Oct 31, 2005

The Path Of Least Resistance

The following passage was taken from a recent post on the blog "Fine Malta" It really sums up well a discouraging tendency in others to ignore or minimize the experience of victims- of violence-or in my opinion, gross injustice of any kind.

"It is very tempting to take the side of the perpetrator. All the perpetrator asks is that the bystander do nothing. He appeals to the universal desire to see, hear, and speak no evil. The victim, on the contrary, asks the bystander to share the burden of pain. The victim demands action, engagement, and remembering."

A Just World?


I just read two very interesting articles on the NATURE of justice, and something called cognitive dissonance -dont be put off by the lofty tone of it, it's a fairly a simple concept;
They help to explain why so many people are apathetic or judgemental of people who have been hurt or victimized by life events outside of their control. This includes of course victims of violent crime, who have been brutalized first by the crimes committed against them and then all too often doubley injured by a lackluster at best cruel at worst judicial "system."ThE very same they once undoubtedly once innocently assumed would be "THERE" if and when god forbid they ever should need to rely upon it. This includes institutuions such as the judicial court AND the law enforcemnt system, local social services, as well as down at the community level where the presumed support can fall cruelly short of what the victim aver anticipated. Indeed this profound lack of supoort combined with an element of cold hearted judgement-not of the perpetrator but of the victim-for somehow having "brought the tragic events upon themselves'-this is the fait de compli within the post traumatic stress experience, and indeed can be the final emotional insult which renders the victim unable to heal and thus stuck in an awful place.
I know of this.

Now altho this syndrome is common with victims of violent and or sexual crimes it certainly isnot exclusive to traumtic acts of violence caused by ones fellow man.; Weve seen it very
recently with hurricane katrina, victims...
( ie "they deserve what happens to them, they should of left..sooner, its their own fault' yadda ya

We also see it a lot with domestic and partner violence crime- before reading this article I had actually given it a name I called it the "pack of hyena effect": As a former victim of an violence crime I couldnt help but notice a very disturbing tendency among all kinds of otherwise "good" people to gang up, and do thier best to find the victim to blame somehow, for having been victimized and/or treated in any unjust manner.-I was also horrified to note that once someone was victimized in an especiallyovert way, there seemed to be a free for all of sorts for further victimization of that person, as if they were now up for grabs for our very worst behaviors, as permanent victims in effect. Marked.

These were terrible truths about human nature to be encountering after having just survived a violent crime, this I will tell you. I became emotionally and spiritually devastated more by the aftermath of the crime, than by the crime itself, which plainly speaking was horrific.

As past victim of these behaviors,(five years ago march) I was heartened and even somewhat vindicated by reading about what turns out are well known syndromes- I much prefer a rational understanding of how people could behave so badly towards someone who has just been terribly brutalized ,for the only other option was a floundering belief that people-and thus the world, must be inherently evil-For someone who is an idealist at heart, this was very nearly a kind of death.

Please Read these important articles, they will undoubtedly change the way you think and feel about victimization and Justice. The second link brings you to a page and its the 2nd post from the top of that page re PTSD -not the first post re hiv.



Oct 25, 2005

A Must Read for Domestic Violence

It is rare to find any one article written on the subject of domestic violence that is both unapologetically honest and dead-on insightful- never mind an entire collection of them... Kudos to "Mother Jones" for doing just that with this excellent expose on the domestic violence crisis in our country today;http://www.motherjones.com/news/featurex/2005/07/haven.html As a survivor of intimate violence, I identified with everything in this series, particularly "The Counselor's" appraisal of the current mis- utilization of our courts many victims advocacy offices, who having become swallowed up by the bureaucracy of the the local judicial systems that encompass and in the end, cripple them--I personally can attest to this very syndrome in my own domestic assault case, heard at Golden hill St Court Ga2 in Bridgeport, Connecticut.(Pictured).This is clearly not what was intended when these entities were created, and it is in fact a tremendous waste of resources, resource that is hard-won and slated for the saving and rebuilding of lives.
If you are a woman, or if you care about women (and remember, our girls grow to become women) You need to read this important piece on the real issues surrounding DV in this country today. http://www.motherjones.com/news/featurex/2005/07/haven.html

