Monday, November 28, 2011

Communications Technology: Corporate Responsibility in and Outside of the Workplace

Last week at the residence of Jennifer Rutledge located in Lakeland, Florida she nearly lost her life, literally at the hands of Robert Rutledge her husband.

Apparently, Robert is employed by Verizon as a repair technician/cable splicer. After illegally listening in on his wife's phone conversation with an unknown man, he disconnects their conversation. In a fit of rage he storms into the marital residence confronting his wife. Throwing her on the kitchen floor with a rope in hand he strangles her, unconscious. According to police reports when she comes too, he grabs her again and she breaks out of his grip and runs to a neighbors contacting police. Polk County Sheriff's arrested Rutledge charging him with Obstruction of Justice, attempted murder, interception by communication, domestic battery by strangulation (wife has some rope burn marks around her neck) and obstruction of justice.

She is fortunate to be alive. Instead of omitting remarks about Robert and "what a good guy he is" and his behavior is "out of character" they are inappropriately incorporated into the story. Good people with whom we work, attend church, are our neighbors or with whom we are related are "in character" where you cannot see them. Behind the front door of their homes an abuser threatens, beats and controls the victim. To the world they, the cowardly abuser are amazing individuals.

Robert Rutledge used the tools of his trade to track his wife. His tracking and stalking of her goes beyond merely intercepting her calls, he also followed her every move via a Verizon cell phone (part of a perk to employees and their families) and GPS tracking, including her computer.

What the article misses is tools that can and should be incorporated both for customers and those receiving perks as a family member of one of the nation's largest communication corporation, Verizon. The communications giant has in place an amazing program and foundation for victims of abuse and stalking. But, this is the perfect example of a corporation missing the mark as it relates to employee assistance services and safety among its' own "family." No doubt there are others just like the Rutledge's right under the companies nose.

Rutledge had the tools as many offenders do at their disposal. It really didn't matter where he worked, technology plays a major part in intimate partner violence and homicides. The Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit and video is the new prescription for victims across the county. More information on the technology is provided in the news story below.

Domestic violence and stalking is a crime. Yet, it is still treated as a 'private family matter' within communities and major corporations across the country. A person faces automatic arrest, no questions asked when they get behind the wheel and drive drunk. Because it is against the law. Also against the law is domestic violence. It is a crime to threaten bodily harm or beat a person. The offender too cowardly to start a random act of violence in public, gets away with controlling abusive behaviors behind closed doors because there is no real consequences to actions, unless they kill.

Attitudes must change from Corporate America on down to rural small town populations, domestic violence is a crime. It is against the law. In America, at least eight women are murdered everyday. With budget cuts law enforcement can only do so much. Communities must take a more active role in their communities, including the church. The need to stop the bloodshed is overwhelming, but not impossible.

Holidays will also trigger events that will no doubt bring forth more tragedies as estranged parents decide who will have the kids on what day and for how long. The courts both civil and criminal will be a revolving door for court orders of protection, child support, and financial matters fueling emotions of anger and resentment surely adding to the epidemic of intimate partner homicide.

Below is an important solution currently available on Amazon in the book "Time's Up: A Guide on How to Leave and Survive Abusive and Stalking Relationships. Staying many steps ahead of an abusive individual can mean the difference between life and death. Don't wait. Time's Up!

I am hoping Verizon will reach out to me to discuss ways in which to combat this epidemic. I can be reached at

A study out by the FBI in October said South Carolina ranks number one in the nation for violent crimes. One type of crime that's on the rise in this state is domestic violence.

According to the South Carolina State Attorney General's website, an average of 33 women are killed each year in South Carolina as a result of domestic violence. Most of the time, they occur behind closed doors.

But Susan Murphy-Milano hopes to give victims everywhere a chance to be 10 steps ahead of their abuser. She never wanted to be a domestic violence advocate. She had a great life as an investment banker until it all came crashing down one night in 1989.

