Monday, January 16, 2012

God Can't Stop The Bullet

I can pretend that I don't understand how anyone is able to love another person so much they are willing to remain in an unhealthy, destructive relationship.  But I do.

From a very young age I knew the verbal and physical fighting between my parents was not good, yet I was helpless to do anything about it.  My mother, like most victims of abuse loved my father so much, she was willing to remain in the relationship.  Did she once stop and think about what it was doing to the kids? No, she like so many victims, never do. My mother believed my father would at some point change, returning to the man he was during the early stages of their relationship.  When that did not happen, she would pray to God for help.  

Looking back on it now, my mother simply did not have the strength, nor love herself enough to get out before it was too late. She was naive' in thinking her love for my father was enough. But, you can't love the devil.  Regardless, in her heart my mother believed with every fiber of her being, God was going to protect her at all costs. My mother, after years of intimate partner violence, murdered on January 16, 1989, was no different than those making front page headlines today.

Lori Yaeger, of Mt. Ayr, Iowa, fell into the same trap.  She believed her long time boyfriend, would change his violent behaviors. All she wanted was for him to be the man he was when they first began dating. Friends who knew her tried to get Lori to leave her abusive boyfriend.  But what they didn't understand is how much she loved this man.  Like my mother, Lori Yaeger believed God would protect her.  Last week, Lori the mother of two young girls, was unable see past the abuse, she was murdered. And on Sunday, her boyfriend on the run since the shooting, committed suicide.

Understand, when you are in an abusive relationship, God is not going to stop the bullet.  

Victims must cease with the excuses "he or she will change." Yes, leaving is difficult when you "think" you love someone so much that it hurts to be apart.  Or maybe you falsely believe you know this persons true heart.  They would never carry out the threats.  You excuse the abuse telling yourself "words are only spoken when they are angry" or hurt over something they made you believe is your responsibility or out of their control. Bullshit!

If the person in your relationship has to resort to threatening words and physical violence, they are not worthy of the very air you breathe.  Pick yourself up, have a plan and get out!  What God does provide is others in our lives to shine the light on our path to safety.

I question is anyone really paying attention to what is being offered across the country, created as a result of bloodshed.  Concrete solutions exist for victims of intimate partner violence and stalking leading to homicide.

One of these tools is Document The, created from over 20 years of keeping victims and their children alive.

I am reminded of what I consider the most powerful verse in the Bible: John 3:16.  God scarified his only Son in order for us to be saved.

Are You In A Highly Lethal Relationship?
Practical Implications of Current Domestic Violence Research: For Law Enforcement, Prosecutors and Judges (National Institute of Justice, June 2009).

The E.A.A. helps victim's to understand their lethality risks in relationships with abusers who have the least propensity to change. Learn more about what the E.A.A. can do for victim's here.
Risk factors that help determine if the abuser will kill the victim. The list below is a combined list from various resources.
__  Threats by the abuser to kill the victim, children or self

__  Fantasies of homicide or suicide

__   Accessibility to weapons

__   A high familiarity with or the use of guns

__   A fundamental belief by the abuser that the victim is owned by the abuser

__   Separation (greatly increase risk)

__   Abuser is obsessive about victim/family and can’t live without them

__   Mental disorders, especially depression, a sense of no hope without homicide and/or suicide

__  Repeated calls to the police and an increase in violence

__  Takes the victim and/or family hostage

__  An increase in the frequency of the cycle of violence, with police involvement in the prior year

__  An increase in the severity of injuries inflicted, with the victim possibly needing medical treatment

__  Abuser used a weapon in prior incidents

__   Abuser caused life-threatening injury in prior incidents

__  Abuser has threatened to use weapons against the victim

__  Abuser has either threatened to or has killed or maimed pets

__  Abuser has raped the victim

__  Abuser beat the victim while she was pregnant

__  Abuser physically abused a child
__  Victim has threatened to commit suicide
__ Recent unwanted separation where the victim obtained an abuse order or filed for divorce

__  Change in custody arrangements and the abuser has limited access to children and partner

 __ Victim has entered a new relationship

 __ Recent symbolic violence (destroying family pictures, marriage license or other property)
Offender Characteristics
What are other lethality risk markers?

