Friday, January 13, 2012

Tragedy in a Texas House of Worship Leads to Ignorance for Victims of Intimate Partner Homicide!

HELOTES, Texas – On Wednesday, Manual Rodriguez and Zeferina Castillo arrived in separate vehicles and walked in and entered Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. News reports indicate they had been dating.

Around 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon Rodriguez fired several shots at Zeferina and then committed suicide. Neither were members of the church.

In cases of intimate partner violence that leads to homicide, there is a real danger with ending a dating or marital relationship. In many cases, rejection in a relationship can play a key role when the person who is ending the relationship says “I am moving forward with my life without you.” Often the person interprets those words as “I no longer love you or you just are not worth it.” This can set off a fury of emotions. For reasons unknown at this time, Zeferina, a successful business woman and widow, ended the relationship. We do not know firsthand how Manual responded when Zeferina stopped seeing him. But, what we do know for certain is that his last act of control and power over the relationship that he could no longer have was to commit murder. This coward murdered Zeferina Castillo in cold blood at the altar inside the church.

In news stories church members were quoted and one in particular caught my attention

- "I came this morning because I want to pray especially for them in this holy ground," Margaret Sanders said. Sanders said she had been wondering what could have led to the tragic event. "I really have been just praying for those souls that are so tormented that they had to desecrate a church in that manner," she said.

To answer the church member who is wondering what could have led to this tragic event, open your eyes! Intimate partner violence and homicide is an epidemic. Every single day 8-10 women are murdered by their husband, boyfriend or former lover.

Perhaps God is trying to communicate this message into action within faith based communities across the country? It is time to step out from behind the pulpit and go into the community and provide a much needed hand to victims of violence. It should not matter that neither of these two strangers attended this particular church. They are after all, God's children.

It is a likely scenario at our Lady of Guadalupe Church there are current church members living in fear for their lives, staying in the potentially lethal relationship because they have no place to turn for help. Not even in their own church!

The tragic 2007 case of missing mother Stacy Peterson thrust Pastor Neil Schori at the Naperville Christian Church in Illinois, into the national spotlight. Since Stacy was reported missing, Pastor Schori has embarked on a national campaign to educate the Church.

“It takes people stepping up to be part of the solution. I’m doing that and I’d love if you would join me."  Across the country a quarter of all women in church today are being victimized and abused. Pastor Schori preaches from the pulpit during Sunday service “we cannot be silent about this anymore.” This amazing Pastor has the backing of all the church leaders, deacons and board of directors.

If the faith based organizations continue to hide behind the beautiful stained glass windows and ignore the war of intimate partner homicide in their own house of worship, they in my expert opinion, are as guilty as those who kill on "scared ground."!

Because of the Pastor and the support of the Naperville Christian church lives are being saved Now Pastor Schori is taking his message and new procedure from behind the pulpit and across the county.

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.

1 comment:

Donna R. Gore said...

For many attending church has been thought of as a refuge from the "other problems" life hands you... However, the church cannot be a refuge in the sense that it is a hiding place. As we note from this story, murder takes place in church as well... The church as we know it cannot be a protector, as pastors do not have the tools. So, in order to facilitate protection, they must be proactive as Pastor Neil has been... Go behind the closed doors, seek the real truth.
In certain cultures, such as the Hispanic culture, we know that they tend to "handle family problems" in a very insular, private way. To break down the cultural barriers, we need the minority clergy to step up to the plate and penetrate the silence on behalf of saving lives of those hurt and killed by intimate partner violence.
It must be a cross cultural effort! Idea... Maybe we could have a Hispanic church leader address such concerns on Susan's show??


Donna "Ladyjustice"

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