The Cycle of Violence: Is Enough, Enough?
This past weekend, August 8, 2009, Robert Dale Fuller broke into the home of his estranged wife, told his 8 year old daughter to go to her room, and as her mother and grandmother came into the hallway to see what was happening, they were greeted by the blast of a shotgun. Suzan Annette Sowders Fuller and her mother, Sharon Cannon, were brutally murdered and two innocent children were left at the scene by their father to deal with the aftermath.
Every day the news reports these types of stories, every day women and men are losing their lives to a partner who has gone over the edge and acts out on the threats they have been hurling, sometimes for years. We are becoming desensitized to the mass killings of families across our nation, and yet, funding to the very agencies that provide escape has been cut to the bone. Our children are being forced to live without parents, raised by guardians or put into foster care. How is this current process breaking the cycle of violence within our families and what's it going to take to stop the madness?
As in the case of Annette, women and men are following the rules set down by our legal system, taking out restraining orders, reporting violations, and taking precautions to ensure their safety and the safety of their children, but the killing continues behind the closed doors of our American homes. Are we, as a society of individuals, doing enough? Only each of us knows the answer which lies in our own hearts.
Do you know of someone, or are you, yourself, trying to break free from a violent relationship? Many feel they can "handle" it, especially since they know their abuser better than anyone, they know the hot buttons, they know, instinctively, when things will blow. Each situation is different, like fingerprints, and each case of violence must be carefully examined to determine the best strategies for everyone involved.
Domestic violence cases can not be handled in a cookie cutter manner, always following the same strategies and safety plans found on so many websites and in information handed out to victims. Each case must be worked on an individual basis using techniques unique to that case. For instance, not always is it wise to file the orders of protection, sometimes that action can be the catalyst for worse violence, especially since they are difficult, at best, to enforce and bails are set relatively low allowing the offender, now even angrier, to get out of jail rather quickly. That decision must be carefully weighed, and with the help of a professional.
GPS monitoring is one solution, however not 100% foolproof, that puts one more stumbling block in the way of someone carrying out threats to kill. As with orders of protection, it's used as a way to track abuse and to prevent the abuser from contact with the family. Once again, this measure is only as good as it can be enforced.
When is enough, enough? Many "reformers" are screeching about audits and money, changes in laws, and making noise. While these efforts are commendable, how can they hold the hand of those already battered, seeking to find a way to stay safe and alive? If shelters and agencies are shut down, to where will these victims escape? Yes, change needs to come, but at what level and at what price? We all must hold out some hope for these victims who have no hope left, not take away the only option they may have.
True changes come from the individual in all of us that can care enough to make a difference, not by shouting and attacking and finding fault in the system, but by working with the system in place, reaching out, guiding, educating and working in unity.
Have you had enough? Let the change begin with you. Learn about violence, educate your children, volunteer your services to let a scared and beaten person know that, yes, there are those who care and, yes, there are options available for them. Educate yourself on individual strategy techniques so that you can also be equipped to walk a victim into a better life. There are experts in the field that are willing to teach you.
You be the one, say "enough is enough" and step up to the plate and truly help someone.
"Real power is usually unspectacular, a simple setting aside of fear that allows the free flow of love. But it changes everything." - Martha Beck
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Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, United States