Posts in "Family 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.

RIP Donna Kristofak, Beautiful Mother

It is beautiful but cold outside here. Hopefully warm & beautiful in your home and in your heart.

My heart is sad today as it is Donna Kristofak’s funeral…

My only thought today is to share what a teacher put in my son’s school folder:

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

Believe in God or in the Bible as the Word of God or not, but regardless, please heed these words and ACT on them.

(Proverbs 31:38-9)

Leaders in law enforcement, policy, community, business, healthcare:

I ask you to join along with family court professionals and press in asking the right questions around this tragedy. This did not have to turn out this way, but the foreshadowing of this is what led to the creation of My Advocate Center. There are currently other cases heading down this same path, and we need your help in intervening…for the sake of the children involved.
Thank you in advance. If you are not sure what YOU can do, please email and ask.

This IS personal for me, as I knew Donna and John – as neighbors and parents and members of the same church. I saw in Donna’s face and eyes how she felt, and now it is too late for her, but not for others. Today is a HARD day. But tomorrow is a new day and the work begins. This “story” is far from over.

If you know someone like John, or think someone you know is like Donna, and are reacting to a gut level alarm going off, now is the time to reach out for help on what to do. Just do something. Either way, you can help THIS family – their sons – by donating to the fund set up by friends of the family.

This is my Tough Love message for now to those of you around me in East Cobb, Marietta, Atlanta, Georgia… More to follow.

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