Domestic Violence is Real, and it’s Serious
There have been two murder-suicides in Dallas in as many days.
Domestic Violence is a real and serious crime and far too often it goes unreported and when it is reported, many times little or nothing is done about it until it’s too late.
As a victim of Domestic Violence in my own home (yes, a man can be a victim, too), and having worked with Veronica Galaviz, who in April 2010 was attacked in the middle of the night by her estranged husband who after trying to kill her, set her house on fire and then killed himself, I take it very seriously and often roll my eyes when local media give props to efforts to hold awareness rallies or DV agencies that have been in operation for years clammer for additional funding of programs that haven’t even put a dent in addressing the problem.
Let me qualify that. I get why there have been rallies to raise awareness in Dallas about Domestic Violence and I applaud Mayor Mike Rawlings’ efforts to raise awareness about the problem. Raising awareness of the problem is good. Getting people to come make a pledge not to do it, admirable. Sending high school kids to a Cowboys game (to see a star wide receiver who allegedly assaulted his mom) for the most pledges at their campus, yeah. Saying our agency needs money for shelters because more and more women, children AND men are falling victim to Domestic Violence, yeah, I get that, too. There’s just one problem with all of that–little has changed.
Where is the effort to stop Domestic Violence before it happens?
Sometimes my level of efficacy about the issue is low. Domestic Violence takes place in every culture around the world and has since the beginning of time. The “If I can’t have you, no one will” jealousy mentality is powerful, isn’t new and it isn’t going away. And it’s often deadly.
Veronica has been doing research the past few years and has made yet un-heeded recommendations to lawmakers about ankle bracelets for protection order violators. In her case, she kept telling Rowlett Police that her ex was at her house cutting her cable wires, slashing her tires, and just stalking. They said, even with a video of a man in front of her house slashing tires, that the video wasn’t conclusive it was him. And so they did nothing. And so he kept acting, and acting, and acting, until April 21, 2010 at 1:30 a.m. he broke into her house and tried to shoot her. When she got away, he set the house on fire and shot himself.
Veronica has advocated for a one-strike you’re out provision for violating a protective order. Right now, it’s basically just a piece of paper, and if law enforcement won’t act on what’s in it, then it is an EXPENSIVE piece of paper that’s worthless. So add an ankle-bracelet, and when there is a 500-foot violation, etc. it’s off to the county lock up until the person can appear in front of their judge again and the potential victim is kept safe.
Just two ideas. Two ideas that could be a little more costly to enforce, but they could save lives and certainly do more than people filling out pledge cards or shelters filling up with more and more victims.
My Own Case
Domestic Violence comes in different, but nearly always at escalating, levels. I have had things thrown at me, been rushed at like I was going to be physically hit, and scratched and more.
When you wake up in Dallas and fly to New York for an event and don’t want to go walking in Times Square at 12 p.m. EST cos you’re exhausted and have to be up at 3:30 a.m. to go over to the Today Show, you don’t deserve to be beaned by an iPhone in the back of the leg by your spouse, your “safe” person in their anger. (See photo). And then you’re in a mentality of “if I just don’t crack eggshells, things will be better.” But I’ve learned the hard way that once someone begins doing that and more to you, the relationship needs to end and fast before it gets worse.
I have no problems saying that hearing about pep rallies about Domestic Violence make my eyes-roll. The Dallas media has done a lot to promote the mayor’s efforts. And each story I’ve seen, I’ve just rolled my eyes and tried to keep my mouth shut, you know, the victim mentality. I’ve lived through the abuse and have lost more of my life than I ever could have imagined. People think Domestic Violence only happens to women, but it affects the whole family, and women can do it and act like they’re the victim themselves and few would believe it to be the other way around.
This also is why I don’t take lightly when I hear others making threats either to me or my children whether married, dating or separated. I’ve finally reached the point in my life where if people in relationships are going to be dangerous, the relationship with that person is over and if it keeps up, someone is going to jail. Period.
Domestic Violence is a serious crime and it’s high time it be taken far more seriously than standing in front of City Hall and saying “make a pledge.” I get why it’s being done. It’s just not having an impact.
Anyone can become a victim of Domestic Violence. And that’s the scariest part of all.