YOU KNOW HOW IT IS when a conversation starts and then rolls seamlessly from one topic into another and soon you have these thoughts spinning through your brain.
Here’s how it started: Sunday morning a friend told me that her husband and youngest daughter rode along with their police officer son/brother during a Christmas night shift in another city in another state. That shadowing proved uneventful. I’m sure that was just fine with my friend. No mother likes to see her son placed in a dangerous situation.
I shared that ride-along tidbit with my husband and son during Sunday dinner and then we were talking about my Uncle Bob, a retired Minneapolis police officer, and how he always said domestics were the most dangerous calls. Makes sense given the emotions involved.
The holidays often see an increase in the number of domestics. Daily we hear and read reports of (mostly) women assaulted and sometimes murdered in cases of domestic violence. Saturday evening a woman was fatally stabbed in St. Paul, allegedly by her ex-boyfriend.
Last week the Faribault Daily News, the newspaper in my community, published this headline: Faribault man charged with assaulting girlfriend, two police officers. The story included a photo of the 28-year-old repeat domestic abuse offender. I think I recognize the man.
In late October, I phoned local law enforcement when I witnessed a young man verbally attacking, grabbing and shoving a young woman. I believe it is the same man now charged with fourth-degree assault on a peace officer and domestic assault. My stomach churned. A year ago, this man was convicted of felony domestic assault and violation of an order for protection. Now this.
When will this ever end, this psychological control and manipulation, the physical and/or verbal assaults, the lies and deception that define domestic abuse? When?
I’m not privy to details about the Faribault man’s past. But any felony charge and conviction is serious. And now to read in a newspaper story of his live-in girlfriend found crying and huddling in the corner of the living room holding their two-year-old…after she was allegedly attacked.
I just want to take that young mother in my arms, embrace her, rescue her, and tell her everything will be OK.
But I can’t save her; only she can decide to leave her abuser. I can’t promise her everything will be alright, that the judicial system will work, that this man will never harm her, or any other woman, ever again.
It would be all too easy to give up. Yet, we cannot. Ever. As a society, as human beings, as parents who love our daughters, as sisters who love our sisters, as friends who love friends, we cannot simply walk away.
Like the Hope Center in Faribault, recently awarded a $135,000 federal grant to fight domestic violence through The Blueprint for Safety Project, we must continue to do all we can to educate ourselves about domestic violence and to say, “No more.”
Like NO MORE, a national public awareness and engagement campaign focused on ending domestic violence and sexual assault, we must do all we can to end domestic violence. NO MORE ran a spot during Sunday afternoon’s Minnesota Vikings-Chicago Bears football game. That outreach to football fans was good to see.
No more. Strong words. Let’s speak them, believe them, practice them.
If you witness a case of domestic abuse, whether verbal or physical or both, call the cops. In the case of the 28-year-old Faribault man, officers were responding “to a report of a woman being grabbed by a man outside a home,” according to the newspaper article.
Someone saw. Someone called. Someone decided, no more.
© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling