Oct 21, 2014

October Domestic Violence Awareness Month


I am always glad to use anything at our disposal to bring attention to the life and death issue of Domestic and Dating violence ( as we've learned more about intimate violence the terms for such violence have increased tenfold as the term Domestic is often inaccurate)

I came upon a great article for DV awareness month one by Donna Gore, a tireless and insightful advocate for victims of Violent crime that Ive decided is deserved of being at least one representative slice for what we are now calling Domestic Violence Month (but truthf be known I'm still holding out hope for a broader more inclusive Awarenesss name:"   Shattered Lives lLIving in the Aftermath

Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the first Day of Unity observed in October, 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The intent was to connect battered women’s advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children. The Day of Unity soon became a special week when a range of activities were conducted at the local, state, and national levels.

These activities were as varied and diverse as the program sponsors but had common themes: mourning those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrating those who have survived, and connecting those who work to end violence. In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed.

That same year the first national toll-free hotline was begun. In 1989 the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month Commemorative Legislation was passed by the U.S. Congress. Such legislation has passed every year since with NCADV providing key leadership in this effort. In October 1994 NCADV, in conjunction with Ms. Magazine, created the "Remember My Name" project, a national registry to increase public awareness of domestic violence deaths.

Since then, NCADV has been collecting information on women who have been killed by an intimate partner and produces a poster each October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, listing the names of those documented in that year. The Day of Unity is celebrated the first Monday in October. NCADV hopes that events in communities and regions across the fifty states will culminate in a powerful statement celebrating the strength of battered women and their children.

Oct 11, 2014

Brain Injured NFL Player is Homeless due to Chronic "CONCUSSIONS"

 SEE VIDEO AT BOTTOM OF POST


Thirteen concussions this player suffered within his career while his co players had averages of 20 concussions each.

This is back when concussions were not taken as seriously as they are now, however it is primarily because of army related TBI'S CAUSED BY IED'S which did not contact with the soldiers heads yet caused reverberations much like a shaken baby syndrome times 1000 which can do as much or more damage than a direct contact of the head against an object immovable such as a wall or struck my something like a helmet body that weighs 2-300 lbs or even a bat in baseball or during a domestic or bar fight.

The point here is that this man is but one of millions including vets and victims of violent crime professional and nonprofessional sports players, many high school and college players lives become ruined b y Post concussive syndrome that leave them with hearing balance personality changes metabolic problems , dementias memory loss anger and frage firs depression leading to drug abuse and other behaviors to escape the pain.

We have come but a small way from where we need to be re brain injury even wives of returning servicemen are not equipped nor taught to deal with a former purple star appointee who suffered what is now being called the standard injury for the War in the mid east. Brain Injury.

Because it cannot be readily seen those around the unfortunate ex soldier sometimes forget or doubt or even suspected malingering as do the medical doctors at walter reed who are becoming less and  less willingf to give benefits to both TBI sufferers as well as its sister Post Traumatic Stress disorder.

Again this very serious disorder which affects day to day living which afre already affected  by the T BI lights bother us, busy crowded stores places bother the Brain injured person, as does cold weather and a whole host of difficult situations to avoid if one is to return to regular civilian life!


We owe it to both Vets sports figures victims of crime and anyone especially teenagers who often dongt show the signs until they are older as is standard fare for TBI victims - years after the incidents this is when the symptomatology rears its head to to speak and it is then that a person usually has an MRI and or Ct Scan which usually shows progressive damage aided by aging as happens with boxers wrestlers etc.
Balance disorders such as Parkinsons disease which Muhamed ali developed later in life along with dementia is a classic example of how TBU takes years sometimes to begin its most severe symptoms.

Oct 6, 2014

Today's Huffington Post Crime Page Reveals A Country Fraught with Violence

Chef Dismembers, Cooks Girlfriend Before Killing Himself, Police SayDENNIS RADER



Today's Huffington Post Crime Page http://www.huffingtonpost.com/crime/  contains a veritable plethora
of Violence and suffering, even moreso than it;s usual maccabre fare.


To me, it reflected an alarming escalation of interpersonal Violence and  violent crime in general within our country and beyond. The victim pictured at the top of this page was murdered by her Chef Boyfriend who neighbors described as normal  as ironically BTK despite his odd fanatic like persistence within a crime watch position in the neighborhood, also struck everyone queried as " normal"


The cooking of ones body is an ultimate act of hatred and rage or the result of one of  a disordered schizophrenia based mental illnesses, rather than a organized psychopath such as Nadar,but  in this instance this murder's henious aftermath was strictly practical, not of the  Geoffrey Dahmer ilk.



Dahmer was the serial murderer of young men who he murdered after trying various horrific torturous acts like drilling holes in a victims head in order to render him a compliant, live of course sex  partner.


Dahmer later did an interview wherein he admitted to cannibalizing his victims in a bizarre attempt to keep them as a" part of himself"




I don't know if any of us can take anything that Dahmer shared in that particular interview, 
as the complete unvarnished truth however as he was with his father number one, years after his crimes trial and  life sentence, having supposedly discovered "Jesus Christ as  his savior." as a result of his father's persistence over the years of his incarceration.


Now he claimed to want to help society or forensic psychologists better understand criminals like him.

On the Front page of the Huffington Crime page is a famous serial murderer, " BTK killer" Kevin Radar trying is to purportedly redeem himself, as well help the families of his victim's by writing a book about his criminal mindset throughout his life - long murdering spree.



Radar was the prototypical guy next door for those who are not familiar with him, including a strong involvement with the local church, a church where he actually brought one of his victims to kill!


This dismembering and cooking of his wife's body was committed post mortem, after death, purely as a practical act, as the body of his slain wife was beginning to break down and the unmistakable smell of a dead body was beginning to tip off neighbors, who described the smell to Police as what they imagined bad dog food cooking.would smell like
.

Most questioned were shocked to discover the truth and recounted the couple as normal.and in love.



The Murderer's Facebook page actually boasted his involvement with groups of Men against Domestic violence and Violence Against women.  That murder  was committed in Australia and a Facebook memorial page has been erected for the victim. Another partner violence that ended in Murder - I have to wonder had thier ben any previous Police involvement  with either the murderer or within his relationships? 

