Domestic Violence and Human Rights: Jessica Lenahan v. the United States of America

Domestic Violence and Human Rights: Jessica Lenahan v. the United States of America

Did you know that police are not required to enforce an “official” order of protection? And when they do attempt to do so, the charges against the accused are usually dropped. Victims know this. Perpetrators know it too. As a matter of fact, the USA is in violation of international human rights law on this issue. Just ask Jessica Lenahan, because she took it to the highest court in the entire world. To this day, reparations have not been made to her or any other victims in spite of the international court’s judgement.

What can we do about that?

Victims Rights: Better Late Than Never

I have worked very hard at drawing attention to the systemic failures of  response to sexual assault and domestic violence by law enforcement.  These past five years have shown me how racism and homophobia fit into the predictable pattern of ignoring an oppressed group by blaming and shaming them. I began my advocacy as an angry activist who shouted “Why don’t you just do your damn jobs?” However, I soon learned that the road to change was facing five distinct problems:

  1. The huge level of both ignorance and bias out there in the general population.
  2. The lack of incentive (from above) to do things differently.
  3. The inadequate training and resource allocations within departments.
  4. The unprofessional behavior justified by “protecting the brotherhood.”
  5. The district attorneys’ prime focus: it all comes down to profits and costs.

One of the most frustrating refrains I heard from short-term advocates was, “nobody cares, not even the victims or survivors.” My response: Well I’m not going to give up on them because I believe change IS possible! I believe that change is now imminent with the following announcement by the US Department of Justice on December 15th.

Justice Department Issues Guidance on Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

A press conference was also held that same day, and I have included the transcript for those who missed it.

Unofficial Transcript Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

It is ironic that change comes during one of the most volatile periods in USA history in light of the attention spent on police brutality and the reprise of racist crimes. I hope our people will soon open their eyes to the antecedents of these issues. It has nothing to do with having a victim mentality or feeling entitled to special treatment. It is about justice, freedom and peace for all of us.

Crazy-makers Are Popping Up Everywhere

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We call them “crazy-makers,” because they enjoy re-creating us in their image of insanity. You’ve probably met at least one during your lifetime: the guy who calls his girlfriend “paranoid” as he is having several flings behind her back, or perhaps the girl who tells fakes pregnancy with every boy she dates. These people are unstable narcissistic sociopaths who love the favorable spotlight. But watch out if you make them look bad in front of their many admirers! Popularity is of utmost importance in their eyes, usually at the expense of anybody who crosses them. You may wish to further investigate a fascinating phenomenon of their characteristics called the “dark triad.”

Why then, are they so adored by others? There are a few reasons people cling to them in spite of the terrible things crazy-makers do. Entertainment value is the number one motivator – people love watching a good show between a sociopath and his targets. They admire his cunning creativity and manipulative skills in transforming a target into a buffoon. Yes, some folks are always going to root for the villain, perhaps even taking a few tips and pointers for their own evil deeds. Of course, you will always have the gullible folks who actually believe everything the narcissist says without question. Then there are the greedy folks who believe they can help themselves to a piece of crazy-making pie by playing along, whether it be money, drugs, sex, or whatever suits their fancy.

Sociopathy is said to be the result of an underlying personality disorder, usually formed during childhood as the result of some series of physical or emotional traumatic events. My personal theory is that they are socialized using a manner of backward rewards and punishments for negative and positive behaviors. Furthermore, I believe they have a necessary purpose in the evolution (or devolution) of mankind: they polarize civilization, lest we all become too complacent and disaffected by the forces of evil. To clarify, a balanced society must have good people to counteract against bad people, but we can only become good through the rejection of evil, requiring that evil must exist if we are to also exist. Perhaps living beings require positive AND negative forces?

It seems like these forces are currently out of balance when we look at the disturbing events as of late. My personal and professional experiences have been sprinkled with more than a few crazy-makers. Someday I’ll write more about them, but today I’d like to remind you how a majority of good people have been drowning out their evil little voices with conversations which include words like “hope,” “faith,” and “love.” I believe it was the older, humbled King Solomon of the Bible who stated in Ecclesiastes 1:9: “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” We have survived many evils, including civil unrest, disease, and war, because we refuse hatred and we choose love. As warriors of light, we will continue proclaiming words of truth and justice for all people.

Be strong in faith.

Be brave in hope.

Be true in love.

Bullying, Domestic Violence, Stalking and Street Harassment

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Bullying, Domestic Violence, Stalking and Street Harassment – are they really so different?

We constantly pussy-foot around these issues by making excuses, and either compartmentalizing or minimizing toxic behaviors. It should not be this difficult for a society to recognize HARASSMENT, which is how it usually starts. After it escalates or continues over a period of time, it has evolved into ASSAULT.

It’s as simple as that!

Political Activism – Hate is at the Root of Community Violence

Please forgive my absence from this blog lately, and know that I have been extremely busy on the political activism front these days. We are witnessing exciting events, both encouraging and fearful, as the world is realizing that hate is at the root of all kinds of community violence – racially motivated, gender-based, and related to sexual orientation. Really, it is becoming evident that as in ancient times, people continue to form tribes based on similarities, and they exclude those who are different or do not conform to the tribes’ norms. Feeling threatened by the perceived infiltration of different ones, they are quick to ostracize and condemn the eccentric ones. In other words, they justify hateful behaviors against anyone who is different as a means of protecting the core tribe. Digital globalization has shattered our ability to remain in secluded tribes, and we must either adjust to the reality of diversity, or we will find ourselves having the similar fate of ancient tribes…

I do also want to mention a couple of interesting points on the domestic violence front. First, in regards to the Ray Rice dismissal of charges, please see my thoughts on the Tumblr blog:

Second, NBC is looking for survivors for an upcoming special. The details are on the Facebook page:

Thanks for supporting our cause. It reminds me how each of our individual lives do matter, and how strong a force we are when we join together!

Blessings,

Tammy