MAY IS WOMEN’S HEALTH MONTH. Domestic Violence is one of the most significant health dangers women face daily in many parts of the world, including right here in America. Domestic Violence cuts across all socio-economic levels. However, poor and minority women seem to have the least protection from their abusers and– quite often– the least protection, follow-up and support from the police and the judiciary system.
The media is abuzz now with information about three women who have been reportedly held captives in a house in Cleveland, Ohio for several years since 2003. How could this have happened in America in this the 21st Century? How could these women have been held captives in this house and no one noticed anything? The police reportedly visited the house twice, but one has to ask – how carefully did they pay attention? The accuser had been reported to the police numerous times for abusing his wife; she got two broken noses; yet, he was out walking around and kidnapping other women! In CT a poor African American woman was jailed for sending her son to school in the “wrong” school district. She was locked up for stealing an education for her child. Yet, a man who had been reported several times as having physically abused his wife and kidnapped his daughter was walking around freely.
According to documented reports, 1.3 million women are victims of Domestic Violence (DV) in America every year. It is safe to assume that more than double that number of DV cases go unreported annually. One would think that in these “enlightened days” women would get the protection they need and that they would not be afraid to report violence against them. The matter is far more complex than meets the eyes of those who have never had to deal with the issue. It is more complicated than the understanding of those who do not know how our police systems work in various geographic locations right here in first-world USA. One just has to listen to the response Mr. Ramsey, the man who tried to free one of the women, got when he called 9-1-1. Also listen to the dispatcher on the phone with one of the victims. This dispatcher displays no real concern or urgency in either of the exchanges. One can understand why some people tend not to get involved in helping others or are afraid to seek help.
There is still no uniform response by police departments across the country or across the state when it comes to dealing effectively with this scourge in our society. Domestic Violence complaints are still dealt with largely according to the local customs. Yes, in major areas such as inner-cities (New Haven, Bridgeport, Waterbury, New London, Hartford, Norwalk, Danbury, Bloomfield, and a few other areas) there tend to be standard guidelines, and women police officers exist in most such areas; therefore women stand a better chance of getting the help they need. But even under these more enlightened circumstances, women still cannot fully rely on being safer after reporting incidents of Domestic Violence to the police; therefore, they err on the side of silence/caution and –in their perspective – safety. Much also depends on how well trained are the dispatchers who take such calls when women call for help. There is still more work to be done in educating dispatchers, citizens, employers and all levels of the police and the judiciary in how to deal most effectively with reports of Domestic Violence, or the suspicion of domestic abuse.
We have a long way to go to get men to step up to other men in terms of ending Domestic Violence. We also have a long way to go to be more fully informed about recognizing when things around us are “odd.” In a two-part community education television program OneWorld produced a few years ago, three men gave us some very sound advice and strategies about dealing effectively with DV. Today, the information is just as timely and appropriate as it was the day we recorded the programs. Tony Porter (A Call to Men), Josiah Brown (Domestic Violence Services of greater New Haven), and Waldemar Gracia (Institute for the Hispanic Family) delivered some sound advice we should all keep in mind when it comes to addressing and preventing Domestic Violence in our midst. Domestic Violence is about Sexism, Domination, Power, Control and Patriarchy; it has nothing to do with love, stress, fear or caring. We invite you to watch the video clips linked below. Learn more about how you can help to prevent or STOP Domestic Violence in your area of influence. Please check out all the links below.
http://youtu.be/_1QjqODOkcY Learn 10 Effective Strategies to END Domestic Violence
The National Hotline for Domestic Violence is: 1 -800-799- 7233 (1-800- 799 SAFE)
Timeline of the Cleveland kidnappings: How three women went missing: Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight all went missing years ago — many people assumed they were dead. But one neighbor found them after all this time.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/timeline-cleveland-kidnappings-found-article-1.1336980#ixzz2SlIv5ITU
http://www.helpguide.org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_types_signs_causes_effects.htm - Signs of Abusive Relationships