                                             .

This was just one of many Posts inluding a murder committed by a child and assorted
 horrible acts of violence and rage committed by every kind of human being,

The page reads like a series of horror novels, except for the terrible fact that all of the 

"stories "were not stories" they are Real.

Real human beings suffered through horrific violence,  wreaking pain  terror and torture in every single one of today's Huff Crime page posts. Even for me, an armchair seasoned writer centering on issues about crime, (with no salacious or voyeuristic intent but rather to raise awareness about predatorial behavior and to advocate for victims)  To say the least,  it was a very difficult read. I suggest that most people take it piecemeal, as it is that overwhelming and disturbing.



I write my articles and posts for both those who have perished and those who have miraculously survived some of the most vicious crimes some cross back from victim to survivor even managing to reach out to other victims while many many others suffer life long injuries and Trauma living as broken people. In this Country Justice in the form of sentencing is so rarely meted out fairly or consistently leaving the predators with the message that Court is a joke and something to be navigated much like the motor vehicle docket.

In another Post a Civil rights attorney was accused of RAPE Rubentien faces Rape charges at Al Sharpton's B-day Party!


I strongly believe however awful as all of these articles are , with this as our growing reality, we owe it to the victims, who are in fact the embodiment of these crimes to read their stories," stories" about real crimes that ultimately maimed or stole our most valuable and precious commodity - another human being's  life..


 As well, the suffering that these victims endured, needs to be known  it is part of what they endured and most of the victims have no voice.  They have been silenced  forever.


As such we owe them, as compassionate fellow human beings, at  the very least, to 

engage, to care,



 Not to quickly avert our eyes or turn away. The fact that our society is becoming desensitizedto this influx of horrible Violence is a deep concern. We must not succumb to apathy or desensitization out of reflexive that's not nice.


"Evil exists when Good men do nothing"


Voltaire

Sep 24, 2014

NFL Abuse, Prevention and Awareness Programs to Instill Lasting Change.

"
 

Below is a Clip from another WNPR show surrounding the recent surge in NFL intimate violence arrests that began with two separate incidents Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice. Two more NFL players were subsequently arrested for DV within weeks of eachother.

Read  story and listen to show  

What's Really behind NFL Domestic Violence incidents 
"Great show, great article and some good discussion and ideas.

Forget sanctions however:  If we really expect and want to see this sweeping life and death social issue demolished, and remember professional athletes are role models which gives them more responsibility as such...We must have a Zero tolerance for any commission of Violent crime. 

This means you are O-U-T - out if convicted of  any violent crime, especially violence against a women. It's really quite simple guys, its called deterrence.

If these men know that within ttheir contracts they will be immediately fired from their team and tossed out of the NFL or whatever  Professional sport the Violent Offender is engaged in, watch as the incidents come screeching to a halt.

I also have to disagree about childhood violence as a generic explanation for these athletes and other  men battering women in their lives, when they become adults.

This is patently absurd. Many adults have been victims of violence that far exceeds childhood spankings, and even whippings ( which unfortunately was the norm for the much of the baby boomer generation depending upon demographics etc)

 Yet most victims of even the most brutal of violent crimes manage to not go out and wrest their experience upon the public.  I am growing so weary of this excuse ordinarily proffered by lawyers publicists and other water carriers.  They are completely  eradicating the concept of individual responsibility and culpability, and this is costing lives.

L.



On Friday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell broke a week of silence following the release of a video that showed former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice assaulting his then-fiancee.
Goodell apologized for his role in the NFL's handling of the matter.
He also vowed that the NFL will mandate trainings on preventing abuse for all players and staff. What the trainings will entail remains to be seen. But researchers say that to truly cut back on violence among players, the NFL should address at least one major risk factor: a culture of acceptance in professional sports.
Of course, the type of people who engage in domestic violence is disturbingly diverse — some accountants, judges, even clergymen hit their partners.
But lately the question has been: Why the NFL? Especially when the vast majority of NFL players will never abuse their wives or beat their children.
"Football is not even the most violent sport," says Richard Gelles, a professor of social policy at the University of Pennsylvania. "Why aren't we hearing about wrestlers or boxers? You know the old joke: 'I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out.' "
Gelles has been studying domestic violence since the 1970s. He has done a lot of research on sports, but he also has looked into family violence among members of the military: combat infantry soldiers, trained to kill an enemy.
The U.S. Army brought in Gelles to conduct an internal study in the 1990s. It wanted to find out if men trained to kill were more likely to beat their wives or hit their kids. Gelles found that rates of domestic violence in the Army were slightly higher than in the general population. "But the most startling finding was that the highest rate of domestic violence in the Unites States Army was not [in] combat infantry or Special Forces," he says. "It was those people who worked in supply."
"Supply" — as in ordering things and receiving them. Restocking for missions.
"So the training of people to be violent, and violence as part of your work culture, is not a sufficient explanation for what's going on in the NFL," Gelles says.
It's challenging to measure rates of domestic violence, because most incidents are not reported to the police, or anyone else; but Gelles is not convinced that rates in the NFL are significantly higher than in the general population.
He also notes that, even when aggression is the goal, it's quite difficult to train people to be violent: "In World War II, only about 30 percent of combat infantry actually fired their weapons."
So where do people who abuse their partners and children learn the behavior? How far-reaching should these NFL trainings be?
Rowell Huesmann, a psychologist at the University of Michigan, has spent his career trying to figure out what makes some people violent. Much of his research points to childhood experiences.
"Children are great imitators," Huesmann says. Children who grow up with physical abuse and domestic violence are learning that "this is a way you deal with other people when you want to make them bend to your will," he says. "You hit them."
Adrian Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings running back recently indicted by a grand jury on a child abuse charge for his method of disciplining his son, says his own father whipped him as a child. Peterson even chose the same instrument his father used to discipline him: a switch cut from a tree.
No NFL training can change what players experienced as children. But that sort of education can address the biggest risk factor for committing acts of violence: having committed such an act before. Researchers say it's much easier to be violent if you're getting a message that violence is acceptable. The NFL has, at least indirectly, and until very recently, been sending that message for decades.
It doesn't just reach players, says Jackson Katz, a violence prevention educator. It trickles down to fans — even the youngest ones.
"Millions of boys across the United States have big posters of football players on their wall," says Katz. "You can bet that they know what's going on here."
Katz works with NFL players in a program called MVP, Mentors in Violence Prevention — a training program that's just the sort Goodell promised Friday to mandate for all NFL players. (In August, NPR reported on MVP and how it's used with high school boys to prevent sexual assault.)
Katz has trained players in the NFL for almost 15 years. But, except for consistent work with one team, the New England Patriots, he's been brought in only occasionally, he says.
"It's never been systematic in the NFL," Katz says. "We've argued for years that we could do so much more if they wanted us, and wanted to make it happen."
He hasn't gotten a call from the NFL about the new mandate. But in order to make a difference in players' behavior, he says, the trainings will have to go beyond a one-shot presentation.
"What we're talking about here is culture change," Katz says. "We're talking about setting a tone where abusive behavior is seen as completely unacceptable."
In the meantime, Richard Gelles says that even the delayed reaction to Ray Rice's abusive behavior is progress.
This year, Gelles says, "is the first time that I have seen a professional athlete really rung up and sanctioned for domestic violence."
Gelles can rattle off a long list of baseball players, basketball players and football players who were not arrested, and who were allowed to keep playing, even after particularly brutal assaults of their wives and girlfriends.
But he suspects those days in professional sports might be coming to an end, because "what has been private is now becoming public," he says, in the form of YouTube videos and the cascade of public opinion that follows.
That's something institutions like the NFL can no longer ignore.
Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
Transcript
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
You could be forgiven, in recent weeks, for asking what is it with pro football and domestic abuse. A video showing Baltimore player Ray Rice beating his fiancée was just one of several incidents. And on Friday, League Commissioner Roger Goodell admitted he did not handle Rice's case very well.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
ROGER GOODELL: I got it wrong on a number of levels, from the process that I lead to the decision that I reached.
INSKEEP: Goodell says the NFL will now mandate training on preventing domestic abuse, which calls for the league to define the problem. Experts say it is not necessarily the violent nature of the sport that lead some players to be violent off the field. What is key is an overall culture of acceptance. NPR's Laura Starecheski reports.
LAURA STARECHESKI, BYLINE: Domestic violence is disturbingly diverse behavior. Accountants, judges, even clergymen hit their partners. But lately, the question has been why the NFL; especially when the vast majority of NFL players will never abuse their wives, or beat their children.
RICHARD GELLES: Football is not even the most violent sport. Why aren't we hearing about wrestlers or boxers or hockey players? You know the old joke about I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out.
STARECHESKI: Richard Gelles is a professor of social policy at the University of Pennsylvania. He's been researching domestic violence since the 1970s. He's done a lot in sports, but he's also looked into family violence and - the most violent and aggressive occupation there is - combat infantry soldiers, trained to kill an enemy.
GELLES: Looking at the military, they were very worried - when you train people to kill - that the point of the spear would end up being pointed at families.
STARECHESKI: Gelles was brought in to find out if men trained to kill were more likely to beat their wives or hit their kids. He did find that rates of domestic violence in the Army were slightly higher than in the general population.
GELLES: But the most startling finding was that the highest rate of domestic violence in the United States Army was not combat infantry, or Special Forces. It actually was those people who work in supply.
STARECHESKI: Supply - ordering things, receiving them - not the men on the front lines with guns.
GELLES: So the training of people to be violent - and violence is part of your work culture - is not a sufficient explanation for what's going on in the NFL.
STARECHESKI: Gelles says it's actually really hard to train people to be violent. In World War II, only about 30 percent of infantrymen actually fired their weapons. So where do people, who abuse partners and children, learn the behavior? How far should these NFL trainings go to make a difference?
ROWELL HUESMANN: Children who are more harshly punished and beaten, tend to grow up to be more aggressive and violent.
STARECHESKI: Rowell Huesmann is a psychologist at the University of Michigan, who spent his career trying to figure out what makes some people violent.
HUESMANN: Children are great imitators and they're learning - as they're being hit - that this is a way you deal with other people when you want to make them bend to your will - you hit them.
STARECHESKI: Adrian Peterson, the Vikings running back, says his father whipped him as a child. Peterson even chose the same instrument his father used to discipline his own son - a switch cut from a tree. No NFL training can change what players experience as children, but it might help break a cycle of violence from one generation to the next. A shorter-term goal would be addressing the biggest risk factor of all for committing acts of violence - having committed violence before. Researchers say getting started is more likely when you get a message that violence is acceptable. Until very recently, that's the message the NFL has sent.

JACKSON KATZ: You know, millions of boys around the United States have big posters of football players on their wall and they follow the teams. And you can bet that they know what's going on here. They know that this is a scandal.
STARECHESKI: Jackson Katz works with NFL players in a program called MVP, Mentors in Violence Prevention. A training program just like what commissioner Goodell promised to mandate for all NFL players. Katz has worked with the NFL for almost 15 years. But he's only been brought in occasionally.
KATZ: It's never been systematic in the NFL. And we've argued for years that we could do so much more if they wanted us, and if they wanted to make it happen.
STARECHESKI: Katz hasn't gotten a call from the NFL yet about the new mandate. But in order to make a difference in players' behavior, he says the trainings will have to go beyond a one-shot presentation.
KATZ: What we're talking really about here is culture change. We're talking about setting a tone where abusive behavior is seen as completely unacceptable.
STARECHESKI: In the meantime, violence researcher Richard Gelles says that even the delayed reaction to Ray Rice's abuse is progress.
GELLES: 2014 is the first time I have seen a professional athlete really rung up and sanctioned for domestic violence.
STARECHESKI: Gelles reeled off a long list for me of baseball players, basketball players and football players who were not arrested. And who were allowed to keep playing, even after particularly brutal assaults of their wives and girlfriends.
GELLES: Now, what has been private is now becoming public.
STARECHESKI: In the form of YouTube videos - and the cascade of public opinion that follows - something institutions like the NFL can no longer ignore.

