STOP THE SILENCE —10/14/2014

Have you taken a ride past the First Covenant Church on H Street in Iron Mountain, MI?  Each cross you see displayed out in front represents one person from the Upper Peninsula who was killed in a Domestic Violence situation.  Who will the next cross represent?  Will it be your sister or brother?  Your neighbor?  A favorite teacher at the school?  Your doctor’s wife?  It could be anyone!  You can’t tell if someone is a victim by looking at them.  They look like me or you.  Wounds aren’t always visible.  Victims are very, very good at pretending everything is ok.

Are you aware of the Domestic Violence in this world?  Do you care?  Every football fan in the United States should know…watch the video of Ray Rice hitting his wife.  Listen to sports personnel talk about how hundreds of cases of Domestic Violence have been covered up.  We all think that good old guy we know couldn’t do such a thing,  why he’s a great guy and fun to be around  (unless he comes home to you each night).  Each and every one of us should be more aware.  Abusers get away with it because they can.  Nobody wants to get involved.  If you see something or hear something that you think may be abuse call the police, that’s the only way this will end.  Don’t keep SILENT!!!  We need everyone to make abusers accountable for their actions.

One way you can help is to come out to our annual  “Break the Silence, Stop the Violence” procession, if you are able.  We will meet at The Dickinson County Sheriff’s Department between noon & 12:15 on Tuesday October 14th.  This year we will be joined by the MI Bikers Helping Veterans Motorcycle group, followed by area law enforcement with sirens blaring, followed by cars honking their horns.  If you can drive or ride in a car and honk a horn you can join us.  The procession will proceed to Caring House where refreshments will be served.  We need YOU!!

Let’s make some changes and shake up this county, so we can shake up this state, so we can shake up our country and shake up the world.  Let’s make this world a safer place.

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WHY DOESN’T SHE/HE JUST LEAVE?

Now isn’t that a tricky question? I mean, what sane person would continue to be with someone who abuses them?
If you have never been in an abusive relationship, this seems like the simple answer. But then again, shouldn’t the question be, “Why does the other person have the right to abuse?”
There are many reasons a person stays. They are as varied and complex as the people involved. Here are some of the reasons:
1. Love: The abuser is still the person the victim loves. The abuser has times when he/she is VERY charming. One victim stated “I kept thinking that this time when things were good, surely he would like our life together in this good time so much that he would not want to bring on the bad times again. He promised me he would change.” Maybe the abuser will change…at least that’s the victim’s hope.
2. Society/Religion : The victim feels she/he made a committment before God to this relationship. Or the abusive person appears so different to the outside world that the victim feels no one would believe the monster the abuser can be.
3. Isolation: Gradually, the abuser takes steps to keep the victim from other people. Maybe the victim can’t have anything to do with family or friends, isn’t allowed to work or attend activities, or can’t have telephone conversations. There have even been instances of victims being imprisoned in their own homes.
4. Fear: Fear of retaliation if he/she leaves. Threats may have been made against the victim, children, or the victim’s family and friends. Victims have a 75% greater risk of being murdered by their partner during or after they leave the relationship.
5. Financial Limitations: The victim may have limited financial resources…no job, low-paying work, fear of homelessness, etc.
6. Fear of Losing Children: The victim may have been led to believe she/he won’t be able to keep their children.
7. Pets: The victim may not be able to take a pet they love. She/he doesn’t want to leave the pet alone with the abuser, in fear of the pet then being abused.
8. Lack of Self Esteem People with self-esteem issues may feel they don’t have what it takes to make it on their own. They may feel they deserve what happens to them. They may have been told by the abuser that no one else would ever want them.

As you can see, the reasons are varied. It’s difficult for many people to leave the perceived safety of what they know for the unknown. Victims don’t need to be re-victimized by those who think they should just leave. We need to build each other up, not tear each other down.

Murder and Domestic Violence

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On April 28, 2013, Patricia Waschbisch was murdered in her home.  In light of the shock, horror and confusion about how someone who worked in the domestic violence field could herself allegedly be a victim of domestic violence murder, we are posting a statement from Rainbow House Domestic Violence Services to our blog.  We know that at times we get a picture in our heads about what a victim should be.  A victim can look like anyone.

With the release of more information about the murder of our leader,
Trish Waschbisch, many are asking how a domestic violence victim
advocate could herself be a victim of domestic violence. To those questions, Rainbow House provides this response.

Part of the tragedy of domestic violence homicide is that it leaves so
many questions unanswered. As much as we would like to hear from
Trish, to know what she was going through, to better understand this
horrible act, we never will.

Therefore, to honor Trish’s memory and legacy, we should focus our
attention and the conversation about her death on what we do know.

First, domestic violence never happens because of something the victim
did or didn’t do. To imply anything to the contrary is unjust to the
victim and minimizes the responsibility of the offender.

Second, domestic violence can happen to anyone. We should never think
someone is immune. Although it is understandable, we should not be
shocked that domestic violence is perpetrated against an advocate or a
police officer or a community leader. We should not be shocked because
domestic violence is not something the victim controls.

Third, we should not be shocked that an advocate was a victim because
domestic violence is solely the choice and responsibility of the offender. What should be truly shocking is that Brent Kaempf allegedly took Trish’s life. We should never become so desensitized to the perpetration of domestic violence that we lose sight of the perpetrator’s role and sole responsibility. We should be shocked that a man who attended domestic violence victim fundraisers, who knew what domestic violence was all about because of his partner’s work, would allegedly himself commit a domestic violence homicide.  It is shocking and despicable.

We believe Trish would want us to create greater awareness about
domestic violence, to break down the misconception that domestic
violence can’t happen to certain people and to refocus the conversation from what we think the victim should have done to the what the perpetrator actually did do. We ask everyone to join us in this effort.