Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"Wellness Check"


I have been receiving many e-mail letters from women who have told me that they feel that they have nowhere to turn for help.  Some have confided that because of this isolation they have had thoughts of suicide.  Many others who have contacted me via e-mail also know of women who have confided that they too are similarly desperate.  In both cases fear of the abuser and possible retaliation are effective roadblocks.  The abuser frequently counts on intimidation as a weapon.

 

 

 Depression is a very serious matter, one cannot simply snap out of this type of emotional pain. It is truly terrible to lose one’s dignity, no one should feel so alone and unheard that suicide becomes an option.  I would like to suggest a possible solution that can aid women who otherwise feel helpless, and hopeless.  What I am suggesting is known as a “wellness check.”   Anyone who suspects or knows of an impending plan to hurt oneself can contact the local law enforcement authorities.   A police department or county sheriff for those who live in rural areas can be contacted through calling 911.  An law enforcement officer will dispatched to the residence.  A request for a “wellness check” may provide help and save someone’s life.

 

 

I know that there is reluctance for people to admit that they suffer from this level of emotional pain and grief.  Some people believe that taking such action further erodes their dignity by seeking help.  I beg to differ in that the alternative to not getting help may be far more catastrophic.  I have counseled many women who have told me that they see no other way.  The immediate pain overshadows their logic.  Many times these feelings motivate actions that are both powerful and impulsive.  Once in motion these plans are hard to stop.  Professional help is required.

  

 

Therefore, what I am advocating is a chance to take a time out away from the abuser. This is only a suggestion but I know that “wellness checks have saved many lives.  I know of a situation where someone recently called for such a wellness check and the police arrived in time to save the life of a young mother.  Had someone not called for a wellness check when I was living with my abuser, I could have been killed.


 

Let’s never forget that we are “our brother’s keeper”…Is it ever too late to do the right thing?  If I could, I would (((hug))) each one of you.  Be reminded that there is an army of women praying for you.   


Kathryn

 

 

 

    


Sunday, December 7, 2008

"The Beginning of A New Day"


Those of you that have been reading this site are well aware that I had surgery again on Oct 8. Things did not go as smoothly as we had hoped. This is the reason I have not posted anything recently. However, to those of you that have sent emails...I have read each and every one.


I wish I could say that physically things are looking up...but they are not. There are still times I cannot sleep due to discomfort. As soon as I get recovered enough, I need to return to the neurosurgeon to look further into the brain lesions that were discovered. Yet, within these last two days the Lord has done a new thing for me. Even now thinking about it...I am filled with delight.


There have been a few Christian sisters He has brought across my path. Just as the title of this post..."The Beginning of A New Day"...having these ladies in my life is that new day!


Many of the emails I've received have asked numerous questions. After carefully reading all the emails I've discovered that all questions have already been answered within the many posts I've done on this site. I encourage you to take your time and read through them.


I'm currently working within state government to try and change how funds are allocated between the counties regarding obtaining more help for domestic violence victims. This seems to be a long process as there are many hoops to jump through. Rest assured that although the fight is long the women behind this cause are very strong and determined.


There is still a need for your prayer support for the health issues of which I'm struggling. Rarely am I even able to leave my home...when I do, it is only for short periods of time. However, whenever I am able to get out I am thrilled. The fresh snow on the ground...the way the snow hugs the trees and bushes is absolutely gorgeous. Plus, the way the scent of the pine trees in winter is wonderful! Today, I saw two cardinals. This surprised me as I thought they headed south for winter...obviously I was wrong.


This post is shorter than usual, but I am only able to be up for short periods of time. Be reminded there is an army of women that are praying for you. Don't take chances with your safety...there is help available. Use the resources I have listed on this site. I wish I could (((hug))) each one of you.


Kindest Regards,


Kathryn










Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My Surgery is Today

Today, October 8 is the day of my surgery. I have to be at the hospital at 1:00 PM. After surgery I will be in intensive care. If you are wondering if I'm somewhat stressful about this, the answer is "Yes". However, those of you that have been following this blog, also know I am remarried to the most amazing man on the planet.


Last week, I had to go the hospital for a whole battery of tests that needed to be completed prior to my surgical date. Keep in mind I have been remarried for just over two years.


You can imagine my shock and outrage that on the "face sheet" of my chart they had listed "next of kin contact information". THEY HAD MY ABUSER'S NUMBER LISTED! Immediate fear gripped me. Had they already called him with any information (this was my thought)?


Thankfully, my beloved husband was with me. He (a medical professional) was equally outraged. Before we left the hospital that day, the correct information was on the "face sheet" of my chart. If anyone would have told me the hospital could have screwed something up like this so badly...I would not have believed it. Yet, it's true. They messed up royally.


This alerted me to the fact if it can happen to me, it just as well could happen to anyone. PLEASE...ladies, if you have any procedures done, whether in patient, or out patient: Check over every single bit of information. Check, and double check. Do not allow anyone to tell you, "Oh, it's all OK." That's what they told me...thankfully....we looked!


The other source of stress right now, is knowing that as soon as I've recovered successfully from this surgery...I have to go back to the neurosurgeon to continue looking into the reasons for all the lesions I have on both sides of my brain. Only some of the reason is clear...and that is repeated head trauma after all the years of abuse. Another thing I was told that it could be MS...as there are medical indicators that would suggest this. Yet, it needs to be investigated more thoroughly.


To those of you that pray, I certainly covet your prayer support. I don't know when I'll be able to do my next post. I was told that some hospitals have access for their patients to the internet. Yet, it never occured to me until right now that I should have asked. :(


I have a little more to do yet before we leave. I will close out for now. Usually, I end my post by saying I wish I could (((Hug))) each one of you...but right now, I wish I could get a (((Hug))) from you.

Kindest Regards,

Kathryn

Monday, September 1, 2008

"Kathryn, Where Are You?"

I've haven't written a post in weeks. I've received so many emails asking, "Kathryn, where are you?" It's past 4:30 AM Sept 1...and I cannot sleep due to the level of discomfort I'm experiencing. Some of you have known of the physical struggles I've been dealing with...others of you don't. If this post seems to be "all over the page" forgive me. This is a time where I'm asking you to pray for me.


It seems like I'm fighting a war on three fronts. I have lesions on both sides of my brain. Tests are inconclusive...yet, MS has not been ruled out. It's also been said that some of these lesions are most likely the result of repeated "head trauma" over the years while living in an abusive marriage.


Recently, I was referred to a cardiologist due to complication in another area. The doctor ordered a whole hosts of tests to be done. After all tests results were in, I was not prepared for the results. Without going into much detail, I will be seeing a cardiac surgeon on Sept 10. The problem is, I don't know exactly how much damage has already occurred. Can it be fixed?


My husband is a medical professional. He's been trying to find research regarding what we were told. I can see the concern in his eyes...those unspoken words between husband and wife. The other issue is the fact there has not been much research into this particular problem. This has caused much frustration and anxiety for both of us.


In the midst of all this, those of you struggling within an abusive relationship...I have never let go of you in prayer. Again, I want to remind you there is an army of women that are also praying for you on a daily basis. The emails I receive have let me know of the triumphs that have come to some of you...other emails have told of the sorrow due to the ongoing abuse. The thing I know for sure...there is a way out!