Sep 23, 2014

WNPR Guest Speaker Blows Whistle On our State's Court's Sentencing for so called Domestic Violence cases.


Tonight, quite by happenstance I came upon WPNR on my car radio station, and they were in the middle of an extremely enlightened and informed program regarding "Domestic" Dating and Partner Violence. 

The nights program began centered around the NFL player who was recently arrested for serious battery, assault and other charges, which unfortunately for the female victim were classified as a "Domestic Violence crimes" ,


Very quickly, the guest speaker helped spoke in no uncertain terms why a violent crime being thus relegated to the melting pot of " Domestic Violence" is so very detrimental to any victim of violent crime.


As I listened to the Guest Speaker expound about the real  truths regarding how our Court System's handle brutal assaults against women, I sat up straighter leaning in.


These insider facts are rarely spoken of and the average citizen has no idea what the Courts have been getting away with for years insofar as all Violent crime that inappropriately or not is dubbed Domestic.  .


Thus, despite a long and difficult day, I was instantly captivated by the speaker and his  unapologetic whistle blowing of sorts regarding our Connecticut Courts.



Although I was familiar with crime thanks to the main-stream and tabloid like gluttonous coverage, I imagined another Kobe Bryant like media feast culminating  in a bitterly disappointing end:  After much ado, Justice so rarely doled out to "sports figures" who batter and Rape.


The NFL would seem rife with therm  as the NBA has had it's fair share. 



 thanks to the male speaker who was informed and unapologetic his sharing of the facts and the truths that lie beneath this tsunami of Violence - I was at once impressed and hopeful that someone else got it.



I  had half expected a program about the latest string of professional athletes and their brushes with violence and drug related crimes, Instead I heard a young man speak the real skinny; an interview rife with truths about violence against women and the way they are thus handled in our courts in what was still  generalized incorrectly as "domestic violence"



This term irritates and unnerves me as it has become an umbrella term to all crimes whereupon the victim simply knows their attacker. In most cases there is absolutely nothing domestic at all  between the two people involved in crimes that are routinely tossed into the Domestic Violence court dockets, particularly in Connecticut.. 


Why does it matter?  Read on and you'll quickly come to understand that being relegated to the "Domestic Violence" docket or mindset is the kiss of death to the statistically female victim t of serious violence. 



The term Domestic Violence seems only to require within the criminal judicial system a requisite that the offender is, or was, somehow familiar with his victim. This can run a huge gamut; from a man you have dated twice, to  an ex- boyfriend you haven't seen in months and of course the most common the ex husband..


As we read any local or national paper we encounter daily horror stories of women being killed or brutalized by someone they know or knew. From a neighbor to a man from work of church its all lumped in as " domestic"! From the police blotter to the first page reserved for the ultimate result of an escalation of these violent acts punching choking concussions and broken bones


All too often, the woman winds up needlessly dead murdered by the very man who had several involvements  with Police calls, whether he was arrested or not , convicted or not . 


These  deaths have become so rampant that weve become accustomed to reading and hearing about them at least every week and often every day.


The assault and stalking crimes escalate so often escalate that unless stiff prison terms are given the first offense, the  offender will become accustomed to a  sense of nothing going to happen to me anyway and they go too far and they Kill.



Tragically, a new partner of the main victim or other people in the victims life get caught in the crossfire so to speak and also get killed. Parents sisters friends;


Think of  Ronald Goldman but this happens everyday even children aren't spared as an ex decides that they are his property and he will sooner kill them than allow them to be with a new boyfriend of his ex wife or girlfriend. 



And even this, the taking of a life or lives, as we noted in that case and thousands of others like it, the criminal judicial results are shockingly lenient, certainly compared to murders committed by a complete stranger, celebrity-ism not withstanding.



In our courtrooms to varying degrees,  dating and domestic violence are still being treated with a blatant leniency compared to the exact same counterpart crimes committed by strangers-- including sexual crimes such as rape.



This disparity in sentencing and the blatant free passes are inexcusable especially as in OJ Simpson case: Simpson got free passes from Police for years for assaulting his wife and finally he took her life after they were divorced and despite scads of evidence he was acquitted.


It is the year 2014 and " familiarity violence" which would be a more apt term, is completely out of control. Instead of being on the decline, as we as we would expect in a society that has invested millions of dollars into prevention and awareness campaigns, including the advent of teaching younger high school and college age girls about the signs and symptoms of abusive relationships the bottom line is that this type of violence is on the rise rather than the decline.


This recent NFL case is but one in a sea of violent crimes against women, crimes  which when  pared down to base reality equate to our women our children suffering broken bodies, their lives forever changed by the trauma that is inherent with being battered and the surety that you are being killed. 


While all assaults vary in intensity, there is one constant running throughout this brand of violence. If the perpetrator is not vigorously sentenced the first time he strikes chokes or pushes a a woman, his methods of violence always escalate.


Many victims have related that indeed they were told in the midst of an attack which seemed to come "out of nowhere" that the words " I'm going to kill you" were completely believable , especially as they were being strangled and or beaten to an unconscious state.


And these are the women that live to tell about it. 



Thousands of  women  every year are silenced forever, never to tell their tale although almost always when we dig into the court records or Police calls made to their homes, we find a trail of violence that was either dismissed at the scene or handled by the area prosecutors as little more than a motor vehicle charge, if that. 


As the guest on this radio show points out it is within our courts where most of the prevention needs to happen and its not happening. In the state of Connecticut alone our courts routinely dismiss these cases out right using the first time offender excuse, when indeed if this case was dismissed no record remains leaving the possibilities endless for first time offenders" and the public defenders and private attorneys are well aware of this infuriating reality. 


The end message to the oft times male offender is "don't worry about it" Thus all the awareness in the world while indispensable will not stop this carnage;


Our courts, translated our prosecutors, clearly need to have sentencing laws for every person who commits a violent crime no matter its purported  classification that are unwavering - no exceptions. This means no plea bargains, which are in reality only given to the most severe "domestic assault" cases.  If  Police were able to charge felonious assault kidnapping etc, especially in Connecticut which would seem to be back sliding to the pre - Torrington era regarding Partner Violence, then these were brutal assaults to begin with. 



