Posts in "Domestic Violence" tag

Response to AJC: Great continued Coverage on Kristofak Case

It has been a while since I first posted about the tragic murder of a woman who was a great mother, beloved church member, neighbor, daughter and friend to many.

My hope is that ultimately we will know that she didn’t die in vain, but for that to happen we are going to need to see our court system do a much better job of acknowledging danger – imminent danger and violent threats – and following through to prevent such losses as in this case.

What happened to this mother could have been avoided, and this man could have and should have been kept in jail for the sentence handed down to him, based on the facts, the evidence and the record which showed the judge knew he had been hospitalized because he was mentally unstable.

The lack of care and concern here is typical, unfortunately, in many cases where there is clear intent and opportunity to cause harm to vulnerable citizens, and especially to children. It’s just not something that is taken seriously by many judges and other court professionals. But hopefully that will change and improve in our lifetime.

Thank you to these contributors, to Men Stopping Violence and the AJC for highlighting what really needs to be changed in how we look at and respond to conflict:

http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-forward/2013/01/10/when-protective-orders-fail/

This is one of the best pieces written yet on this story, so thank you to all the contributors and to the AJC for ongoing coverage.

As Director of My Advocate Center, Atlanta, GA, I am especially appreciative of Judge Hobie Jones’ comment above. It’s time to call it like we see it. …Based on the facts and patterns around this and other cases, and not as a “Monday morning quarterback” (which I agree with you on).

And it is true that this is not just a women’s issue – violence and false allegations of domestic violence affect everyone. Our focus is on the damages to children that stem from all of it. If you hurt or threaten a good parent, you are harming her (or his) children.

False allegations, as well as NOT heeding and responding to REAL violence…and NOT using the evidence or following protocols that we have in place…all put us in a downward spiral.

Family court pretends violence & abuse do not exist, except to profit from them in a way that leads to more abuse.
Family court pretends violence & abuse do not exist, except to profit from them in a way that leads to more abuse.

I knew Donna and John, but not recently, and because I didn’t cross paths again with her in time…I am both distraught and determined that we not let this discussion end without seeing the needed changes in how we respond to these situations.

There ARE pending local cases that mirror this tragedy in too many ways, so we would appreciate continued coverage and investigation. Please email for case and location details for hearings and transcripts.

Bullies, Men, Stopping Violence

A quick word on Domestic Violence – which is also Family Violence or Intimate Partner Violence:

Please take this seriously and take a chance by reaching out to someone who may be calling out for help, afraid to talk or suffering the aftermath of trying to escape the kind of bully who uses various forms of violence for control.

Richelle Carey, a board member of Men Stopping Violence here in Atlanta, Georgia where I live gave one of the best explanations to the Fox News audience today that I’ve seen on a major network about why we should learn more about this subject, why we all need to pay attention:

“This is a community problem, not just a Family problem.”  And she is 100% correct. “This affects everyone.”  Even if you don’t think it affects you, know that it does.  It affects children even when you can’t see the signs of it – even if there are no audible screams or visible bruises.   Offenders who bully and abuse are often good at hiding it and victims are often compelled to stay with and even protect their abusers.  It is just what happens.

If we are going to change the patterns that exist and put a real dent in bad behavior, it is going to take better support for those trying to break free, and it is going to take more Good Men facing the issue, taking a stand and calling out other men (while women need to call out other women who are NOT helping matters either) and showing them how to do better.   If you know me, you know why I say this:  Because our CHILDREN are watching.

Please take a moment to listen to Richelle on today’s Fox & Friends show, and learn more:  RichelleCarey.com / MenStoppingViolence.com / MyAdvocateCenter.com.  Thanks to Fox & Friends for having this fearless spokesperson on during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Richelle Carey, Men Stopping Violence on Fox & Friends

Opposing Party

This really bothers me, this obsession we have with opposition.

Opposition that hinders clear thinking and positive results is what I’m referring to.  In politics and religion…gender equality issues…divorce…race.  I chose to wait until I could write calmly.  Not easy when I hear the tone & observe foul play tactics being used by both sides of every debate, and not just the political ones.