If that seems like a bold statement, it was intended to be. The reason I know there is a way out...is due to the fact I'm out of a toxic relationship that lasted almost 25 years. I wish I could give each one of you a (((Hug)))...be reminded that I care.


Kindest Regards,

Kathryn

Saturday, July 5, 2008

"Perpetrator or Victim?"



I would like to think that all of us who read these words understand the definition of violence. I also believe that rage is a large part of violence. Let's look at violence





  1. A man gets in a fight in a bar and snaps a pool cue over another man's head (concussion, sutures) because he did not like what the other man said.
    question? Who's the perpetrator and who is the victim ?





  2. A man gets cut off on the freeway and he decides to follow the other man and when the other car stops he starts a fight with this man (Broken nose). Again who is the victim?





  3. A woman is accused of not having dinner on the table at the designated time, in response to this the husband beats the wife resulting in (concussion, sutures on bottom lip) the woman was late because her child was injured on the playground, but her husband never gave her a chance to say "why" she was late. Now who's is the victim.





The reason for the exercise is that I believe that a compassionate understanding person would recognize that in each case the person who was beaten is the victim. One can easily determine that in these examples nothing was done to deserve this aggressive act. Now some of our more learned Biblical "scholars" who grace these pages with their comments, that a woman needs to be corrected and brought into submission under her husband's authority would really be condoning the rage of a violent act. Image if you will the in each case the perpetrator is the same man. Was he thinking Biblically each time he acted out and allowed rage to control him, or only when he beat his wife. Do you that read the Bible and adhere to loving words of our LORD believe that rage in the form of uncontrolled anger is prescribed by the text? In each case above the man let his emotions rage and the resulting violence is always barred by law and punishable by jail time.






You can couch violence against one's partner in purely Biblical terms but I believe that you are lying to yourself, when you fail to see that it was rage, uncontrolled anger and after the fact defended by the abuser as an act of Biblical correction. If you can show me how fractures, concussions, sutures, destruction of person property, and very often death are justified by the Bible when in fact what we are really looking at is rage pure and simple then I will print your comments. Since I know that you can't please refrain!





Dozens of you have forwarded to me an article written by a Baptist "Scholar". You've requested that I respond to the outrageous remarks given by it's author. I plan on doing this, but desire to not only read it, but listen to an audio version as well. Many times you can pick up on nuances in an audio version that may otherwise be absent in text. Although, I can't imagine anything being worse than what I've already read.



I found an excellent survey to help in determining if your relationship is abusive. Many times we make excuses for our partner. The reason I can say this with such confidence is that I made excuses, too. This survery was found on a site that also deals with domestic violence issues. www.aardvarc.org . This site had many other links and 'help tools'.

-------------------------------------------------------

Relationship Quiz: Am I In An Abusive Relationship?

Instructions:

Enter the number of points next to each question depending on the severity of each item:

Never: 0 points
Rarely: 1 point
Sometimes: 2 points
Frequently: 3 points

__ My partner teases me in a hurtful way in private or in public

__ My partner calls me names such as "stupid" or "bitch"

__ My partner acts jealous of my friends, family, or co-workers

__ My partner gets angry about clothes I wear or how I style my hair

__ My partner checks up on me by calling, driving by, or getting someone else to

__ My partner insists on knowing who I talk to on the phone

__ My partner blames me for their problems or bad mood

__ My partner gets angry easily, leaving me walking on eggshells

__ My partner throws or destroys things when angry

__ My partner hits walls, drives dangerously or does other things to scare me

__ My partner drinks excessively or uses drugs

__ My partner insists that I drink or use drugs whenever they do

__ My partner accuses me of being interested in someone else

__ My partner reads my mail, goes thru my personal space/items (ie. purse)

__ My partner keeps me from getting a job or finds ways to cause problems at my job

__ My partner keeps money from me, keeps me in debt, or has "money secrets"

__ My partner sold my car, made me give up my license, or won't repair my car

__ My partner has threatened to hurt me

__ My partner has threatened to hurt my children

__ My partner has actually hurt my children

__ My partner has threatened to hurt my pets

__ My partner has actually hurt my pets

__ My partner has threatened to hurt my friends or family

__ My partner has hurt a friend or family member

__ My partner has threatened to commit suicide if I leave

__ My partner has struck me with hands or feet - slapped, punched, kicked

__ My partner has struck me with an object or threatened me with a weapon

__ My partner has given me visible injuries - bruises, welts, cuts

__ I have had to administer first aid to myself due to injuries from my partner

__ My injuries have been serious enough to seek treatment - doctor, hospital, clinic, paramedic

__ My partner forces me to have sex when I don't want to

__ My partner forces me to have sex in ways that I don't want to

__ My partner has been in trouble with the police

__ My partner acts one way in front of others, and another way when we are alone

__ My partner is secretive or lies about past relationships

__ I feel isolated and alone and have no one I can really talk to

__ I have lost friends because of my partner/partner's actions

__ I no longer see some of my family because of my partner

__ I have thought about calling the police because of an incident of violence

__ I have actually called the police on one or more occasions

__ I am afraid to call the police because of threats from my partner

_____ TOTAL POINTS




0-17: Generally Non-abusive

These are likely to be the sorts of strains that are not unusual in relationships. Do NOT, however, make the mistake of brushing off any incident of violence or threat of violence, no matter how isolated!

18-58: Moderately Abusive

This is a home experiencing some violence at least once in a while. It may be that this is a relationship where violence is just beginning. In a new relationship there is good reason to expect it will eventually escalate into more serious forms and may occur more frequently.

59-95: Seriously Abusive

Scores in this range indicate a seriously abusive relationship that can, under outside pressure, or with the sudden strain of a family emergency, move into the dangerously severe range. Serious injury is quite probable if it has not already occurred. Please consider getting help, even leaving.

96 and up: Dangerously Abusive

If you scored in the top range, you need to consider even more seriously the option of leaving, at least temporarily, while you consider your next move. The violence will not take care of itself or miraculously disappear. Over time the chances are very good that your life and/or the lives of your children will be in danger.
---------------------------



Kindest Regards,

Kathryn






Monday, June 23, 2008

"No Help Where There Should Be Help"

I've received emails from many of you, asking why I hadn't done a recent article. I apologize for the delay. However, as most of you already know, I'm dealing with several health issues...most of which are related to the years of abuse. There have been numerous appointments and tests with my physician, yet, I'm left with more questions than answers.

From the comments I've gotten on this blog, it's obvious that most of you had run into the same difficulty I had. The problem was thinking that your church or the medical profession would readily help you.

It is certainly not my intention to say that all churches, and all medical personnel are not willing to help. Yet, it's been my own personal experience that where you think there would be help...there may be no help at all. Many of you have echoed similar experiences.

However, now, I've finally gotten the "ear" of a few medical personnel and a few church leaders. It appears that with the majority of the medical professionals, they are content to rely on their statistics to gather necessary information on the demographics of the problem and how to best be of assistance. Yet, statistics can be skewed to the view of the one gathering the information.

