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2014-09-11 - 11:04 a.m.

FRIEND POSED THE QUESTION ON FACEBOOK REGARDING Mrs.Janyce Rice (I think that is the sirname of the Raven who dragged his wife out of elevator after dropping her with a punch. You see I really have what feels like at times NO short term memory left.)

FRIEND WROTE:
"We can't judge her, we can't criticize, so what can we do, knowing that she has been abused for so long that she thinks it's her fault and apologizes for her role in the incident? As members of the public, what can we do for her? Is ignoring her the right way to go?"


MSAFIRE'S RESPONSE


That is the really tough question. Ignoring her or ANY Abuse victim you are aware of is NOT the right response.

I can tell you what DOES help- When anyone who knows someone PERSONALLY is in a situation they do offer to help without judging.


IF YOU SEE A SITUATION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

#1 CALL THE POLICE

Even if you are a stranger, Violence if Violence and an Intervention is an Intervention.

The Police ARE OFTEN The VERY BEST at providing a much needed intervention into domestic abuse cycles which are often very well disguised and hidden.

If they ARE PUBLIC then the cycle has progressed to a very grave level of danger.

DO NOT HESITATE TO GET INVOLVED. YOU MAY SAVE A LIFE.


There are other things that really DO Make a difference are OFFERING A SAFE PLACE while also supporting the person's decision to stay. It may be YEARS before the woman can leave but if an offer is there for a safe haven and it is made CLEAR that the door will always be open, then when and if a woman leaves she will have support needed. 2) MAINTAIN COMMUNICATION with one in a super controlling relationship so that there is obviously someone else in contact which sometimes does promote accountability of the part of the abuser and CAN act as a deterrent. Abusers WANT to isolate but if there are other people around regularly the abuse decreases as there is less opportunity for it as the abuser PREFERS to hide that and keep it a secret. If the person has less opportunity for isolation of the other person that does help. Others maintaining the connection is really critical. STRANGERS also taking note and making it clear they watch (like a brave neighbor who rather than ignore turns to actively watch OPENLY) does have a positive effect of possibly reducing abuse. That takes a RARE person, but the impact can be profound. I knew a Fireman who would stand outside on his PORCH AND STARE DOWN the house even if he could not see the over the top yelling husband and it ALWAYS had an effect of reduction of the abuse. When the abuser KNOWS he is being observed by others that is a powerful motivator as it is pride which motivates abuse to begin with- excessive pride fueled by this twisted need to be in control out of a weird narcissistic sense of self entitlement and others only being an extension of the abuser. NOT IGNORING can have a profound impact.

FRIEND'S FB RESPONSE:

Today's your birthday? Happy birthday, MSAFIRE. We don't know her personally, and it sounds like ignoring her is the advice I get, just focusing on him. But how can we not try to help her? She apologized for her role in the incident. That woman needs help major.


WISDOM FROM MSAFIRE WHO HAS SURVIVED AND WANTS OTHERS TO ALSO NOT ONLY SURVIVE BUT THRIVE:

I edited above as I wasn't really done. I try to not "prophetylize" on FB! But this is something I know about unfortunately and this is so very important that I may as well give my perspective (I apologize for being repetitive below as I wrote, then edited and added thoughts- some of which were already articulated in a different way below.... in the end I will send this long response without much editing as if anyone reads it it may be helpful. INTRO for those who want to know what to do and not read further: IF YOU SUSPECT ABUSE 1) TAKE TIME TO DEVELOP AN APPROPRIATE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE WOMAN OR MAINTIAN ONE YOU HAVE to be able to reach out to her in a non judgmental matter of fact way 2) OFFER INFOMATION ON YOUR LOCAL ABUSED WOMEN'S SHELTER ( just google it) 3) TELL WOMEN NOT TO IGNORE VISCERAL FEAR ( Many women killed did articulate some acute fear or those close to them felt a unique acute fear which investigations later revealed SOME indication of YET IGNORED IT.) BASIC INSTINCTUAL FIGHT OR FLIGHT MECHANISM WILL KICK IN WHEN ONE'S LIFE IS IN DANGER WHICH WOMEN NEED TO BE TOLD NOT TO IGNORE. 3) DO NOT IGNORE A STRONG FEAR That YOU suddenly sense for someone else-- this is a distinct thing which if you feel it you will know. 4.) Give a gift of a TRAC PHONE or some prepaid phone service for her safety to be able to communicate in an emergency 5.) Maintain regular communication letting her know you want to know she is safe. ASK her to communicate with you regularly and reach out to her . 5) SUGGEST she start a blog that she can access at any public library in order to keep in touch with close family and friends so all know she is safe and hear from her regularly. LET her know if there is a lapse in set up communication means it will not be ignored. 6) INFORMER HER OF THE LAW and ENCOURAGE accountability by calling the police when an abuser violates the law Reiterate that people only change behavior WHEN THERE ARE ACTUAL CONSEQUENCES and that although those consequences WILL AFFECT Her if ever to the point of fearing for her or her children's safety NOTHING ELSE MATTERS BUT SURVIVAL. 7) Suggest she bring a bag to a friend's, to work, somewhere accessible- a gym locker , rented locker at the airport even if she doesn't want anyone to know which INCLUDES A NEW UNTRACKABLE PREPAID CELL PHONE so if she ever does decide to make a break she can safely do so. 8) REMIND HER IF SHE DOES LEAVE to HAVE SOME way to let loved ones know of her safety (message via a blog, or ONE e-mail sent from a public library to one contact with a contact phone list to pass on info) BUT THAT IF SHE LEAVE DO NOT CALL ANYONE CLOSE TO THE ABUSER AT ALL OR ANYONE THE ABUSER MIGHT BE AT ALL ABLE TO GET INFORMATION FROM. IF HER LOVED ONES DO NOT KNOW WHERE SHE IS THEN THEY CAN NOT REVEAL WHERE SHE IS WHICH IS ESSENTIAL FOR SAFETY WHEN SHE FIRST LEAVES AS THAT IS THE TIME WOMEN ARE MOST AT RISK OF BEING MURDERED. 9) Validate HER SEPERATE IDENTITY and that she is NEVER responsible for any choices of another. 10) REMIND her over and over again that SHE IS WORTHWHILE AND SPECIAL Point out her strengths. See her gifts, positive character traits, skills, and uniqueness and do not look at her as a victim and reiterate over and over your vision of her UNTIL SHE BELIEVES IT TOO. She has been told SHE IS WORTHLESS (likely in both word and deed of the abuser) and might just believe it. I MOST important that when you read of abused women is many say that if ANYONE noticed and gave them an out THAT WAS SAFE , they WOULD HAVE TAKEN IT. For example, some said in a recently circulated FB clip when they went to a hospital with a bruise or broken bone for example if ONE PERSON noticed the abuse and asked about it THEY WOULD HAVE WELCOMED THE HELP. When a woman walked into town trying to find a cell phone when their phone was cut off, or had someone offer to give a ride when they were trying to walk the miles to get to the police station THEY WOULD HAVE WELCOMED THE HELP AND GOTTEN OUT THEN. There is a consistent thread of others not being observant or WANTING TO MIND THEIR OWN BUSINESS which is the WRONG RESPONSE. Lives are saved sometimes by a simple act of offering a cell phone (a trac phone), a ride, asking someone if they need help, an observant nurse or Dr. in the ER room, compassionate and GOOD COPS (There are MANY OUT THERE AND THEY ARE HONESTLY SOME OF THE BEST FIRST RESPONDERS AND MOST SUPPORTIVE OF WOMEN IN SUCH SITUATIONS), ASKING The woman in