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Murphy Milano’s Exceptional Victims Handbook is Here!

April 15, 2010 Comments off

Crime Time

Justice for all.
Robin Sax is a former deputy district attorney for Los Angeles County who specialized in child sexual assault cases. She is the author of Predators and Child Molesters. See full bio
April 14, 2010, Law and Crime

Murphy Milano’s Exceptional Victims Handbook is Here!

Thank you Murphy Milano for giving us this important guidebook!
Published on April 14, 2010

Just when the public has demonstrated a belief that domestic violence is a crime of the past, the case of survivor producer Bruce Beresford-Redman makes the headlines.  It seems that all the ingredients for a domestic homicide are present.

And if this case is not enough,  we have seen domestic violence creep back into pop culture and celebrity justice – a la the Chris Brown case and the Charlie Sheen cases, as examples.   There is no arguing that there is a problem, but like everything else one can’t help to ask: Is there a solution?  While leaving the abuse is the only solution, that is often a lot easier said than done.  But leaving and preparing just got one step easier for victims thanks to tireless victim’s advocate Susan Murphy Milano.  In her book “Times Up”, Murphy Milano recognizes that domestic violence in not simply a crime de jour. It a real crime that was around well before OJ and will still exist well beyond Brown and Sheen.

To say that Susan Murphy Milano has hit the nail on the head (again) is a total understatement!  Murphy Milano’s book is well crafted and timely.  She not only discusses the “problem” but takes it one step further in this soup-to-nuts handbook. In twelve easy to read chapters, she has created a realistic prescription: offering real-life solutions that will have long term benefits in the criminal justice system for victims of domestic violence. She gives concrete suggestions for how you can escape a violent relationship and get out with your life. For example, in Chapter 4 (Declaration of Independence), Murphy Milano describes and prescribes an Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit – a document to help in the serious, dangerous, and daunting process of leaving an abuser. The concept is simple: leaving your abuse requires planning. The chapter actually has a sample document for use. It is genius! The affidavit is a wonderful tool to document the truth as to the circumstances that may have lead to death or injury and offers hope to hold the abuser responsible within the legal system.   With this sample, you would write out your wishes, the details of the abuse, and of course sign, have some witness it, get it notarized and keep in a secure location.

Take these circumstances as an example:

You are in a dating relationship. Maybe the person does not even reside in the same state as you. He is angry that you broke off the relationship. You have a “feeling” that he is planning to harm you because he cannot have you in his life anymore. He leaves threatening messages on your voice mail or text messages you that make you uneasy  afraid. E-mails arrive filled with high emotions and possible threats of what might happen if you do not come to your senses. Maybe he sends a threatening e-mail indicating he will take his own life if you do not return to him. This, too, is a sign you could be harmed. You need to complete this document and follow the instructions provided.

The example of how the document should be filled out is included in the chapter, as well as a copy of the actual document, which you can duplicate, and use.

But perhaps the biggest gem in the book is the recommendation to film the Declaration. From a prosecutor’s perspective – for so many reasons – having this video explaining why you are leaving, why you are concerned, showing of videos will be the best evidence in the worst possible scenario.

If you have access to video equipment, she suggests, a great way to record your history of abuse/stalking is to make a video tape. If there someone at work whom you trust, or you a member of a church that would be willing to make a brief recording for you – take the opportunity to do it and then send the tape somewhere where the abuser cannot find it.

One thing I would add to Murphy Milano’s incredible suggestions to victims: if you cannot get a will notarized or have a witness present (perhaps because your abuser is watching you, or time is of the essence), I would recommend creating what is known as a holographic will. This is a will that has been entirely handwritten and signed. Normally, a will must be signed by a witness who attests to the validity of the document. However, in many jurisdictions, holographic wills will be treated equally under the law.

Can you imagine how valuable it would have been for Stacy Peterson’s family, for example, to have a Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit or a video, or handwritten (holographic) will.  Stacy is still missing, unfortunately, and the family has no peace. It is just speculation at this point, but most are convinced her husband had a hand in her disappearance. Also, her children and parents have no direction on what to do with her belongings. You can see how far this simple preparation would have gone in the Peterson case.

We know the only way to escape domestic abuse is to leave the abuser, but we also all know that this is MUCH easier said then done. It often takes many baby steps. Victims need some hand-holding in the process. Murphy Milano reaches out and offers her hand – with a key (almost literally). It is now up to the victims out there to garner courage to take up this book and implement all the fanatic nuggets of advice scattered throughout it. Do it with haste! Do not spend one more day in your abusive relationship!

Thank you to Murphy Milano for giving us, what Nancy Grace so aptly states, is a succinct, well-written guidebook that is a must have for anyone who is a victim or who works with victims of domestic abuse.

More information: www.susanmurphymilano.com

Rihanna showing courage and poise as she tells her story

November 8, 2009 Comments off

November 6, 2009rihanna-interview_l

loveisrespect.org

National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline

We are seeing a third media frenzy over the Chris Brown and Rihanna story.  This time, the world is seeing a poised and courageous Rihanna talk about a very confusing and painful time in her life.  She is still trying to sort it out for herself.

One thing she has realized is that young girls are watching her and taking her actions seriously. In the Good Morning America interview, she said she could not take that “lightly.”

You may have noticed that some stories refer to her story as domestic violence and others as dating violence. It doesn’t really matter what you call it. Rihanna was hurt by a man who said he loved her. It was not her fault. It was his choice.

