Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

No more December 30, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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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.”

 

NO MORE logo

The signature blue “vanishing point” in the NO MORE campaign logo evolved from the concept of zero, as in zero incidences of domestic violence and sexual assault.

 

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 logo

 

 

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.

 

NO MORE logo

 

Someone saw. Someone called. Someone decided, no more.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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32 Responses to “No more”

  1. KerryCan Says:

    Excellent points made here on such an important subject! It seems to me that, gradually, we, as a society, are getting more aware and less willing to turn a blind eye to domestic violence–at least I hope so.

  2. treadlemusic Says:

    I have been observing such events, and their rising frequency, for some time. I told myself that the numbers ‘seem’ to be higher because…..better reporting or just higher population numbers resulting in more of such things or….just maybe there are more of these occurring!!! It seems that, for many, these are “dark” days and the search for happiness, success, or whatever, has resulted in a loss of hope that things will/can change or (as we are told in the Bible) , as it is written, in the latter days there will be an increase in wickedness. You are so right that this time of year brings high stress when the true chasm is revealed that exists between what the world (and our own strength) offers and what our Sovereign God offers in His Son….Praise Him!! The shortest of days/the longest of nights….there is much that can be illustrated.
    A truly heart-rending post but one that may spur each of us to action as it is warranted.

  3. Dan Traun Says:

    This is a complex and complicated topic that is seemingly straight-forward looking in. One would think that it is easy to remove yourself from the abusive situation, but there is often more to the story that complicates the decision for the victim.

    • You are spot on correct, Dan, about this being a complex and complicated issue. It is important that we educate ourselves so that we can begin to understand. And you clearly understand.

      One of the comments on the Daily News article truly troubled me. “Faribaultresident” wrote, in part: “…he’s clearly not had an encounter with the wrong girls’ family. It’s just a matter of time…”

      This person, in my opinion, does not understand domestic abuse, that you cannot “rescue” a victim. Key words to remember are that an abuser controls and manipulates. They are masters at those skills.

      Dan, please feel free to add more insights. Your initial comment has already provided additional valuable perspective.

      • Dan Traun Says:

        I wouldnt dismiss the family encounter provided it was effective in removing the abuser from the picture; however, you would not want any actions to bring retaliation on the abused. Ensuring the victums safety would be paramount with any sort of intervention – verbal or otherwise.

      • How do you determine whether an encounter will be effective? How do you protect the victim from retaliation? I think those would be the difficulties. You clearly know way more about this subject than me and I very much value your input, Dan.

        This discussion today is proving educational and thought provoking. And that’s because of individuals like you and Missy and Almost Iowa and others who write from a personal and/or professional perspective. Or simply just care. I appreciate every comment on this subject.

      • Dan Traun Says:

        It is impossible to insure such things. Although it may be tempting to lash out at the abuser it is likely not the best couse of action for several reasons.

      • Your response to my questions definitely makes sense. Thanks for the follow-up.

  4. Almost Iowa Says:

    I spent ten years with the MPD and sixteen with the BCA. No, I am not a cop. Law enforcement employees are divided into two categories, sworn and sworn at. 🙂

    During that time, I went on a lot of ride-alongs and yes, DV calls are the worst. Often times, the subject are drunk, high and utterly unpredictable.

    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?

    When you wrote this, you described the common perception of domestic violence. While it is true, (don’t get me wrong, it is very true) it is only one profile of behavior. There are other profiles that must be addressed

    The most common form, the form most of us will encounter in our lives is: he and she get into an argument and emotions escalate. Someone hits someone and someone hits back. At that point, two crimes have been committed and law enforcement becomes involved.

    Frequently the subjects become outraged at the legal system. Why are you arresting him? Why are you arresting me? Who is the victim? Who is the abuser?

    We need to talk about this. It is never acceptable to hit anyone. It is never acceptable to hit someone because someone hit you. It is always wise to de-escalate our arguments before the shouting starts. People need to learn how to argue without fighting.

    Lastly, our culture and media needs to change.

