Monday, January 9, 2012

Dying to Check a Box

I can't keep up on the volume of cases where the ending of a marriage or relationship is resulting in murder. The cases of intimate partner homicide are not random acts. They are well thought out and carefully executed crimes. The victims never quite believe the person with whom they are involved or legally married will take the abuse to a level of murder.

Shelby Wilkie, 38  Henderson, North Carolina

While Shelby Wilkie of Hendersonville, NC was alive, she knew enough to check a box on paperwork for a court order of protection in October of 2010, writing, " believed she was in danger of serious and immediate injury." The court order Shelby obtained, is dropped a few weeks later. Perhaps at the time the reasoning in forgiving him is because they were married just days prior to her obtaining the court order. I can hear the violins of the abuser orchestra playing "I'm so sorry baby, I'll never touch you again, I swear. " They reconnect, she gives him another chance.

This is how many victims of abuse handle the violence, if they are lucky enough to still be breathing. The victim forgives and forgets about the threats and fear to her own personal safety, until the next time it happens. Or, they are what I call the "veteran victims." The women, time and time again forgive the person with whom they took an oath to love, honor and cherish until the day they die, to be with this person through thick and thin. To not fully understand the words "till death do us part" to a habitual abuser often translates into a missing person or murder case.

My own mother was a veteran victim. My father a serial abuser who also happened to have a badge and a gun. I use my parents as a prime example of what continues to erase the lives of families. My mother, throughout my childhood, continued to forgive my father. She told us kids growing up that when we were grown and safely on our own she would leave him. A song which is often sung, off-key, by veteran victims. My mother did eventually leave and attempt to move on with her life free of the violence, but it didn't last very long. My father was furious about not being able to control her. In his mind, he would make her pay for leaving him. This landed her in a new home; the cemetery located in Arlington Heights, Illinois. 

I want to believe victims of abuse are paying attention. I do not want anyone to have to live by the seat of their pants in fear for their lives, or their children's, not knowing if they will see another new day.

Any clue what that is like? It is sheer hell! Why, if you are in an abusive relationship would you continue to put yourself in harms way? And, why are you doing it to your children!

A few weeks ago we launched the site Document The If you are involved in a potentially abusive relationship, or you're really not sure how your partner will react to the news the relationship is ending, completing the information on the site is one of the steps you need before you announce, it is over.

You can either take my advice and work towards ending the relationship with your life in one piece, or, you can not listen and possibly end up like Shelby Wilkie  found murdered at the hands of her husband last week leaving a newborn behind. And guess what else? I can include you in the hundreds of murdered victims of intimate partner homicide, I write about or feature on my radio programs each and every week!

If you need personal assistance I can be contacted through 
or by email at

 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 onCrime 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.


Donna R. Gore said...

Shelby wanted to believe that this time would be different...She really did! But to put a newborn in harm's way for the sake of "possible reconciliation" yet again, shows us the level of gullibility these women have... perhaps due to financial dependence or otherwise.

Susan needs a posse in every big city, small town, in every middle school, high school, college and university...every prosecutor's office, every court, every DV non-profit. She can't do this alone forever... No would want such an assignment in the way that she takes it on. We need to shout it from the rafters that the EAA is the best answer. We need to kick butt with the corporations and institutions of higher learning to bring a portion of their resources to this cause.... or their students will keep disappearing! Can you hear me now? I hope so...

Donna 'Ladyjustice"

Anonymous said...

it is true, almost allover around the World things are looking dangerous among partners. separation and or divorce can be a solution, but to me it is a negative approach. we may seek for a constructive solution which is a positive one. the positive solution will be seen only and only if we seat down and know what are the causes of such hooliganism among partners. there must be one strong common reason in every marriage and partnership relations which cause all such things. it is the same reason to all. what is that?

Anonymous said...

Great Article Susan.

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