Assault by strangulation charged in 3 separate incidents
Alleged assault leaves woman with fractured hip
The headlines, written within five days of each other, recently bannered the second page of my local newspaper, the Faribault Daily News.
From the bold headers, my eyes moved down to the copy that told of hands and belt around necks, black eyes, punches and threats and stalking and, finally, that push resulting in a broken hip.
The news stories are difficult to read. Such violence perpetrated upon another human being seems unfathomable. Yet, it happens every day. Here in my community of Faribault. And in your community, too.
I am thankful none of these women died. They easily could have given the choking, the hits, the pushes and punches and more. Already in Minnesota this year, 21 people have been murdered due to domestic violence. Let’s call it what it is—murder. The term domestic violence has always seemed to me to diminish the crime.
Semantics aside, we need to understand that domestic violence is pervasive in our society. And we need to understand that domestic abuse and violence are rooted in power, control and manipulation. The abuse often begins insidiously. That guy who seems initially charming early on in a relationship emerges as a controlling narcissist. He twists and turns words and situations to his advantage, to make himself look good, to degrade women, to get his selfish way, to gain power. He’ll lie, belittle, intimidate, mimic, isolate and the list goes on. He’ll never accept responsibility for his actions. The woman is to blame. Not him. So he claims.
But she isn’t to blame. No woman deserves psychological, spiritual, emotional, mental, financial, technological or physical abuse. Ever. We as a society need to recognize that.
We need also to stop blaming women for staying in relationships with abusers. We need to believe these women, support them, protect them, help them. I’m tired of abusers who get second and third chances—until they seriously injure or kill someone. Enough.
Leaving an abuser seems simple enough. Just walk away, right? It’s not that easy when someone is controlling you, monitoring you (including cell phone usage), threatening you in subtle, and not so subtle, ways. Fear, and “love,” hold great power.
For those of you in any type of abusive relationship, I encourage you to take that first bold step of confiding in someone you trust whether a friend, family member, co-worker, neighbor, clergy, advocate or whomever. Once you’ve done that, devise a safe plan to permanently leave your abuser. You are in greatest danger when you attempt to leave the person abusing you.
Turn to professionals. Within every county, if not community, you will find professionals (advocates in women’s shelters and resource centers) trained to help. You are so worth it. Don’t wait for fingers to press upon your airway, for hands to push you to the ground, for fists to blacken your eyes. Trust your gut and yourself. Get out. You deserve to live your life free of abuse. You are stronger than you think, stronger than the person who thinks he owns you.
To those women in my county who were allegedly assaulted, threatened and/or stalked by Michael, Triston, Mason, John, Richard and Jeremiah, I hope this marks a new beginning for you free of abuse. I hope, too, that the criminal justice system works for you. Stop believing your abuser’s lies. Believe in yourself and in your strength.
FYI: If you are in an abusive relationship and in immediate danger, call 911.
Texting 911 is now available in Minnesota (and other states), a service which will be especially valuable to victims of domestic violence who are unable to safely call for help. Read all about that new service by clicking here.
Note: I realize that men can also be victims of domestic abuse and violence. But because the majority are women, I wrote this post from their perspective.
© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling