Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happy New Year

The New Year is almost here. This is a great time to celebrate the possibilities and reflect on what was and what is yet to be.

We are excited about the coming year and all that it has to offer all of us. We continue to work hard to create new programming that will meet the needs of our clients and offer the best possible services.

We are grateful to everyone who has been a part of our family and look forward to our continued work together this next year. We have so many wonderful volunteers and supporters who are so giving of their time and resources. It truly does make a difference.

I continue to be in awe of the strength of those we serve. They have strength beyond words. They are not only surviving but they are thriving. I am grateful to them for their courage and look forward to what the New Year has in store for us. I know it will be positive and full of blessings.

I wish you all a Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Is Domestic Violence Ever Justified?

Is there ever a time when domestic violence is justified? If someone was using drugs, is it ok for them to be beaten?  Is it ok because the victim has a “big mouth”? When is someone an “acceptable victim”?
I read a headline recently:  Michael Wayne Jones Allegedly Beats His Girlfriend with Her Dog”. Apparently, Michael Wayne Jones argued with his girlfriend when she was trying to smoke crack with her daughter.  He punched his hand through the windshield, grabbed her dog, and proceeded to swing the dog and hit her with it as if the dog were a club. His excuse was “She was doing drugs.”

Does that make her deserving of being beaten?  Many of the people who posted comments beneath the article thought so.
I hear these statements a lot:
  • “She must have done something to deserve to be beaten.”
  • “She must like it if she doesn’t leave.”
I must say I am still affected by these statements even after 20 years. I don’t know of anyone that likes it or asks for it. Yes, some people do drugs. Yes, some people yell and are loud and argue. Yes, some people swear and can be crude, but does that mean they deserve to be beaten? My answer is “No”.  
No one deserves to be beaten.
I have this to say to the abusive person:
“If you don’t like your partner’s behavior then you have choices to make.  You can try to work it out peacefully, you can go to counseling, or you can leave. You have choices. Please don’t choose to continue the cycle of violence. Please stop making excuses and blaming the victim.  Stand up and accept responsibility. Stop the violence.” 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

To Kasandra and All Those Who Have Lost Their Lives

I think by now most people have heard about the tragic events of this past weekend in Kansas City.

Jovan Belcher, a Kansas City Chiefs football player, murdered his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins before he committed suicide in front of his coach and the General Manager of the Chiefs.

The couple has a 3-month old daughter, Zoey, who is now alone, to be raised without either of her parents.

I have been asked what my response is to this tragedy.  My response is the same that it is every time a woman loses her life due to domestic violence: it is horrific; it is a tragedy; it is senseless and needs to stop.

The difference between Kasandra and the other 13 victims who have lost their lives this year in Kansas City is that her boyfriend was a Kansas City Chiefs player. 

The other victims this year have not gotten the attention of the media as Kasandra has, and that is also tragic.  The very concerned reporters I spoke to acknowledged that there has not been enough attention paid to domestic violence homicides. They were shocked at the statistics, not realizing how prevalent DV homicides really are in our society.

I hope that something positive can come from this senseless tragedy. I hope that people will have a better understanding of the severity of domestic violence; understand that it is happening everywhere and every day.

DV is a crime that must be stopped. We all need to make an effort to end this hideous cycle. Domestic violence advocates have more work to do in educating our community about the problem, what resources are available, and what can be done.

We all need to work together to ensure the safety of our neighbors, our friends, and our family members.

I have a commitment to those who have died, those who survived the attacks on them, and to their surviving children:

“I will work to ensure that your death and your attack were not in vain. I will continue to honor you and your sacrifice by working to ensure that others don’t go through what you went through; that other children will not be left orphaned due to domestic violence.

“That is the least I can do for you. You gave your life. I will use mine to continue the fight in your honor and hope that others know what a sacrifice you made. That is a very small thing that I can do for you. I am so sad that you are not here, but I will continue to fight for you and for your children, and all of those who are touched by domestic violence.“

I have been doing this work for over 20 years and I have never found it as difficult as I do today. It is with a heavy and very sad heart that I take on this day and the challenges it presents. I pray that I do this work with integrity, with commitment, and with those who lost the battle foremost in my mind at all times.