Our Connecticut legislation are famous for making sentencing guidelines for crime, however, if the sentences are not mandatory it is an exercise in futility as well insulting and dangerous Connecticut's residents. over-site committees and fines given out to every States attorneys office that fails to instill these minimum sentencing laws, there must be severe consequences. 


More and more Conn courts have so called "domestic violence dockets" the result of grant monies ill spent. 


This money is handed out with a conceptual system in mind; Ironically, I can attest that one of this States so called Golden standard Domestic Violence docket is in fact one of the worst culprits for revolving door, slap on the wrist sentencing, for men that routinely batter women. 


The grant money in part goes to adding a "victim's advocate" to the " dockets fray. In theory these advocates are supposed to be separate entity's from the State's attorneys office, which would be ideal if it were true and if they had any power whatsoever in the sentencing process or even taken seriously by the States attorneys within that court ie the prosecutors who in many courts are the civil servants not doing their job.


In reality most prosecutors pre-decided sentences (that's if the case isn't dismissed or nolled 

the latter a term that is the equivalent of a freebie "it didn't happen" are rarely over ridden by the attending Judge. Most people envision an imposing Judge overseeing the disposition of these cases in trial like atmosphere. Not the case at all. The violent crime docket resembles the same courrtroom where motor vehicle offenses are dealt with, even in the special DV Docket Courts that sprinkle the State.

For the usual reasons- financial ie keep the money rolling into the Court system, as it funds our prosecutors salaries, many local lawyers make their living specializing in defending men that batter women and children repulsively enough) and remember these prosecutors and lawyers all belong to the same Bar: Cronyism is a flagrant REALITY that would mollify most citizens if they only knew how much favor swapping and closed door agreements over punched faces kicked stomachs brain injuries and worse - there would be an uproar.


Another problem is the dragging out of cases with "continuances"a fancy word for stalling a case which ultimately infuses more and more money into the "court system" 


Continuances are merely a way for both the attorney to make more money in billable courtroom hours,  this includes public defenders, who remember, also work for the State.

  
Thus it is a no brainer that both sides benefit from "continuing" all cases including violent crime that is thrown into the Domestic violence docket  for as long as the presiding judge allows it.


Many Connecticut  Judges have become for the most part figureheads putting their official auto- stamp of approval on the attending prosecutor's long decided "deal" with the batterers lawyer.


In fact in most courts it is rare for Connecticut Judges to over - ride what the attending Prosecutor has already "worked out" with the assailant's lawyer, behind closed doors without the victim present and  more often than not over the phone. 


I have watched prosecutors doling out dismissals, Nolle's and "Accelerated Rehabilitation" all day long at our DV dockets. AR as it's referred to by the regulars is a term for a dubious 

 Connecticut program that our legislators designed for so called first time offenders"

Undoubtedly they are trying to keep prison costs down and the human toll is growing.


A.R , as it's referred to by those familiar with Connecticut's Court practices, equates to " you get a free pass, as long as you don't get caught again within thirteen months" Then we wipe your record clean. 


This program wasn't designed for offenders who had already had three to four free passes because their cases were dropped ( oft times the assailant are sociopaths, experts at playing innocent and deception and manipulation. They contact the victim to alternately beg or threatened her into dropping the charges or reversing her version of the crimes. This while the victim still bears the bruises of his blows or is teetering from the concussion he wrought upon her.



A concussion sounds much more innocuous than a Traumatic Brain Injury but in fact this is the number one injury to women assaulted by boyfriends ex - boyfriends and strangers alike.


The head neck and face are the first targets for most assaults which are often dubbed blitz style attacks designed to render the victim semi conscious stunned and helpless, according to Mary Carr of the Brain Institute of America  www.BIASU.ORG


Women's heads are routinely slammed into walls, refrigerators, dashboards and whatever is handy. Tragically  these women will often succumb to multiple impact syndrome, early onset dementia, aka Dementia pugilistica, Parkinson's disease, Hydrocephalus, Balance and inner ear disorders, metabolic disorders a cascade of brain disorders brought on by the shearing of the brain when it is struck and bounces off of the inside bony prominences of the skull.


Brain Injury is a staple injury to women who step into the landmine of any predatorial or battering male.


And this happens to our neighbors, work-mates, friends and cousins, and often they will suffer in silence, terrified of their assailant who  often leaves them with a threat of death if they tell anyone how they really got injured.


"I fell down the stairs."  is still the most common reason given in E.R's everywhere for head, brain and facial injuries.. 


And again as life debilitating as TBI is it not prosecuted as seriously as if a stranger had walked into your home and slammed your head into a wall and pummeled and kicked you.



Part Two 


No, Unfortunately, for the millions of woman who know the person that assaulted them, they are far less likely to have their assailant given appropriate sentencing such as if they had been attacked by a stranger.. 


Why is this? What are we saying as a culture? Its okay to brutalize someone you know? The woman must be somehow at fault?  This sounds like misogyny at its worst and from where I stand as represented by our judicial system, it is archaic misogynistic cruel and morally repulsive.




And yet even when the Police and Courts are forewarned, the man more often than not has a history of arrests and or convictions for assaulting women - albeit the usual watered down ie plea deal criminal record where felonious assault ( Assault ie Assault in the first or second degree which is rare for Police to even charge a suspect with - he must have used a weapon in the assault or caused severe medical damage to earn such a charge to begin with. 


But again the plea deal prevails and a" compromise " is reached ie assault one or two which are felonies, become assault three a misdemeanor! according to Connecticut General Statue Assault in the 3rd degree is equivalent to a slap, a push or a shove. Quite a disparity between what was actually committed against the victim and what charges he winds up convicted of!



The most dangerous part of this generally accepted practice of plea bargaining violent crime especially violence against women and children is that the convicted man winds up with an official criminal record that in no way reflects what he has done to another human being translated what kind of violence he is actually capable of. 



Anger management class is not going to solve this problem that's for sure, nor are ill spent grants, grants that generally put money into of the States Attorneys Office's and sometimes will add a Victims advocate" to the Court in Question.


