Sunday

Moving Forward

Well, looks like I got through Thanksgiving--a big deal for me because I hate the holidays. I hate the idea of celebrating Eurocentrism and fairytales and the rape and murder of Native peoples on this land. I hate the idea that I should be thankful because of fate or things that were magically given to me, you know, because I'm a sinner and all, and I am so blessed that my life isn't so much worse than it is.

I hate Black Friday. I hate capitalism. I hate being poor. Being poor sucks the most during the holidays. Christmas is a celebration of gifts and money with a sprinkle of charity and Jesus...I could go on an on...

But in the past 6 months, I have met some really great people. And I am thankful for that. Great people who, like me, are moving forward, making things work, re-creating and re-defining their lives. I'm going to put the spotlight on Nancy Koerner at this moment.

I think I've stated before that I unofficially met Nancy at the NCADV conference over the summer. I expected that this conference change my life, as if the conference was an entity. But it was the people that I met and the relationships that were built that has carried me into the present.

Nancy has authored many posts on this site earlier in the fall.  I love her wisdom, insight, and her ability to speak to me so rawly when I seek her advice.  She sent me her book, Belize Survivor: Darker Side of Paradise, and I swear I've never been the same since. In fact, I believe I got off track with my blogging because I felt I didn't have anything interesting to say in comparison to what I'd just read. I have never been that engaged in a book since I read the Babysitter's Club series (other than Friendly Fire, by Felton).

Belize Survivor is so colorful. I mean this in a myriad of ways. I could see the color. I could feel and touch the color...it was alive. Her descriptions of plants and jewelry, sites and events, left me almost unable to separate my present life at that moment, from the story. While I was reading, I was inside of the book. I couldn't run away from it.

I also would add, that I felt a bit of vicarious trauma while engaged in the book. The descriptions of the emotional and physical pain were very real to me, even though I had not experienced domestic violence to this extent. This was okay because I am out of my situation and able to distinguish the past from the present. I tell you this because that is how great the writing is. You are forced to simultaneously become the main character and the omniscient reader.  Your mind begs for a resolution.

So we're going to try a little something-something. We are going to post Belize Survivor, piece by piece, and let you enjoy it for yourself. It is Nancy's gift to you and to the cause of being silenced no more.

Weekend Visitation Gone Awry

I would normally give an intro or my own commentary on a story, but I'm not in the mood right now. Just know that after a weekend visitation at his father's house in August, a little boy is dead.

From this article,
In the jailhouse interview, Gonzalez said he lost his temper after his son was "behaving badly" and did not respond to a scolding. The next thing he knew, he said, he was stabbing the boy with a red-handled kitchen knife. He said he dismembered his son's body in the bathtub and dumped his remains in trash bins in Lynn. He said he washed the knife and returned it to a kitchen drawer.

Peace be with you, Giovanni [Gonzalez]




The Silence of What Was Not Said

October WAS National Domestic Violence Month. I still hear the silence of what was not said:

· We have a national epidemic: victimization of mothers and children by family courts, government agencies and private agencies contracted by government.

· Abusers, aided by government funding, use family courts for their own ends.

· Responsible Fatherhood Programs, intended to connect deserving fathers with their children, are used instead to deliver children into the hands of abusive and even pedophile fathers.

· Biased judges, court appointed personnel, social services and mental health professionals are all failing families.

· Mothers endure junk science diagnoses (such as PAS) and abusive therapies. Mothers are issued gag orders; some are incarcerated, others institutionalized, and still others become homeless. Many lose contact with their children.

· Attorneys are more loyal to the courts and agencies involved than to the victims they are supposed to defend.

· Little is done to fight the trend of rewarding abusers and disempowering victims.

· Yet that trend manufactures the next generation of victims and perpetrators.

· In the USA thousands of mothers and children live underground, while some seek asylum in other countries, finding in this their only protection.

Ricky Jaffe
Newburg NY


Saturday

Beware of the Returning Soldiers

From an AP article (emphasis added),
"We're seeing a lot of soldiers with stress related issues," he said. "They're not bipolar or schizophrenic. But they're deploying three and four times and the stress is tremendous. They're having relationship issues, financial issues, marital problems — all stress related."
WARNING. WARNING. WARNING. WARNING.

Remember Ft. Bragg?

Already we know that the economy is depressed. We know that violence increases during economic woes. We know that holiday violence increases. We know of seasonal disorders.  And we know of PTSD and soldiers returning from war.

WARNING. WARNING. WARNING. WARNING.

I am very pleased that this army base in Kentucky is on alert and armed with psychs and such. Very proactive. I have to give the military some props on that one, finally.

If you are a military spouse, beware.

When All Else Fails, Enlist the Hairstylists

This news about the hairstylists isn't fresh, nevertheless, I'm going to comment about it. It is being implemented in N.Y. but is not a brand new concept. However, I do think it is a wonderful idea.

Why?

Because the word about domestic violence still isn't getting out there enough. And because the movement isn't effective enough when women have to choose between getting abused in the house, or getting abused in the court system.

I appreciate any opportunity to bring more voices and ears to the attention of domestic violence. People need to be educated. Hairdressers need to be educated because they are people--perhaps the same women who may be promulgating myths, or victim-blaming.
Girl, why do you put up with that bullshit? Why you let him beat you like that?
Who ever asks,
What gives him the right to beat you? Or what the fuck is wrong with him?
This is a chance for woman to build sisterhood--compassion and understanding for each other in a respectful relationship where no one is holding power over the other.

Then again, Sista Stylist may have the power to transform you, cut that hair short, dye it, and help you get the hell out of dodge.

Wednesday

Murder in Maryland

Okay, back to DMV crimes, Maryland it's your turn. Yesterday it was D.C. I was actually going to take a break over the next few days. I have exceeded what I normally post for the month. But I awoke first thing to hear about:

Tina Dean had a violent relationship with her boyfriend. She got a restraining order on him. While he was in prison, he wrote to her that he would kill her and her new boyfriend. And that's what the fuck he tried to do and he half succeeded with a shovel and a gun.

Peace to you, Mr. Patty.



Tuesday

D.C. Woman Stabbed to Death by Boyfriend

Well, well, hometown area. The holidays begin again. I swear this same shit happened last season (last year).

Tiffany Gates
had an abusive boyfriend with whom she lived. She left him. He stalked her. She filed a restraining order. He set her apartment on fire. While on the phone with the police, he murdered her.

Peace to you Ms. Gates.




See Also

Seeking Solution to Violence--Man Hopes to Create a Registry of Domestic Abusers

Florida Gays Can Adopt

I've been waiting for this moment. No, not so gays can adopt, per se, but for the moment to seize the opportunity to see this (emphasis added),
Everywhere in the law where children are affected, the standard must always be what is in the best interest of the child. What is stunning to me is that when it comes to dealing with gays, that standard goes out the window. Children do better with a mother and a father.
AHA. There it is. Now, go back to what I said in this post and BAM!!! (By the way, that "children do better claim" is bogus, as much as it sounds good to believe.)

Best interest of the child? Who's been listening to that? Standards go out of the window all the time. I can't believe people want to fight gay couples as if there aren't a million evils to combat already.

The state's argument was,
...there was a higher incidence of drug and alcohol abuse among gay couples, that they were more unstable than heterosexual unions and that the children of gay couples suffer a societal stigma.
Oh, so the State is concerned with those correlations now? But what about abused children that flee violence and are forced to go live with their abusers. And what's more unstable than a household filled with violence, or a child that must be tossed back and forth in a 50-50 custody split?

Spare me.

Violent Video Game List

(emphasis added)

...the NIMF has red-flagged ten violent games concerned parents should keep away from the under-17 crowd this holiday, citing excessive bloodshed and brutality...
Okay, so I know the old debate about whether violent video games cause violent behaviors. I'm not going to argue for or against this at the moment. These are adult games, played and created by adult men, intended for adults (though often watched and played by kids). Men, not women. I can't verify this with any statistics, though. But when you question violence, and perpetrators of violence, just look the fuck around...

The Popo

This was in the AJC.

One in three recent Atlanta Police Academy graduates have criminal records

Oh really? What, does this come as a surprise or something? The only thing I'm surprised about is that it is making media attention.

This could be expected because of the failing economy--I mean, shit, they have to recruit somebody! And at least these recruits don't have to go to war (well, overseas...). Furthermore, [most] people deserve a second chance. Since when has a little weed ruined someone's life? (Believe me, I'm dying laughing right now.)

But at least
the department won’t hire anyone with felony convictions, or those with convictions for obstruction of justice, sex or domestic crimes.

Alright, good. No [convicted] rapists or batterers.

If I could tell women one thing, it would be: Don't become romantically involved with a police officer [and a few other positions of power] without being on alert. Hell, if he can legally have a weapon and beat people up for a living with a criminal background, what do you think he could do to you?

Monday

Battered Mothers Fight to Survive the Family Court System

The following article is an example of the court rape that I described yesterday. So many agencies are documenting it. And as you will see, this was written a few years ago. What are we going to do?

(emphasis mine)
Battered Mothers Fight to Survive the Family Court System

Research & Action Report Fall/Winter 2003

Human rights abuse charges are commonly used to attempt to tarnish political leaders and institutions in other countries. However, when the human rights lens focuses on U.S. institutions, such as the Massachusetts family court system, alarming cracks appear in the American assumption of justice at home. The Centers' Battered Mothers' Testimony Project (BMTP) has found that battered women often face yet another form of abuse in court.

Battered Mothers Speak Out, a report published by BMTP in November 2002, documents the human rights violations battered women suffer when they fight against their abusers for custody of their children in the Massachusetts family courts. Since 1999, project codirectors Carrie Cuthbert and Kim Slote have been gathering evidence about court processes and outcomes from abuse survivors, their advocates and counselors, and from state judicial and government officials.

"We interviewed 40 battered mothers with experience in 11 of Massachusetts' 14 counties who were diverse in terms of race, age, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation," said Cuthbert. "Despite their diversity, the problems that they identified were remarkably similar. The courts fail to protect battered women and children by issuing child custody rulings that endanger them. Family courts give custody to batterers. Child abusers are given unsupervised visitation. Women and children are required by the courts to interact with their abusers with no protection."

Ironically, Massachusetts is a leader in addressing domestic violence through criminal prosecution, crisis intervention, and social and public-health services. Massachusetts and many other states fail on the next frontier—when battered mothers go to court to retain custody of their children.

Mixed Message from the State
"Battered women get a mixed message from the state," Cuthbert said. "On one hand, they are told to leave their batterers to protect their children. But when they leave, they have to go to family court to resolve issues. The court tells them to maintain relations with this person and to foster a relationship between the children and their abuser. This way, batterers can continue the abuse following separation."

In court, women are often at a disadvantage. A law that could provide critical protection—the Massachusetts Presumption of Custody Law that affirms that children's best interests are not served when they are placed in the custody of a batterer or child abuser—is not regularly enforced. Women usually receive custody in uncontested cases, but the 1989 gender bias study commissioned by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court found that fathers win three times more often than mothers in contested custody battles.

Ensuring better treatment and outcomes for battered women facing custody battles is urgent, says the BMTP team. Courageous women who left brutal partners expect justice in the family court system, and they are dismayed when custody goes to the person who abused them or their children. "Women lose trust in the court system," said Cuthbert. "That means battered mothers may stay with the batterer because they at least have some measure of control when they are present in the home."