your office you wonder about to go to lunch and just listen, looking up and giving the number of a shelter if she ever does want to leave (SEE it doesn't have to be YOUR HOME BUT LETTING SOMEONE KNOW THERE IS SOMEWHERE TO GO). Because I have had a terrible experience I think I am now more intuitive and spent many lunches at work with a woman I SENSED was in an abusive marriage before she disclosed such to me. In time I was able to let her know that there ARE RESOURCES to leave. She did end up leaving, and lived in a shelter for a while. The main thing is that women are not seen as at fault so when they do seek help they are not looked upon as if they ever did anything wrong as until that changes there will be many who will not leave. ( JUST TO ADD HERE A #1 THING THAT CAN BE DONE IS NOT FIRE A WOMAN IF SHE IS HAVING SOME SYMPTOMS OF PTSD, OR IF SHE IS GETTING CALLS FROM AN ABUSER AT WORK FOR A TIME, OR IF SHE IS HYPERVIGALENT AND SPENDS JUST A LITTLE EXTRA TIME ON SECURITY OF HER COMPUTER SYSTEMS.. THE BEST THINGS WE CAN DO TO HELP IN SOCIETY IS TO GIVE WOMEN JOBS AT EQUAL WAGES AS MEN AND HAVE SOME COMPASSION WHEN THERE IS A WOMAN WHO IS A VERY GOOD EMPLOYEE BUT NOT PERFECT AND IT MIGHT BE THAT THOSE IMPERFECTIONS ARE DUE TO AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP. AWARENESS OF THE SIGNS IS HELPFUL AND SHOWING SOME COMPASSION AS ECONOMIC INDEPENDENCE IS A KEY IN SHIFTING A POWER BALANCE JUST My own pet peeve as one of the BEST THINGS that happened in my situation was GETTING MY JOB but one of my own disappointments in life is actual FEAR OF MENTAL ILLNESS in society- and YES ONCE A WOMAN HAS PTSD from abuse she will have moments of nuttiness that will likely stay with her FOREVER, but they are but MOMENTS and that DOES NOT MEAN SHE WILL NOT BE VERY GOOD AT HER JOB DESPITE SUCH!! THINK IT WORTH BEING SAID. Especially as there are so many fears of people being different! FEAR of those who are POOR FEAR of those who do not look like one, FEAR of those who are sick, FEAR of mental illness which I can BET anyone who lived through severe abuse will have) It is actually HARDEST AFTER ONE LEAVES an abuser which is something so difficult to understand by others, ABUSE DOES NOT SUDDENLY STOP but often gets not only more intense but the underlying love of the abuse quickly shifts to HATRED out of anger of feelings of having been abandoned (on the part of the abuser who sees self only as victim). Not only that, but when a woman leaves she leaves not only the abuse BUT ALSO ANY SECURITY she had in a home, or financial, and often is completely unhinged psychologically. (Think of the soldiers who are FINE while in war but when they get home the PTSD and mental illness manifests that did not WHILE IN ACTIVE DUTY but only shows up WHEN HOME in profound ways). Its a very bizarre scary psychological complex problem. Often abusers use "authority" of THE BIBLE " SPARE THE ROD, SPOIL THE CHILD" to justify CHILD abuse and also abuse of their wives while presenting this religious persona to the world. In such cases someone reading the phrases from the Bible to a victim that validate that no one should ever live with abuse is helpful. (I don't know Bible verses but personally recall a neighbor of mine reading some and then handing me a Trac phone with which I called 911 at next instance of physical abuse in my family at the time. ) This comes from experience. There can be no SHAME in being a victim. NOw this may be surprising but I ALSO THINK This problem will NEVER get better until there is ACCOUNTABILTY and RESPONSIBILITY TAKEN OR INSTILLED UPON THE ABUSER BUT NOT THE SHAMING AND DEMONIZING OF THE ABUSER. SHAME AND BLAME NEVER HELPS ANYONE ACCOUNTABILITY AND CONSEQUENCES DO. Acknowledgement of the fact one (the victim) can not be treated in such a manner is not BLAMING the perpetrator, but rather not "protecting" the perpetrator from the consequences of their own actions. What I think needs to be said to Mrs. RICE is that "NO THE MEDIA DID NOT DESTROY YOUR LIFE, unfortunately THAT WAS A CONSEQUENCE of your husband's choice to act as he did which DID HARM YOUR LIFE AS YOU KNOW IT. IT IS HIS CHOICES not the media looking in on what he THOUGHT would be hidden that resulted in the consequences." A woman needs to understand her sense of SELF , which needs to be validated separate from her identity in the couple, and the victim needs to recognize (and the world needs to recognize ) that the abusers issues are HIS OWN. Likewise a fundamental problem