Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Restraining Orders Offer Little Restraint


Yesterday in my city, a man came into a large company at 9AM and shot his estranged girlfriend, and 5 other people.  Then turned the gun on himself and died.  I'm glad he killed himself.  I wouldn't want my tax dollars wasted on a piece of crap like him. His actions have left their two young children without parents.  He's one of thousands of cowardly men (yes there are some women too) who intimidate, threaten, and bully women.  Most women think they can control the situation.  In reality, few can.  Over 4,000 women are killed a year in the US by their spouse, boyfriend, or former spouse. There are few agencies that even report intimate partner murders.  The other reality is how ignorant our society is about Domestic Violence.
Some facts: http://www.mincava.umn.edu/documents/factoid/factoid.html

I know first hand what it's like to live every day in fear.  I know what it's like to get no help from  the police or the courts.  Because being afraid that someone is going to kill you is not enough.  The perp has to do physical harm , or have a documentable threat to get an order of protection or restraining order.   Once someone has and OP or RO, they aren't a bullet proof vest.  It's no guarantee.  The statistics show within the first 24 hours of an OP or RO the worst violence occurs.  These animals don't like being told what to do.  They are control freaks that have been legally chained to a tree like a junkyard dog.

If someone should live through the first 24 hours after getting an OP, the work has just begun.  The victim needs to be trained on how to be safe.  Changing their routine, how to talk to the police when the perp violates the OP. Often the disruption in the victim's life for a safety plan is more victimizing. There is a court hearing in front of a judge within 21 days after it is served.  The perp gets his day in court to defend against the RO or OP.  These days judges don't want to take chances, and they usually uphold the OP.  Usually for 2 years.  But when there are children or visitation involved...it gets sticky.  Believe me.  I had a Guardian ad Litem  who was big on "father's rights" who ordered me to be with "it."  Eventually, after I almost had the life beaten out of me, and my son...the GAL gave up.

Oh, yes there are "anger management" groups and counseling these animals are court ordered to go to.
Does it work...hell no.  But it gives these jerks lots of exposure to other jerks and they learn all sorts of new tricks from their cohorts in the group sessions.  A few who violate the order are sent jail and they wake up.  They don't like being someone's bitch in jail...and don't violate again.  But for most it fuels their fire.
 Susan Murphy Milano: Advocate

So it's up to the victim  to get the help they need to be safe.  I was helped greatly by Susan Murphy Milano who wrote a book called: "Defending Our Lives."  She led me to the path of "safer."   There are  many other books written for victims of DV.   It's also up to family and friends to be wise and do their part.  It could mean testifying in court, calling the cops, getting the victim to support groups, trading cars for a day, or helping the victim with a safety plan. Susan has written plenty, and her website is filled with information.  Her latest book: "Time's Up."


I'll get off my soap box now.  One parting concept. I escaped, and have been looking over my shoulder for 14 years.  Being "safe" has been permanently removed from my psyche.    I am now married  to a man who has weapons that may protect me. A gentle soul my husband is.  But if "YOU" are reading this...we are packing and will shoot without blinking an eye. But for the grace of God go I...and my kids.

Thanks for reading.  I'm still amazed that you do.