Rising Activism
Cuthbert, Slote, and BMTP policy director Monica Ghosh Driggers saw increasing activism among the women who participated in Battered Mothers' Testimony Project interviews, focus groups, quarterly project meetings, and the May 2002 human rights tribunal at the Massachusetts State House. At the tribunal, four survivors told their stories of domestic abuse, attempts to flee it, and entrapment in legal snarls with their abusers. A video of the tribunal and copies of the November report have nearly sold out. Although the judicial response was critical of the report's methodology, the chief justice of the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court did send copies to every family court judge. And women continue to call the project months after the initial media coverage has died down.

"We‘ve had an overwhelmingly positive response from survivors," Cuthbert said. "Women from all across the country have called, saying, ‘This is my story. Your project made me feel like I'm not alone.' Because of this response, we think what we reported on was just the tip of the iceberg."

Although the research project ends in December 2003, the work of transforming project findings into concrete policy and practice is just beginning. A new grassroots organization of survivors and advocates—the Massachusetts Protective Parents Association—began meeting last summer. The project has been replicated in Arizona and several other states have expressed interest in the Massachusetts effort, all indications that the project's impact is growing.

Human Rights Perspective
The project's focus on international human rights standards helped draw support from survivors and transform them into leaders, BMTP leaders say. "Human rights looks at how governments treat citizens," said Cuthbert. "International human rights standards provide a yardstick to measure government action and inaction, as opposed to looking at an individual perpetrator."

In contrast to the focus in the U.S. on civil and political rights, the international human rights framework puts equal value on civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights. The Battered Mothers' Testimony Project, a project of the WCW Women's Rights Network, embraces this broader scope. Battered mothers frequently face unmanageable legal expenses or lack access to the legal representation necessary to win court fights. Lack of economic rights, in essence, denies them justice.

"The power of human rights is that they affirm the gravity of what these women and children have had to go through," Cuthbert said. "These are not just bad outcomes or policies. These are human rights abuses. Everyone has a fundamental right to freedom from violence."

What's Next?
The publication of Battered Mothers Speak Out on the first day of the annual global campaign, 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence, is focusing new energy on solving the systemic family court problems. Steps toward action include the founding of the Massachusetts Protective Parents Association and a new early intervention partnership between the Women's Bar Foundation and Help for Abused Women and Children, an advocacy group. The Battered Mothers' Testimony Project leadership and steering committee have addressed public meetings, research and domestic violence conferences, and the Governor's Commission on Domestic Violence. Amnesty International, the ACLU, the Executive Office of Public Safety for the State of Massachusetts, and organizations in several other states are developing initiatives based on project findings.

The BMTP team sees their work as a call for more research, activism, and action at the national level. Driggers, an expert in court reform, is currently pursuing possible sources of funding for a new project on gender and justice aimed at national legislation, expanded research, and broader advocacy.

"The court system seems to feel that if they are aware of a problem, then it is solved," Driggers said. "Ten years ago courts across the country produced gender bias reports and made recommendations and worked on a few. Female attorneys are no longer called ‘honey' in court, but treatment of female litigants doesn't seem to have improved. I want to go back and see if progress has been made."

The Findings
The Battered Mothers' Testimony Project found that the Massachusetts Family Court system violated human rights through:
  • Failure to protect battered women and children from abuse: incidents include granting child custody to batterers.
  • Discrimination and bias: holding mothers to a higher parenting standard than fathers.
  • Degrading treatment: court investigators treat battered women with disrespect.
  • Denial of due process: court officers pressure battered mothers to engage in unsafe face-to-face mediation with their abusers.
  • Allowing the batterer to continue the abuse through the court system: battered mothers are harassed emotionally and financially when batterers can file multiple, baseless motions.
  • Failure to respect economic rights: judges fail to hold batterers accountable for nonpayment of child support.
For more information on the Battered Mothers' Testimony Project and ongoing WCW work on this topic, visit www.wcwonline.org/wrn


Battered Mother's Custody Conference 2009

I am posting this because someone did a search query for it and landed on my blog. You have a little over a month before the conference begins in New York. I was told that these conferences are excellent. I really hope that this year, it is more than excellent. 

I had the privilege of hearing Mo Hannah and Barry speak at the NCADV conference. I also had the opportunity to personally speak to Barry and Ben.  It was so odd to hear men speak in support of women.  I'm sure my face was but a blur of the thousands of mothers that they run into during this journey.

Battered Women, Abused Children, and Child Custody:
A National Crisis
BMCC VI: SOLUTIONS

The Sixth Annual Battered Mothers Custody Conference
 January 9th, 10th, & 11th, 2009
(Friday evening, 6 p.m. - Sunday afternoon)
Albany, New York

Co-Sponsored by

National Family Court Watch Project
Coalition for Family Justice
NOW NYS
LoveFraud.Com

Presenters
ACTRESS and AUTHOR ANGELA SHELTON
Reclaiming the Sword ~ Transitioning from Pain and Suffering into Joy and Happiness

WENDY MURPHY, Esq. "And Justice for Some"

LUNDY BANCROFT On Organizing and Activism

JENNIFER COLLINS
An American Family Goes Underground in the Netherlands ~
and Returns to Tell Their Story

TOBY KLEINMAN, Esq.
So you believe your child may be abused. . .What do you do now

BARRY GOLDSTEIN, Esq.
Panel on the upcoming book, "Domestic Violence, Child Custody, and Abuse:
Legal and Policy Issues"

GARLAND WALLER, Producer
Why the Mainstream Media Have Failed to Cover a National Scandal

BEN ATHERTON-ZEMAN, Actor and Activist Performing "Voices of Men"

THE COURAGEOUS KIDS SPEAK OUT


Workshops on SOLUTIONS by

Liane J. Leedom, M.D., Author
Renee Beeker & Paul Holdorf, Esq., Nat'l Family Court Watch Project
Ursula Williams, Turning Point DV Services
Tovah Kasdin, Esq., Jewish Women International
Karen Anderson, California Protective Parents Association
Barry Goldstein, Esq. & Ben Atherton-Zeman
Irene Weiser, Family Court Reform Coalition
Anne Grant, Journalist
Massachusetts Mothers for Justice
Donna Anderson ~ Lovefraud.com
Dara Carlin, M.A.
Marcia Pappas, President, NOW NYS
Christina Dalpiaz, Author
Joan Peterson, BSW, MPA
Karen Henninger

