reporting abuse

Carolyn Hax: Deciding when to call the police/CPS; Seeing abuser again; socializing with abusive spouse of a friend

Carolyn Hax has a good response for a common problem:

I realize there is a sense of crossing a Rubicon when calling the police or child-protective services on a parent — of putting them in “the system,” of possibly doing more harm than good. I also understand why this sense is often enough to keep people from making the call.

At the same time, if these kids are in crisis, then it’s every witness’s duty to speak up.

Read her response here.

In my own case, I knew someone who works “in the system,” so I asked her for advice.  But if you can’t do that, Carolyn has some good ideas.  Another thing you can do is to ask Social Services/CPS for advice before making an official report.

I especially like Pace1’s comment:

Please do not talk yourself out of what your instincts are telling you about the likelihood that this woman’s kids are likely experiencing at least emotional abuse at the hands of their mother. You cited two instances of red flag behavior.

Please also don’t think you’ll get more clarity “talking” to the kids. Kids in abusive homes are often very good at keeping the “family secret” of abuse. They may display a lot of love toward their abusive parent because kids will attach at any cost in order to survive.

Kids are often convinced the treatment they receive is deserved because they are bad–a belief often reinforced by the abuser because abusers are unlikely to take responsibility for their behavior. Please err on the side of protecting the kids. A call will most likely initiate an investigation, not an immediate removal….

In another thread of the comments, someone asked,

I have a question: if you were sure, absolutely sure, that you knew someone who had abused a spouse or a child, could you “forget” that enough to socialize with them in other contexts?

Maybe its just me (and I would need to be absolutely sure of the abuse part), but if I *knew* that someone had committed physical, verbal or emotional abuse against a family member, that would make them someone I would ~ based on my own morals ~ not want to socialize with.

The general answer: NO.

Exactly.  That’s why I could not easily socialize with Tracy and resented being forced to.

I also like this comment farther down:

Someone I hurt owes me nothing. I owe them. And the first thing I owe them is the right to assert enough control over themselves and their choices to go forward. I can be ashamed of my own conduct; but I don’t get angry or hurt if someone exercises their God-given right for self-determination and chooses to avoid me.

But abusers do: abusers get *angry* and *offended* when people don’t let them be dominant. They convince themselves that they are entitled to be/act the way they are/do. And because there is no real guilt, no remorse, the pattern endures.

The mere fact that Grandpa is still in the middle of the drama shows that he hasn’t changed. And if he can’t hit with his fist or his belt, he can mindfrick her with his presence and the gaslighting of pretending that nothing is wrong and she’s making a big deal about everything.

You can decide to forgive a rattlesnake for being a rattlesnake, I guess. But you don’t let it get within striking distance of you, that’s for sure.

Several people in this thread “get” why abuse victims do not want to even be in the same room with their abusers, how the abusers try to maintain power over them, and just being in his presence can trigger the cycle.

This cycle, and abusers trying to maintain power by forcing their presence on me where they could continue to psychologically abuse me, is on display in the e-mail my abusers sent me last year.

 

Article “Domestic Violence Strikes Home”

Agnesian HealthCare Domestic Violence Program Coordinator Tiffany Wiese said many victims are often hesitant to call police because they fear that their abuser will retaliate against them.

“Until our systems become more consistent in dealing with abusers through prosecution and rehabilitation, victims will probably continue to be fearful,” Wiese said.

“Victims should report in order to hold abusers accountable and keep their families safe, but the reality is that this may put the victim and their family in more danger.”

Many victims of domestic violence stay in a relationship out of fear, said Lindee Kimball, executive director of Solutions Center of Fond du Lac. Last year Solutions Center assisted 225 victims of domestic abuse.

“Victims try to leave their partners about seven times. They go back thinking things will be good for a while,” said Kimball.

“It’s all about the power and control that the abuser exerts over the victim. They think it’s easier to go back and deal with it, hoping it won’t happen again. The scariest part is when they do leave. The abuser hates the fact that the victim is taking that power back. That’s usually when something happens.”

….Under Wisconsin law judges don’t know if domestic abusers own firearms. And if an abuser lies about owning guns or ignores a court order to turn them over there is often no follow-up and no penalty.

….Last year a relatively high number of children — nearly 25 percent — were killed by their fathers or other adult male household members.

“The male abuser knows what’s dearest to a mother — her children. They know they can hurt her most by taking them or harming them,” Kimball said.