is THE ABUSERS fragile sense of self! Only a weak man needs to feel powerful by viewing all others as an extension of himself and feels such need to control others via abuse to feel powerful! Therefore it is important to see the person MOST IN NEED OF HELP HERE. YES the victim needs help- she needs support (To live as if not given the cycles of abuse ALMOST ALWAYS CONTINUE TO SPRIAL AND GET WORSE UNTIL A FATAL BLOW). HOWEVER It is ALSO NOT ONLY HELPFUL when an abuser is given actual SUPPORT and not merely demonized but I think ESSENTIAL if society ever wants to reverse this negative downward spiral. Those with problems of controlling first and foremost himself which is manifest by controlling of others that turns into abuse (really due to THEIR OWN Lack of esteem at core) REALLY NEED SERIOUS HELP . Psychological help of course is effective BUT SO IS THE NATURAL BEHAVIORAL , COGNITIVE therapy if you want to call it that which results by ANY PERSON DOING THE RIGHT THING OUT OF HABIT which eventually WILL CHANGE THE PERSON. No matter WHY ONE Does something, if you do it over and over it creates a change whether one wants it to do so itself. SO if as a society we REALLY WANT TO CHANGE ABUSE PATTERNS We need to NOT ONLY NOT BLAME THE VICTIM but offer opportunity for the ABUSER TO CONTINUE INTERACTING IN A HEALTHY WAY IN SOCIETY and not alienating the abuser either! That seems so counter-intutitive , but I really believe the few men who learn NOT TO ABUSE actually are those connected to HEALTHY COMMUNITY first and foremost. It is when they REMAIN OR BECOME INVOLVED in community with STRONG MALE PEER SUPPORT and friends not afraid to say "THI SIS NOT THE WAY TO BE A MAN LET ME SHOW YOU HOW I AM HERE FOR YOU BROTHER IF YOU NEED HELP COME OVER rather than lose is" ONLY THEN Will such men actually learn and grow into becoming functional husband's and/or fathers. True MOST ABUSERS DO NOT CHANGE but it makes sense to me that some can if there is accountability- Courts provide that- Supervised visitation with kids, probation programs where one has to be on good behavior WILL WORK if there is monitoring and the person HAS to act appropriately for a time- Even if NOT mandated if an abuser PUPOSEFULLY CHOOSES NOT TO BE ISOLATED BUT CHOOSED TO BE SURROUNDED BY A HEALTHY COMMUNITY they will necessarily start to act in normative ways AT LEAST IN PUBLIC to be an accepted member of the community. That CAN have value and affect change. SOCIAL ISOLATION HOWEVER WILL DO NOTHING BUT MAKE THE SITUATION WORSE. After some time FOR SOME it will become habit to act in a socially appropriate manner whether they like it or not. SO WHY DO SOME STAY? BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE IN PEOPLE'S INNATE CAPACITY TO GROW AND CHANGE and many woman ALSO BELIEVE it better for their kids to have both parents EVEN IF ONE HAS AT TIMES BEEN ABUSIVE. That is the truth of it- many women stay as they truly believe the severing of the relationship will be WORSE for the kids than the moments of abuse. NOW THEY MAY BE WRONG but they certainly stay for the reason that they BELIEVE IT IS THE BEST CHOICE. Other's know that the abuser will be so strong in any battle that if they LEAVE it is only a matter of time before the abuser has custody of the kids and they have no influence in that home so SOME MAY Justify staying thinking they can protect their children better. Abusers are MASTERS of hiding their behavior when they can. I personally do think attachment disorder has more profound effects on hurting a child's future ability to have a healthy sense of self and healthy relationships than overcoming a parent who has on occasion been abusive so I personally think it better to NOT sever a parental relationship with a parent that is abusive. If there is ALSO other love and support for kids, then depending on the developmental age of the child, a severing of a relationship with a parent might in fact be more damaging than the child later having to work through the effects of a sometimes abusive parent. SO WHY STAY? Some for the children, It all depends on how the woman views the situation and the severity of the abuse. WHAT WOULD MOTIVATE A WOMAN TO LEAVE? Often the SAME REASON- FOR HER CHILDREN. It is the difficult judgment call to determine which is the lesser of two evils. Fundamentally however either decision of a woman in an abusive situation is ULTIMATELY informed by which situation she perceives will be the one BEST for children in instances she has children.