Oct 23, 2005

Oct 16, 2005

Domestic Violence Awareness month

Don't forget everyone, October is domestic violence awareness month-And there are many ways to get involved and raise awareness in your area!
For one, There are DV shelters for women and children in peril in every state and city in the United States. There exact whereabouts are confidential for obvious reasons, but they are always in need of donations, either in the form of money or actual household and personal items. So Peruse your household items, pull out any extras you've accrued as well as any items that you don't use much-and donate them to the nearest shelter in need! Remember, these families have been ripped out of their homes, with nary a moment to pack and thus need just about everything that you and I take for granted every day. If you haven't anything from your home to donate, find out what is needed with a phone call, and go out a make a donation basket, fill it with toiletries books some modest toys,These shelters can usually use any items that will brighten their appearance; soothing artwork, an inexpensive CD player, music/relaxation cds etc. The folks at your local dv agency can fill you in on the greatest needs of your particular local shelter--and they can forward your donations to the shelter in need.
So just get out there and pitch in in whatever capacity is most needed, be it donations, volunteering your time, or starting a support group...but most importantly...get involved! And talk about Intimate and domestic violence. Educate yourself and your loved ones regarding physical and emotional abuse, and this includes teenagers who have just started dating-this means boys as well as girls! Not only do boys need to be educated about intimate violence from the perspective of not becoming potential abusers, they need to be aware that they can be victims as well. Its a very good idea to teach our young adults about the warning signs of an abusive relationship, so that they will recognize the patterns and behaviors of a potential abuser before they become involved or if they are already involved with one,the statistics for abuse among teenage dating relationships is much higher than you'd think!
Don't forget too, that domestic violence in some form occurs in one out of 4 households in the united States, and the children that witness this often grow up to repeat similar violence in their own relationships, as batterers or as victims. This is a deadly cycle that can be stopped-- this is where education, counseling and sometimes intervention, are necessary.

SAFE4all is an excellent source for information regarding every type of intimate violence, including teenage dating and elder violence, as well as being a good source for local and national activism. They can assist in increasing individual/community awareness in a number of ways and they are always in need of volunteers and members; They can be found athttp://www.safe4all.org
And remember; The number one thing that will help to eradicate this kind of violence is awareness and education. There was a time when the whole subject of domestic violence was considered a private matter, between husband and wife, or man and his woman, even by our local police departments! A collective denial, mixed with an ignorant notion that the victims of DV must not mind it,(translated; deserve it) because they were not leaving their abusive partners;this was the presiding mentality for a long time and is still prevalent even within some justice systemsWe now know that the victims of chronic d.v are in effect suffering from a kind of brainwashing, not disimilar from the experiences of kidnap victims or P.O.W's, This is called The Stockholm syndrome. In short, it is a sick symbiosis (attachment/dependency) that the victim develops for her abuser, through his/her constant use of control, fear, isolation,manipulation, and of course- force. After repeated episodes of what would seem indiscriminate physical assaults, the victim exhibits what is called "learned helplessness" all part of the batterers plan.
There is a great deal involved in the dynamics of an abusive relationship, including the fact that physical abuse is almost always precipitated by some form of emotional abuse, as well as a set of classic identifying behaviors. I heard this once summed up as ''The banality of evil", The up side of which is the fact that chronic abusers can be identified by a very commonplace set of characteristics and behaviors. You can learn about all of these things in greater depth via the many web- based information sites on intimate/domestic violence, including the SAFE4ALL.ORG link on sidebar, as well as your own counties DV helplines/agencies.

I will be happy to email anyone directly with access to available sources for specific info about intimate/domestic violence-- Just click on my profile for email link and send your questions and requests.

Oct 13, 2005

Post Traumatic what?

Many people erroneously believe that Post traumatic Stress Syndrome-or PTSD- is something that veterans of war suffer with, more or less exclusively . There is also a knee jerk reaction to associate the disorder with the Vietnam War, which makes sense as this was when it was officially given its name, although it has obviously existed throughout the history of man.

In addition a fair amount of folks that I queried were under the impression that only events of big terrorist-type-proportions, like 9/11, Columbine School, Plane crashes and the like are the kind of experiences besides active warfare that causes PTSD.. Others yet perceived it as a syndrome of vague definition, lumping it in with disorders like adult attention deficit (AADD), and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) believing it in essence, a faux disorder, one of those over-diagnosed and often self-diagnosed-maladies. Once again, not at all true!

There is in fact a huge percentage of the American population walking around with PTSD, most of whom are undiagnosed. I was one of them; Three years ago I was two years belatedly diagnosed with "Chronic Severe Post traumatic Stress disorder" by a local psychotherapist, but ironically it was a Physical Therapist/ Massage Therapist/Reiki master that was the first person to treat it successfully -- this she did using a combination of touch therapy and bodywork.
She later very responsibly refereed me to a Psychiatrist who specialized in In the end it was both treatments simultaneously.-