CONFERENCE HOTEL

Holiday Inn Turf
205 Wolf Road, Albany, NY
( five minutes away from Albany International Airport- free shuttle provided)

Call: 1-800-HOLIDAY or 518-458-7250 
Special rate of $99/night
Ask for Battered Mothers Custody Conference block
Reserve early!
E-mail [email protected] ; 518-210-2487
For additional details and to register online, go to
www.batteredmotherscustodyconference.org

Not Even God Can Save You

UPDATED 9/25

Everyone tells women to get out of abusive relationships. Leave him. Fucking run. But what form of protection can you offer a victim/survivor after she's out of the house? Where can she go? Can she stay with you? How will you protect her and how will she protect herself.

A very brave woman named Reshma James moved from California to New Jersey to escape her abusive husband. He chased her ass down and shot her dead in the church. If that was her place of refuge or salvation, I am glad that she made it there to be in His house. But to me, it looks like not even God can save you.

It's the holiday season, folks...you probably ain't seen nothing yet.

Peace be with you Ms. James



See More Holiday Crimes

Another Mom Murdered, Children Missing, Hunt is on for Estranged Husband: Children are Found Safe!

D.C. Woman Stabbed to Death by Boyfriend

Saturday

Court Raped



In the past 2 months, I've received some new court paperwork involving this whole custody thing.....after almost one year of silence. Silence. It was so nice.

Now, I've had a budding migraine for about 5 days. I have been lying in bed, on and off...and when I do decide make a presence and comb through my hair, it's shedding like pine needles. No, it's not breaking off. It's coming out from the root.

I've been here before--several years ago during the beginning of the end of my marriage. My hair used to shed so much that it covered the bathroom floor like a light carpet. It wound up in the laundry.

Back then, I told the doc about the shedding, the migraines...and there were other pains. He gave me a depression med because he said it treated "chronic pains." Uh huh. Medication doesn't stop your husband from abusing you. But I guess you wouldn't know unless you ask.

I refuse to take any med now. I am the anti-med. And medication won't stop the court from abusing me.

I feel like I need to file a lawsuit against the ex and the court system for endangering my health. I just recently heard of the term Birth Rape. Well, I am being Court Raped. The court is exerting power and control in my life without regard to my position and well-being. The court doesn't give a flying fuck about me and mine--the case is taking place in a county in which I have never lived. Court Raped. I have been bent over and am taking it in the ass by the judge, the ex, and his attorney. Court Raped--because I can't speak about the past because I never had it on record before. Court Raped--because everyone gets off--they cum and spray their hot, evil semen in my face, taking advantage of me and mine.

Friday

Military Training



The Army released the following statement:


"The behavior displayed by the parents in the video is neither condoned nor indicative of soldiers in this command or the Army. (oh really, you've got to be shitting me! what about that year of wife beatings and murders on your base?)"
"The command takes very seriously the health and welfare of all service members    (yes, you mean this with all your heart) and their families (but unfortunately, this part is a fucking lie)."
"This command will take the appropriate actions (oh how we love parenting classes!  i hope it is as effective and entertaining as the anger management classes) as required and will continue to cooperate with civilian agencies.(oooh yes, the military is EXCELLENT at doing this.)"

You know, this could be an innocent event. Kids fight, right? Kids fight while their parents egg them on, right? Kids fight on camera while their parents egg them on, right? Kids fight, cheer, cry, and another kid steps in to intervene while their parents egg them on while taping the event, right? I mean, this happens on and of military bases, right? All everyone needs is just a little parenting classes.


See Also

Fort Bragg Father Who Has Custody of Toddler Son Posts Video Beating on YouTube

Wednesday

Dads and Guns

A 6 year old child is shot accidentally by her father after bringing him his gun. He had been drinking. Now after the last incident with the boy in Arizona, plus this one, you'd think there might be an upcoming campaign about guns in the home with children.

Okay, so you gun totin' folk are committed to your 2nd amendment rights. I get it. But should you be allowing your children to handle your guns, too? Where do children's rights really begin?

Tuesday

Could Suge Knight be a Batterer?

From this AP article,
Police allege they saw the founder of bankrupt Death Row Records beating his girlfriend while brandishing a knife in a parking lot near the Las Vegas Strip in August...Authorities said the woman wasn't stabbed, but was treated at a hospital for injuries

Okay, so with this surface information, this is an act of violence, and not domestic violence, because we do not know if Suge Knight and his girlfriend cohabit(ed) or have a child together.

I wonder still though, what did she do to get beat? I guess she should have known not to become involved with such a large man with a history of violence.

Random Thought: The Homeless

I have seen a few statistics/quotes that say that the majority of women [and children] who are homeless are so because of domestic violence.

I have also read that the majority of the homeless population are men (and I see them all the time in D.C.). Are they homeless because of domestic violence?

Power and Control: Distinguishing Violent Acts from Domestic Violence

Damn, sounds like I'm about to write a research paper, right? Not!..though I would love to at another time and place. Maybe one has already been done by someone out there...

Anyway,

As I frequent the blogosphere, I constantly hear both men and women spout off that men are victims of domestic violence. No one doubts this claim. Men are victims. Animals are victims, too. But the problem is that when we are talking about the disproportionate number of woman as victims, men (not animals) as victims seems to take over the discourse. But again, we were talking about women victims. This is called:
Shifting the Focus. The individual tries to turn people’s minds and attention onto something else, and distract them from the real issue. 
And so, spurning from this never-ending debate-that's-not-really-a-debate, my comrade and I try to imagine what domestic violence against men looks like. Hmm. Damn, what does it look like?