V.A'S are typically well meaning, but have no power, control or true input into a case which is where they become figure heads they're role in these crimes is supposed to be paper pushers and liaisons to  yet technically in Court's like Golden Hill St the victim is never supposed to talk to the prosecutor, that is where the Victims advocates technical role comes in. 


In theory, they are supposed to deal with the Victim's of violent crime, supposedly centering on the DV cases, which already run a huge gamut by definition including crimes against children, but DV specifically  is what justifies their salaries via  grant monies given to a particular court. 


However, in my experience,  what I have witnessed at GA2  is the Victim advocates being used in all kinds of cases and in capacity's that they were not given to that Court house for ; And imagine that despite being given brain damage and being kidnapped by an ex boyfriend who broke  into your home, these  are the usually the only face that the victim of the most serious assault ever see's.


This is a mistake in theory as well as being a detriment to the victim;  I have watched the advocates chasing after prosecutors in the hallways of the Court, chattering out important details about a case that they were just told by a victim the victim and one can easily see from the prosecutors blank look as he's walking hurriedly to his office that whatever he was just told was not high on his priority list.  If it weren't so dangerous it would be comical.


These are not slaps those cases rarely make it to court and they should. These are cases where women have sustained brain injury been held against there wills after being knocked out cold strangled with o\bjects and when she returns to consciousness her tormentor refuses her pleas for  medical treatment as she could easily die from her brain injury.


And all of this is poo pooed because it was committed by some man she used to date who decided that he " would decide when they were over."



In the end singularly or collectively the victims advocate program would be better spent on a non state connected lawyer put in place for the Victims specifically to be a true voice for the many victim's who are rightly dissatisfied with the Plea deals that usually put their assailants right back on the street where they can do more harm again and again. 


One Victims advocate who was disgusted with the plea deal that a very brutal attacker received 

said "I've got to work with these people every day, I cant go up against them or Ill wind up without a job"

She wound up quitting after less than a year at our states Golden standard Domestic Violence docket GA2 in Bridgeport Connecticut. Like many newbie Victims advocates begin full of hope at and once they are given the real deal about the plea deal mill and their role in it they became disgusted and frustrated  at their helplessness when they are usually more familiar with a Violent crime's details than the prosecutor who is doling out deals as if on commission for each one.


Its simple like even the rare well meaning new prosecutor or judge they become swallowed up and quickly neutered by the old boy network and the way things really work around the courthouse"  
In the meantime the plea deal is and will likely continue as the method of choice for sentencing our State's Violent crimes committed against women by someone they know. This has far reaching implications for every citizen it doesn't end with that case. 


Besides emboldening extremely violent criminals the courts are setting loose on an unsuspecting community. And without felony records which are rare as can be despite the amount of felony assaults that occur and felony assault has strict parameters for Police to even charge a suspect with it. They ask for hospital records they question possible witnesses and they take photos of the victims that are not too terrified to report these crimes for fear of the promised retaliation - death'


 it was a badly functioning Polaroid camera They don't have two heads. They often are the guy next door.  Often if they escape prison time they will assault again usually the helpless; another woman child or the elderly its common for these men to assault their parents once they become even slightly helpless or dependent.  


As well this m man 's  Police record is going to officially read that he's only committed "misdemeanors" if and when he gets arrested  again. The next time he might do as he promised and  kill the woman. Or another unsuspecting woman. Even when a woman is savvy enough to run a criminal check on someone she is dating, the felonious assault and kidnap charges will not show up, those are the crimes he was arrested for remember that inevitable plea deal knocked all of those felonies down to misdemeanors and even for the sake of "compromise" in multiple charge cases at least one or two charges are dropped completely as if these women's bodies were nothing more than haggling over a Car purchase 


The Plea deal also has practical implications that make these often persistent batterers more dangerous; It excludes him from most persistent offender laws that only apply to felonies!


 As such when he strikes again even if he nearly kills his victim he will probably be given another slap on the wrist plea deal. Prosecutors generally use the excuse that he only has misdemeanors on his record thus their hands are tied unless they go to trial and again trials are so rare for DV cases that my VA informed me she had only seen one in two years at that particular court!


Statistics bear out that in Connecticut 98 percent of these cases,  the ones that are not dismissed outright at arraignment are resolved via plea deals  which despite no trial  are still considered " conviction of compromise.


Trials they say would be too time consuming and with plea deals despite the prosecutor dropping a charge or two completely as part of the compromise with the batterers lawyer as well as reducing the worst of the remaining charges degree by degree after an average of ten months of continuances (mini hearings that resemble the motor vehicle docket,)


 The prosecutor finally adjudicates the "case" They basically inform the judge who is often the third or fourth to preside over the continuances and a"technical conviction" is had at the expense of the victim and the public at large. 


Convictions no matter how inappropriate they are as garnered through phone calls with the batterers lawyer is how their performance is measured. So in their world they "won" 


Albeit that conviction is literally a sell out of flesh bone and trauma. And again that court collectively just set up that victim or another for another set of brutal crimes. 


Often, a suspended sentence  is doled out to those men that have so severely beaten a woman that they must receive something tangible from the prosecutor.  And believe it or not a suspended sentence  with probation is one of the more serious sentences given in our Connecticut Courts for this type of  Violent crime.



 What does that mean?



This translates into the assailant serving no prison time -none,  unless he really messes up and go es on a criminal spree during the length of the suspended sentence. 


It is a non-sentence sentence. Just like probation, which consists of once a month meetings with a Probation officer who is usually overworked and underpaid.  They are not to be confused with Parole officers who require that the convicted man follow certain life rules or else the threat of prison is ever imminent.



The glaring problem is that money is being made by this revolving door stalling tactics and the  victims of brutality are invalidated as they watch their tormentor walk out of the courtroom doors smirking. These women are often physically emotionally and psychologically maimed...
 and now after mustering all the courage they had to press charges and have to face their attacker they ultimately walk away bereft and certain that society as represented by the Superior Court, doesn't care about them. They were not worth getting justice for.


Most of these victims simply cannot pare it down and make sense of the violence that was wrought upon them and then they face the dispassion and apathy of our Courts.