I still get many emails from you telling me that some (not all) nurses in the Emergency Departments, or Immediate Care facilities are not even bothering to look up from the keyboard when they ask you, if you are living in a safe environment. You are also telling me that you are not being asked this when alone...and this is critical, that you be alone! None of us, having been in an abusive relationship would ever admit to being abused with our abuser standing right there. Personally, I've found it unsafe with anyone being there. There were many times my abuser refused to even take me to the hospital for treatment, instead having his sister or another female relative accompany me. Needless to say, I could never admit to abuse in front of them, as they always reported back to him what I said.

Then there are many churches, like the one I was involved for over two decades (and in leadership). It was here that I was told, "That's just the way he is"..."What are you doing to "provoke" him"..."You have no Biblical grounds for divorce"..."You need to adapt yourself to your husbands plans"...and a numerous array of reasons why the abuse was "my fault".

I encourage you to read previous posts I've written as there is an enormous amount of information contained within them. You can read for yourself, the betrayal of a friend of over 20 years...the total disconnect of my own pastor...the lack of help from the medical community...including the hospital calling my abuser to tell him the time to have me at the hospital and what entrance to use!

There was a time, while attempting to make a hasty retreat from my abuser, I fell off the porch. This resulted in multiple fractures, torn hamstring, etc. During this time, I received a letter from my pastor. This when I still thought that, perhaps, my pastor would understand and intervene with some sorely needed help. I was so excited when I received the letter, I tore it open immediately.

Below you'll see a 'verbatim' account of a bit (for privacy purposes, I'm not publishing it in it's entirety) of his letter. After reading it, I was devastated. Obviously, I am not going to include names of individuals.
---------------------------------

“Dear X,

Sincere Christian Greetings!


I have been informed a couple of times and most recently by (another church leader) that you are unhappy with me because I have not called you concerning your absence from church.


Let me say first of all, you have been contacted numerous times through my wife and Pastor ( ) either directly by phone, by mail or through your husband. We have tried to show concern for you. Secondly, I rarely call a woman for or about anything. Thirdly, I have been very cautious about ministry problems; giving my time to the living and not the dying.


If you have an issue with me, the appropriate thing would have been to bring it to me.


You walked out of this ministry with no word or explanation. An ordained minister by definition is a “mature one.” You should be focusing in on what you did and how you did it rather than being upset with me for what you think I should have done. I am disappointed in your behavior.


The Holy Spirit has revealed more to me about your situation than you may be aware of.


I do love and pray for you.


----------------------------------------

There was absolutely no validity to a single issue...not one. And at no time was I contacted by anyone. My absence had nothing to do with the church...it had everything to do with my abuser. He said "The Holy Spirit has revealed more to me about your situation than you may be aware of." I was left to wonder, if the Holy Spirit, indeed, had revealed anything to him...why he didn't seek to intervene.


Another letter he'd written me of a perceived wrong doing on my part...I was not even within the United States.  However, no one bothered to check his or her facts.  When it was discovered that I wasn't even in the country...no apology was offered...no anything.


It took many months working with the Assault Counselor to finally come to realize that the abuse was not my fault, and that the church I was a part of was "toxic". Numerous times, the Assault Counselor would ask me "What church did you come from?" I never answered her, although she asked me at each session. Finally, during our last session, she asked again. This time, I asked her why she wanted to know this information. She said,"I want to make sure we don't refer any of our clients there." This was the only reason, I did tell her. When I told her, she nodded her head...as she had heard the name of this church before.


There are enormous resources available to help those of you in crisis. I simply wanted to let you know that your help may not come from where you think it will. However, don't give up and certainly don't back down...as there is help! I have some resource contacts on my site.


Help also comes in unexpected ways. This is what taught me that a 'coincidence is when the Lord decides to remain anonymous'.


If I could reach out and (((hug))) each one of you, I'd do it. Be reminded that you are being prayed for by an army of women that care!


Kindest Regards,


Kathryn



Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"Beaten Down With Both Fists & Words"



Rarely have I ever done an article back to back. There are so many emails I receive regarding each article I've written, that I've purposely left them up for about a week before writing a new one. However, due to some of the most ridiculous "comments" I've gotten, I decided to go ahead and post back to back.


It's my desire to let my readers know of some of the mean spirited and ignorant "comments's" that come my way. Some even cloak their disdain for women by quoting the Bible. Now, I do need to let you know for each one I allow to be published there are about a dozen others like it, that I cannot publish as they are just too vile.


There is a serious "disconnect" between the description of Domestic Abuse/Assault and the description within the minds of the abusers. Below I'm going to copy verbatim just a few of the "comments" that I did allow to be published on my blog. Once you read them, you too, will see the irrational thinking between truth and reality. It's not rocket science to understand that abuse is always wrong...no shades of gray. The Lord would never condone this violence upon any of His children.
-------------------------------------

Anonymous said...

women ane kids are mens propirty

April 10, 2008 7:28 PM

Anonymous said...

You are helping to break up familes. The man is the head of the house not the wife. The wife and kids belong to the man. Men have a rite to hit her if she disobeys. you need to educate yourself on facts!

April 16, 2008 9:26 PM

Anonymous said...

why dont you keep your trap shut all your doing is making more troubel

April 25, 2008 9:45 PM

Anonymous said...

I think you have a big mouth and understand nothing of the relationship between men and women. The woman is to be subject to the man. This is not knew information. You forget that its the man that takes care of his female. It's her job to take care of him.

May 3, 2008 1:59 PM

Anonymous said...

your stupid and need to keep your big mouth shut. you must not have a man in your life becausw if you did you wouldn’t be talking such trash

May 9, 2008 5:05 AM

Anonymous said...

you are a foolish woman thinking that you are not the property of a man. But you probably don't even have a man in your pathetic littel life.

May 20, 2008 10:29 PM

Anonymous said...

Do yourself a favor and keep your pie hole shut. Giving women information is only going to get them into more trouble. You need to uderstand that according to the bible they are to be in subjection to their husbands.

May 22, 2008 7:35 AM



I made the decision to not change so much as a word. I left in the spelling and grammar errors.
Those of you that have been reading this blog all along also know the "comments" I receive from numerous women that tell me their churches are not helping. You also tell me that the medical profession has let you down as well.



Many of you have told me that when asked "Are you living in a safe environment?" You are asked this question with your abuser present, and rarely, if ever does the intake/triage nurse even look up at you from the keyboard when addressing you.


I must confess that this has happened to me, too...and more times than I can count. A couple articles back I relayed to you exactly what happened to me when I was going in for (what I thought would be) outpatient surgery. It was beyond outrageous! If you hadn't read it, I encourage you to do so.

I've located a profound truth in the movie titled "The Great Debaters":
  • Who is the Judge?
  • The judge is God!
  • Why is it God?
  • Because HE decides who wins or looses, not my opponent.
  • Who is your opponent?
  • He doesn’t exist.
  • Why doesn’t he exist?
  • He is merely a dissenting voice to the truth I speak.
  • Speak the truth!

So, to those of you out there who have heard from anyone* that : you don't support your husband, you need to stick it out, if you follow your mate this wouldn't have happened, you need to adapt yourself to your husband's plans, you have no Biblical right to seek a divorce, you've provoked him to anger or any other comment that keeps you in the bondage of violence and emotional cruelty you can look your oppressor in the eye and believe that God knows who's right and who's wrong. They* are merely a dissenting voice to THE TRUTH YOU SPEAK! Therefore, to you these people do not exist. If you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem.