Well, let's take a look at some definitions of domestic violence:

Florida's legal definition
"Domestic violence" means any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.

"Family or household member" means spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married. With the exception of persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit.

From Helpguideorg
Domestic abuse, also known as spousal abuse, occurs when one person in an intimate relationship or marriage tries to dominate and control the other person. An abuser doesn’t “play fair.” He or she uses fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and gain complete power over you. He or she may threaten you, hurt you, or hurt those around you. Domestic abuse that includes physical violence is called domestic violence.

Victims of domestic abuse or domestic violence may be men or women, although women are more commonly victimized. (Note:this article will use the pronoun “he” for convenience only) This abuse happens among heterosexual couples and in same-sex partnerships. Except for the gender difference, domestic abuse doesn’t discriminate. It happens within all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds, and financial levels. The abuse may occur during a relationship, while the couple is breaking up, or after the relationship has ended.

Despite what many people believe, domestic violence is not due to the abuser’s loss of control over his behavior. In fact, violence is a deliberate choice made by the abuser in order to take control over his wife or partner.

Okay, so what did that accomplish? Confusion maybe. I don't know how many people understand that legal definitions are less inclusive than the non-legal. I say this because, as far as the legal definition is concerned, any form of violence between persons who have lived together [with a child in common] could be considered domestic violence. Domestic only means in the home, or related to the family; violence is behavior intended to hurt or kill.

So, if I had a child with a man and I hit the man and he sustained injuries, I have been "domestically violent." Period.

But that is not the sum of domestic violence. What I described was a violent act. And acts of violence are quite commonplace in our society.

Are women perpetrators of violence? You damn skippy. But I ask you to consider this: Who fills our prisons, juvenile detention centers, and war battlegrounds? Who is on the news for school shootings, homicides, suicides? What's on tv and movies? Who is in control of these institutions, and well, all of the world's power? Seems like men are the victims of their own doings. They are the victims of the patriarchy that they control. Well, I'll be damned.

Okay face it, we live in a violent society, in case you haven't noticed, violent acts are ever so pervasive. But domestic violence is about power and control. Without it, there is no domestic violence, only violent acts.

The person who earns the money, spends the money and keeps the household in a constant state of fear, is the person who has the power and control. The person who seems so charismatic to the public and then comes home to the family and turns into their day/night time monster, has the power and control. The person that may do little in the private household affairs but gets all the public credit, has the power and control. The person who can completely obliterate the other's self-esteem and leave that person scared to either stay or leave for fear of retaliation, holds the power and control.

I don't even think its about domestic violence--that's too simple a term. It is better stated as domestic terrorism.

So, I go back to what domestic violence against men looks like:  

I envision that the man must be the primary caretaker of the children.  He may or may not work outside the home--if he does, he is not the breadwinner and his finances may be exclusively be used for the household and not for his recreation.  His partner constantly keeps him in a state of fear.  When the partner comes home, he must cater to the partner's needs in order to keep out of harms way. Only he (and the children?) is abused.  The partner has great relationships at work and with friends and there is no outward indication of antisocial behavior.  However, the man is isolated from former friends and family and does not seek out new relationships.  He is a punching bag and a sexual tool for his partner.  He feels violated by every physical attempt but endures it because he has no perceived choice of an alternative.  He cannot seek shelter elsewhere. He has no job skills or maybe just hasn't finished college yet.  He is stuck and dying inside.

Without this, he may not be a victim of domestic violence.  He may be a victim of a violent act(s), yes.  Have you seen him?

Safe Havens

Now that men cannot be discriminated against in receiving services for domestic violence victims, shelters all around the country are going to start popping up! Men will now have domestic violence and sexual assault centers spreading like wild fires around the U.S. because women have been fervently booting men folk out of our feminist worshipping temples for many decades now.  You know how we love to see men get abused.

Now the men can shop around for their services...will they go to a majority female, or male center?  I imagine that they will pick a male-run place because you know how men love to console each other while giving warm hugs, talking about their emotions and sipping vanilla chai over re-runs of Roseanne.

How can us women-folk stop this nonsense?  How can we overthrow men victims' service centers?  We must come up with a new plan. The battle is not over and we have not lost!


Sunday

Stress Relief

When I was in my "youth," music was very important to me. I'm just figuring out why. It was stress relief. It was my form of escapism.

These days, the only time I listen to music is when I'm in the car, which is infrequent, or when I'm cleaning, which is more infrequent. Last week when I was cleaning, I finally started to dance and remembered that music and dance went hand in hand for me. I was quite sore the next day, but it reminded me how I got through stressful times when I was a teenager, and also during my marriage.

Dance and music.

I must keep these things salient because these days I feel like I have no form of stress relief. I'm tense and screaming inside. All the talking and writing only partially relieve the pressures. And I can't spend my whole day talking and writing.

So, I'm going to start including some of my music for my reading friends.

I'm going to start with songs from a soundtrack that I thought was excellent: City of Angels. Remember that movie with Meg Ryan and Nicholas Cage?

The three songs in this playlist (playlist is featured below, but sometimes only snippets are played. To get full features, click on the link, you may have to sign up, I don't know.) have been very soothing for me in the past. Iris, by the GooGoo Dolls, has an excellent guitar line, especially midway through the song on the part where there are no vocals and the tempo accelerates. I Grieve, by Peter Gabriel, is a very, very slow (and long) hypnotic song that also accelerates, briefly, before returning to the slow drag. The instrumentals on Uninvited, by Alanis Morissette, are an eclectic mix in which I can feel every bit of emotion. All three songs have excellent lyrics though I question if anyone should listen to I Grieve if they are feeling suicidal.

City of Angels Soundtrack


Saturday

Fighting It

I spent several years of my life sleeping. Or at least that's what it once felt like.

Depression they called it. Escape I called it.

My periods of sleep were the only times in which I felt safe--safe from abuse and safe from my thoughts. In my sleep, I could be where I wanted to be and do what I wanted to do. Sleep was my place of fantasy and exploration. I could try out my plans and test my alternate endings. I slept for most of my short lived marriage.