Many never recover their former selves.

The world is not safe and the powers that be cannot be trusted to protect them. Their basic human innocence gone,  their bodies still carrying signs and symptoms of the crimes that were never made right, so many victims lose themselves and become lost and broken.


And the message to the man that seriously brutalized some woman for breaking up with him - or for making a face he didn't like - or for finding a unfamiliar phone number on her Cell ?

He won.  He got a pass this time and  he'll get one the next.



Surprisingly, many batterers have been interviewed re their perspective about why they batter, what they have done and how they feel about it. 


Pioneer Lenore Walker interviewed hundreds of self admitted women beaters. These men are predators to be sure, yet she wisely wanted the full picture, using their own ego's to crawl into their heads to better understand how to break the cycle. They would readily admit to " a period where they "broke down" their girlfriends, by first alienating her from family friends and wearing down her self esteem in other words making a beautiful woman believe that she was ugly or fat. And this is but a snippet of what these batterers were happy to talk about with Ms Walker.


Every woman and man should read at least a cursory collection of Lenore Walkers works. The Internet is awash with them. Have your daughters sisters mothers friends every woman read what Ms Walker's basic tenets that she uncovered in those interviews and all her research. 



A great deal of the men that battered women admitted to being surprised at the slap on the wrist sentencing that they got for brutalizing someone so badly. One man put his girlfriend in a coma with a head injury and actually wound up with a private attorney that helped him receive a mere six months and probation.


" I thought I was going to prison for a long time!". 


" Damn, they didn't do shit " 




But what can you do, many people ask?



For starters, talk about it with each-other, with your kid's, beginning in their teens because abuse is starting with younger and younger girls and boys.

Encourage them to really read and study websites about dating violence, such as Loveisrespect.org and for older girls and women Lenore Walker's books websites etc are a staple for every girl.


Get involved. Vote our legislators out that are soft or apathetic on crime. 


Our courts are failing us,our women, our teenage and  bright eyed College bound young women. We all MUST change how we are handling or not handling this increasingly common Violence that is statistically going to affect one in three females.


This includes date rape and stalking crimes that almost always escalate to sexual assault physical assault, etc..


These crimes cross all class boundaries, that is the point,  there are no boundaries, we read about these crimes happening daily across the entire State. 



The scary fact is that the more affluent the couple is, the less likely the women is to report being assaulted to Police and suffer the shame in her mind of the stigma of being a battered women.

 .

Sep 11, 2014

September 11th 2001: Kevin Cosgrove, Voice From the Towers

 I Post this article every year on September 11th as my way of honoring all the victims of this terrible act of what was not terrorism but in fact and enormous en masse violent crime.




                            Kevin's 9-1-1 call Caution Sensitive Material


While recently researching an article called "The Falling Man"  I came upon two tape recordings of  9-1-1 calls made by two victims trapped in the upper floors of Tower Two which, horrifyingly, collapsed in the middle of a call made by Kevin Cosgrove of Aon Corp oration a company that rented out several floors of the Building.

The second call was made by a trapped and very young Melissa Doi, she  also perished in tower two.  Not knowing what I would be hearing when I came upon the 911 taped calls, I was reluctant and wasn't  going to listen but I finally mustered the courage.  They were excruciating, heartbreaking and  life-changing.

As I listened I actually found myself experiencing the physical symptoms that each caller was enduring, the black thick smoke that was choking Mr Cosgrove as he and the other two men took turns sticking heads out the window, the terrible heat that young Mellisa Doi  kept crying to the operator that she and her coworkers could not escape. They were standing on desks. 


The growing panic fear and frustration of the poor  911 operator was evident as she tried to calm these embattled people she knew were likely to die.  The callers were placated, told that help was coming, but not given any concrete information and communication regarding one open stairwell in tower two was not even known until too late by fire fighters.


Kevin  Cosgrove worked at Aon Corporation on the 83rd floor.  But, as designated  Fire official for that office,  he tried to make certain that most of his group of employees evacuated after the North tower was hit before he himself began the traverse down.



He even called his wife and reassured her that it wasn't his building and he was safe and on his way out as thousands of people made it out before . Just then as the second plane hit the south tower. The explosion and heat smoke drove him right back up now to the higher floors, to the roof - this the where his fire training had always taught him to go in situations like this-   to ascend was one's only hope to the roof, for a helicopter rescue.


Tragically. the roof door was locked as was the roof door on the North tower!
Hundreds of people attempted that same superhuman climb up miles of stairs, many flooded, covered with debris only to discover locked doors. Imagine their fear.


The word was that there was no chance that a helicopter landing was possible in either building anyway; they say that the smoke and heat made any rood rescue impassible yet I watched those helicopters and small planes circling those towers and I was sol very frustrated and angry as I imagined the office workers trapped with broken windows and flames behind them, wondering why the rescue helicopters were not attempting to help.
them?


Perhaps ladders of rope to swing to the broken windows as the copters hovered as close as they possibly could to the buildings.  All I know is there were hundreds of people waving flags sheets shirts and scraps of material climbing down the face of the building, believing that those helicopters were there for a reason, for some kind of rescue...and yet, there was none.


In the meantime Kevin took his exhausted body and climbed back down flights and flights of stairwells by foot, facing growing smoke labored breathing and panic; he must have run into the first office where he spotted other men or voices gathered    It was this office on the Southwest corner facing the financial center that he made his now, infamous 9-1-1 telephone call from.


The heat from the Planes Fuel weakened the structure and it's floors began to collapse, one on top of the other. 

Mr. Cosgrove was still holding out hope huddled under a desk on the 103rd floor of that tower as it fell inadvertently recording his death as he spoke to the 911 operator.

Fifteen minutes later.. Tower one, the first one to be hit by another Hijacked Plane, collapsed. 

As all of us across the Country watched this unfolding on live TV we were given panned back camera shots of the burning buildings. Still I imagined the horrors we spared from seeing; Close up views of the raw suffering and mayhem happening to the brave souls still trapped within the Towers wouldn't come until later.


