required to make the call and let another professional make the decision as to whether it will be investigated or not. The identity of the reporters is supposed to be kept confidential. That doesn’t always happen. Most states have laws and penalties against anyone in a “mandated reporter category” NOT making a report.

I have been a mandated reporter in my teaching capacity as well as a Scout leader. I have made those calls to Child Protective Services several times. In one case it was investigated and found to be true. In the others, it was either not investigated at all or investigated and not found to be credible. And, although my identity was supposed to be kept confidential, it wasn’t. As a result, in two cases, parents came into my classroom and confronted me and verbally abused me in the presence of my students (this was in California which, incidentally, has a law on the books making it illegal for anyone to verbally or physically attack a school teacher or administrator in the presence of students) and no one backed me up. Administrators are supposed to do that yet in both cases, they failed to do so. It left a bitter taste in my mouth but I don’t regret having made those calls. I will do anything in my power to protect a child from any kind of abuse. Any day. Every day.

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Surely there are laws to protect children from abuse and neglect. Surely there are laws to protect against domestic violence. Why do the numbers of abuse victims continue to rise? Why don’t the laws deter abuse?

Well, think about it. In the United States, the legal justice system assumes that all accused are innocent until proven guilty. Who is going to prove them guilty? How will they be proven guilty? The accusers have the burden of proof of guilt. And they will prove the guilt by telling their story over and over and over again, many times to those who don’t believe them. So the same people that have been victimized once will have to tell their story until they are either believed or not. They will be questioned over and over again. They will be made to feel as if they are the guilty ones. They will be victimized once again, this time by the legal system; all to protect the legal rights of the abusers. Even the very young will have to be questioned. And when the case goes to court, the victims will have to testify in front of the same person that victimized them in order protect the accused constitutional right to face their accuser. The victim will have to face the person that hurt them; that betrayed them; that committed horrible crimes against them. There is something wrong with that.

Yes. There are laws against child abuse and child neglect. There are laws against domestic violence. But there are also laws to protect their abusers and in our legal system, the rights of the accused seem to trump the rights of the victim.

My 2016 A to Z Challenge Posts

Abuse

Because

Child Abuse

Dad

Elder Abuse

Families & Domestic Violence

Gloria

Hush

Ignoring

Jasmine

Killers

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