Tamron Hall: How domestic violence hurt my family
It starts with the words “I love you,” and it ends with a punch in the face.
It starts with the line, “It’s us against the world,” and it ends with her against the wall in tears.
It starts with the suggestion of what to wear, and it ends with him saying, “I tear you down to build you up. You are mine.”
I have heard the stories. I have seen the pain. I have watched a loved one suffer in an abusive relationship, and ultimately die because she just could not bring herself to leave.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. I recently had the honor for the second time to host the awards dinner for a dating violence awareness organization called Day One.
Day One, a New York City-based group, started its journey of helping victims and survivors of abuse in 2003. The goal: to prevent abuse and protect those who suffer at the hands of–in most cases–people they thought loved them. Over a span of seven years, Day One has helped 22,000 young people learn how to identify abuse and to foster and maintain healthy relationships.
Just writing those words, 22,000 young people, sends chills down my spine. Think about it. We live in a world where we must teach young people how to identify abuse. With so many messages and images of what is right and wrong, there is still so much to be taught on this issue. Why is this the case?
Well, how many times do you think an adult (let alone a teenager) believes that a girlfriend or boyfriend calling a hundred times in a row is love? He or she, blinded by love, sometimes does not realize when that person is crossing the line of what is reasonable. Those repeated calls and messages saying, “You will pick up the phone!” are a demand to be heard, whether it’s wanted or not.
How many have assumed that “crazy in love” is a good thing? How many have thought, “He is so crazy about me, he followed me,” or “He is so crazy about me, he came over without calling and cried at my front door,” or “He is so crazy about me, he beat up another boy.” It happens more often than most could imagine.
At this year’s Day One awards dinner, I listened as two smart, independent, and brave young ladies told of the abuse they suffered at the hands of young men they once loved.
Christina told the story of being held hostage in a home and beaten with a belt by the “love of her life.” His love marks came in the form of stitches in her head. One day, he even cornered her outside of her school. He was furious that she had cut off all ties to him. He told Christina, “I will put you in that hospital across the street if you don’t give me your new phone number.” Christina told of how she felt there was no help–somehow, the system was failing her and helping him. It was not until Christina met Ian Harris, an attorney with Day One, that Christina was able to get an order of protection that would keep her former love away for five years–the longest term that can be applied in New York family court. Even so, many young women find all-too-soon that an order of protection, even for five years, is not a guarantee of safety. You ponder that for me. In spite of what she went through, Christina is now a successful young woman, studying law in college and working to help others.
The second speaker was Karin, who, like so many of us, found the man of her dreams her first year in college. But instead of a love story to share for the ages, her story was one of abuse. Karin was isolated from her family and friends as a result of being manipulated by her boyfriend. He uttered the infamous line, “I tear you down so I can build you back up” when Karin asked why he verbally abused her over and over again. Karin found her world closing in on her as every holiday was spent with his family–not her own. He demanded that she spend every hour of the day with him and not her own friends. It’s as if she woke up to a world he built–or should I say, a prison. Karin’s tipping point came when her boyfriend threatened to drive his car off the road–she believed that his goal was to kill them both. Karin soon talked to a counselor and found the strength that she needed to leave the relationship. A short time later, Karin contacted Day One in hopes of becoming a volunteer. Not only is she currently a volunteer, Karin is now in her first year of law school.
Day One cites a recent New York City Teen Health Risk Survey showing that one in ten teenagers had experienced physical or sexual assault in a dating relationship within the previous year. Even more startling, it tells that nearly 1,400 teenagers call the New York City Domestic Violence Hotline each month. Of course, domestic violence isn’t limited to any one city or state–it’s a problem that’s becoming more and more prevalent throughout the entire country.
I could go on forever with facts and figures that might leave your head swirling. Instead, I will leave you with this: Renate, my fun-loving, energetic and streetwise sister is my inspiration for this story. She was found one Sunday morning, facedown in her backyard pool. Her hair had been pulled from the back of her head. Her nails were broken on every finger, indicating that she had fought back. But whom had she been fighting? I will never learn in the form of official charges, but what I can say about her death is that the only person ever considered a suspect or person of interest in the case was the man she loved. She often remarked that they had a “love-hate relationship,” and that they would “break up to make up.” Sadly, on that day, Renate’s view of love ended in struggle and pain. My father always believed that justice would eventually be served, but he passed away only a few years after Renate, and his dream of seeing her killer brought to justice will never be realized.