* Church leaders, neighbors, family, do-gooders, medical professionals, your own self-doubt and anyone that's not walked in your shoes.

You already know how I'm going to close this article...I wish I could reach out and (((Hug))) each and every one of you that are hurting.

Kindest Regards,

Kathryn


"There Is A Language To Tears"


Many years ago I learned that there is a "language" to tears. It was while attending Bible college that I learned that the Lord understands the "language" of tears we shed.



So often the tears of fear, frustration, loneliness, isolation, regret and most of all, tears of believing that nothing could truly ever change for me, regarding the years of abuse I'd been accustomed...led to deep despair.


After all, I had already gone to those in leadership above me within the church. Hadn't I been told that it was me that must be doing something to provoke him? I believed this, and set out to be the "perfect wife". Although, his out of control fits of anger were well known even in board meetings---and always excused his behavior as "That's just the way he is".



Needless to say, there is no such thing as being "perfect" at anything. Even though I was trying my best to be the "perfect" wife...I had once forgotten to turn out the light in the garage. So enraged he'd become that he threw a hammer at me, fracturing my jaw. There are literally dozens of instances I could give to validate that being "perfect" has no bearing upon someone that decides to become angry.



Recently, I came across some information that surprised even me, it has to so with stalking. Due to the fact I'm considered highly educated, I thought I could depend on my natural abilities. It was pointed out, that often those are the very ones that make the easier targets! The article below comes from "No Nonsense Self-Defense" written by Marc & Dianna Mac Young. This is not the article in it's entirety, but dealt with the subject matter I brought up within this post.

-------------------


DON'T Try to handle it yourself

This is THE most common mistake women make when it comes to stalkers. Bottom line here, if the guy
a) didn't already know he could take you
b) was afraid of you and what you can do, and
c) wasn't pretty sure he could get away with it --


HE WOULDN'T BE DOING IT IN THE FIRST PLACE!


While it is terrifying to believe so, such a person has been studying you like an insect. He knows your strengths, weaknesses, blind-spots, emotional reactions and what lengths you are willing to go to better than you do. That is because he has been studying you, testing you and training you like a dog to react a certain way. And that is no exaggeration, such people are expert manipulators and usually have a long time dealing with you before the problems became this severe. You are playing against a stacked deck already. No matter how confident, self-assured or competent you think yourself, realize that he knows your strengths and weaknesses before hand and is building his strategy around that knowledge. You have been the victim of a prolonged interview that is now escalating.


If he even thought you had what it takes to wait in the shadows near his front door with a shotgun he wouldn't be doing it. Not that we are recommending this course of action, but stalkers do know who not to mess with).


In fact, women who are generally competent and professional in their lives are MORE likely to be stalked! That is because while they are competent and confident in "civilized" dealings with men, this is a situation where the normal social conventions (which provide a significant leveling influence) simply don't exist. Being suddenly cast adrift in shark infested waters is frustrating, terrifying and unknown. And that is exactly what he wants you to feel.


Remember stalkers think of themselves as "laws unto themselves." In order to maintain this delusion they need to operate in isolation. That is to say they need to find people who are too proud to ask for help and will foolishly attempt to handle the problem by themselves. It is the woman's pride, confidence in herself and her abilities -- and her shame for "finding myself in such a stupid situation" that keeps her from immediately seeking outside help. (This described me perfectly)


And those are the very things the stalker is relying on you to do so he can keep on doing what he is doing.


That is why you need to call in the cavalry and as much reinforcements as you can. And that means, police, lawyers, friends and neighbors. Also realize that this situation is going to cost you...self-defense courses, training, lawyers, court fees and possibly moving and changing jobs.


There is no easy answer to this problem. It's a long time coming and it will be a long time going.


----------------


Tears were a daily occurrence for me...often there would be several outbursts of tears. As hard as I tried, I could not hold them back. Yet, each time I wept, I made sure I was alone and no one could hear me.


One day, while weeping, I was reminded that the Lord understands the "language" of our tears. Suddenly all the tears I'd shed, allowed me to know that nothing had escaped the hearing of the Lord and He was well able to bring me to freedom. This is exactly what happened.


Those of you that have been following these articles since I first began this 'blog' know exactly what I'm referring to, so there's no need to repeat myself. Those of you who are unfamiliar with all that's been written to this point, I encourage you to do so. I'm sure it will uplift your hearts to "see" that no matter how dark it may seem for you...there is "One" that cares and will will bring you to a place of safety.

Again, more than anything else, I wish I could give each and every one of you that are hurting a big (((Hug))). Since that's impossible, be reminded that there is an army of women that read your comments and are praying for you on a daily basis.

Kindest Regards,

Kathryn

Thursday, May 8, 2008

"Why Won't Anyone Listen?"


The below statement was taken from "Stalking (Part 2) Victims' Problems with The Legal System & Therapeutic Consideration.
--------------------------------

"Law-enforcement insensitivity toward domestic violence has already been well documented. Police often feel that, as opposed to serious crimes such as murder, domestic issues are not an appropriate police responsibility; 'private' misconduct should not be subject to public intervention, and, because few cases result in successful prosecution, pursuing domestic violence complaints is ultimately futile… This sense of futility, reinforced by the media and the courts, may be transmitted to the victim.
In cases involving ex-lovers, the police may have equal difficulty in being sympathetic to the issues involved. As in the case of Ms A, society often views stalking as a normal infatuation that will eventually resolve itself or as the actions of a rejected lover or lovesick individual, more to be empathised with than censured . Victims often report feeling that the police and society blame them for provoking harassment or making poor choices in relationships. Authorities may have particular difficulty understanding the woman who continues to have ambivalent feelings toward the offender…
In terms of the laws themselves, there is a history of ineffectiveness in dealing with crimes of stalking . The nature of the offences themselves makes investigations and prosecution difficult, because surveillance and phone calls often have no witnesses. Barriers to victims using civil actions against stalkers include dangerous time delays and financial requirements. Temporary restraining orders or peace bonds have been used most commonly and are generally ineffective, partly because law-enforcement agencies have limited resources to enforce such measures. Even if caught, violators receive, at most, minimal jail time or minor monetary penalties. Sometimes the offender just waits out the short duration of the order. Persistent, obsessed stalkers are usually not deterred."
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By no means, am I using this statement to suggest that the law enforcement officials are falling short in their duty to "serve and protect". I wanted to post this in answer to the questions many of you have asked and statements of frustrations you've told me regarding the lack of understanding you receive.

The other big obstacle I'm hearing from a vast number of you, is the lack of help you're not receiving from your local churches. There have been emails sent to me from Alaska to Florida with very similar testimony. I'm told that because you're a woman, it's assumed there must be something lacking in you that is provoking abuse. Until it happened to me, too, I think I'd have had a difficult time believing that.

Especially since I was in a leadership position within my local church, I thought surely I would be taken seriously and listened to. However, in reality, it was quite the opposite. It was told to me that since my abuser (now ex-husband) was attending church and I was not...that my relationship with the Lord was called into question and was told that I "needed to adapt myself to my husband's plans".

