Tag Archives: battered women

To Match the Blood – Part 2

Purple ribbons at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort mark beginning of Domestic Abuse Awareness Month, Author Sgt. Angel Galvan (PD as work of federal govt.)

 At the conclusion of one of my abuse shelter talks, the women there presented me with a notebook of handwritten thanks they had put together for me.  I cherish that memento, but the thanks were unnecessary.  It has been my honor to speak to and for these women.

The legal system provided inadequate relief.  [According to the women I met, it] could be life-threatening for…[an abused] woman to contact police.  Too often, police treated the call for help as a routine squabble.  Protective Orders could be obtained through the courts, but were not always enforced.

Though not a domestic relations attorney, I had been to Family Court for the legal clinic.  It reminded me of nothing so much as an ancient bazaar, merchants haggling.  The rooms were packed with unrepresented women and their children, all supplicants waiting their meager share of justice.  Some judges welcomed the few attorneys present; others seemed to despise attorneys.

The teenage son of one of my clients was…determined to become a lawyer, himself.  At age fourteen, he was already jaded by the system, sure that he could master it.  Certain he could do no worse.

— Excerpt from Like Rain on Parked Cars

Originally posted 9/22/13

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT:  https://alawyersprayers.com

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Filed under domestic abuse, domestic violence, Justice, Law, Violence Against Women

To Match the Blood – Part 1

Large bruise as a result of domestic violence, Author Jane Fox (CC0 1.0 Public Domain Dedication)

As a lawyer, I spoke from time to time with small groups of other lawyers or lay people about the law.  Several times such talks found me at a Philadelphia shelter for battered and abused women.   I was deeply moved by the experience, memorializing it this way to protect the identities of the women involved:

Initially, I did not know what to expect.  I assumed, if anything, that I would pity these women.  That was not, however, the case.  Instead, I was in awe.

The women, themselves, came in all colors, shapes and sizes.  Those I met ranged in age from their early twenties to mid-sixties.  Some were pretty and petite, others statuesque Amazons.

Some could barely make eye contact, were hesitant to speak.  Others had acquired a hardened demeanor or false bravura to hide their pain.  All were deeply concerned for the welfare and safety of their children.

We spoke about the fact that battered women constitute 25% of the women attempting suicide, and 23% of the women seeking prenatal care at any given time.  We spoke about the fact that children raised in abusive households are fifteen times more likely than normal to become abusive adults (or, themselves, become involved with abusive partners).

We spoke about the spiritual issues faced by domestic abuse victims, and the practical difficulties of making a new life.  We spoke about rebuilding self-esteem, and the lure of false hope that the abusive partner would “change.”

But above all, we spoke about the lives of these women.

They had been beaten, stabbed, burned, locked in, tied up, and chained down.  They had been criticized for being attractive and criticized for being unattractive, instructed what to wear, then punished for wearing it.  They had been struck by tire irons, and thrown out windows.  They had suffered broken hearts, broken dishes, and broken bones. Continue reading

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Filed under domestic abuse, domestic violence, Justice, Law, Religion, Violence Against Women

Signal

While battered women are not responsible for their abuse, certain behaviors can signal the vulnerability of victims to potential abusers. Among these are verbal cues.

This is not meant to imply that victims ask to be abused. There are, however, patterns of speech which can alert abusers before a relationship is ever established that the women with such verbal tendencies are likely to settle for what others would not tolerate.

And the cycle of abuse resumes with a new partner.

Abuse victims will routinely demean themselves, constantly using phrases like “How stupid of me” or “I’m such an idiot” [1] . They will often speak in a low voice or halting manner, swallowing their words or the tail-end of their sentences.

Victims will hesitate to offer an opinion; withdraw or undermine the few opinions they do express; and describe themselves as unqualified to comment, when this is clearly untrue.

Abuse victims will frequently apologize, even for events outside their control. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” The words are repeated in an endless refrain…sorry the train is late, sorry the traffic is snarled, sorry the taxes are due, sorry the weather has changed, sorry the sun has set.

After a lifetime of abuse, victims may find it difficult to make choices based on their own preferences. After all, chocolate ice cream is as good as vanilla, isn’t it? Continue reading

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Filed under Emotional Abuse, Physical Abuse, Violence Against Women

To Match the Blood – Part 2

Purple ribbon flag at Marine Corps. Base Camp Lejeune, NC commemorating Domestic Abuse Awareness Month (PD as work product of federal govt.)

At the conclusion of one of my abuse shelter talks, the women there presented me with a notebook of handwritten thanks they had put together for me.  I cherish that memento, but the thanks were unnecessary.  It has been my honor to speak to and for these women.

The legal system provided inadequate relief.  [According to the women I met, it] could be life-threatening for…[an abused] woman to contact police.  Too often, police treated the call for help as a routine squabble.  Protective Orders could be obtained through the courts, but were not always enforced.

Though not a domestic relations attorney, I had been to Family Court for the legal clinic.  It reminded me of nothing so much as an ancient bazaar, merchants haggling.  The rooms were packed with unrepresented women and their children, all supplicants waiting their meager share of justice.  Some judges welcomed the few attorneys present; others seemed to despise attorneys.

The teenage son of one of my clients was…determined to become a lawyer, himself.  At age fourteen, he was already jaded by the system, sure that he could master it.  Certain he could do no worse.

— Excerpt from Like Rain on Parked Cars

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT:  http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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Filed under domestic abuse, domestic violence, Justice, Law, Violence Against Women

To Match the Blood – Part 1

Photo for USS Theodore Roosevelt’s Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions, Author Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sean Hurt, Source Flickr (PD as work product of federal govt.)

As a lawyer, I spoke from time to time with small groups of other lawyers or lay people about the law.  Several times such talks found me at a Philadelphia shelter for battered and abused women.   I was deeply moved by the experience, memorializing it this way to protect the identities of the women involved:

Initially, I did not know what to expect.  I assumed, if anything, that I would pity these women. That was not, however, the case.  Instead, I was in awe.

The women, themselves, came in all colors, shapes and sizes. Those I met ranged in age from their early twenties to mid-sixties. Some were pretty and petite, others statuesque Amazons.

Some could barely make eye contact, were hesitant to speak.  Others had acquired a hardened demeanor or false bravura to hide their pain.  All were deeply concerned for the welfare and safety of their children.

We spoke about the fact that battered women constitute 25% of the women attempting suicide, and 23% of the women seeking prenatal care at any given time.  We spoke about the fact that children raised in abusive households are fifteen times more likely than normal to become abusive adults (or, themselves, become involved with abusive partners).

We spoke about the spiritual issues faced by domestic abuse victims, and the practical difficulties of making a new life.  We spoke about rebuilding self-esteem, and the lure of false hope that the abusive partner would “change.”

But above all, we spoke about the lives of these women.

They had been beaten, stabbed, burned, locked in, tied up, and chained down.  They had been criticized for being attractive and criticized for being unattractive, instructed what to wear, then punished for wearing it.  They had been struck by tire irons, and thrown out windows.  They had suffered broken hearts, broken dishes, and broken bones. Continue reading

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Filed under domestic abuse, domestic violence, Justice, Law, Religion, Violence Against Women