I continued to sleep when I separated and tried to get back on my feet. People kept telling me to stop sleeping, that I had better things to do. But they didn't get it. I needed that sleep to function. I needed it to sort out the thoughts--the thoughts that ran through my head every waking minute until I was dizzy and paralyzed. Do you know what it is like to be constantly ruminating? How fucking crazy I felt? I just wanted the thoughts to stop. Please, stop and slow down!

I used to pray every day for more strength. I didn't want to be tired. I didn't want to have to sleep. Every day it was the same prayer.

I feel myself sinking now, and the only thing I know is to sleep. But I can't. I haven't been able to sleep in the past year. I don't mean that I can't sleep--I mean, I can't use my sleep in the way that I used to. My body won't let me do it. My body is fighting me, heart and soul.

During these dark days that I am having recently, I attempt to lie down, and go to my fantasy land, but I lie awake, eyes fixed as if I were in a trance. Heart racing. Body anxious awaiting...awaiting...awaiting I don't know.

When I have forced myself to drift asleep, I awake with awful cramping and a migraine. It wasn't the right thing to do. Body didn't need sleep. I'm not supposed to sleep now.

I can't do that type of sleeping. And I'm learning to be okay with it. Instead, I stop what I'm doing, lie down, close my eyes--or leave them open--and I calm myself. I allow my brain to tell my mind to relax, to be blank, to rest without sleeping, to lower the heart rate, to exist in the moment.

I'm too strong to sleep.

Friday

A Way Out in Los Angeles

The Jenesse Center in south central Los Angeles serves women and children who are victims of domestic violence. Shaquille O'Neal volunteers with this agency.

Great story which can be read here. But what I'm even more impressed with is the fact that out of the 25 comments so far on the story, none of them are entirely negative or reminiscent of Father's Supremacists--maybe they haven't found the article yet.

The only questionable comment was this (emphasis added),
Domestic Abuse is a terrible thing, which should never have been permitted or tolerated in the first place. I think more people should crusade against it and people experiencing it should fight back, instead of taking the beatings and blows.

And I could agree with "Pedro" on that statement, however I know fighting back could get some women killed.

I am very pleased.

Thursday

Domestic Violence Blogs: 90 Days Online for Randi James!

Wait a minute, looks like I did do a 3 month anniversary post. But I saved it in draft because I never finished it. Oh well, voila!

10/14/08 --Yes, it has been a little over 3 months for me. I have had a lot of ups and downs, sometimes scrambling for words to say--even feeling pressured (by myself) to come up with something to say everyday.

I started this site because I was only able to find a handful of others like it. But I don't know if that is accurate either. There are a handful of domestic violence blogs, but apparently, most of them are no longer current.

This scares me a little. Where did the women go? Are they alive? Are they hiding?

I will never know.

I wouldn't be able to recognize these women on the news because I've never seen them and often times aliases are used. And even if not, the media distorts the truth so much that perhaps I wouldn't be able to identify the victims' story.

Some survivors who do have blogs, or websites, are authors of books and are involved in other things. I think this blog is unique in that I am telling my story after having survived, but still being in the struggle. It is different when you talk about it and you're referring to something that happened 20 years ago. It has been less than a decade for me, but what makes it even more special is the fact that I never identified with being a victim until a year ago.

Random Thought: Adoption

I was just thinking: nix the term "gay adoption." It isn't right. Is there White adoption or Muslim adoption? Makes it sound like alien adoption or something.

Also, why do the states get kickbacks for getting children out of "hazardous" families and then again when the child is placed with a new family? Beware of CPS.

Wednesday

Murder 2 and Get Only 15 Years!

He said he would kill me because he's going to get locked up anyway.
This is what Shaquita Bell said about her abusive boyfriend.

She did leave him. And he did kill her. But he killed someone before her, too. And while he was locked up, the person who was informing the police about the body of Ms. Bell got killed as well.

And the government wants to encourage men to have access to their children. The same men who they acknowledged in the Ten Key Findings from Responsible Fatherhood Initiatives report (emphasis added):
In addition, unlike custodial mothers, many fathers had been arrested before enrolling in these programs, which created significant challenges for them in the labor market. For example, two-thirds of fathers in the PFS evaluation had been arrested before program entry; in the RFP programs, 40 percent had a felony conviction. While the other studies did not specifically collect data on participants’ criminal history, program administrators consistently reported criminal records as a key concern and challenge.

Damn, those low-income fathers...especially in the DMV area!!!

Fathers Are So Important

Remember what I was saying in the last article (about fathers being so important)? The U.S. Government writes this stuff into existence.

Research has shown that fathers, whether rich or poor, are important to their children.


That quote came directly from Ten Key Findings from Responsible Fatherhood Initiatives, courtesy of the Department of Health and Human Services.

What is this "research"?

Gotta love that government!

Why Gays Can't Adopt

Just in case you haven't figured it out on your own, let me explain this to you:

The traditional family is dad, mom, 2.5 kids and a dog or cat. Traditional is defined by the patriarchy and accepted by the greater society. Anything contrary to patriarchal views is rejected because it threatens the safety that White men have created and thrived in.

Gays can't adopt because they obviously don't meet the definition of a traditional family. This would mean that we would have to re-define family and accept that it is okay to have two moms or two dads, only. We cannot do this under our current system because MRAs/Father's Supremacists and religious doctrine keep telling us how important it is to have a father--a biological father at that (step dads just won't do).

So if we have a lesbian couple, they are assumed to be incapable of raising a child successfully because there is no "father" in the picture. And you know how important fathers are!!!

The Magical Father.

If we were to establish that anyone could adopt, gays, non-married/single persons, etc, we would have to admit that "fathers" are not a requirement or prerequisite for a healthy family.

"Fathers" wouldn't matter.

