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Posts tagged ‘domestic violence’

Death in a Far Away Community

Death in a Far Away Community
My entry today concerns the untimely, tragic death of Jessie Davis, the woman who disappeared from her home two weeks ago.

Davis, who was pregnant with her second child, a girl she had already named Chloe, was found dead this weekend, leaving her two-year old son without his mommy.

Davis’ boyfriend, Bobby Joe Cutts, the father of both of her children, has been arrested in connection with her death. He had been considered a suspect almost from the beginning of the search for Davis.

In an interview on the “Today Show”, aired Monday morning, Cutts’ former girlfriend alluded to a long-term pattern of domestic violence perpetrated by Cutts. She said that one of the most recent incidents of violence was a phone call filled with threats against her.

Domestic violence is a scar on the face of American society. It tears lives apart — the lives of the victims, their families and friends.

As Cutts’ former girlfriend managed to escape, a Las Cruces woman also managed to escape with her six children. Stacy Gaugler broke free and learned about the dynamics of domestic violence from her counselors at La Casa, a shelter for the victims of domestic violence, which is located in Las Cruces. Gaugler made the decision that she would never again find herself in a violent relationship; she also decided to enroll at New Mexico State University, in the School of Social Work.

Gaugler graduated from NMSU with her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. She is closer to her goal of lobbying for stronger laws against domestic violence and for the protection of those most affected by this crime.

I will publish my interview with Gaugler in another post this week. It is a harrowing, frightening story, one that I hope makes many people think and take time to pause and say a quiet prayer for the souls of Jessie and Chloe Davis, as well as for the many unnamed victims.

May God hold Jessie and Chloe in His hands for eternity. God bless both of you and all victims of domestic violence.


More About Domestic Violence

More About Domestic Violence
I hope my entry today won’t leave you feeling down, but I’d like to illustrate what domestic violence is, and what it does.

First, it is not about “love” or “passion”. Domestic violence is a crime. It is also about the abuser gaining and keeping control over his or her partner. It is not always male abusing female; there are too many instances of females abusing male romantic partners.

The abuser resorts to various kinds of domestic violence in order to keep the abused partner in the relationship. The partner experiencing the abuse also finds they are losing control of various aspects of life, such as money, decisions, finding or keeping a job and contact with family members or friends.

The abuser uses violence to help him/herself feel better or more powerful. “If I keep him with me, I’m attractive and lovable. If I get all of the power in our relationship, I’m strong.”

The victim of domestic violence never knows when to expect their partner to become angry or violent. The outbursts are generally unpredictable. This does not stop the victim from trying to find the “key” to gaining the approval of the violent partner, and stopping the violence once and for all. “If I just get dinner on the table on time every night, or if I could just make the food exactly the way s/he likes it, s/he’ll love me and stay loving. If I say things in just the right tone, I won’t get hit or yelled at.”

The victim is blamed for everything — “If you had just not burned the potatoes, I wouldn’t have been ‘forced’ to throw them at you. If you had just gotten home from the store exactly when I told you, you wouldn’t have gotten your face smashed into the wall.”

At first the incidents of violence are infrequent. As the abuser gains more and more control, the incidents can become more frequent and more violent.

Domestic violence is not just about hitting the victim. Violence can also be forced sex or unwanted sexual practices. Threats to hurt a loved one, such as a child or a pet, are very effective. Frequent put-downs are another characteristic of violence. The abuser also works to isolate the abused partner from friends, co-workers and family members, telling the partner, “They just want to make you look bad or get you in trouble. They don’t care about you. They don’t love you like I do.” Domestic violence can also consist of the partner threatening to harm themselves, children in the relationship or other loved ones in order to maintain control. Abusers often keep “tabs” on their partners, calling at unpredictable times of the day to ensure their partner is at home “where s/he belongs, and not out on the town”. Abusers control the money, keeping the partner on a strict allowance. They stop by the partner’s place of employment, checking on them and trying to intimidate them. Abusers use emotional abuse, such as, “You’re so fat. You’re ugly. Nobody will love you. You’re stupid. You don’t know how to talk. You don’t know how to dress. Look at her! She’s so hot! How could I have ever loved you?”

Victims don’t have to stay victims; they can seek out help from trusted friends. They can make plans to get away; they can contact their local domestic violence shelter and get counseling to find out what domestic violence is, and how they have been victimized. Remember, the danger to an abused partner and any children in the relationship is highest at the time that partner is attempting to escape.

I will check back in with you tomorrow, and post an excerpt from Stacy’s story.

Please take care,


Stacy’s Story, Part One

Stacy’s Story, Part One
Stacy Gaugler is a petite woman. Her hair is chestnut brown, framing a beautiful, delicately-boned face. As she speaks, the memories of her past shadow her eyes like misty ghosts. She is casually dressed. Her eyes sweep the Subway restaurant frequently, checking the exits and people as they come in. She sits defensively.

Stacy is a survivor of domestic violence. She suffered abuse as a child, so she never knew that her adult relationships could be different. Sam’s * abuse propelled Stacy and her six children into La Casa, a domestic violence shelter in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Her stay helped her to rebuild her life and learn what domestic violence is. Stacy graduated from New Mexico State University’s School of Social Work program with her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work just over one month ago, on May 13, 2007. She completed her internship at La Casa, where she and her children were temporary residents.

Domestic violence is any kind of physical, emotional, mental or sexual attack that one partner in an intimate relationship commits upon the other partner in order to gain or keep control.

Stacy agreed to talk with me last September (2006) and tell me about her own experiences with a violent partner. She talked about one very frightening and painful event, which led to the loss of an unborn child. This was only one of the many violent episodes that marked her relationship with Sam. It would not be the episode that caused Stacy to escape her relationship, although it led to the deterioration of the relationship.

“We were living in Houston at the time. We lived across the apartment complex from some friends. I was six months pregnant with my fourth child. While we were at our friends’ house, we were discussing basketball. My team is the Phoenix Suns, and I said something. Sam gave me ‘the look’ and I shut up.

“We went home. He beat me bad. I was on the floor; he was kicking me on the head, in the stomach, on my back and legs. He pulled me by my hair from the living room to our bedroom. Afher a couple of hours of this, he passed out.

“The next day, while I was picking up my daughter at the bus stop, I started bleeding badly. I thought I was losing the baby.” She pauses and bites her lip.

Stacy seemed to need time to come back to the present, even though she said she was okay talking about her experiences with domestic violence.

“I kept bleeding and passing clots. I saved the clots, ’cause I didn’t know what the baby would look like at that stage. Sam took me to the hospital, and the doctor told me that I was far enough along that, if I started to lose the baby, I would have contractions. I went home and stayed in bed.

“Sam went to work the day after I went to the hospital. I got up and braided his hair, which was long back then, and I went back to bed because I was having more contractions. The contractions stopped. I got up and went to the bathroom. I lost the baby in the toilet. I called Sam. I put the baby in a Ziploc bag. Same came home and put his head on my knees, crying and saying he was sorry. I told him it wasn’t his fault.”

*Not Stacy’s former partner’s real name

I will complete Stacy’s story at a later time. I want to give you time to digest what happened to this young woman; I also want to give you time to regain your emotional equilibrium, because this is a very upsetting, graphic story.

Please be assured that Stacy is a very real, very strong woman, and has managed to raise all six of her children, while keeping them safe. She has taught them what she has learned.

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