Day One, and other organizations like it, has made a commitment to so many mothers, daughters, sisters and friends to end domestic abuse. In fact, Day One has reached over 6,000 college students through awareness events. But no matter how far they have come, they still need volunteers, they still need voices and they still need you.
The victims are getting younger. The abusers are getting younger. The clock is ticking…
In memory of
Tamron Hall is the host of NewsNation on MSNBC, which airs weekdays at 2pm. She is also a frequent substitute on NBC’s Today Show
For more information about DayOne, go to: www.dayoneny.org
Respectfully submitted via MSNBC
April 26, 2010
We hear the term, “Domestic Abuse,” thrown around quite a bit and it is worth taking a look at what it really means in our own lives. Is it physical, mental, or both? When does one spouse’s treatment of the other cross the line from just imperfect humans struggling in a relationship to one partner mistreating the other? After all, we know that marriage can be “work” and issues have to be dealt with and ironed out. We are going to disagree, even argue and be mad at each other, and, sometimes, we are not going to actually be able to kiss and make-up before bedtime. When should one start to worry that there is something really wrong with our marriage partnership?
I would say it is when the “partnership” becomes a boss and employee relationship and the boss is someone we would like to fire. While everyone wants power and control in life, a spouse must be willing to share that power and control with their partner, work together to achieve a balance where both parties are satisfied with the equation. Doing so is not a problem for those who love their spouse and want to see their spouse happy and want to achieve a positive and pleasing family life. Working together is an expectation for a committed couple and being good role models for the children is a natural desire for caring parents.
When one spouse becomes the master, putting his or her needs and desires above the spouse’s, doesn’t care how his/her mate feels, ignores the impact of this imbalance on the children, this is abuse – whether it is in the form of emotional manipulation of physical domination.
Ideally, one should wait a reasonable period of time before having children to see if one’s mate is one’s best friend, that you work out fair solutions to problems, that your beloved really loves you, and you are happy together. You need a couple of years, if not more, to find out whether you have just signed up for a partnership or a prison term. If your marriage sucks, having children in it will make it suck more and, worse, it will trap you for years and years as now you have a family you don’t want to destroy.
But, let’s suppose you have already blown it and you are stuck in a nightmare; you are being mentally or physically tortured with regularity and you fear your mate instead of feeling safe in their company. It’s time to make the decision to leave. Susan Milano-Murphy, one of my fellow bloggers at Women in Crime Ink knows well when someone should make a break for it and titles her new book on escaping abuse, TIME’S UP: A Guide on How to Leave an Abusive and Stalking Relationship.
If you are not frightened of your mate, you can simply state you want a separation, make plans to live in different residences, and, if you feel there is any hope through counseling, give your spouse a chance to make a change if he/she really wants to do so. If you think past behavior is pretty much a predictor of future behavior, then you are probably right (because it usually is), and you need to make the best choices you can for the well-being of the children.
But, if you are in a physically dangerous situation, if your spouse has been violent or threatening or coldly psychopathologically scary, you will want to get Susan’s book, TIME’S UP! This book doesn’t merely discuss when you should leave or why you should leave, it tells you HOW you should leave. The book has step-by-step instructions how to covertly make a plan, set-up a safe escape, deal with financial issues, and the paperwork. Susan even takes you line-by-line through the process, the forms, the legal issues…she takes you by the hand, and, believe me, when you are being terrorized and you are an basket case, you don’t need vague ideas, you need specific instructions. TIME’S UP can save your life and your sanity. If you need to get out, get this book before you make a mistake that could be fatal. It is money well spent.
Fort Lauderdale News Seattle Headlines Examiner
April 12, 10:50 PM Seattle Headlines Examiner Isabelle Zehnder
Time’s Up! by Susan Murphy-Milano
Courtesy of Susan Murphy-Milano
Via Lisa Michels
April 12, 2010 – According to Susan Murphy-Milano, Susan Cox Powell is a great example of a woman who could have benefited from her newly released book “Time’s Up!”.
Susan Murphy-Milano believes that with the proliferation of deaths due to domestic violence, something has to be done, something different, and something effective.