    Try a little experiment. Hollywood has gotten the message, it almost never portrays a male hitting a female in a comic light but count the number of times in the next week that you see a woman slap, punch or crotch-kick her boyfriend in the movies or television. The last time I kept count, I tallied 110. Each of those incident was domestic violence and if they happened in real life would be dangerous because people hit back and end result is unpredictable.

    Again, addressing the more common but less violent forms of abuse should take nothing away from the more chronic form. Both exist and both need to be talked about..

    • Thank you for adding to the discussion here.

      Your points are well taken (and ones of which I was aware, but I condensed when writing my post). I appreciate that you brought up the issue of anger and how that factors into the whole situation of domestic violence. There’s a whole lot of blame that the abuser puts on anyone but himself (or herself). Blame the victim. Blame the past. Blame law enforcement. The list goes on.

      And I think you’re spot-on correct about Hollywood. Does Hollywood play a role in making violence appear more acceptable and normal? Probably. Thoughts?

      I sincerely appreciate your insights. This is how we all learn. Thank you.

  5. I worry that as a culture we are back-sliding a bit, at least with the younger hip-hop generation where the music celebrates a sort of misogyny. Maybe I’m just influenced by so much of what I’ve seen on the news lately. It seems, and I emphasize “seems”, that episodes like those we’ve seen in elevators on TMZ are not all that uncommon. Interesting what Almost Iowa observes because in the famous Jay-Z elevator attack, it was a woman assaulting him. If you listen to the lyrics of some of today’s popular music, while not exactly advocating beating your woman, you’ll notice an immensely demeaning quality to it which certainly doesn’t lead to treating one another with respect. Is there a trickle-down aspect to pop culture which negatively influences our younger people? I think so.

    • Some more insightful comments. Thank you. I really appreciate when we get a good thread of discussion going here with many voices.

      I’ll admit that I don’t listen to hip hop or much of today’s modern music, but your assessment is likely correct.

  6. This post made me think of my Sisters Ex all over again. I think that these abusers have such unhappy and miserable lives. That they drag anyone and everyone down with them. Then they play the victim card when it back fires on them. They just don’t get it. Even worse is the emotional control they have over these women who think that they really can’t live without that particular man in their lives. It heartbreaking for family to witness.

    • I’ve been waiting for your comment, Missy, because you understand first-hand how abuse reaches beyond the victim, into the hearts and lives of family members. How can it not? You have that perspective to offer. That helps educate others and gives each of us a better understanding of domestic abuse.

      I know your heart hurts, how deeply you miss your dear, sweet sister. Thank you for being a strong voice for Brittany, for setting aside your own grief in this moment to share your thoughts.

  7. hotlyspiced Says:

    What a terrible situation however it’s all too common. I’m glad someone called the authorities about this thug/abuser. Hopefully he’ll be off to a very long jail sentence so the abused woman can get on with her life xx

  8. No More is GREAT – I am familiar with it from my 8 to 5 job – need to spread the word and you just did that!!! Thank you and Take Care 🙂

  9. EW Says:

    Very well written, Audrey. I admire your willingness to call the police when you witnessed the altercation rather than saying “not my problem”. Brava!

  10. shalilah2002 Says:

    Mothers have to teach their sons to respect women and to respect and give their spouses the warmth and caring they need. Hopefully the wives will give it back. This starts
    in this home. Mommas boys aren’t always good.

  11. Jackie Says:

    A well written and very informative post Audrey, you never know who might stumble across this information and be helped by it. Whether it be the one being manipulated/ abused, or someone getting up the courage to report a situation they know is harmful to someone. Praying for those who are in abusive relationships, that they would open their eyes and realize their worth is not dependent on the manipulation and abuse from another person.

  12. Your passion is clear on his topic, Audrey.

  13. Audrey, I’d like to do more to promote “No More.” Can you suggest a good speaker on this issue for our church? Or would you be willing to come to Redeemer and speak?

    • This is a great idea, to have a guest speaker come to your church to talk about “NO MORE.” I wish more churches would consider this. I would suggest reaching out to your local domestic abuse shelter. Is there one in Owatonna? Local would, in my opinion, be the best way to start. I will be in touch with you via email.


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