Friday, September 3, 2010

Don't Wait Until It's Too Late!

Author Diane Fanning shares about a new resource she feels could make the difference between life or death. She notes that when professionals cross paths with women in distress they are given a small window of opportunity in which to pass along the right resources, like the one she is suggesting here, to empower these women to act in their own best interestWhen we need to make a change in our lives, we are often in a high period of stress. That condition makes it more difficult to think clearly. It’s hard to know what to do first. It is difficult to organize a logical plan of action.
No one feels this sense of overwhelming hopelessness more than a woman who is a victim of domestic abuse. She is often overwrought with emotion, vibrating with anxiety and frozen in fear. Too often, women stay in a state of paralysis, wanting to leave but not knowing how to accomplish it.

Doing nothing is not an acceptable option. The status quo is not viable in the long term. Too many women are lost in that place, becoming victims to the ultimate form of domestic violence—homicide.

Fear is the most powerful of emotions. Its most worthy adversary is a concrete step-by-step plan. But how can a woman conceive of a workable plan when not thinking clearly? Now, there is an answer, a guide, a recipe for survival—Time’s Up by Susan Murphy Milano. It is a handbook that can save a woman’s life.

I was stunned when I read through this book. It begins with a simple and clear explanation of abuse—a thorough and thought-provoking summary that left me shaking and in tears as I recognized the emotional trauma of one of my early relationships—trauma that I’d tried hard to deny.

Susan then goes through everything you need to do in preparation for departure, step by step. With her advice, a woman can turn a helter-skelter act of desperation into a well-planned and executed course of action that elevates her safety and reduces her risk.

It is vital to keep the safety factors clearly in view because the most dangerous window of time in any woman’s life is the moment she decides to leave a relationship up until two years after she acts upon it. Time’s Up is full of precautions, tips, forms and reassurances that will guide a woman every step of the way. Susan introduces the concept of an Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit, a written document and a taped interview, that documents injuries—both physical and emotional—and can serve as a woman’s best life insurance policy.

If a woman is in a controlling relationship since her teenager years and knows nothing about leading an independent life, Time’s Up, covers the tiniest detail including how to read a lease and sign up for utilities. If a woman is sophisticated, educated and aware, this handbook fills in many of the gaps and unforeseen complications that might catch her unawares and put her life at risk.

I wrote Gone Forever about a remarkable woman named Susan McFarland who lost her life at her husband’s hand. Susan was a planner. She attended to many details about her separation from her husband. But she overlooked some steps because she did not imagine a need for that extra level of caution. Susan Murphy Milano, both through her own personal experience and her work as a domestic violence advocate, can imagine them and help a woman navigate safely through dangerous straits. I am convinced that Susan McFarland might still be alive today if she had used Time’s Up to plan the end of her relationship.

This handbook should be available at every law enforcement agency, divorce attorney’s office, emergency room, library and battered women’s shelter. Doctors and pastors should hand it out to women in need of the advice it contains.

I also think that any woman who has a concern about domestic violence should have a copy of Time’s Up in her library. We won’t all need it for our own personal safety but one day, when we least expect it, a friend, a family member, a coworker, some woman in our orbit, will need it. Time’s Up can save a life—many times over.
By Diane Fanning

Diane Fanning is a well known author of various true crime novels as well as fiction and other creative efforts. She has both researched wrongful convictions, the pathologies of murderers and wonders why people become victims, and criminals, and continues to tell their stories in an effort to better understand what those stories may offer us in the way. ( The story was reprinted from

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