“Fairy Tales” – Failed Relationships Gone Terribly Wrong… (The Prophetic Words of Anita Baker)
By Donna Gore
When a man and woman, woman and woman, man and man enter into the supposedly sacred state of matrimony, civil union or serious relationship, they think and hope with all of their collective hearts and souls it is forever… The couple is in love, in lust, and may give themselves permission to “wear rose colored glasses” should they have any nagging doubts for as long as that state of euphoria lasts.
Whether we are talking about a chemical, biological or psychological process…. It appears to Ladyjustice to be an evolutionary tale…. One that grows and changes with time. If you are not up for the bumps in the road due to immaturity, your own insecurities, family history or lack of ability to persevere, it can be a recipe for disaster….. Granted, certainly not all broken marriages end in homicide, but…. we might speculate a few theories, such as:
A) Is it perception or fact that intimate partner homicide is becoming more common?According to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence, current data, there are 16,800 homicides (reported) attributed to intimate partner homicide per year and $2.2 million in medically treated injuries costing $37 billion per year!
73% of family violence victims are female; 84% of female victims were spousal abuse victims; 86% of abuse victims are at the hands of a boyfriend; Females between the ages of 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk for intimate partner violence; The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds 5.8 billion dollars each year; $4.1 billion of which is for medical and mental health services.
B) Is the media reporting Intimate Partner Homicide more frequently?
According to experts such as Susan Murphy Milano and others…. The answer is “emphatically no…” A qualification is needed. National news organizations that have turned into “entertainment news” as a mainstay versus hard news, and tabloid journalists do their best to portray cases on two ends of the spectrum – those families who in some way have acclaim by virtue of accomplishment, politics, Hollywood or wealth…or those that are so dysfunctional as to be considered freakish.
This leaves the rest of the world, who may be of minority status, poor, perhaps under-educated, living in rural areas, those lacking in technological devices and lacking savvy, knowledgeable law enforcement at a loss and in a state of virtual limbo.
C) Is obtaining a divorce easier than it used to be? If so, why do intimate partners kill?
According to Natalie, in some countries you can divorce simply by saying, “I divorce you” three times.
[LJ- ‘Reminds me of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz when she clicks her heels together three times! If only the abused could escape by going to Kansas! ‘Don’t think this step is in Susan Murphy Milano’s Time’s Up book!]
When discussing the eight considerations, of which domestic violence is #1, it is not too much of a stretch to say that some abusers may be aware of the:
The 10-Year Rule: If your marriage is long-term, defined by many states as 10 years or longer, then the spouse that earns more money might end up paying alimony for life, or until the ex re-marries. If your spouse is itching for a divorce after 9 ½ years of marriage, it could be the 10-year rule they are trying to duck under, to minimize or eliminate paying alimony. So, be aware of what the laws are in your state because divorce laws vary widely across the nation.
Another consideration is Financial Infidelity: The sad truth is that single mothers are the biggest group living in poverty in the United States, and too many abused women are afraid to leave because they feel that they can’t afford to. Community property is handled differently state to state, but at minimum, it is very important to have a bank account in your own name, to have your name on the family real estate, to have your own Individual Retirement Account (s) and 401Ks and to approve all of the investments that your spouse is plunking down money for. It is also important that each of you has money of your own that you can spend (within reason) without getting approval from the other.
According to statistics provided by DivorceMag.com,
The divorce rate in 2005 (per 1,000 people) was 3.6 — the lowest rate since 1970,
8.1% of coupled households consist ofunmarried heterosexual partners, according to The State of Our Unions 2005, a report issued by the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University.
The same study said that only 63% of American children grow up with both biological parents — the lowest figure in the Western world.
As of 2003, 43.7% of custodial mothers and 56.2% of custodial fathers were either separated or divorced. And in 2002, 7.8 million Americans paid about $40 billion in child and/or spousal support(84% of the payers were male).
[LJ- We can infer that as the 2010 Census data is still being tabulated, divorce numbers are no doubt higher, given the fast paced lifestyles of families in general and the severe economic conditions which appear to be sustaining.
D) What about the motivator-murder for the payout of life insurance?
