Monday, May 7, 2012

Train Wreck

(We thought while Susan is out this week we'd run some of her popular articles from various contributions across the web. This article appeared on the Times Up Blog Feb of 2010) 

Train Wreck

By Susan Murphy-Milano

“Someday maybe there will exist a well-informed, well considered and yet fervent public conviction that
 the most deadly of all possible sins is the mutilation of a child’s spirit.

-Erik H. Erikson
Anyone who believes that children are not affected by violence in the home is very mistaken.
There is nothing, absolutely nothing more terrifying than hearing your parents scream at each other 
in anger.

And that terror is magnified tenfold when you see your father, whom you love, beating, knocking, 
bashing, and kicking the mother you adore.

As a child, you want to make it stop; after rushing to your mother’s aid and getting knocked across the room
 yourself a few times, you learn to run away from the mayhem rather than toward it. Your feelings become
 confused, swirling between the fear of being hurt yourself and even worse, dread that your mother will 
be killed if you don’t make him stop. In the mind of a child they feel responsible for the destruction. 
“If I cannot make it stop then it must be my fault.”

The first time you experience it, the horror is unimaginable. Your whole warm, safe, comfortable world 
is exploding in front of your eyes. How can this be? Why is this happening?

The Peterson Children
This made me think of Chris and Thomas Peterson, the boys of Kathleen Savio . Her body was discovered
 “dead” shortly after ending a violent marriage, in a bathtub in 2004. Their father former police Sgt. Drew 
Peterson was arrested for her murder and he is currently being held in an Illinois jail until the trial.

Their lives are literally a train wreck. Not once, but twice. After Kathleen's death
 their father was quick to marry a girl close enough in age to be the boy’s sister. 
There was no time to process and grieve for their mother and it is likely their father,
 a stern task master, whom set the tone for what would and won’t be tolerated 
with their new step-mom Stacy Peterson. Imagine your mother dies and as a child
 you are commanded by someone whom you likely fear to "suck it up" and move on.
 The only difference in this abusive household the boys have experienced a triple 
dose of what I term "roller coaster hell" in an environment deeply rooted in power,
 control and violence.

The boys are young enough to bond with step-mom Stacy and old enough to have experienced loss, uncertainty, fear and tragedy. Stacy takes on the task of 
immediate motherhood with Kathleen's boys. She goes that extra mile preparing
 their favorite meals, being there when they come home from school to tucking them in each night. 
Slowly the boys begin to trust Stacy and after about a year as a family things settle down a bit. Although Stacy 
gives birth to a boy and a girl during the marriage she is always conscious of the boys and their feelings 
working overtime to build a solid foundation for Kathleen's boys Chris and Thomas.
Suddenly, the bright light in the Peterson home is once again burned out when Stacy Peterson vanishes.

Do these children re-live and witness the same horrors as when their mother was alive as the household 
begins to crumble? The answer is yes.

The boys have now experienced two life devastating train wrecks within a 5 year time period. During the
 following months the tension is so thick in the Peterson houselhold you could cut it with a knife. Their 
home is invaded by the media. Police presence both in and outside the home is omnipresent. Everyone
 in the country soon knows the name Peterson and its' association with something evil, violent and tragic.

The third train wreck happens when Drew Peterson is arrested. The boys are devastated. Regardless of 
what we may think of Peterson these young men only know him as their loving father. And after his
 arrest the boys are sent to live with relatives.

I hope and pray in the years ahead Chris and Thomas Peterson have the opportunity to experience
 joy, love, hope and most of all peace.

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 Susan is also the daughter of a Chicago Violent Crimes detective who murdered her mother
before committing suicide.

Holding My Hand Through Hell

Holding My Hand Through Hell the latest book by Violence Prevention Specialist, 

Susan Murphy Milano, is slated for release on October 3, 2012.

To place your *order CLICK HERE

Ice Cube Press is offering a pre-order special to the first 100 orders. The first 100 orders will be immediately shipped
directly from the publisher when the book is launched in October.  As an added bonus, each of the books will be 
signed by the author, Susan Murphy Milano.
Based on a true story, told with the flow of a novel, spiced with frank wisdom and wit, Holding My Hand Through Hell
 encourages the reader to immerse themselves into this family’s life and is an inspiration to become an advocate for 
change in this world we all share. This book will incite discussion, debate, and heightened awareness about hope,
survival, abuse, murder, and its impact on our society. In the end, it will leave readers both applauding this 
woman as well as wondering how she escaped, sometimes at the eleventh hour. Twenty years later, she has 
realized that God must have been holding her hand through hell, delivering her from the evils of her life in order to 
save others.
Includes a foreword by Diane Fanning, Edgar nominated award-winning, true crime author.
This poignant well-written book tells the story of a police officer’s family and one daughter’s quest for justice 
long after'the heart-wrenching murder of her mother. Susan Murphy Milano embraces a legacy of unconditional
 love and faith to triumph over a life plagued with unspeakable abuse and pain.
Website: Susan Murphy-Milano

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