OH yeah and SCHOOL'S WHAT CAN YOU DO? For starters, I want to PERSONALLY THANK The principal who just SHOWED UP AT MY HOUSE once and gave the kids a ride to school when they saw me (then a single mom who still had custody) changing a car tire for KINDLY JUST GIVING THE KIDS A RIDE, but ALSO I KNOW TRULY CHECKING OUT THE SITUATION TO ENSURE THE KIDS HAD SAFETY FIRST AND FOREMOST.

I WANT TO THANK THAT PRINCIPAL who then that Christmas Showed up at my door with BASKETS OF GIFTS that the school collected for the needy in the community that year I LEFT MY ABUSER And had my kids.

I WANT TO THANK That kind of support of schools who DO INVESTIGATE to be sure kids have necessitys met and ALSO DO SO IN A LOVING NON JUDGMENTAL MANNER


To just add here WHAT CAN SCHOOL'S DO?
ALLOW ALL PARENTS TO BE INVOLVED !! YES DO BE VERY INVOLVED IN WELCOMING MEN IN PARTICULAR TO BE ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN YOUR SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT AND OFFER THAT POSITIVE SUPPORT AND GREAT ENVIRONMENT, RELATIONSHIP AND Opportunity for MEN TO GROW


But please DO NOT BECOME INVOLVED IN CUSTODY BATTLES as you are too easily manipulated and deceived by a controller.

And be aware that the court can be used as an ongoing tool of abuse so PLEASE NEVER AGIAN be so manipulated as to allow someone to use the system to try to CRIMINALIZE a MOTHER WHO LEFT AN ABUSER because when on her own she gets her kids to school late. Try to understand it is a PROCESS OF HEALING for all parties involved and the MAN With the most need for healing will heal MUCH FASTER if you offer a place that he can ONLY ENTER INTO POSITIVE BEHAVIOURAL CHANGES and can not continue to manipulate and control and allow anger to be his motivator.

SCHOOLS YOU HAVE SO MUCH OPPORTUNITY FOR GOOD ALLOW Your environments to only be that please. JUST STOP ATTACKING PARENTS PERIOD.
There are enough other organizations who DO have the reach into lives of families to affect change when needed, you are too easily manipulated and you have resources some would love to leverage- don't allow yourselves to be such victims as well!

Thank you for NOT attacking the father of my children and allowing him the opportunity to be welcomed. YES I CAN THANK THAT SAME PRINCIPAL who did use sound judgement in being a positive example of a REAL MAN , one he could stand beside and learn from.

I BELIEVE HE HAS BECOME A BETTER MAN. I BELIEVE HE HAS BECOME A GOOD FATHER, despite his moments of weakness.

I believe HE HAS STOPPED HIS OWN CYCLE OF ABUSE. IT WAS HIS AND HIS ALONE TO STOP. NO ONE ELSE CAN FORCE ONE TO DO SO, but they can HELP and offer positive encouragement and OPPORTUNITY for a man to do good things for his family and his children.

But please STOP ATTACKING ANY PARENT WHO IS IMPREFECT. IT NOT ONLY WEAKENS FAMILYS, it is TERRIBLE for the kids of such families.

And remember, if you are not careful, YOU TOO CAN BE MANIPULATED TO BE A TOOL FOR AN ABUSER. Don't be nave. Don't allow yourself to EVER ENABLE ABUSE AGAIN. When allowing your SELF or YOUR ORGANIZATION to be an ENABLER only THEN do you actually hold some responsbilty for the abuse continuing rather than being thwarted. So in cases when a spouse LETS An abuser hurt others without ever tying to intervene- then the spouse IS ACCOUNTABLE. Likewise if you are a SCHOOL and you DO NOTHING To stop an abuser manipulating YOU , YOU ARE ALSO ACCOUNTABLE.