In earlier posts I went into considerable detail concerning me personally with my local church. If you hadn't read those particular posts, please, take the time to do so. The lack of consideration to so much as "listen" added emotional pain on top of everything else that was taking place within my home.

Yesterday, I was at the doctor's office, when in walked a member from my (former) "church". She is someone I'd known for over 20 years. She appeared to be so happy to see me, and told me how much she missed me. Next she let me know that she didn't know why I had gotten divorced. I let her know that it was due to years of domestic abuse. As soon as she heard that, she suddenly got busy looking through the magazine she had picked up when she walked into the office. This was further indication that there's a serious disconnect with some "professing" one thing, yet, doing quite the opposite. Please, do not think I'm saying all churches are like this...as I know for a fact they aren't. Although, my own "church" were I'd served in leadership for well over two decades did NOTHING to help me. Again, I went into considerable detail on this in previous posts. Please, if you hadn't read them, I encourage you to do so.

There was one church that helped. It was a mainline denomination. They didn't care that I wasn't a member. They never asked for details. What they did do, was see that I was in a crisis in needing food (after I had left the "safe-house")...and did what they could to help. Each time I went there, I was treated with dignity and respect. Then the receptionist asked if I'd like to see the pastor. Strictly out of courtesy, I said OK. This pastor was nothing like the pastor's I'd been used to. He asked me if I had any outstanding bills. When I told him yes...he asked me to bring them to him the next day. When I showed up the next day with those bills...he wrote checks for them immediately...no questions asked. Their willingness to "listen" is what started me in the direction in the healing of my wounded heart.

I'm going to copy a comment left by someone on the previous post. The author, is obviously someone that has a heart that understands and perfectly illustrated the absurdity of the 'mind set' of the abuser.
-----------------------------
Anonymous said...
As a father of a young daughter, I must object to some of these comments from bible quoting individuals Women must submit? To what? broken bones, black eyes, shattered self esteem, endless trips to the hospital. What Lord do you pray to? Tell me something why don't you then tell the Doctor that "you were correcting you partner's deficient attitude?" You could not even pass that off in church if you brought her there instead of the emergency room. If I made such comments that "women are men's property" or that "The woman is to be subject to the man. This is not new information. You forget that its the man that takes care of his female. It's her job to take care of him",I would be ashamed to have a y chromosome. If my male gene constitutes the right for me to force submission then what sort of man would I be? Experience tells us that cooperation between partners is the most effective way to achieve a satisfying relationship. Ask yourself this is, if you achieve your means by striking fear into an individual how secure are you? It is most likely your insecurity that causes you to want to dominate someone else. The Lord God never intended such violence. "Blessed are the peace makers for they shall see God."
____________________________________________

The individual that wrote this comment, truly, does "listen" and understands. I want to encourage you, that although you may have run into 'road blocks' in finding someone that will really listen and offer help...there IS help available. The first step in receiving that help is to tell someone.

Numerous times I've let you know that there is an army of individuals that pray for the readers of this blog site. They are connected to you through their prayer support...never forget that. More than anything else, I wish I could give each and every one of you a big (((HUG))).

Kindest Regards,

Kathryn

Friday, May 2, 2008

"Remaining Safe...Until You Leave"

Looking back, prior, to having to flee my home, there are so many questions I wish I'd have known to ask. One mistake I continually made with my abuser, was when I was trying to avoid being physically or verbally abused, I'd try and run into another room. To my own hurt, I'd usually run into the kitchen, or bathroom.



Now I know those were two of the worse places to run...there are numerous things in there that can be used as weapons. Another place I would try and run, was the garage...another big mistake. Then there was the time I was attempting to run out the door, while being chased. The fear produced the running and the running caused a bad fall from the porch resulting in numerous fractures...another bad idea.



So many of you that email me are asking similar questions. Since most of the questions are regarding "how" to stay safe until you leave, is the reason for this article. Keep in mind, that you all have variations to your particular situation and must 'tailor' the information given to meet your personal situation. I've gathered some very helpful information from a variety of sources. Each article I write I'll be sharing more and more.



If any of you are thinking that things can never change for you , that simply is not true. Take a look at some of the comments that are in the 'comment section' after each article. You'll see that there are ways for you to finally become free. The information below is from the Sequoyah County Sheriff's Department.



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ARE YOU ABUSED?
Does the Person You Love…
· “Track” all of your time and activities?
· Constantly accuse you of being unfaithful?
· Discourage your relationships with family and friends?
· Prevent you from working or attending school?
· Criticize you for little things?
· Anger easily when drinking or on drugs?
· Control finances and force you to account for what you spend?
· Humiliate you in front of others?
· Destroy personal property or sentimental items?
· Hit, punch, slap, kick, or bite you or your children?
· Threaten to hurt you or your children?
· Use or threaten to use a weapon against you?
· Force you to have sex against your will?


ZERO TOLERANCE
THERE’S NO EXCUSE FOR ABUSE
*********************************
*********************************
MYTHS vs. FACTS
About abuse
Myth: Violence in families affects only a small percentage of the population.
Fact: 2-4 million women are beaten every year; in Oklahoma, 340,000 women are beaten on a regular basis every year; the FBI says that a woman is beaten every 15 seconds in the United States.
Myth: Poor families are more likely to experience violence than middle income and affluent families.
Fact: Violence in families crosses all economic, class, race, and educational levels.
Myth: Drinking causes violent behavior.
Fact: Although drinking and/or drug abuse are present in over half of all violent incidents, abusive behavior will not stop when substance abuse stops. Alcohol and drugs may lower inhibitions permitting more aggressive behavior.
Myth: Wife abuse doesn’t cause serious injuries.
Fact: 40% of women killed in the United States are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends. Emergency rooms report that the majority of cases of women seeking treatment for injuries are the result of abuse.
Myth: Religious faith prevents violence in families.
Fact: Persons of faith are no less vulnerable to abusive relationships than the general population. In some cases, religious beliefs are used by the abusers to justify their forceful and controlling behavior, and to obligate victims to remain in destructive situations that threaten their physical safety and emotional well-being.
Myth: Children need their father even if he is abusive.
Fact: Children need a stable, nurturing environment, free of fear and chaos, in which their self esteem will be preserved and enhanced.
Myth: Witnessing abuse doesn’t affect children.
Fact: Children who witness violence are 700 times more likely to abuse or be abused as adults than children who grow up in non-violent homes.
Myth: Once a batterer, always a batterer.
Fact: Battering is learned behavior and it can be changed. Help is available.
Myth: A battered woman can always leave home.
Fact: There is no law compelling a battered woman to remain in an abusive situation. However, there are a number of reasons that make leaving extremely difficult.
Myth: There is no help available for a woman wanting to get out of an abusive relationship. There is no place available to help her and her children.
Fact: Help is available. No woman has to remain in an abusive relationship because she has no place to go and no money to go. Any sheriff’s office or police department can help a woman obtain this assistance.
THERE’S NO EXCUSE FOR ABUSE!
********************************
********************************
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SAFETY PLAN
You Have a Right to be Safe.
SAFETY DURING AN EXPLOSIVE INCIDENT
A. If an argument seems unavoidable, try to have it in a room or area where you have access to an exit. Try to stay away from the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom or anywhere else weapons might be available.
B. Practice how to get out of your home safely. Identify which doors, windows, elevator, or stairwell would be the best.
C. Have a packed bag ready and keep it at a relative’s or friend’s home in order to leave quickly.
D. Identify one or more neighbors you can tell about the violence and ask that they call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home.
E. Devise a code word to use with your children, family, friends and neighbors when you need the police.
F. Decide and plan for where you will go, if you have to leave home (even if you don’t think you will need to.)
G. Use your own instincts and judgment. If the situation is very dangerous, consider giving the abuser what he wants to calm him down. You have the right to protect yourself until you are out of danger.
H. Always remember – YOU DON’T DESERVE TO BE HIT OR THREATENED!
SAFETY WHEN PREPARING TO LEAVE
A. Open a savings account and/or credit card in your own name to start to establish or increase your independence. Think of other ways in which you can increase your independence.
B. Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents, extra medicines and clothes with someone you trust so you can leave quickly.
C. Determine who would be able to let you stay with them or lend you some money.
D. Keep the shelter or hotline phone number close at hand and keep some change or a calling card on you at all times for emergency phone calls.
E. Review your safety plan as often as possible in order to plan the safest way to leave your batterer. REMEMBER – LEAVING YOUR BATTERER IS THE MOST DANGEROUS TIME.
SAFETY IN YOUR OWN HOME
A. Change the locks on your doors as soon as possible. Give a copy to a trusted neighbor or family member.
B. Call the police if your partner breaks the protective order.
C. Think of alternative ways to keep safe if the police do not respond right away.
D. Inform family, friends, neighbors and your physical or health care provider that you have a protective order in effect.