….The Fond du Lac Police Department launched an enhanced victim follow-up protocol this summer led by the Domestic Violence Intervention Team. Officers accompany victims to meetings with counselors/advocates at Agnesian HealthCare or Solutions Center to obtain additional information or offer counseling services victims may need following an assault.

….Kimball said friends and neighbors can also assist domestic violence victims, especially those who try to hide the abuse.

“After Nicole Anderson died, many folks started second-guessing themselves, wondering if they had missed signs of abuse. If you’re friends with someone and you suspect abuse, don’t be afraid to ask them because just maybe they’re waiting for you to ask so they can open up that gate,” Kimball said.

“And if you think someone is being hurt address it, don’t ignore it. It might be too late next time.”

Domestic Violence Strikes Home by Colleen Kottke

 

Finally healing from the narcissistic abuse and toxic friendship

I can feel the healing at last.

It’s not as if the pain and hurt are all gone, never to return.  I do still feel pangs from time to time, when something reminds me of happier days of friendship with Richard (and there are a lot of reminders).

But several major things have happened to bring this on:

1) I confronted my abusers.  Even after they made fun of and threatened me, I never backed down, kept writing the truth, kept confronting them through my blog, kept pointing out that they are abusers/bullies not just of me but of each other, others and their children.  I kept confronting them through my blog since they kept coming back to it.

They could have ignored the blog, but didn’t, so I kept writing whatever the heck I felt like writing about what they did.  The well-being of four beautiful children–and of any other people they may befriend, get to care deeply about them, and then betray, since they have done this to others besides me–was at stake.

 

2) I told many others, who believed me.  I told them what Richard and Tracy did to me, and about the abuse in their household.  This was long before Richard and Tracy even found my blog.  Then after they found my blog and threatened me, I told the police–and told the same people as before, all about their stalking and threatening me.

All these people became allies.  Some even wanted to carry out elaborate vengeance which would make R and T’s names and crimes public in this city, but I told them NO, because that would just make things much worse.

I never had any intention of some kind of public exposure on the blog or in the newspapers including names etc., since that isn’t in my nature, and was amazed at just how inventive and vindictive these friends could get.  Their scheme actually brought on an attack of PTSD.  But it was touching to know they would do such a thing for me.

(I haven’t a clue how or where, but Richard and Tracy seemed to have gotten some crazy idea that I had threatened to do such a thing.  But no, I never did.  And the newspaper already exposed that Richard choked his daughter.)

The irony is that, as you can see in the above linked post, Richard and Tracy threatened to sue if I went public to members of the church/community.  But I had already gone to members of the community (friends who live nearby, and CPS) with my story, and had already gone to members of the church (my priest and a few friends in the church) BEFORE Richard and Tracy ever found my blog.

Reporters to CPS are immune from lawsuits, unless it can be proven that the report was deliberately false; my report was the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  We don’t run in the same circles here in town; I don’t even know who employs R and T these days, if anybody; they won’t lose income because of me.

Richard can’t become a priest no matter what, because my priest told me (in October 2011, BEFORE R and T found my blog) that Richard cannot be ordained, because he choked his child.  The police told me that no, R and T CANNOT sue me for talking to my priest, and they also cannot sue me for an anonymous blog with changed names.

 

3) I used my blog as a toxic waste dump, a healing device, to remove all the anger, hurt, pain, and the various time-bombs Tracy had tried to plant in my brain (damaging messages which keep coming back over and over long after the relationship ends).

Once they were removed onto the electronic page, I could begin to replace them with brighter things, so that one day, forgiveness and letting it go could be possible.

 

4) When I finally got the chance, I blocked them from my blog, which–after a couple of months in which they kept trying to find the blog’s new location but were blocked–led to them finally going away at last.  I saw them check the service schedule and possibly the Greek Fest page on my church’s website (I’m the webmaster), but they have not come to my church since August, did not come to Greek Fest two Sundays ago.  They just seem to have vanished from my life.  FINALLY.

The third anniversary of our friendship breakup is in just a few days.  For much of these past three years, healing has seemed like an impossible dream.  But I’m here to say that it’s not.  Even if it takes a long time, if you purge the toxicity, and if you let it, healing will come!

[Update 6/11/15: As soon as I posted this, they found my blog with a new IP address and computer.  But all they ever do now is look.  I rarely see them around town anymore, either.  Their threats were nothing but bluster.]