I Believe MY CHILDREN'S SCHOOL thankfully has done a lot that has HELPED my children's father be a good father. If it were not for that then I would hold the school accountable if anything ever DID HAPPEN and my kids were harmed when in his care as THAT SAME SCHOOL IS RESPONSBILE FOR HIS HAVING PHYSICAL CUSTODY.


This can not be stressed enough, if we want abuse cycles to be stopped ORGANIZAITONS CAN NOT IGNORE THEM and CAN NOT BE COMPLICIT IN CONTINUATION OF ABUSE. THE LCPS allowed itself to naively be a tool of continued abuse of control not only of me but of my children.

In this case I BELIEVE as I can not believe OTHERWISE without being Unwell- that this school (like many people) has moments of abusiveness but OVERALL IS LOVING AND CARES ABOUT KIDS And that goodness permeates its core. The school, just like the abuser, acted in a moment of weakness in a FEAR BASED RESPONSE.

We will all be best if we make decisions based on LOVE and NOT FEAR. That one exception being the instinct fight or flight for survival if it kicks in. That is but an anomaly of the human experience however, and we need to learn not to ACT LIKE THAT in response to OTHER FEARS which are NOT REALLY THREATENING TO OUR EXISTNACE.


I FORGIVE THE SCHOOL
I GET IT
This is a school THAT WAS INFORMED by the events of 9/11

NOT my personal war in which on 9/11 on my birthday one year my husband took a fist to MY HEAD

But the other WAR on the U.S. which all are aware of.

This school suffered from post tramautic stress as well. It suffered from fear at times which kept kids off playgrounds. It reacted in fear at times of a lawsuit years later... I get it , the fear reaction is a tough thing to re-train the brain to not be the first response.

I FORGIVE YOU.

But you need to learn yourself now how to HEAL YOURSELF LCPS.

Don't allow FEAR of a bully EVER inform you AGAIN in how YOU RESPOND to a situation. STAND UP to BULLIES Don't allow the HIDDEN BULLIES who come into your system smiling, and LOOK LIKE YOU, and TALK LIKE YOU and WALK LIKE YOU DECEIVE YOU.


There just MAY be really good people that have the best interest of YOU AT HEART even if they do not look like you,talk like you etc.

EVEN IF they have mixed kids

or are a gay teacher

or a gay administrator

etc...

I think it is that FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN that I hope OUR SCHOOL can grow beyond.

I think it has informed some of the poor choices made.

And I look forward to seeing the development of LCPS into the next phase beyond that, of being self actualized in its identity and not feeling threatened by the changes that naturally occur when growth happens BOTH IN INDIVIDUALS and IN SOCIETY AT EVERY MACRO AND MICROCOSM.

I end this with one last thought. Won't say but one time as of course that is not my style-

For victims of abuse, be they a woman, a child who grew up with the abuse of being belted regularly who grew to be a man fighting that cycle of abuse in his family, OR be it a school system bullied in any way and then in the classic way BECAME A BULLY

as Eleanor Roosevelt said "NO ONE CAN MAKE YOU INFERIOR WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT"


For my own inspiration from ACIM, I read just yesterday and was thankful for the reminder

"It is essential to teach you that you must be included, and that the belief that you are not is the only think that you must exclude"

Only when individuals EMBRACE their place in community fully, and only when institutions are WELCOMING of all and refuse to either see anyone as not worthy and ALSO REFUSE TO EXCLUDE or allow others to ever bully and exclude, can we actually have true peace free from violence.

The start however begins with individuals knowing they belong, knowing they ARE WORTHY, and knowing they WILL NEITHER BE ABUSED NOR BE EXCLUDED.

Its nice for the rest of you to give support, but fundamentally- even if ONE PERSON KNOWS THEIR WORTH AND ACTS ACCORDINGLY the ripples of change will inevitably follow.

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