"My mom was a long time victim of abuse,” Milano explained. “My father was a Chicago violent crimes detective. He murdered her and then took his own life. I vowed to change the world."

Milano has taken baby steps to do so over the last 20 years, working with women one on one to get out of volatile relationships. She's even written book on the subject.

Milano plans to take her knowledge mainstream with a new phone application for an evidentiary abuse affidavit (EAA).

"We have something called Crawford vs. Washington across the country and all these cases, when a woman goes missing, you don't know what she said,” said Milano. “You don't know about the offender. So in a case like that, had she prepared an affidavit, which is almost like a will: it talks about the incidences, gives her date of birth, her social security number, gives his information... So for the first time you have in the victim's words what's going on. It's not hear-say."

"I don't think in any way what happens inhibits me from having a normal life, a happy life. I try to learn from there mistakes so I make sure I don't get into a situation like my mom did," said Tina Abassi, who lost her mother at 15 to domestic violence.

Farah Abassi was killed by her father, Asghar Abassi Eliderani, at the family's convenient store in Socastee in 2008. It was the end of a childhood that Abassi says seemed normal.

"I don't remember growing up and thinking anything was wrong cause it's all I knew,” said Abassi. So if you grow up thinking that your parents fighting and not sleeping in the same bed, arguing and having your dad hurt your mom is normal, you don't think you're growing up wrong. You just think, 'Oh they're just fighting.’"

"We don't look at domestic violence as anything other than a private matter,” Milano said. “How many private matters are they going to continue to scream in silence?"

Milano created a new app that will allow a victim to record a video and fill out documents. They can explain the abuse and can include photos and information police could use in case if something happens. Milano hopes it will also give prosecutors evidence for conviction.

"So in her words, it shows that when somebody does this, it's premeditated,” she said. “So a lot of these cases individual offenders who go to trial and say, 'I was unhinged. It was a crime of passion.' Pardon me, but bullshit it wasn't. It's not a crime of passion; it's premeditated and they think they can get away with it."

Asghar Abassi Eliaderani was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2010, and received five years in prison as a sentence for killing his wife; a sentence that will be up within a year because Eliaderani is in a work release program.

"If she [Farah Abassi] had the EAA, it could have been something discreet that she could have filmed, that she could have said to know that incase anything ever happened, her voice would be heard,” said Abassi. “That would have given her peace of mind because she was so stressed out."

"You've got budget cuts across the country,” said Milano. “So to have this technology means that you're going to reduce the burden of the State for prosecutors or district attorneys in going in and doing this. If she does this, half their job's over with. If she winds up missing, it’s an easy arrest. You've effective a case that you wouldn't have had."

The new phone application is set to d├ębuted on December 25th, but the information is available to all victims in a book written by Susan Murphy-Milano titled Time’s Up. Click here to Milano’s website, where the book can be purchased.

If you are in a dangerous relationship and would like help getting out, the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault can help. Contact them at 1-800-260-9293. You can also contact Milano directly through her email,

Susan Murphy Milano is a staff member of the Institute for Relational Harm Reduction and Public Pathology Education as a educator and specialist with intimate partner violence prevention strategies directing prevention for high risk situations and cases.
A national trainer to law enforcement, training officers, prosecutors, judges, legislators, social service providers, healthcare professionals, victim advocates and the faith based community and author.. In partnership with Management Resources Ltd. of New York addressing prevention and solutions within the community to the workplace. Host of The Susan Murphy Milano Show,"Time'sUp!" . She is a regular contributor to the nationally syndicated "The Roth Show" with Dr Laurie Roth and a co-host on Crime Wire. Online contributions: Forbes : Crime, She Writesproviding commentary about the hottest topics on crime, justice, and law from a woman’s perspective, as well as Time's Up! a blog which searches for solutions (SOS) for victims of crime.
Visit to schedule an event, training, workshop or conference.

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