Your Lives Matter – Refuse All Forms of Oppression

People are posting on social media with the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag, but doesn’t the message apply to victims of domestic violence and stalking too? Personally, I decided not to have any other children due to the ordeal inflicted upon myself and my daughter. Was that really my choice, or was it a necessary sacrifice based upon oppression? Race and Gender are often used as weapons by abusers and oppressors. The goal is the same: to enact power and control over another human being. The Ferguson issue is not only about race, but also about basic human rights (due process, life, liberty).

Sometimes oppression is generated from fear, or feeling dis-empowered. The police are supposed to serve and protect the population. Lately they are shooting first, and asking questions later. Ask any crime victim if the police are doing their jobs adequately, and you will be told no. Law enforcement needs appropriate training and support to do a good job. They are not getting it.

In short, the cycle of violence is not just an individual phenomenon. It occurs at the institutional level as well. When it does, it becomes oppression. Nobody wins when a system is corrupt and broken.

No, The Suffering Isn’t Over For Us Yet

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I struggled with putting this out in a public forum, yet I think it is important to validate my family’s feelings during a tragic ending to a terrible ordeal. My sister’s ex-husband committed suicide Friday morning. He had stalked her and my Niece for several years. Nobody believed he was really dead at first, because he has both threatened and faked his suicide in the past. His ex-girlfriend notified my 17 year old Niece of his passing in a text message.

His Facebook is full of condolences from people who barely knew him, or only knew his side of the story. Most of them have no idea what he put our family through. Thankfully, my Niece has family and friends who love and support her; those who are well-aware of the trauma he caused her and her Mother. We are relieved that the nightmare is over, yet saddened by the pain she is suffering because of his actions. We are angry at the foolish people who are now praising him as a great guy – the same people who did nothing to intervene. Many of these buddies were the ones who played an active part in his addictions.

A single Mother and baby were brutally slain just a few blocks away from their home right after my ex-brother-in-law began stalking his family. I heard about it on the radio news while driving to work, and immediately thought it was them. This was just the first of many, many terrifying incidents that my family experienced. I started Human Rights Vs. Stalkers because of the suffering my sister and niece endured at their abuser’s hands. It was the only way I could do something to keep my feelings of powerlessness at bay.

My Niece has struggled with loving vs. hating her Father, and had terminated telephone contact with him several months ago. He chose not to attend supervised visits with her during these past five years. After he publicly humiliated her on his Facebook and she found out about it, she announced on her own account that she wished he would die; words spoken in haste by a young girl who was tired of being controlled and shamed instead of loved. She had just recently changed her mind, and was trying to contact him and her Grandfather over the past few weeks. Neither would answer, nor return her calls. Now it is too late, and she is absolutely devastated.

Nobody can possibly understand the terror our family, including my elderly parents have felt during this time. We have all been taunted, degraded, and threatened. It did not have to end this way, but it did because of the choices HE made. He is not some lonely, unloved martyr whose family abruptly abandoned him for no reason. Opportunities for him to grow and change were available at every stage of his life. We all did our best to help him during the 17 year marriage to my sister, but he did not want anybody’s help.

His “friends,” who are so stunned at this outcome, could have acted like real friends, and encouraged him to stop making excuses for his poor behavior, or to get some mental help, instead of helping him to hide his secrets. His law enforcement colleagues could have set him straight by holding him accountable for his actions, and confronting him with the truth, instead of encouraging his delusions. His family could have opened their eyes to the abuse he was inflicting, instead of enabling it. They could have tried to protect my Niece and her Mother.

My Niece’s first words to me after she found out were, “I don’t know if I should feel glad or sad after all he put Me and Mom through, but I miss him so much.” She is going to suffer from his abuses for years to come. Her half-siblings were not even mentioned in the obituary; one of whom she never met, and has only learned existed after her parents’ divorce. Today my Niece is trying to access her Father’s Facebook to put her own message of grief on it. She deserves to have her voice heard. She also wants to retrieve a few recent pictures of him from his page. Unfortunately, he had blocked her from viewing it, so this is proving to be difficult.

My sister told me people are saying to her that they are unsure whether to offer condolences or congratulations. Her Ex-Father-in-Law finally spoke to my Niece yesterday. Being a staunch Baptist man, he wanted to know if her Mom was still single. He, as many others did, has judged her for the heart wrenching decision she made to leave the abuse. Many other busybodies now want the latest updates on her side of the story. The truth is, my sister refuses to feel guilty for the suicide, because she did nothing to contribute to it. Our entire family is feeling many mixed emotions: relief, sadness, anger…just to name a few. We would like to finally have some peace and we deserve to be heard too.

What about this type of assault?

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I have always believed that emotional trauma IS also physical trauma. It has similar long-term effects to physical trauma. It really is an assault upon the entire nervous system. Most survivors have experienced polytrauma, and it would be nice to see courts begin to use the data that backs up the long-term effects of abuse during deliberations and sentencing.

What are your thoughts about this?