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."
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.
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))).