Murphy-Milano is a 20-year veteran of family violence, having discovered the bodies of her mother and father after her father shot and killed them both. The memory of that day is forever etched in her memory. She is driven to help other women who are victims of domestic violence in their own homes.
Her newest book, “Time’s Up”, A Guide on How to Leave and Survive Abusive and Stalking Relationships,” was released April 12, 2010. (Click here to order.)
“Time’s Up!” guides the victim towards safety by showing them the unseen pitfalls of leaving a violent relationship and how to navigate around them.
“Time’s Up!” also has explicit details and instructions how to fill out an “Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit”, one of the unique things that Murphy-Milano has created and used through the years in high danger cases which has saved the lives of many.
You can actually live free from a life of abuse and violence using creative approaches developed by Susan Murphy Milano in her new book, “Time’s Up!”
You can’t Google the strategies and escape plans utilized by Susan who has devised a way that works and has been tested by time for over 20 years. Just like DNA, your road map will be uniquely your own because each safety plan is individual.
More than just a “to do” list, this book is a “must do” list if you are caught in a life threatening situation.
- How to properly hire a lawyer,
- How to find an apartment,
- How to keep your personal records safe,
- How to deal with stalking
- How to set up visitation and child support
- How to stay 10 steps ahead of the abuser
Susan Murphy Milano has been in the streets and shelters helping women escape from bad relationships and has developed creative ways out of frightening situations. There are domestic violence organizations and advocates who call on Susan daily to get her expert opinion on cases of battered women and how to get them on a track of freedom and safety. :
“I cannot emphasize how important this book is to all the women in your life. Even if you are in a good, stable relationship, buy this book, keep it handy. One day, when you least expect it, someone close to you will need it. It can save a life—many lives.” `Diane Fanning, author of The Calylee Anthony Case “Mommy’s Liitle Giirl”, “Written in Blood”, ” Gone Forever” St. Martin’s Press ( her website is http://www.dianefanning.com)
Previous books, “Defending Our Lives” and “Moving Out, Moving On” are benchmarks dealing with issues domestic violence safety plans and are used throughout the country as examples of what to do should you be caught in a violent relationship. “Time’s Up!” uses the foundations and helps you to build your own, unique safety plan allowing you to escape safely and rebuild your life.
Following is an excerpt from another book written by Susan Murphy-Milano, “Moving out, moving on”:
If you are in a relationship, you must be treated with respect, which means your boyfriend or partner:
is willing to compromise
lets you feel comfortable being yourself
is able to admit to being wrong
tries to resolve conflict by talking honestly
respects your feelings, your opinions and your friends
accepts you saying no to things you don’t want to do (like sex)
accepts you changing your mind
respects your wishes if you want to end the relationship
When someone loves you; you feel valued, respected and free to be yourself. You shouldn’t be made to feel intimidated or controlled.
Think about your relationship – do you feel respected?
Susan Murphy-Milano is a specialist in family violence and works nationally with domestic violence programs, law enforcement and prosecutors providing technical and consulting services in “high risk” domestic violence and stalking related cases.
Her principal objective is to intervene before a victim is seriously injured or killed.
Murphy-Milano believes if missing women such as Susan Cox Powell, Renee Pernice, Stacy Peterson, and others, had created this abuse document the person responsible for their disappearance would be arrested (click here for abuse document and video).
Murphy-Milano is an advocate for women in abusive relationships across the country. She advocates for stronger laws to protect women. She has helped women feel protected by providing education and a safe haven. Click here for an overview of Susan’s work.
About Susan Murphy-Milano
Susan Murphy-Milano is often praised as one of the most dynamic and engaging speakers of our day in the domestic violence prevention field.
As an expert in the area of intimate partner violence and the prevention of homicide, Susan has created specific tools and procedures which the abused need to safely leave a violent relationship.
Her books, “Defending Our Lives”, “Moving Out, Moving On” and “Time’s Up!” are considered the “bibles” of how to make the move away from abuse and deal with the many confusing situations surrounding violence prevention, stalking, break-up or divorce.
Susan witnessed her father, a decorated Chicago Violent crimes Detective, brutally and violently attack her mother repeatedly. The words “if you leave I will kill you,” turned into reality the night Susan walked into her childhood home and found her mother murdered and her father in the next room dead from a self-inflicted gun-shot wound to the head.
