A Tribute to Womanhood

Welcome to "I Am Woman"...a tribute to all those women who had the courage and perseverance to stand up and fight for their rights. Thanks to those who came before us we enjoy a freedom unknown to women not too long ago. But, sadly, in many parts of the world, women continue to be repressed. In fact, even in this country there are women living today under the threat of violence...completely controlled by a violent spouse. Some may make it; others won't. Hopefully, one day ALL women will be free. May that day come soon.


Working With Batterers

To those who abuse: the sin is yours, the crime is yours, and the shame is yours. To those who protect the perpetrators: blaming the victims only masks the evil within, making you as guilty as those who abuse. Stand up for the innocent or go down with the rest.

   Flora Jessop

I'm a retired substance abuse counselor and a graduate of a victim advocacy program.  Some of the stories I heard in my woman's group would blow your mind.  It breaks your heart when you hear what some of these women have gone through.  But then my agency assigned me to run a batterer's group and some of the things I heard there were even worse.  All of my men, and my woman (yes, women batter too), were on parole and fulfilling one of their mandates because they had domestic violence issues in their history.   Being a once victim and now a survivor I was a bit hesitant at first, but it was an experience that I learned so much from.

Most did not want to be there, but fear of going back to prison made them very compliant.  Several of them denied any history and questioned why they were there.  Others, including my lady, were pretty open and forthcoming.  They admitted their mistakes and appeared to have a genuine desire to correct them.  While those in denial refused to participate aside from giving their name and saying they just wanted to listen, those that were eager for change in their lives were outspoken and open about their past.  Most had suffered or seen abuse when they were growing up. (The Cycle of Violence)  and just followed in their parents footsteps. And, then, there were some who showed no remorse from what they have done.  (True story, but fake names)

Arthur was a well-to-do banker.  To his colleagues and friends, he was mild-mannered,  friendly, and kind.  To his wife, he was a tyrant, ruling the roost with an iron fist.  They had been married for about 20 years, and their children just about grown when the wife decided enough was enough so she decided that she wanted a divorce.  She told him one night after they both got home from work.  He flew into a rage and left the house.  

She had gone to bed and was about to start reading her book when she heard the front door slam.  Before she knew what was happening barged into the room and started beating her with a barbell.  The children, hearing the disturbance, were standing in the door watching as he beat her to a bloody pulp.  It took hundreds of stitches to close up her face and several surgeries to make her look human again.  The judge threw the book at him in a case that set precedence in New York State.  Not only did he receive a rather lengthy prison sentence, but his wife was awarded ALL of his money and valuables.  

Arthur ended up in my group when he was released from prison.  He was very out-spoken, but not in a good way.  He was angry with the judge and angry that his wife 'that bitch' got everything.  He kept repeating how unfair it was.  What struck me was there was NO REMORSE whatsover.  He didn't care what he had done to her.  All he cared about was that she had his money.

About 4 months in he announced in group that he had met someone and was planning on getting married.  My co-worker, who was his counselor, wrote a letter to his parole officer that, in his opinion, it was okay??? for him to get married.  His parole officer immediately picked up the phone and called me.  "I can't give my okay on this.  He has never once shown remorse.  That's a sign that he might and probably will do it again. No, I can't with a clear conscience say that he is ready to be married."  The parole officer denied his request, and even went a step further.  He could not stop  Arthur from seeing the woman, but he COULD stop them from living together.  

There is no moral to this story.  I only tell it to point out that we cannot help them all.  Change comes from within.  So, be very careful, please.

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