Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Intimate Partner Violence and Stalking the road to Leaving with your Life

While there are many intimate partner, stalking and domestic abuse murders to highlight and unsolved homicide's like Sheena Morris sitting idle as if they were stacked up in rush hour traffic waiting as investigators inch forward from low gear in the case to finally making an arrest, my attention today is for those who are alive. Living in abusive relationships right now.

Around this time last year I was taken by surprise when someone whom I consider a close friend and a colleague was seriously injured by her husband. As the day unfolded so did the details of what happened. Every case and situation of abuse bothers me, but this one hit home.

It could be anyone- you, someone you work with, the mom you sat next to at the P.T.A. meeting or even the server at starbucks coffee for that matter.

In an effort to save what I term as the "silent Mary Jo's" of the world those living in war zones across the United States, Canada and Europe, the battle field is their own home I will use a gerneral overview based on the facts a life threatening situation just hours ago.

Mary Jo graduated with a masters degree in business. This highly energetic and attractive young woman landed a job at a chemical company in Washington, D.C. With no shortage of men asking her out she was careful to not get serious with anyone. Her career was a priority. Within a year Mary Jo locked eyes with Peter who had been transfered by the company to the D.C., office. Peter's rugged looks and his charming personality won the heart of Mary Jo. Two years later they married. The following year she gave birth to twin boys. Anxious to continue working Mary Jo started a consumer product company from her garage shipping orders across the country from the family garage until the business required a larger space.

The couple talked and Peter quit his job to oversee the business. Mary Jo maintained majority ownership and control making it one of a handful of female owned minority companies in the country with revenue after 6 years close to $35 million in sales. As the company prospered their marriage began to erode. Important decisions in the company were suddenly usurped by Peter. The hands on management and control she had no longer existed. Mary Jo threw herself into the boys activities and school. And she created a platform for which to speak out against various forms of abuse. That is how we met. At a violence conference in SanDiego where we struck up an immediate friendship. On and off we worked together on various and cases of intimate partner violence. And over the past couple of years we grew closer like girlfriends getting together happend when either us were in the others neck of the woods. But like most victims of intimate partner violence and stalking Mary Jo was very careful to keep her secret.

When Mary Jo started speaking up and disagreeing with Peter he barked at her as though she were his child. "You don't question me" he would snap back. The conversations -one way of course quickly turned into "ugly" in your face confrontations. When Mary Jo didn't back off enough Peter would slap her across the face with his open hand to physical beatings. Over time Peter was taking control of the household expenses and keeping close tabs on Mary Jo.

Fifteen years later and a few trips too many visits to the doctor, dentist or hospital because of so called "clumsy accidents" Mary Jo had enough. Several months ago she confided in me that she was making plans to end the marriage. In response I told her as a precaution to prepare the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit, "just in case", I said. And to begin making plans for her future by hiring a lawyer, getting a job and deciding where she should live.

That was a year ago. Not much has changed except, with each day Mary Jo remains with Peter she risks being killed. Now, I learned that Mary Jo's loving husband Peter has made everyone believe she is crazy. "Don't trust anything she says Mary Jo is having a breakdown." Peter like many abusers that want to operate under the social radar within the community change their pattern of behavior to make everyone believe they are not capable of swatting a fly. They will go out of their way as Peter has to smile and assist others as if they have a compassionate heart. When in reality their true personality is saved for when they are tucked behind the door in their home where the behavior is only displayed to their victim, in this case Mary Jo Peter has increased his efforts and continues to track and stalking her every move. From reading her personal emails on the computer to tracking her movement by the GPS tracking system he activated on the company cell phone he gave her. And a closed circuit security camera was recently concealed in household items, and discovered by Mary Jo. That was the last straw. She called and said, please help me."

Emotionally Mary Jo is out of emotional gas, unable as many victims to climb uphill before they reach the other side to safety. For the next fews weeks we will work one on one for a plan that is specific to her situation. Leaving any intimate partner violent relationship is not a "one size fits all" process. It takes determination and strength to leave. And it is possible when you have support accompanied by a plan of action.

Once you are threatened, hit, stalked, questioned in a controlling way, a second chance to save your life, is no longer an option.

“If you are reading this and find yourself in a similar situation, know that there are measures you must take before announcing the end of your relationship. These safety precautions can be found in the book, "Time's Up: A Guide on How to Leave an Abusive and Stalking Relationship" by Susan Murphy Milano. Don't take things into your own hands without expert guidance.” (Mothers Are Vanishing)

I cannot stress enough, if you are in a relationship that has a history of violence, simply mustering up the courage to confront the person and say it is over, without the proper tools, can cost you, your life!
One of the major reasons women stay in abusive relationships is fear. They are afraid of what will happen to them and their children if they leave. Sadly, their fears are often justified; statistics show that a woman is at the greatest risk for injury when sheannounces her plans or leaves an abusive relationship.

The book "Time's Up A Guide on How To Survive and Abusive and Stalking Relationship" is the prescription, if you will, that every person must obtain before they announce they are leaving. Below is an example from Chapter 4, one of many unique tools provided in the book. It is available onAmazon.com, or you can purchase via e-book or on a cd. If you have questions, the email address is: timesupforjustice@gmail.com

Before you decide that you have had enough and are ending the relationship create for yourself the "Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit" and video (shown below).

If you do nothing else, please take one important step that if something does happen to you, if you do vanish like Stacy Peterson, Vensus Stewart, Rachel Anderson, Susan Powell, Lisa Stebic, or are found murdered like Monica Beresford-Redmond, Franki Jacobson, Renee Pagel, Summer Inman, Kelly Rothwell and others where the person responsible has gotten away with murder that your voice and record of the abuse will be captured and recorded. Do it for you friends, family and loved ones. Do it for your children. Do it for you!
Susan Murphy Milano is with the Institute for Relational Harm Reduction and Public Pathology Education. She is an expert on intimate partner violence and homicide crimes. For more information visithttp://www.saferelationshipsmagazine.com/ She is also in partnership with Pamela Chapman and iAscend Programs. http://pamelachapmanl.biz

Susan is the author of "Time's Up A Guide on How to Leave and Survive Abusive and Stalking Relationships," available for purchase at the Institute, Amazon.com and wherever books are sold. Susan is the host of The Susan Murphy Milano Show, "Time's Up!" on Here Women Talkhttp://www.herewomentalk.com/and is a regular contributor to the nationally syndicated The Roth Show with Dr Laurie Roth. Susan is a survivor- the daughter of a police officer family intimate partner homicide by her father who murdered her mother before committing suicide.

1 comment:

Mary Ellen Hopkins said...

Venus Stewart was murdered by her estranged husband, Douglas Harrie Stewart. Doug Stewart was found guilty and is currently serving 2 life terms w/o parole for Venus' murder. Venus did everything right as far as law enforcement is concerned. I wish Venus had known her parent's house was not the place to hide. Doug laid in wait for Venus. Now her daughters have lost their mother. We still search for Venus' remains over 3 years later. Doug will never tell where he hid Venus. This is Doug's power hold, even after he murdered her.

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