Although specific data could not be located with certainty on line, it is interesting to this blogger that her home state of Connecticut, (which used to be known as the insurance capital of the world…) has taken the lead with the “Slayer Statutes”:
Killing someone for life insurance money is not only a heinous criminal act, its insurance fraud. Jack Dolan of the American Council of Life Insurers, an industry trade group, says that "as a general rule" anyone who is convicted in court or remains under investigation for killing someone in order to collect a life insurance benefit will not receive the payout.
"The fact that a beneficiary is not charged with a crime or is not convicted in a criminal proceeding of wrongfully killing the insured, does not mean that the beneficiary is automatically entitled to receive the policy proceeds," Dolan says.
Many states, such as Connecticut, have specific "slayer statutes" that prevent life insurance beneficiaries from receiving payouts if they "intentionally caused" the insured's death. Some of these states also allow the court to bar payouts if the beneficiary isn't convicted of murder or manslaughter but may have been involved in the insured's demise, such as by hiring someone to kill the insured. The type of conduct that prevents a beneficiary from receiving a death benefit varies from state to state.
Slayer statutes have been enacted in 42 states, and, according to legal experts in Connecticut,some states' statutes allow a court to consider proof other than a criminal conviction to show that a person should not receive their victim's life insurance death benefits.Eleven of those states will allow an "interested person" to ask a court to determine whether a beneficiary who hasn't been convicted of anything could nevertheless be found "criminally accountable" either by "clear and convincing" evidence or by "a preponderance of evidence." So, in these states a beneficiary could avoid a murder rap but still lose out on the death benefit. [LJ- Wow! Let’s get these experts on the radio!]
E) Musical Considerations: Yes… That’s what LJ said…. Who would have thought that the skilled writer and jazz-soul singer, Anita Baker would have captured the essence of what coupled marriages often are not- (especially those in abusive and violent relationships) made in heaven? Our mothers may have filled our heads with the fairy tale ideas that your prince charming is just around the corner, if you look for him….
(Written By: Anita Baker, Vernon Fails & Michael Powell)
If women take the time to examine those maternal messages, we note that they are part of the American dream. “Someday my prince will come” (to the rescue) …and all that crap!
Well, women are in general, very capable and resilient beings unto themselves, in the opinion of Ladyjustice. However, with only 17,000 reported homicides attributed to intimate partner homicide annually, 73 to 86% of said females do need to be rescued from their abuse by being proactive before its too late!
Ladyjustice recommends that readers listen to Anita Baker’s lyrics again…. As they are prophetic indeed!
And the ultimate irony is…. According to internet news sources, Ms. Baker has been involved in a very messy divorce with her husband, apparently suing her for 50% of her song royalties… and threatening to take away her teenaged sons if she does not comply. A Detroit news video interview indicated that she has signed every document asked of her.
[LJ is not an attorney, However, is this not emotional-psychological abuse and blackmail or extortion at minimum?]
Watch out Anita! Who’s got your back?
About The Author Donna Gore, M.A.
What can you learn about overcoming the status of crime victim?
Donna Gore learned the lessons starting in 1981 when her father was murdered. After waiting 6 long years for justice, the journey she was on turned into a passion for helping others in similar situations. Donna was able to transform a negative situation into a positive approach to life through gathering with other victims and aiding them through their own traumas.
Donna pursued this passion by participating in several victim assistance organizations, including Survivors of Homicide and National Organization of Vicitm Assistance (NOVA). In this capacity she is able to facilitate support groups and volunteers her time supporting and escorting victims to court hearings, as well as aiding in fundraising, sponsoring programs and coordinating events.
Through her own experiences, as well as assisting others, Donna is led to many different areas of victim services, including working with teens and the elderly. She has the ability and training to serve victims on many levels, including support while attending trials and writing victim impact statements. These important, yet often overlooked services, are meaningful to those entering into a situation they are not emotionally equipped to handle.
Donna Gore is a noted speaker who has appeared in several media outlets and publications as well as participated in conferences. She has participated in the conceptualizing and passage of legislation benefitting those with medical disabilities.
Donna is a highly skilled speech-language pathologist who has focused on adults with severe cognitive disorders within institutional settings. She has served over 10 years as Human Services Advocate/Case Manager at the Connecticut Services for the Blind. She is dedicated to her clients and resourceful at finding services to meet their needs.
Utilizing her skills, experience and education, Donna is seeking employment in the San Diego County area, seeking a Project or Program Management position in Healthcare, Crime Victim Advocacy, Higher Ed, Government or Event Planning Environments.