In a national study, other lethality markers that multiply the odds of homicide five times or more over nonfatal abuse have been found to include:

(a) threats to kill, 14.9 times more likely;

(b) prior attempts to strangle, 9.9 times;

(c) forced sex, 7.6 times;

(d) escalating physical violence severity over time, 5.2 times; and

(e) partner control over the victim's daily activities, 5.1 times more likely.

Research has also found that:

~ Male abusers are more likely to kill if they are not the fathers of the children in the household.

~ A Chicago study similarly found that death was more likely if the abuser threatened his partner with or used a knife or gun, strangled his partner or grabbed her around her neck, or both partners were drunk.

A series of interviews with 31 men imprisoned for partner murders revealed how quickly abusers turned lethal.

~ Relationships with short courtships were much more likely to end in murder or attempted murder; these relationships were also likelier to end much sooner than those with longer term courtships.

~ Half of the murderers had relationships of no more than three months with the partners they murdered, and almost a third had been involved for only one month.

In terms of female murders of male partners, the research suggests that:

~  Abused women who killed their partners had experienced more severe and increasing violence over the prior year.

~ They tended to have fewer resources, such as employment or high school education, and were in long-term relationships with their partners at the time.
Characteristics of the Batterer

The following factors relate to the batterer's characteristics:

 __ Abuses alcohol or drugs, e.g., "uppers" or amphetamines, speed, angel dust, cocaine, crack, street drugs, heroin or mixtures
 __  Obsesses about the partner: "If I can’t have you, no one will," or "Death before divorce"
__  Exhibits extreme male dominance or attempts to achieve such dominance
__  Exhibits extreme isolation and has a lack of support systems or supportive others, while the partner is central to his existence
 __ Has a history of violence either with other family members or outside the family
__ Depression, i.e., has expressed hopelessness about the future and is unable to see any alternatives to the use of violence
__ Increased risk-taking, i.e., acting out without regard to the legal or social consequences which previously constrained abuser's violence (abuser may become more seriously violent and injure the victim   with visible injuries, or lose job, be arrested for drunk driving, etc.)
__ Abuser has witnessed severe violence between abuser's own parents
__ Has a history of employment or participation in settings where violence has been normalized, e.g., combat
__ Has a psychiatric disturbance, including pronounced disorders such as delusions

Situational Factors
The following factors relate to the batterer's and victim's situation:
   ~  Presence of weapons
   ~  Access/proximity to victim

Special Populations
 ~    Those trained and licensed to carry a badge and/or a gun is also trained to be capable of serious bodily harm. This includes Law Enforcement or Military.
 ~   Those trained to understand criminal behavior are also trained to understand how some criminals get away with serious injury, abduction, or murder. This includes Law Enforcement, FBI, CIA, Military or others who have had training in criminal mindsets.
 ~  Victims need to not confuse the perpetrators career with his character. What he does for a living that might be honorable to society does not mean that is his character and he will not further harm you.

Understanding Your Risk 
 ~  The greater the number of check marks the greater the risk.  However, even one check mark means he has a characteristic associated with lethal behavior. Do not dismiss even one check mark. These lethality factors have been developed by professionals in the field who have studied what behaviors are most associated with intimate partner homicide.

Document The Abuse contains vital information on how the EAA can support each case of abuse from the perspective of the first responders and advocates, to an appearance in court.  It explains the legal benefits to the abuse victim, whether they are able to testify or not, how their words are forever documented and hold up in court, much like a Living Will.

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 Writes providing 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...

Good Morning Susan & Friends: Abracadabra...Presto Chango.... 'Not so when it comes to bullets or any kind of violence. Perhaps your mother's faith was the "glue" that kept her in the relationship. However, in reality, like most victims of abuse, it has the same effectiveness as putting a bandaid on a bullet wound! If faith was all it took, my physical disability would have disappeared years ago! If only...
Thanks for the great content info posted too!

Donna "Ladyjustice"

Donald Ross said...

I don't know who said it but "To thine own self be true"!

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