Now what would all the judges, lawyers, doctors, mental health and social workers have to stand on?

Divorced moms' children need a father? Not really. Black and Hispanic boys need a father? Not really. What do they need? Unconditional love and support.

So, I say to the gay communities,
Keep on keeping on.




Monday

Mothers and Sons

I am not sure how new this website/organization is, but it surely deserves attention. Here's an excerpt from Make It End Here:

Our Mission is to increase public awareness about how boys and young male teens can be permanently harmed by exposure to domestic violence. In order to help these families in crisis, The Make It Here Project website offers these Mothers and their Sons vital educational tools and training resources to help these child victims cope with domestic violence as it occurs and in its aftermath.


Just yesterday I was talking about men needing to be responsible for stopping violence against women...It just makes sense. Talk to them while their young.

Keep It Coming Florida Courts

Florida just won't stop, eh? Let me tell you before you read this article that I grew up with the belief that court stenographers were a part of the courtroom--automatically. To my dismay, when I called attention to the fact that my judge was twisting the truth (aka lying), there was no way to prove it because there was no record. Yep, in Florida you must request a court reporter. No one explained that to me when I was pro se.

Florida NOW Opposes New Rule Limiting Court Information to the Public

A veil of secrecy is descending over Florida Courts. While Florida legislators boast of the "Sunshine Law"; the Florida Courts are seeking even more secrecy, with the help of the Florida Bar Trial Court Performance and Accountability Commission.

In most Courthouses over the past 20 years, the court reporting office has charged a small fee to the public for access to the recordings of court proceedings. The Florida Bar has proposed a rule which will prevent the public from obtaining these recordings unless they are edited first.

If this rule passes, recordings which currently cost less than $20, would cost significantly more, and many women fighting an unequal battle in the Family Law courts do not have the financial resources it would take to obtain them. The average cost is $4.50 per page, plus court time for court reporters. These fees can run into hundreds and even thousands of dollars.

Chapters of the Florida National Organization for Women (NOW) have been conducting court-watches for many years in cases where bias and discrimination against women have been reported. These includes rape, murder, assault, and custody cases. The Florida NOW Child Custody/Court Watch Committee has incorporated Court Watch into its active agenda. Adele Guadalupe, from the Florida NOW Child Custody/Court Watch Committee says “We’ve received many frantic calls and emails from mothers who have lost custody of their children to abusers with documented histories of sexual abuse and domestic violence.”

In these never-ending courtroom battles when the father fights for sole custody, the mother frequently loses everything, becomes impoverished, and ends up living a life of despair. The parent with the most money, power, and influence is somehow able to convince judges that only his side need be heard in order to make a decision. In many cases, Judges are even refusing to let children of any age relate their relevant experiences.

Palm Beach County Public Defender Carey Haughwout, board member of the Florida Association of Public Defenders, is submitting comments to the Supreme Court on behalf of the FAPD. "The idea of a judge having discretion whether or not to give us a public record is of great concern" Haughwout said. "This is a wholesale restriction on access to a public event." When Haughwout receives a complaint about the conduct of a lawyer or a judge, she first listens to the sound recording. This new rule could detrimentally affect the outcome of justice in many cases.

Florida NOW urges the Florida Supreme Court to deny this new rule. Women demand more equality, not less.


Sunday

4 Months for Randi James

You're right, I did skip the third month. It was October--domestic violence awareness--and I felt overwhelmed and completely saturated with it all. I had to take a step back because I was pressuring myself to commit to writing everyday for this blog. And then I relaxed and let the posts flow. This means sometimes several posts in a day, or no posts for several days--though I'm always thinking about it, often times I cannot formulate my words.

I found out about Rights for Mothers. I am excited about that site because the author presents a wide variety of information that is pertinent to our fight...some of it is old stuff, some of it is new. To me, our blogs compliment each other because the author typically posts facts/news, and I typically post my experience and opinion, coupled with facts and news...reading that site keeps me going.

I love the Momentum of Mothers--we fuel each other. We are all burned out in some way, but hearing one another's stories is invigorating. Someone always carries the torch.

I am torn about whether President Elect Barack Obama will be helpful or harmful to our cause because of his Responsible Fatherhood agenda. I will have more to say about that later.

I participated in a lively, and yet disgusting conversation on Womanist Musings (see her posts related to MRAs, there are 3 of them). MRAs/FRs attacked her viciously spewing all kinds of anti-woman garbage. I generally come in peace, and with questions, however, when I tried this, the MRAs either ignored what I was saying, or responded in such a way as to deny that I knew what I was talking about. Mostly they ignored me and I think that's because I tried to ground them in the reality of their statistics. But their reality is White male privilege, a lens from which they refuse to see without.

If you are not easily triggered, read the comments on all three threads to see how they attack with "women commit equal or more domestic violence against men," "women abuse children more," "men are victims, too," "women falsely charge men"...it's all the same. Many (if not all) of their myths are attacked at the Liz Library. Please visit the Liz Library--you can spend days reading all of the material on her site.

I have also been confused about why we have soooooo many domestic violence awareness campaigns and sexual assault awareness groups and advocacy that mostly involve women. No really, I am upset about this and battling with it because it is ultimately reactive--men commit the act of rape and thus are responsible for stopping it. I came across Men Can Stop Rape and was thoroughly impressed by their work. However, why aren't they EVERYWHERE? Why isn't it mandatory?

Women can be aware of their environment, cautious regarding their conduct and the behavior of others. We can take self-defense classes and carry mace. We can use weapons. Shit, DO YOU WANT US TO USE WEAPONS? Apparently, the NRA does (I'll delve into that later also). But it is truly men who can stop rape. On the other hand, domestic violence will be stopped when women are no longer oppressed and the patriarchy is overthrown.

Back to this blog, I am at around 5K hits. I have moved a few things around and am beginning assign my labels more descriptively. I probably will continue not to use father's rights or men's rights for any of the labels as not to lay out food for the trolls. Speaking of which, from now on "they" will be referred to by a term I heard Lundy Bancroft say, Father's Supremacists.