If you relish opposing just for its sake & enjoy celebrating over someone’s demise then my blog isn’t for you.  I’m a problem-solver and peacekeeper – because that is what leads to positive outcomes for children and families. It’s what our communities and states need as well.

If you stay, then I ask you to stand with me rather than oppose or argue just to be difficult.  If you want to help make this mission better, and can be constructive then please speak up!

Something important is going on around us that demands we set aside the Seek & Destroy mentality being fueled by every form of media we have access to.

We are missing something big and useful because we’re too caught up in the fight, and in which party is winning.  Time to get rid of the Win/Lose mentality and focus on the best outcome for all involved.

This is so well said at Good Men Project that it bears repeating:  “People are more active and reactive, more jumpy & fearful of who gets elected or that bill getting passed or the Supreme Court deciding one way or another.  In the realm of emotion, it’s revealed that ideology creates enemies of science from all sides.”

The GMP post is entitled “What you believe should be true limits what you are willing to believe is true.”  And the author does a great job of giving examples in how the opposing sides of political or religious debate get in the way of letting science benefit us as much as we’d like.  Emotion gets in the way.  Screw progress or logic…or compromise.   But what if it isn’t just a debate, or just political advantage – or the benefits of science – at stake?   What might be more important than that?  Maybe our children?

Too many of us are closed-minded, willing only to see how things affect us and to read situations in a way that satisfies our own emotions – and that becomes our agenda.   So I ask, is it more important to have an enemy & to defeat them than it is to solve problems that both divide us and hurt our children?

Leaving politics aside I’d like to highlight how this encouragement to oppose and attack – to lie and call others liars – plays out with parents whose relationships or marriages dissolve amid conflict.

It has become normal & acceptable, or so it appears, to do whatever it takes to the opposing party.   Does this REALLY need to be the case?   Why has this become our standard?  Who “approved this message”?

The reason for this post is not just to say “fight fair if you’ve gotta fight” but to reveal during Domestic Violence Awareness month how much worse things are getting because of  this policy of attack instead of debate or compromise.  We seem to enjoy accusing more than solving problems…is that what we want children to do?

~ I believe there is a way to turn this around, but only if opposing sides will turn toward each other, rather than away in resentment and distrust, to listen and to debate.  Openly.  Calm your fear for a minute and give the other side a chance to speak their truth. ~

Speaking now to anyone who has been on either side of the sensitive & inflamed situation involving any form of abuse or allegations of abuse or violence:

Men – including men who have been falsely accused of abuse of any kind – you might read a book written by a true victim of violence and abusive control.   It might be challenging to be allowed to visit a shelter, but it would help if you could.  Put yourself in the shoes of someone real who does not believe they have the right or the ability to protect themselves.

Women – or anyone making false allegations or using children to punish another parent – please spend time listening to good fathers who do not know their children because they were the vulnerable party to their divorce, the one who was under attack & afraid to fight back.   You don’t hear about them as much because it is not Okay for a man to say he was abused or even arrested, possibly losing his job on top of his parenting rights, due to not being allowed to defend himself.

Anyone making false allegations needs to also visit and volunteer in helping real victims, and let it sink in that you are harming these victims and causing the legal system to not pay attention to those who actually DO need protection and support.  Imagine that if you cry wolf, you are leaving someone who needs real help in the hands of their abuser.

Anyone dealing with mistreatment by another, regardless of your gender or status, if you are under attack & need help, ask for it.  If you aren’t sure what you’re dealing with or don’t know how to ask for help, there’s only one way to find out.  ASK.

We each need to hear and understand both sides of this issue.  If we do, then more of us, both women and men, can get what we need.   We can’t afford not to, and we’re paying a price for lack of understanding and for being closed off to the opposing party if we don’t.

Consider this:  if both opposing parties turn their backs to the other, what might happen when no one is looking?   What happens in that gap?