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I want to close this article by saying I'm well versed (now that I'm free) on all the information I just posted. However, I want to make it crystal clear that it's not always as "black & white" as most portray it to be. There are variants on EVERY situation...so keep in mind you must 'tailor' your specific needs around the information provided. Above all else, never feel you are alone in this, because you are not. There is an army of women that read your comments for the specific purpose of praying for you.



Kindest Regards,



Kathryn

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

An Unexpected Weapon..."A Pineapple"

The experience I'm about to share took place six years ago. Although I was married to an abuser, I still had a wonderful position within an amazing company. My desire to represent my company with professionalism, I chose to always dress in a business suit. It is to my former employer that I dedicate this article.

My abuser held me to very strict time lines. I would arrive home exactly 12 minutes after leaving the office. If he wanted me to pick some things up at the store...that too was timed.

One particular day, as I was leaving for the office, he handed me a list of items he wanted me to pick up after work. He told me that it would only take 45 minutes...and I was to be home no later than he demanded.

After work I went immediately to the grocery store. This store was a large chain grocery store. I was in a hurry, and needing to find everything on the list I'd been given and get home at the designated time.

I was in the fresh fruit and produce area. I leaned over a bit to look at the pineapples. As I leaned over, a man came up from behind me and rubbed himself against me, as he spoke his filth into my ear. My first reaction was immediate fear. Yet, I was also thinking about the time! I had to get the shopping done and get home or else face the "consequences" of my abuser.

With this in mind, I was more fearful of the abuser than I was this pervert at the grocery store. I had a pineapple in my hand. I grabbed that pineapple with both hands...spun around and hit him as hard as I could using that pineapple as a weapon. He was definitely not expecting this.

The blow with the pineapple hit him on the side of his face so hard that it had broken his glasses and sent him reeling backwards. He began to shout at me, that I'd broken his glasses. His shouting brought security immediately to the area we both were. There was an immediate welt from the side of his face all the way to his ear.

The security person asked what had happened. The pervert told him I had broken his glasses. Immediately, I began to let the security person know how & why... I smacked him on the side of the head with the pineapple...as I was speaking a woman came to where we were standing. It became apparent that this woman was the wife of the pervert. She was glaring at him in a way that gave the impression that this was not the first time he'd done such a vile thing.

The security person asked if I wanted to press charges, I said "No". It would have taken time to do this and I had to get home. Yet, the look on his wife's face let me know that this fool was in big trouble with her. I can only imagine their conversation when they got back home.

As I drove home, I cannot describe the emotion I felt. Being able to stand up for myself was empowering...even though it only lasted a moment. After all, I was now driving home to the abuser. I was on time, and gotten everything on his list. Of course, I never told him of this incident. He would have told me that I must have done something to produce his advances.

However, I did share this incident with a couple colleagues. At that time, they were unaware of the abuse taking place in my own home. They also told me it took a bit of bravery to do such a thing. I couldn't tell them that it wasn't bravery...but fear of my abuser if I'd have been late arriving home.



The information below is from "Helpguide.org". I trust it will bring some clarity to the very confusing situation you find yourself dealing with. Please know that you are NOT alone in this.

_______________________________________________________


Violent Behavior is an Abuser's Choice

Reasons we know an abuser's behaviors are not about anger and rage:

  • He does not batter other individuals - the boss who does not give him time off or the gas station attendant that spills gas down the side of his car. He waits until there are no witnesses and abuses the person he says he loves.
  • If you ask an abused woman, "can he stop when the phone rings or the police come to the door?" She will say "yes". Most often when the police show up, he is looking calm, cool and collected and she is the one who may look hysterical. If he were truly "out of control" he would not be able to stop himself when it is to his advantage to do so.
  • The abuser very often escalates from pushing and shoving to hitting in places where the bruises and marks will not show. If he were "out of control" or "in a rage" he would not be able to direct or limit where his kicks or punches land.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

It never failed that every time I was beaten, punched, kicked or slapped...he always let me know that he had no control over his actions. For many years I believed this. It was the wonderful staff at the women's center that finally let me see the truth. Yet, deep down him telling me he had no control...didn't "ring true" within my heart. I had witnessed hundreds of times that he could "put on a happy face" if anyone came to the door or called for him.

There are many of you that use my "contact" email address. The heartache and pain you share with me, grieves me to my very soul. I've chosen to "moderate all comments" as I would never want anything published on this blog that is identifiable. Many of you are asking the same questions. With each article I write I will be addressing those questions. The information above pertains to questions several of you asked.

So many of you tell me that your abuser tells you he can't control himself. That is just a plain LIE! It took me over two decades to learn the truth of this...which is why I chose to share this information with you now. He most definitely has control...and don't believe otherwise for a single moment...and it is NOT your fault. Abuser are masters of control and manipulation. One of their biggest weapons is fear.

Again, be reminded that you are loved...and there is an army of women that are praying for you as they read your comments and the articles I post. If I could, I'd reach out and (((Hug))) each one of you.

Kindest Regards,

Kathryn









Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"I Got Flowers Today"...A Poem

This is a poem I found long ago. There is no name attached as to who the author is but I felt it appropriate for this topic. The poem is as follows:

"I got flowers today. It wasn't my birthday or any other special day.

We had our first argument last night, and he said a lot of cruel things that really hurt me.

I know he is sorry and didn't mean the things he said because he sent me flowers today.

I got flowers today. It wasn't our anniversary or any special day.

Last night he threw me into a wall and started to choke me. It seemed like a nightmare. I couldn't believe it was real. I woke up this morning sore and bruised all over.