For previous posts that were unfinished or in parts, I don't know when I'll return to them. I'll continue to write as I am inspired. Please remember that this is very draining, yet very therapeutic. Who can better heal me than me?

And again, I will open this site to any survivor or advocate who wants to write anonymously, or not. This isn't just for me. And to those of you who continue to read, maybe one day you will have something to say, too. For now, I'll speak for you.

.

Father Kills Children, Seeks Compensation

Okay DMV area, don't think I'm always going to knock on Florida and leave your ass out.

Okay, so a Maryland couple goes through your average divorce where custody becomes a battle (the custody part isn't average, only the divorce...many times when custody is in litigation, it is because there has been a history of abuse. The mother may be just mentioning it, and the court really doesn't want to hear it. Let me say it another way: The legal system doesn't give a rat's ass about abuse..)

So, the father takes the children, and drowns them in a hotel bathtub. Mother amends the divorce. She's probably like,
See judge, this is what the fuck I've been telling you!

Subsequently, father believes he is entitled to the monies wife may have received as a result of him murdering their children.

WTF?

I know, sounds like I made this one up. Go read it here, paying special attention to the second paragraph.

Saturday

Stay Away from Florida if You Have Children

For those of you who read a lot of my shit, you know how I feel about Florida, and children--they just don't go together well.

Florida is not an innovative state, as some of you may so falsely believe. Its wheels keep spinning, backward for the most part. When I read things like this, it only further solidifies my beliefs.

If you have children under 18, maybe you should vacation only in Florida.

Florida is a DNR state--DO NOT RELOCATE!

Final Option: Kill Dad

A little boy in Arizona shot his dad and uncle. For no reason, so far. You should know what I'm thinking...

It kinda reminds me of what I read on RightsforMothers yesterday...

Pay attention, people! Everything makes sense these days...

Wednesday

Maybe There is Hope and A Change Coming

The title of this post, is what we "protective mothers" have been holding on to. We hope that a change is coming so that this corruption in the family court can be exposed. We don't want to have to suffer much longer, moms and children. Every day we just keep holding on.

It's 1 am. I can't wipe this smile off my face. I don't even know if I'll be able to get to sleep.

I am so proud of Blue Florida and DMV. (This may be the one time Florida has done something right.)

Yes, we did.

Tuesday

The U.S. Won't Protect You

Growing up, I thought of the United States as such a generous place that protects people. Right now, I feel almost delusional. As a result of my experiences, and having my eyes opened to the dark side, I stand in opposition to my previous beliefs.

So, when I read a story like this one, I am fearful. Fearful because there is no justice here. I hope that under circumstances like these, women are able to benefit; and that the U.S. gives more than the lip service that they give to American women and children.

But if I could talk to these women, I'd tell them to run elsewhere....and let us come with them.

Monday

Random Thought: Childless People

I used to laugh when I'd hear a childless couple or woman say that they did not want to bring a child into this world. In fact, I'd try to convince them that they needed to have a child...to carry on their name, to see what it was like, or other not-so-good points.

I'm not laughing anymore.

Sexual Violence Against Children

I was just reading an applied research study entitled, The Psychological Consequences of Sexual Trauma--which stated, 

...contrary to public opinion, sexual violence against children is fairly common...
I wasn't exactly prepared for that statement. I mean, I know sexual violence, period, is common, but to hear that about children....

I happen to converse regularly with several mothers who have either lost custody, completely, or partially, to their ex husbands because they reported sexual abuse.

The court doesn't like to hear about sexual abuse (that's why PAS was invented). But then again the court, and the system, is A MAN.

Yes, I know, some of them are women, but you miss my point here. Those that are women are operating in the confounds of a patriarchal system in which they accept the dominate culture as the truth. They are lost.

When I told a counselor about the symptoms my child used to have, the counselor mentioned that it was a red flag for previous sexual abuse.

SEXUAL ABUSE??? WTF?

I cringed at the thought, nodded my head in dissent because, in my mind, that was waaaaay to sick to consider. In fact, I felt like running away from the office at that point.  I said my child was physically abused---but I didn't mean THAT! 

But now that I've sat on the idea it makes me sympathetic to those that have come forth, only to have their parents deny its existence. And I won't be that type of parent if my child ever comes to me now, or later, with that information.

Parents reject it because they are not ready for it, not because they don't believe it.

Anyway, it is hard for me to imagine what these women must feel in not being able to protect their children. Powerless, to name only one. I really wish that these women would take their children and run. I swear--that is the best answer I can give.  RUN.


Sunday

Random Thought: Witnessing Violence

I was just thinking, over the past decade there has been such an uproar about the violence depicted in the industries of music, movies, television, and video games. The music conversation about misogyny and etc continues to be a hot debate in the Black Community.

If all of these activists are on board with the fact that this type of violence has a negative impact on youth, what are they saying about real live violent men getting custody and unsupervised visitation with their own children?

Can we all get on board?

Saturday

Domestic Violence on Elm Street

Violence against women and children is so ingrained in our society to the extent that it is depicted in movies without any afterthought. These incidents only become more and more salient to me as I conquer my own struggles with being a recently admitted survivor.

As a Halloween family gathering, we decided to research the history of Freddy Krueger. According to the websites from which we gathered our information, Freddy's mother was raped repeatedly while at an insane asylum. Thus, Freddy was the product of rape. His mother gave him up for adoption to a lone man.

This man/his father severely beat and tortured Freddy until Freddy decided to kill him.

And so, eventually, Freddy marries and has a child. Child murders start happening in their area. The wife discovers odd tools and such in the basement of their home. Freddy strangles her in front of their child...and the rest is movie history.

Maybe the movie should have been called Family Violence and Its Ramifications on American Streets.


And, people are complaining about the DART ads????...PUHlease