Hundreds of First Responders were killed as they rushed into buildings that were hopelessly ensconced in A raging Jet fueled fire. The Firemen trudged up 70-90 flights of stairs, carrying heavy gear dragging  hoses to save the handful of lives that they encountered along the way. Many perished when the  buildings collapsed.


As one person expressed so aptly, at the end of Kevin Congreve's call  "I found myself not wanting to let go of him."

And like many others who chose listen to these phone calls, they have forever changed my perspective of that terrible day.

Kevin Cosgrove's 9-1-1 call  was one of three used as evidence in the Moussaui trial, and this is why It  has become available to the public via the freedom of information act.


After reading this post in it's entirety if you wish to listen to the tape, I have embedded the most tasteful version that I could find. It has a heart warming biography of Mr Cosgrove's life giving us a real feel for who an every-man family man desperately trying to survive for his family. A family who he kept mentioning to the 911 operator and even the fireman that got on the phone at one point.
.

I must warn all that the tape will be an extremely emotional experience, and it will forever change anyone who listens to it. At first I regretted having listened because I couldn't shake the what ifs and a deep deep empathizing. 

This was AS real as it got and much more than I expected. There was no forewarning either back then. Simply 911 recording used in trial of Moussaui. However,  I came to the realization that I should not regret listening and sharing in these two callers pain.  I was bearing witness and thus as every victim of crime needs I along with anyone who listened validated these and all of the victims experience.


It was for me a necessary pain.   A pain that ultimately transformed 911 from a terrible terror based tragedy, to something altogether more more personal, more human and more real.


The pain that all of us feel upon hearing these desperate callers describe  the horrific conditions in the towers, their fear over their likely imminent deaths, and the distress in having to leave their families and loved ones  made us now feel that we knew them. 


By becoming privy to the most intimate last moments of their lives, it allowed us to honor their experience as it truly was, without the whitewashed effect of pulled back news - camera shots of a burning buildings, thousands of feet in the air.

Even the sudden and awful collapse of the towers into veritable dust bowl, like so much else that happened that day, was somehow surreal when it happened.  It is not that we couldn't and didn't consider the horror of what was likely going on way up where our eyes could not see, it just wasn't in our face and we gratefully took advantage of that kind distance, because really, the horror might have been too much for us at that time.


The voices of the people on these tapes however will be with us forever The people themselves will thus reside in us.  We carry them now.


Do not suggest listen as voyeurs, but as caring witnesses.   Use the powerful emotions that are triggered:  empathy,  pain and even  anger at the to bring us to a new level of awareness; about violence, crime, tragedy, justice.   Life and death. Hopefully with the help of our personal higher power, we can then use this awareness wisely and do only positive things with it. 

These good things shall become the legacy of those who perished that day, victims and heroes all.  When reading the memorial pages of the 911 callers, many people shared that the problems that has seemed so important in their lives prior to listening to Kevin Cosgrove's desperate last minutes on earth, immediately were diminished. 


And this experience was not a rare thing, in fact a great deal of folks cited hearing these tapes as turning points in their lives.  

An appreciation for every hour of every day, marked by the experience. of listening to these tapes. Thousands expressed gratitude to Kevin's family for allowing the tape to become public a difficult decision that wound up  giving millions of people  an opportunity to both rethink the value of their lives through his words and for the children  who weren't alive or were very young 

Kevin Cosgrove's Memorial Page 

New messages appear daily from all over the world, more since the 911 tapes were released.  Somehow I am certain that the Cosgrove family reads them, and I only hope that they provide solace to them, knowing that their beloved father husband son and friend, has had such a life-changing impact on so many.


Many people will embrace their daily lives,hours and minutes once taken for granted. Time and again, I read memorial messages from young folks not old enough to grasp the reality of September 11th when it happened but, who share that they've shed their first tears about this tragedy, by listening to Kevin's  final minutes and his his death.


My hope is that we will be more inclined to spend our time ministering,or helping -  people in pain or in need; This is the legacy of  Kevin Cosgrove. There are thousands of people like Kevin who suffered the same pain and so many exhibited bravery and courage we cannot fathom.

Post Script: For a year after the September 11th attacks the entire Country, especially in the Northeast banded together in a collective yet unfamiliar connectedness,  borne of this Massive act of  Terror.   Every one of us was affected by in our own unique way, but for all, in perpetuity, we would never be the same.


However, amidst the nagging pain and anger evolved another en masse emotion:  Pride and Nationalism. We all bought flags that crossed every pre known barrier Race Class demographics, didn't matter we huddled together at first and then as time went on we stood up taller.


We were proud proud of  both our civilians and the First Responders alike. Everyone beeped when they passed Firetrucks everywhere Police Cars , Ambulances - all.

Fireman,Policeman and other heroes were rampant in rushing to help others. Tugboat captains rushed to get People out of harms way off the island, back and forth they went - there was no other way out, the streets bridges were clogged with people,  impassable. Ferry's loaded with people traversed back and forth. No one knew if more attacks were coming. 


Manhattan looked like a war zone and in fact it was. 


Living in Connecticut I was born in New York City albeit until I was ten years of age, I still feel a native New-Yorker


Memories and photos of  my sisters and I skating in Rockefeller Center with our father were heavy on my mind. His impressively loud whistle, reserved for hailing cabs which I will always recall the smell of the seats. Trips to Radio City Music Hall all and more are part and parcel of me and always will be.


As nice as Westport Connecticut was, it was not New York City. However, the City's influence being 45t minutes away ran throughout this originally artistic community. Known for its theater artists writers Westport became a teeming Commuter town. The New York City line was barely discernible to many of us, it was a cultural influence even to those who were born and bred in Westport and other Connecticut towns. 




The Cosgrove and Melissa Doi  911 tapes were instrumental in the Prosecution of the one sole Terrorist that was arrested and sentenced for his role in the attack,  Zacharias Moussaoui . 


Albeit, he was completely impassive and detached as everyone else in the Courtroom wept as they listened to the voices from the Tower.  Mrs. Cosgrove has allowed the release of the tape to the public as she made a victim impact statement also regarding the effects of the loss of her husband has had on her and her children's lives. 



Courageous and selfless, I am awed by her and her children's strength.  They are survivors all.



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