Sunday, July 26, 2009

"Death in Their Eyes"

Mary is a 51 year- old mother of 3 who will be officially divorced this week after 22 years of marriage.

Her road to life without abuse similar to millions of others in her situation will continue to be difficult. This morning as she was moving into her new home, Mary felt uneasy about her safety. "He's not done with me. I know he will kill me or make it look like an accident. I am terrified." While waiting for the alarm company installer to arrive Mary and I went over safety issues to implement and watch for in her new home.

We walked around the outside of the house with a handyman she hired to secure the windows by placing hinges on the inside removing all the screens replacing then with storm windows. We marked all the doors to be replaced with deadbolts not only on each door but included the screen storm doors, and side door of the garage. Once the alarm company arrived we strategically discussed the placement of the wireless system. In Mary's situation because her husband is angry and violent and has thtretened to take her life the alarm company also wired the garage and extra windows leading into the basement. It cost several hundred dollars extra but it was well worth it.

The alarm company installer suggested that the entire landscape of bushes, or large plants near any of the widows be either cut very low or removed entirely. So that no one could hide. Then Mary and I went to Menards and bought motions lights for the outside of the home and various timers for lights inside the house.

Her husband was scheduled to pick up their son for dinner after I left. I received a text message from Mary, "when he got here he came after me and I had to call the police-they refused to arrest him and I insisted a report be made-Susan he had the look of death in his eyes and he told me I'll never make it to court alive on thursday-he said if I drop divorce he'll forgive me and we can stay married. "

The safety strategies I have implemented for Mary are specific to her abuser and how handy he is at breaking and entering into places always without anyone seeing him. His anger is at a very dangerous level and Mary has a 50/50 chance at staying alive if she remains calm and on guard at all times. And it is a lot of work, but it is possible.

Often a woman is killed because she was not prepared to defend herself. Or the courts refuse to issue an order of protection or police do not feel they have enough to make an arrest. Regardless, a woman fights for the system to do its' job and to basically while continuing to fight the abuser when no one is looking , then fight for her kids and her life. I think about women like Kathleen Savio, the third wife of Drew Peterson. Was there an alarm in the home? If yes why wasn't it activated? Drew Peterson is not only a trained police officer but a skilled locksmith. Did he sneak in while she was sleeping? Did Peterson catch Kathleen off guard at a time of night when it was least expected? Did he sneak into the house and pull a gun on her? Did Kathleen and Drew Peterson struggle? In my opinion like criminal profilers, these are cases that I study in hopes of keeping other women alive.

As a society we have a long way to go before we treat domestic violence in the home as a crime. And then just maybe in high school classrooms we can replace how to correctly use a condom with how to know the signs of an abuser and how to stay safe and what to do if you are in an abusive relationship.

If you have ended a relationship, change those locks, immediately! And do a walk around your home. Remove any ladders, make sure the garage is locked, put away any tools. And yes, even rearrange your living space.What about your windows and sliding glass doors? Get yourself over to the hardware store and find the best cost effective method to bars and locks for these areas.
What about a Do? Don't have a dog? Go ahead and buy or make a Dog Beware sign and put it in your windows.Another great tip is to record the sound of a barking dog. If you don't have a dog, take a recorder and head to the nearest dog shelter and tape the barking sounds. Go ahead and even record your phone voice and message right there on the spot, at the dog shelter. Say something like" Okay Sparky, I'm on the phone, that's enough, be quiet, sorry can't come to the phone please leave a message .Then head home and play it into your phone message system. Then strangers and others you are trying to keep away will think you have dogs and that may deter them. You can also play a recoding each time you answer your telephone with just the sounds of a barking dog. What about a basic home security system? This goes hand in hand with the other security solutions above. To learn more about systems here is an alarm link: If you keep a spare key outside someplace-stop it now! Never leave a key anywhere outside your home.If you are not expecting anyone or anything to arrive at your door, do not open the door. If the bell continues to ring waiting for you to answer the door and you do not know who it is, call 911.And never, ever leave any type of note on your door or mail box for anyone. Either text message them, send an email or do it the old fashioned way and call them.

If you would like to email me please know that everything sent is read only by me and is kept in strict confidence. Again, the email address is

Tonight On The Levi Page Show with criminal profiler and author Pat Brown, Investigator and Author Vito Colucci, Jr., and myself we will discuss the Kathleen Savio murder.
The Levi Page Show airs Sunday night at 10 PM EST / 9 CST / 8 MST / 7 PST on BlogTalkRadio at: The "Levi Page Show" is a listener interactive, call-in, true crime and justice show, for those interested in the hot true crime cases in the headlines and the crime victims often ignored by the mainstream media.

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