Susan vowed then, and has, since the murder-suicide of her parents, carved out a road map making changes in the way the world looks at violence in and outside the home.
Her books and strategies are taught world-wide and used by law enforcement, domestic abuse advocates, social workers, attorneys, health care workers, human resource departments and domestic violence agencies. The comprehensive strategies and escape plans utilized by Susan have been successful and tested by time for over 20 years.
Susan uses humor, passion, and all her years of experience to motivate her audience to become more effective first responders, advocates and professionals in their work to stop family violence.
Susan’s quest for justice was instrumental in the passage of the Illinois Stalking Law and the Lauternberg Act.
She has been prominently featured in newspapers, magazines, radio and television including: The Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Radio, ABC’S 20/20, Justice Files, E-True Hollywood, CNN, Sunday Today Show Profile, Women’s Day, Family Circle, US News and World Report to name only a few.
She has frequently participated in guest media commentary panels on major news programs. She is a contributor to the online blogs Women and Crime Ink and the crime survivors blog Time’s Up.
Susan Murphy-Milano is the author of “Defending Our Lives” published by Doubleday books and “Moving Out Moving On” when a relationship goes wrong.
Her newest book, “Time’s Up!” A Guide on How to Leave and Survive Abusive and Stalking Relationships, is available on-line and in bookstores.
Susan is host of The Susan Murphy Milano Show and will be participating in the new television show, “Crime Wire” which will examine cases in which the investigations have left questions unanswered and possible criminal activity unexposed. Her Website is www.susanmurphymilano.com.
Until Susan Murphy Milano educated us all on the meaning of the term ‘Domestic Abuse,’ and it’s long term effect on women and children of the abused, anytime we heard of LE going to a home where a husband and wife were ‘arguing,’ one slapped the other stuff is the way we viewed it. Marital discord, family spat, heated argument – those were the terms we read and believed was truth in these situations. The incidents were nothing more than a shrug and head shake of ‘shame on them disgust,’ and quickly forgotten.
I read another blog piece on ‘Psychology Today,’ praising this book and the author, Robin Sax, mentioned OJ Simpson. That mention got me to thinking; I can’t remember spouse abuse of any kind being seriously discussed on talk shows before the OJ trial. Before the murder trial, when OJ Simpson beat on Nicole and she called the cops, they basically overlooked and did not really see abuse for what it really was, domestic violence; they saw him as the great football hero, Nicole as the argumentative wife with an attitude. Unfortunately, we saw domestic violence that way throughout the US long before they made Nicole’s abuse public; wives had an attitude and they were just ungrateful. The first question spouses were and, sadly, often still asked is ‘What did You do to deserve it?’ That question makes my blood pressure rise! In truth, wives do nothing to deserve it! Nobody deserves to be hit or beaten in any way. Now we see ‘marital discord’ that becomes physical for what it is – Abuse! And it’s abuse that could, and too often does, escalate to murder.
Women (and men who are abused) need ‘Time’s Up’. They not only need to read it, to think about their own situations, but need to be proactive and protect themselves and their children from an abuser. I think of Micah Pate, killed in April of 2009, and wonder how often or if she was abused by her husband, Thomas, prior to her murder. He claims accidental shooting but, (and that is a huge but) his story doesn’t add up in my mind. I think Micah could have greatly benefitted from ‘Time’s Up’ and it’s roadmap of advice.
‘Time’s Up’ is the best gift a person can give a friend whom they believe is in an abusive relationship. Teens need this book; teens abusing their girlfriend or boyfriend are more prevalent than many realize. Verbal, emotional and physical abuse is escalating in teens.
To quote Robin Sax – To say that Susan Murphy Milano has hit the nail on the head (again) is a total understatement! How true! That is more than an understatement; Susan has hit the nail dead-center, choreographed a life-saving-roadmap for the abused. No word can adequately express or exemplify how important ‘Time’s Up’ is for victims of abuse.
‘Time’s Up’ is more than a manual, a handbook, it’s more than just another book, it’s a ‘Lifesaver,’ a surefire roadmap chocked full of ways to document evidence and protect yourself; in protecting yourself, you are also protecting your children from a life with an abuser. Hopefully, we will eventually see a copy of ‘Time’s Up’ in every library, every police department, every school, every church and every shelter where those who need help can utilize it and protect themselves from an abuser.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Michigan, United States
- Crime victim advocate with 16 years of experience both in the non -profit and legal sectors. NACP Credentialed Advanced Advocate #N78-877-3724. Domestic Violence Intervention Specialist & Sexual Assault Intervention Specialist I am currently a county-wide advocate housed in the Sheriff’s Department, though not a police employee. Keeps everyone honest and me from selling out.
