Sunday, March 29, 2009
Until today I have never posted the same thing twice. However, due to an unusual amount of email regarding one topic...I decided to again post "I Got Flowers Today".
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".
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.
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.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
There was a front-page article on stalking. The title was “Stalked to Death”. It was written Friday January 9. I am the one referred to as “Marianne”. You will also learn that although I have been divorced from the abuser, he continues to harass me by stalking me at times. Although he lives 200 miles away, he still drives over here. His photo has been snapped on my friend’s cell phone camera and I have seen him on four different occasions.
I have been remarried to the most amazing man on the planet for almost three years now. Why he expends so much energy to harass and try to track me down, I do not know. I can tell you that continually looking over my shoulder is extremely stressful.
The article in its entirety is below. Due to it being a short piece, there were many facets of domestic assault that were not explored in the article.
For 20 years of her marriage, Marianne slept in bed each night with one foot planted on the floor. She lived, and slept, in constant fear of her abusive husband. “I would get hit, kicked or knocked out of bed almost every night,” she said. When Marianne (not her real name) gathered the courage to leave her 25-year marriage, she made what she thought would be a clean break, living in a shelter and quickly filing for divorce.
“He eventually moved to the other side of the state, which made me feel like I would be somewhat safe,” said Marianne, who divorced in 2005. “Then I found out he had been driving around our area.”
After leaving her husband, much of Marianne’s behavior had to change as her ex continued to stalk her — even now, when she has since remarried. She has spotted his vehicle at least four times since their split. A friend captured a photo on her cell phone of his car passing through the area, she said.
“He believes that God hates divorce,” she said. “To him I will always be his wife, and anyone else is an intruder.”
One in 12 women and one in 45 men will be stalked sometime in their lives, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime, which defines stalking as a course of conduct directed at a specific person to cause fear.
It can include phone calls, following, vandalism and even threats or harm directed at the person’s family or pets.
Marianne’s ex-husband once attached a GPS tracking device to her vehicle.
As part of January’s Stalking Awareness Month, the Women's Resource Center will host a Jan. 27 ceremony for victims of domestic violence and stalking who have died in the past year.
On Saturday, Jan. 10, a memorial and candlelight vigil will take for Lori DeKleine, who was murdered in one of the most high-profile cases of domestic abuse in recent years.
Lori DeKleine, 43, was found dead in her home on Calvin Avenue on Jan. 10, 2008.
Her husband, a then police officer Ken DeKleine, was sentenced to life in prison without parole for her murder.
Testimony during a jury trial in July showed that Lori planned to attend a stalking seminar before her murder.
Lori DeKleine filed a restraining order against Ken DeKleine in January 2007, about a year before her murder. In it, she wrote, her husband was a “sexual and emotional bully” who stalked her by putting recording devices in her backpack and bedroom. He once broke into her locked bedroom through a window at night, leaving shattered glass and blood, she wrote.
In the past four months, two other local women were murdered by former boyfriends with histories of stalking them. Of all women killed by their intimate partners, 76 percent were stalked by that partner before they were killed, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime.
Danica Flournoy, 23, was fatally shot by her ex-boyfriend, Robert Echols, 29, in a 16th Street apartment complex. Echols killed himself two hours later in Grand Rapids, on Oct. 27.
Echols was searching for Flournoy before he shot her, Flournoy’s mother, Penny McCoy, said at the time. Flournoy had moved into her mother’s boyfriend’s apartment just hours before she was found and murdered.
Esmeralda Aguilera, 31, was shot and killed by her former boyfriend, Reyes Renteria, 31, who also took his own life, on Dec. 7. She filed a restraining order against Renteria six days before her murder.
In the court files, Aguilera described Renteria showing up uninvited at her home, workplace and at a Rod & Gun Club dance.
On Dec. 1, Aguilera wrote that she was seeking the restraining order because “Ray will not stop looking for me we broke off our relationship and he wants me to ‘give him another chance.’ I’ve told him no but he will not stop.”
Marianne said she was too fearful to file again for a personal protection order against her ex-husband.
“The reason we don't want to do anything now is that you have to go to court for that,” she said. “I don't want him knowing my last name.”
One thing the Women's Resource Center crisis intervention advocate Anna DeHaan wants stalking victims to know is that taking the issue to court does not have to mean revealing your location.
“The victim is going to know their situation best, but there is an option to keep your address confidential (on a restraining order form),” she said. “However, the person will know your jurisdiction.”
I want to let you know that it was a fractured eye-socket and broken jaw that finally got me out of that situation...plus a quick thinking neighbor that had heard me screaming. One thing I've learned is that when we think all is well...it may not be. I've found this out since my "ex" is still considered by the police as "unpredictiable".
There have been no posts written in so long. Most of you know I'm dealing with significant physical challenges. Sometimes just getting out of bed is a chore and my sleep is distrubed at night due to pain.
I still wish there were a way I could reach out and hug each and every one of you. Whether I write regularly or not....you are always being prayed for.
PS. One of the women that was murdered, I'd gotten to know while living in the safe-house.