We will continue to see more of this story in the news as we all try to understand how this could have happened. It is a good discussion to have. Thank you, Rihanna for your willingness to share with us.

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November 7, 2009
Posted: 04:29 PM ET

By Sheryl Cates
CEO, The Hotline and loveisrespect

Rihanna has shown tremendous courage in speaking out, and telling her story WILL SAVE LIVES.

As a celebrity who is admired by millions of young women around the world, Rihanna has the ability to capture the attention of the nation and inspire others to leave an abusive relationship before it is too late.  She has chosen to speak out to ensure that young women going through similar situations will see that this is a serious issue and they need to take action.  Her voice will give courage to women who are suffering in silence to speak out and take action.

I’ve been asked why Rihanna should feel embarrassed and ashamed and maybe even guilty, but these feelings are characteristic of what happens when violence takes place in an intimate relationship.  You love this person and he hurt you.  It still doesn’t mean that it is your fault.  The violence was a choice that the abuser made.

Rihanna’s experience illustrates the need for education in schools.  Dating violence is preventable.  It is not an accident.

I encourage anyone who is in an abusive relationship to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224.  You can also visit www.thehotline.org for information.  We are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help victims of domestic violence.

If you are a teen, sign on for a live chat with a peer advocate at www.loveisrespect.org or call us at 1-866-331-9474.

Call us.  We are here to help 24 hours a day.

Rihanna Breaks Her Silence on Chris Brown Saga

November 4, 2009 Comments off

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oneindia

Wednesday, November 4, 2009, 12:39

Washington, (ANI): Rihanna wants to turn things around after the infamous domestic violence incident involving former boyfriend Chris Brown and shed some light on the reality of domestic violence. The ‘Umbrella’ singer’s ex-beau Brown, 20, assaulted her before the Grammy Awards kicked off in Los Angeles. But now the stunning pop singer is embracing change.

Named with four others “Woman of the Year” by Glamour, the 21-year-old Barbadian singer has said that despite the shame owing to the media frenzy over the incident, she wants to use her experience to make young women aware of the “big secret” about abusive relationships.

“Teenage girls can”t tell their parents that their boyfriend beats them up…It”s one of the things we (women) hide because it”s embarrassing,” CBS News quoted Rihanna as saying. “I want to give as much insight as I can to young women because I feel like I represent a voice that isn”t really heard. Now I can help speak for those women,” she added.

I post the articles above and below with pending questions as well as concerns.

Since Rihanna’s assault became public many felt that she had every opportunity to be a voice for victims of domestic violence if she would have only pressed charges instead of going into hiding.   The impact of her voice would have been a loud message to all, “I DO NOT AND WILL NOT TOLERATE ABUSE”.  This did not happen.  Many were disappointed to see/read/hear that she did not come forward, press charges and then explored rekindling a relationship with Chris.   But then again, this is a very common saga/cycle.  The vicious cycle of domestic violence:

cycleofviolence

This assault brought national and international attention to domestic violence and abuse but was not the first time between Chris Brown and Rihanna.

We’ve witness Chris Brown trying to salvage his career on national television and in interviews.  Now Rihanna comes forward.

What are the guidelines for picking  “Woman/Women of  the Year” awards given by Glamour?  Glamour choose five women for 2009, Rihanna, Maria Shriver, Michelle Obama, Amy Poehler and Serena.  “They’ve got strength, talent, altruism, humor, and intellect in spades–and did we mention incredible style, to boot?” stated on Glamour’s website.

I pray that Rihanna has come to her decision on her own accord to speak out and not pressured by her award by Glamour nor others (agents and camp).  I pray that this is NOT a ploy to salvage her career but rather be a voice and Advocate for victims of Domestic Violence.  However, Rihanna is still healing as the transition from victim to survivor takes time and everyone heals in their own time.  We all know the impact that Rihanna can/will have on her fans (especially our young people) regarding domestic violence – a considerable impact of awareness only if for the “right” reasons.

However, the mixed signals that were sent to all and now again can be damaging in many ways.  Rihanna definitely has our attention and we are waiting to hear from her lips to our ears what her intentions are.  Any person of fame that advocates for a cause has to be willing to step up and be ready and able to be in the spotlight of their cause.  How will Rihanna handle her role?

Time will tell.

Rihanna Breaks Her Silence on Chris Brown Saga

Rihanna Tells Diane Sawyer: ‘This Happened to Me … It Can Happen to Anyone’

By LAUREN SHER and SHEILA MARIKAR

Nov. 4, 2009

After months of silence, pop sensation Rihanna is talking publicly about her relationship with her ex-boyfriend, Chris Brown, and the February 2009 events that led to his arrest.

For the first time, Rihanna tells her story. Thursday on GMA, Friday on 20/20.

“The more in love we became, the more dangerous we became for each other,” she told ABC News’ Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview set to air on “Good Morning America” at 7am ET Thursday, Nov. 5. Their full interview will air on “20/20” at 10p E.T. Friday, Nov. 6.

In August, Brown was sentenced to five years of probation, six months of community service and one year of domestic violence counseling for assaulting the 21-year-old pop singer the night before the Grammy Awards.

“This happened to me … it can happen to anyone,” Rihanna told Sawyer in the “20/20” interview, which will also be seen on “GMA.”

Rihanna told Sawyer that Brown was “definitely my first big love” before the dramatic incident, which resulted in the tabloids tearing apart the couple’s seemingly fairy tale relationship.

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