Jun 28, 2008

Dr. Petit Keeps Memory Of Family Alive with Good works

Dr. Petit Keeps Memory Of Family Alive - Connecticut News Story - WFSB Hartford

I was recently made aware of the Petit Family Foundation's expansion into helping victims of violence and needless to say was deeply moved by this news.
I have said from the beginning that I firmly believe that the Petit crimes crimes of violence against women rather than the "robbery gone awry" theme that seemed to dominate the traditional media outlets immediately after the crimes happened.

Today I read within the linked article that the Petit family foundation is helping to fund a new domestic violence shelter in New Britain. This is simply awe inspiring to me and proof that the circle of hope and healing only grows when separately and together we turn toward difficult and painful issues rather than turning away from them- because they are uncomfortable or perhaps we feel that they don't affect us.

At the core of domestic and partner violence is a veritable well of pain, suffering and fear.
It is the only type of violent crime that stands very nearly mute within society's daily discourse. This silence has served as its enabler and at times even its co-conspirator.
It is time that we grow as a people and break this silence. We can begin with awareness and education; learning about the hallmarks of an abusive relationship and what to look for in people with abusive behaviors. Very Often these tendencies begin in the teenage years.

Teen dating violence is on the rise and already more prevalent than most could imagine.
Its easy for a teenager who is perhaps experiencing their first relationship to mistake extreme jealousy and controlling behaviors for love or passion.
This jealousy or controlling can be the hallmark of an abuser. What starts as verbal or emotional abuse can escalate to pushing, slapping and much worse.
Adolescence is a time often fraught with secrecy, and as such many well meaning parents are unaware that their teen is experiencing physical or emotional abuse- the latter can include threats or directives re things like who to talk to, how to dress etc.
Clearly we need to de-mystify the entire issue of partner dating violence for our selves and our children. It should become a well talked about issue and in turn, everyone becomes familiarized with the hallmarks of abusive behavior as well as where to seek help for a freind or loved one.

In the meantime, I am heartened when I think about how many lives that Dr Petit and family have helped and perhaps even saved, by turning their foundations efforts towards this grave and important cause.

Jun 22, 2008

Suspects In Cheshire Killings Seek Separate Trials -- Courant.com

Suspects In Cheshire Killings Seek Separate Trials -- Courant.com

Information here regarding the most recent hearing for the Petit family crimes. At the request of one of the defendants attorneys, Thomas Ulmann, presiding Judge Damiani placed a gag order on the case back in October and as such, traditional media coverage of the criminal case has dwindled to the most basic information.
This article in the Courant offers a bit more than the standard AP release.

Jun 15, 2008

Safety For Women


Here is a very important tip that everyone- female or male, should become familiar with, It is excerpted from the website Safety For Women, linked above.

...The criminal's primary strategy is to use the advantage of surprise. Criminals mainly choose targets which appear to be unaware of their surroundings. So, please be prepared before something happens"

Jun 8, 2008

A Just World?

Below are the links to two interesting articles related to the idea of justice.
One is about a human phenomonon called cognitive dissonance, don't be put off put by the lofty tone of it, it's a pretty straightforward concept.
Moreover the articles help explain why so many people can be apathetic or even judgemental of others who have been victimized by traumatic events outside of their control. This includes victims of violent crime brutalized first by the crimes committed against them and then, often again injured by an indifferent or even adverserial judicial system. This can include the response from institutuions such as criminal court, law enforcemnt and social services
as well as the response from the community where the presumed support from ones "peers"can fall cruelly short of what a victim or family of the victim-expects.

This profound lack of supoort combined with the dispensation of at times cold hearted judgement- of the victim-for somehow having "brought the tragic events upon themselves'-This can be the fait de compli within the post traumatic stress experience. PTSD. Indeed it can be the final emotional insult which renders a victim unable to heal and thus stuck.

Although this syndrome is common with victims of violent and or sexual crimes, it is not exclusive to traumatic acts of violence caused by other human beings- Although research shows that the worst cases of PTSD do result from life threatening experiences caused by human hands.
We also see it with victims of natural or unnatural disasters such as The hurricane katrina victims. I was horrifed by the amount of seemingly decent folks implying that the people that were caught in the levy flooding somehow deserved what happeneds to them- because after all, they should of left..Sooner ( presumably because thats what anyone with any common sense would have done")

We see the practice of cognitive dissonance most clearlly with crimes that involve domestic or partner violence.Date rape is one of the most notorious situations that elicit this response from the publc. Before reading about cognitive dissonance I had actually given this syndrome my own name- I called it rather aptly, the "pack of hyena effect". As a former survivor of a violent crime myself I couldnt help but notice a disturbing tendency among all kinds of otherwise "good" people, to gang up and somehow find me to blame for having been victimized and even for the subsequent mistreatment at the hands of the judicial system.-
I was also disgusted to note that once a person was victimized in an especially overt way, there seemed to be a free for all for further victimization of that person, As if they were now up for grabs for our very worst behaviors, permanent victims in effect. Somehow Marked.
These were some awful truths about human nature to be encountering after having just survived a violent crime, this I can tell you. I became emotionally and spiritually devastated more by the aftermath of the crime, than by the crime itself, which plainly speaking, was brutal.

As a former victim of this syndrome I was heartened and somewhat vindicated by reading about what turns out to be well known phenomonon in society. I much prefer a rational understanding of how people could behave so badly towards someone who has just been terribly brutalized , as the only other option was a floundering belief that people-and thus the world, must be inherently bad-For someone who is an idealist at heart, this was very nearly a kind of death.

Read these important articles as they will undoubtedly change the way that you think and feel about crime, disasters, victims and humanity.



Jun 5, 2008

Petit home demolished

The demolition of the Petit home last week pulled hard upon our heartstrings as well as bringing full circle, the pain and anger over these crimes to the good people of Cheshire and well beyond.

Once again our hearts and our prayers go out to this lovely and courageous family who have carried themselves with such grace, generosity and dignity, amidst such an immense personal loss.

The house on Sorghum drive may be physically gone, but the spirit of Jennifer Haley and Michaela Petit clearly lives on, within and all about us, through their personal code of generosity, kindness and a stalwart faith coupled with benevolent activism.

May we honor them well by carrying forth any and all good works that reach out to those in pain and in need.