“Been there, done that…” Susan Murphy- Milano has turned a tired phrase into demonstrable realism through the gift of her newly published book, TIME’S UP: A GUIDE ON HOW TO LEAVE AND SURVIVE ABUSIVE AND STALKING RELATIONSHIPS. Susan’s writing is based on doing. It is based on the irrefutable credential of experience, both as a residual victim of interpersonal violence and a tireless advocate for others who suffer. This book is born from working in the trenches for twenty years and the necessity of crafting working solutions to help ensure individual safety from batters and stalkers.
TIMES UP is a comprehensive guide for women in danger. Every advocate owes it to those they work to assist to obtain this book.The contents provide specific steps towards safety and addresses issues that a person who is stressed and in fear may not think of. This guide can provide structure in the midst of chaos.
Among the tools and forms is the original idea of an “Abuse Affidavit”, a sworn statement detailing the facts of an individual’s victimization, preserving the specifics so they are not lost even if the victim is. It is difficult to think about speaking from the grave but no different than any life insurance policy obtained in consideration for those left behind.
An “Abuse Affidavit” has the additional psychological benefit of being forced face reality and admit that the potential for the ultimate kind of violence exists…and that if it occurs the perpetrator will be held accountable.
Purchase and read TIMES UP as an advocate to continue to learn and practice informed advocacy. Give TIMES UP to concerned friends or family members looking for solutions for a loved one who is in danger. Most of all, find a way to share this valuable guide with the domestic violence and stalking victims you know and work with. It has all the information and tools to empower a crime victim to save her own life.
Advocate Pens Comprehensive Guide on How to Survive Abusive Relationships
Author: David Lohr; ID. Investigate Life
April 10, 2010
“With the proliferation of deaths due to domestic violence, something has to be done, something different, and something effective,” said Murphy-Milano, a domestic violence expert.
Susan Powell, 28, went missing under suspicious circumstances from West Valley City, Utah in December 2009. Police have named Susan’s husband, Joshua Powell, a “person of interest” in the case and have said they believe he has information that could help locate her.
Stacy Peterson was 23 years old when she went missing in October 2007. When questioned by police, Stacy’s husband, Drew Peterson, 56, claimed his wife had left him. Police found no evidence suggesting she left of her own accord, and Peterson was labeled a suspect. In May 2009, Peterson was arrested for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. He is currently in jail awaiting trial in that case. Stacy Peterson remains missing, and charges in her case have not yet been filed.
Neither Powell or Peterson have been charged in connection with their missing wives’ cases
Susan Murphy-Milano’s new book, “Time’s Up: A Guide on How to Leave and Survive Abusive and Stalking Relationships,” is due to be released on April 12, 2010.
“‘Time’s Up’ guides the victim towards safety by showing them the unseen pitfalls of leaving a violent relationship and how to navigate around them,” Murphy-Milano said.
The book also has explicit details and instructions on how to fill out an “Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit,” a form Murphy-Milano created and has used throughout the years in high risk cases.
Murphy-Milano is a specialist in family violence who works nationally with domestic violence programs, law enforcement officials and prosecutors, providing technical and consulting services in domestic violence and stalking cases. She says her principal objective is to intervene “before a victim is seriously injured or killed.”
In addition to her latest book, Murphy-Milano is also the author of “Defending Our Lives” and “Moving Out, Moving On.”
“Moving Out, Moving On” is a comprehensive, step-by-step, practical guide about ending relationships.
“Defending Our Lives” covers options that are available to battered women, as well as to their families and friends.
When she’s not busy penning new books, Murphy-Milano hosts “The Susan Murphy Milano Show” and also contributes to “Time’s Up!” and “Women In Crime Ink” online. She is also preparing to participate in the new television show, “Crime Wire,” with hosts Dennis Griffin and Vito Colucci. The show will examine cases in which the investigations have left questions unanswered and possible criminal activity unexposed.
For more information on Murphy-Milano or to order one of her books, visit susanmurphymilano.com.