I know he must be sorry because he sent me flowers today, and it wasn't Mother's Day or any other special day.

Last night he beat me up again, and it was much worse than all the other times. If I leave him, what will I do? How will I take care of my kids? What about money? I'm afraid of him and scared to leave.

But I know he must be sorry. Because he sent me flowers today.

I got flowers today. Today was a very special day.

It was the day of my funeral.

Last night he finally killed me. He beat me to death.

If only I had gathered the courage and strength to leave him.

I would not have gotten flowers today".
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There are three primary parts of domestic violence. What I'm going to share comes from "Cycle of Violence"...again I don't recall it's original source. Yet, it's something I was given when I first sought help through the women's shelter.

1) Increased tension, anger, blaming and arguing.

2) Battering, hitting, slapping, kicking, choking, use of objects or weapons. Sexual abuse. Verbal threats and abuse.

3) Calm stage (this may decrease over time) He may deny violence, say he was drunk, say he didn't mean it, say he's sorry, and promises it will never happen again.
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Many times over these last few weeks, I've implored you to let someone know you are in a crisis situation. Yet, the amount of emails I'm receiving is confirming the vast majority are not doing this. There are various reasons that you are telling me for not doing so...and I understand.

My own personal experience let's me see that your reasons for not doing so are valid. However, now that I'm on this 'side' of the cycle of domestic violence, I can see some options that were available that I didn't take advantage of. Don't make the same mistakes that I did.

More times than I can count, I had to seek immediate health care. There was never a single time I was asked by a health care professional while ALONE..."are you living in a safe environment?". If it wasn't my abuser that drove me to the Emergency Department of the local hospital, it was one of his relatives (usually a female). It made no difference if the abuser was there or not...as whoever it happened to be that drove me...they were always in the room.

It's not rocket science to know that I answered, "Yes, I'm in a safe environment". We must do whatever it takes to get that health care provider...ALONE! Let them know that you need help and it needs to be now...not later. There may not be a "later".

I know that there are measures built into the health care system to help those in abusive relationships...yet, personal experience has taught me that just because it's "built in" doesn't mean it's followed.

Recently, I wrote about the need for additional surgery. I've also told my readers that I am remarried (almost 2 years now). You cannot imagine the shock I had when I went to the hospital this last time. When my husband and I went to registration to 'check-in', they still had my old information on the "face sheet" with the number of my abuser!

My husband and I both were livid. My husband told the person at registration that this was supposed to have been changed almost 3 years ago. She assured us that it had been changed in their system. My husband demanded that she print out a new "face sheet" to verify what she had just said. When she printed out that new "face sheet"...it was still the same. The information within their system had NOT been changed.

The sudden panic that hit me felt as if I'd been kicked. We were ushered into a different waiting area. This is where we stayed until I was called to go into the "prep area" before my procedure began. I felt victimized all over again. However, my husband's continued insistence proved to be of great benefit. Before I left the hospital they...finally... they had removed all old information off my medical chart. Why did it take almost 3 years to do this?

The only thing I can think of is it was not of importance. If it had been, it'd have been removed when I entered the "safe house". When I entered the "safe house" it was discovered that I needed surgery. My case manager called my physician and let him know where I was and the reason why. She had also called the hospital and let them know, too. I was to receive a call from the hospital later that day to let me know the exact time I should arrive and which entrance to use.

When no call came, I let my case manager know this. She suggested to me that I should call them. You can imagine my shock when I was told that they did call. They let my husband (abuser) know what time to have me there and which entrance to use. This was in 2005!

You can understand why I was so upset when now, in 2008, they still had the wrong information. Please understand, I am in no way saying it's like this all over. I'm simply letting you know of my personal experience. This is the reason I caution you...make sure health care facilities know what your situation is...check...double check...and triple check, if need be. Don't get caught off guard as I did.

It may seem extreme that after almost 3 years they had the same obsolete information...but they did. If it hadn't happened to me, I may have had a difficult time believing it. Yet, I must say that my new husband's insistence made all the difference in the world...as I was so panicked, I could hardly speak.

Well, it's getting late and I need to stop for now...but not before I remind you that you are being prayed for. There are a vast number of women that I'm connected to, they also read your comments. Their hearts are connected to you. We are committed to your safety and well-being.

Kindest Regards,

Kathryn





Sunday, April 6, 2008

Calming Rough Seas & Flattening Mountains Are Possible!




Getting Ready to Leave


  • Keep any evidence you can of physical abuse. Make sure to keep this evidence in a safe place that your abuser will not find. This might include:

    • Any pictures you have of bruises or other injuries. If you're taking pictures of your injuries, try to have these pictures dated.

    • Any torn clothing

    • Any household objects that your abuser tore or broke.

    • Any pictures that show your home is destroyed or messed up after violence happened.

    • Any records that you have from doctors or the police that document the abuse.

    • Keeping a journal about the abuse. Write down how he abused you, any way that he threatened you, and when these things happened.

    • Anything else you think could help show that you've been abused.
____________________________________________________________________
The above information was taken from a web site that also deals with helping those that are in abusive relationships. From time to time, I will post other information that is in response to the questions I receive from many of you. Many ask the same questions. This lets me know that most of you feel totally alone, and with no one to talk to.


The feelings of isolation, fear and shame...I am well acquainted with. These were my constant companions for over two decades. Never, did I really believe things would ever change for me. How could they? I was the one that people came to with their problems. I was a leader, teacher, public speaker, fund raiser...successful and well respected. Yet, the shame and isolation I felt at home was overwhelming. Domestic abuse is an equal opportunity crime. It goes across all racial, ethnic, socio-economical and religious/atheist backgrounds.


I still marvel at the level I was able to function in the midst of almost 25 years of abuse. The only thing I can attribute this to is the hand of the Lord was surely upon me. There is simply no other explanation. Plus, all the traveling abroad for well over a decade. These projects were very successful. The nations and people I got to meet over so many years...are a part of the very fabric of my soul. This is a love that was not born of my own efforts...it was a "gift" for which I am extremely grateful.



If there had to be only one thing I could say I learned it would be this...in spite of your own pain, we can still be a channel of love and blessing to others. I remember a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He said "Undeserved suffering is always redemptive". This I have found though life experience is a fact. Another thing Dr. King said is "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere".



Domestic violence is "undeserved suffering" and also "injustice". We need to be reminded that we are not alone like we think we are. There are many that ache to be of help. Recently, I received a comment from a physician. You can read it on the "comment" section of the post "My Mind Was Screaming "FIRE!" This physician said "the silence ties our hands". Read his comment...he was letting us know that above all else we must tell someone.

So many of you don't feel safe enough for me to return your emails. The grief I share with you over this is deep. This is the reason I've added the hot line links for you. I wish I could just reach out to all of you that have such a wounded heart...and give you a (((hug))).


Some of you have asked if "everything has smoothed out" in my own life. No, it has not. Although I am remarried to a marvelous man, my former abuser is still in "contempt of court". He did not do as the judge ordered during the divorce proceeding. This has put a heavy burden on me. There is nothing I can do at the time. There are also several significant health issues I'm dealing with...some the direct result of the years of abuse.


Another thing several of you asked was if I was "still sad". No, I'm not sad. I prefer not to waste time being sad or depressed. There are too many others that need a "hand up" to get out of the abusive situations they find themselves. I've had my feet planted on both sides of that fence. Being on "this side of the fence" is much better. Yet, you all know that I didn't get here by myself. There was an army of individuals along the way that helped.


The one thing that surprised me was that my help did NOT come from where I thought it would. Like my church...I was part of leadership for two decades. I won't go into detail again, as I revealed much of this in earlier posts. My help came from unexpected sources. While I was teaching one of the things I was always saying "The Lord has His people placed in strategic places"...however, I had no clue that I was teaching that to myself...first.


Due to the lateness of the hour, I will say good night for now. Yet, be confident that there are so many praying for those of you in crisis situation...including myself. I get emails from friends & colleagues that read your comments. These have found a place of lodging within the hearts of many. Don't feel alone...as your Helper is by your side.


Kindest Regards,


Kathryn




Thursday, April 3, 2008

My Mind Was Screaming "FIRE!"


Fire always represents a very real and immediate danger. Do you know what to do if your way of escape is blocked? Would you grab anything as you tried to run? If so, what would that be? Your mind would be racing into a thousand different directions. What about the kids! Are they aware of the danger? Why, oh why, didn't we "plan" a way out of a situation like this?!? I was always my intention to sit down and make a plan, go over the details with the kids...but I never did it.

Thankfully, reading this will give you the encouragement needed to put a plan into place. However, before I go further, you need to know that I see the "abuser" like I see a "FIRE!". Fire can be a life threatening event. When you look at the "abuser" as you would a fire...you'd be surprised how many things you could think of needing to get into place in the event an immediate departure became necessary.

Trying to put things in order to share with you on this topic is no small task. There are dozens of things to be said, yet for now I'll share the few that were said to me over & over again by a wise counselor. Please be aware that each of us would need to "tailor" certain things to our particular situations. Once I sought shelter within the "safe house" I saw just how different each situation really was....as different as day is to night.

I was told to make sure I kept (at all times) a minimum of $10...and in a place where the abuser won't find it. Make sure I had an extra key for the car and put it in a safe place. Make sure you know exactly where your driver's license, passport, social security card, etc. are...but most importantly, keep them where you can grab them in a hurry. Personally, there were some medical documents I had to have when I left.
There are many variables on what is an immediate need to each individual.

What would you do if your way of escape was blocked? Every residence is different, so what may work for one, may not necessarily work for another. Yet, these are things you can plan for now...before it's too late. I've learned that if you have to "take time to get ready...it's already too late". Have a plan in place now.

I've gotten emails from many of you asking similar questions. Many of you do not want me to return your email with an answer/suggestion for fear someone else may read your email. This lets me know that you don't have a private email account. So, I'll try and answer as many questions within the posts I'll write.

Concerning the email issue: If you are fearful that your email may be read, open an email account of your own. You can use "Yahoo", "Gmail", Hotmail", etc...these are free! If you don't want to use your home computer, you can use one at the library, Internet cafe and even some community education centers allow you to use their computers. There are even some office supply stores that allow you to use a computer...but here it may cost, yet it is safe! The one that comes to mind is "Kinkos". However, if you are one of the more fortunate ones, you may have a family member, friend or colleague that you can trust. Perhaps, they will allow you to create an email account using their computer. You must have a way to communicate freely within a safe environment.

Say for instance you have AOL as an internet provider...you can still open up a "Yahoo", etc. email account, as it's separate from AOL. The scary part is that none of us know whether or not the "abuser" has installed a "keylogger" on the home computer. That would allow the "abuser" to see every key stroke you make. There have been two readers of this blog that told me this happened to them. I was asked if this was done to me. No, this is not something I had to deal with. Yet, I must confess, just the thought of it, causes me to cringe.

You can also make sure your web sites viewed/history etc., is deleted...yet, I was told that someone with the 'know how' could recover this. If any of you know about this and how something is recovered once it's been deleted..let me know. Another important thing to have is you personal phone book...numbers for your doctor, the schools, family members & friends. If there's only one...get it copied it.

Are there any medications you are taking? What about for the kids? Make a list of what these medications are, strengths, and dosing instructions. Make sure you know how to scoop those medications up in a hurry. With the kids you can make it a 'drill' in case of fire, they look at this like a game. No need to tell them it may be used for a different thing altogether. Make sure each child understands exactly what to do if you yell, "Fire!"

Above all else tell someone. The staff at the women's shelters are such an awesome resource. Many women go there to learn the "how do I leave" information. There are things they told me ahead of time...that empowered me when I did have to flee my home. At least I knew what to grab...as it was prepared ahead of time. I even had all my necessary documents in my combination locked briefcase.

Looking back, there were some things I wish I had known...if I had asked the right questions it would have made a huge difference. Yet, the things I did learn ahead of time, was literally a life saver.

Much of the time from leaving my home and arriving at the "safe house" is a bit fuzzy. The emotional stress, of feeling as if everything had caved in on me...was devastating. It seemed as if I was operating on "auto-pilot". Due to the counseling I'd received...it appeared I had the basics down perfectly. I had actually made a list of what I was told. A literal list! There was no way I could trust myself to remember so much information that was so foreign to me.

One thing that was a drawback for me, was the fact I had no family living within 200 miles. One of my closest friends...as close as a sister---lived in the northeast. The one female friend I trusted most (here locally)...for almost 20 years...let me know that both she and her husband were well aware of the abuse (as was most other leadership). She & I talked for almost 5 hours. She assured me that they would help me get out...comforting me with her words of encouragement. We cried together and she told me she loved me like her own sister. Before she left she hugged me and again let me know "everything will work out". Hearing her promise of help, was like a lead weight had been lifted off me. A bit of springlike breeze seemed to be whirling all around me...as prior to this 5 hour visit, I was feeling both isolated and shamed,

However, the very next day she called me and let me know that since she and her husband were both in the same level of leadership within the church as we were...they thought it best not to get involved. When I heard her words, I suddenly was unable to breathe, the room seemed to be spinning...nor could I get up from the chair I was sitting. I hung up the phone and cried for almost three straight hours. Isn't this exactly where my help should come from? Plus, the fact our friendship was so close, she had even asked me to attend during the birth of their second child. This friendship spanned almost two decades. Yet, now I felt totally abandoned.

I must tell you about my attorney. She was a godsend. It was through her, too, that made what I would call an 'outline' of exactly what to do and in which order to get these things completed. I told her at the time, I'd do exactly as she recommended (as I certainly couldn't trust myself...as I had no clue where to begin). I kept my word. My gratitude to her could never be repaid in 10 lifetimes. She was not only my attorney, but is now a friend. My admiration of her is abundant. Her caring and compassion was evident from the moment I met her. It is to her that I dedicate this post. She is far more than an attorney...she is a shining example of "doing what your hands find to do"...whether it is helping to paint someone else's business, or traveling overseas going into a war torn nation...to help on various projects. I told my Mom when I grow up, I'd like to be like my attorney :)

Well, it's getting very late and this lady is tired...but before I go, let me leave you with something I was told years ago...'never say more than what YOU are comfortable saying".

Kindest Regards Always,

Kathryn