Let’s Make Life a Little Easier for DV Victims – But, You Have to Move Quickly

sealwebThis morning when I woke up, I saw this note from the new Clerk of Court, Grant Maloy, asking for support for his improvements at the Clerk’s office.  In addition to various improvements needed in the office, he mentioned he’d also like to provide better service to Domestic Violence victims.

Now, unless you work in the field, you probably don’t know a woman can file an injunction (aka restraining order) outside of the criminal justice system  –– right at her local Clerk of Court’s office.  This relieves a little of the fear and trauma associated with taking that brave step. It’s still an unsettling and upsetting ordeal, nonetheless.

I applaud the new Clerk of Court for recognizing the sensitivity and care involved in serving domestic violence victims.  Please read the dialog below:

gm

It’s short notice (the Commissioners meet this morning at 9am), but if my friends in Seminole County would simply cut and paste this email, and send a note to the County Commissioners who are meeting this morning, maybe we can provide these funds and services to assist victims and those who serve them valiantly every day.

Suggested email, feel free to personalize:

Subject: Clerk of Court requested assists for Domestic Violence Victims

Domestic Violence victims take a courageous step when they file for an injunction.  I applaud Grant Maloy’s efforts to provide space at the office of the Clerk of Court to facilitate a smoother and less traumatic, dehumanizing experience. Public Service shines when we take care of our most vulnerable citizens. This one is a no-brainer. I urge you to consider his recommended suggestions to increase space and bring some dignity to this oftentimes harrowing and emotional act for self-protection.

Thank you,
YOUR NAME

County Commissioners‘ email addresses:

Lee Constantine: lconstantine@seminolecountyfl.gov

For Bob Dallari: kedenfield@seminolecountyfl.gov

For John Horan: jspry02@seminolecountyfl.gov

For Brenda Carey: stucker@seminolecountyfl.gov

For Carlton Henley: gvenn@seminolecountyfl.gov

 

 

 

ALERT: Community Response Required NOW

Last week, we finished our interviews and filming for our documentary about High Point, NC.  While we were there, a woman (and mother) was murdered by her abuser. This was the first instance of a Domestic Violence homicide in High Point where the offender had been notified, and was on the watch list.

We always knew it would happen one day. Domestic Violence is with us like a disease. There is no “cure.”  But there are steps we can take to inoculate the public against widespread serious injury and homicide.  This is what they’ve done in High Point.  This philosophy and approach is the thesis and social commentary that drives our film. Considering this is the FIRST homicide among known offenders in 5 years, the results have been impressive.  Even life-changing.

But, #EVERYDVVICTIMMATTERS.  In High Point, they recognize domestic violence is a public safety issue.  Domestic Violence (a.k.a. Intimate Partner Violence) crosses race, income, gender, geography – every known variable you can track.

The system is not perfect in High Point, but it’s the best there is that I’ve seen after nearly three years of working full-time on this horrific, devastating social epidemic.

This morning, I saw an alert that went out to the entire community:

ALERT:

“I was just asked by HPPD to rally all concerned HPCAV Associates and others who are concerned about our violence in HP to come to ElmTowers at 2pm today (7/21/17) for a Domestic Homicide Response to share with residents and our community that such violence is wrong and cannot be tolerated

…  We are saddened by such loss of life..  It is VITAL that we gather to show our care, our love, our concern and our outrage against such violence.”

– Jim Summey, High Point Community Against Violence

It takes a village to address domestic violence. Imagine if the community rallied in your town every time a woman was murdered?  I don’t mean with vigils, galas, and 5Ks.  I mean with outrage and a call for action to end the violence.  And a plan to make that happen.

Here in Central Florida, a woman (another mother) was murdered by her abuser, and it was just a blip on the nightly news.  When a cop identified the perpetrator weeks later and tried to bring him in, he shot and killed her too.

Only then, the town turned upside down in a nationally televised manhunt.

What kind of message does that send?  When will every community issue a mandate for zero tolerance for domestic violence?  I can only hope it comes sooner, rather than later. It’s unconscionable to think it may never come.

Update: 75 people showed up for this meeting. 

Memory Stick

liplinerEvery morning for the past 39 years, while going through the mindless routine of putting on my morning makeup, I’m jolted by a memory from my past.

Just when I’m gliding the smooth lip liner over the contour of my lips, I see it.  The memory jars me. I scowl because I think to myself, “After nearly 40 years, why do you still have this reaction?  Why are you haunted by this memory?”

There’s a distinct tear, a split, an unmistakable scar on the surface of my lip.  It represents a very dark day in my life when my incisor tooth sliced through my face and bled non-stop down my brand new suede jacket.

Screen_shot_2012-03-26_at_9I remember I paid a handsome $79 for that jacket in 1978. 

It was a foolish, indulgent purchase that I really couldn’t afford. Now ruined, I’d have to throw it away; get rid of it.

Destroy the evidence.

I had managed to get away from my abusive boyfriend.  Had been accepted to the state university. I was starting a new life.  Even met a new guy.  My life was turning around.

Until that night.

I don’t recall specifically the circumstances of how or why my abuser showed up that evening at my campus dorm.  I just remember the fateful blow.  That white light that explodes behind your eyes when you’re hit with the physics of brute force, and the delayed pain.  The blood begins before the pain.  And thinking, “God damnit, I just bought this jacket!”

Then, the tears.  And then, the shame.

In a single swift blow, a violent man forever corrupted such a mundane experience hundreds of millions of women go through every day.  For the rest of my life, I’m trapped in that memory loop.  And, as you can see, that scar is just one of many.

That one is visible.