Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Getting Away With Murder

Getting Away With Murder: Weapons for the War Against Domestic Violence  Raoul Felder and Barbara Victor
Weight: 9.3 oz
Method of Disposal:Left at a Kroger in Duluth

I was sucked into this book right away, as I am with all progressive books about domestic violence.  I did question the usefulness of reading the nonfiction books I bought in the 90’s at this point in time.  I couldn’t help but wonder if I should only be reading things that were written more recently if I was not trying to do a chronological comparison.  It has been about 15 years!  What has changed and what hasn’t?  It was scary to recognize how little we have progressed all of these years later, though we have made some improvements.

I think about the times when I have called the police because of domestic violence, whether that is with my friends or neighbors, and how many times I have been disappointed.  It was not all that long ago that my friend and I were in contact with the police about a crime taking place next door.  It took hours for them to show up even though the couple was fighting in the front yard.  By the time they came it was quiet and they just slowly drove by with their lights off.  They did not get out of the vehicle, they obviously did not knock on the door, they did not question us.  You know?  Murder can be very quiet once it is done.  It was infuriating.  

I use to volunteer for a domestic violence organization and when we spoke to the county police they were so understanding and supportive.  I believed in them, and I still believe in the officers that came to speak to us.  Unfortunately, one of them just retired.  I was so disappointed in the ones that “showed up” that night.
In another county, my friend’s boyfriend was arrested for domestic violence.  He was released the next day, and she was not notified.  He kicked down her door and left a note with a butcher’s knife laying on top of it.  I called the police, and they said I needed to contact his probation officer.  I called him, and he said the guy had to communicate with her in order to get in trouble and that he had not done that.  Can you think of a more clear communication?!  She paid for that apartment all by herself, with no help from him, and she was not safe there.  She had to come stay with me.
I am disappointed.

This book made a lot of pushes and suggestions that made me uncomfortable.  I am not naming it as the end all be all, but it does have a lot of really good information.  I am not sure what the solution is, but I agree that we need to focus on what the abusers are doing wrong and how they came to be and not just the people who suffer their violence.  

***In a strange twist of fate, a friend of mine dropped by for dinner last night.  I ended this blog post when she knocked on my door.  We went out with another friend for frozen yogurt, vegetarian reubens, and some beer.  Her boyfriend called us while we were all hanging out and said that a woman and her baby had just come to the apartment seeking shelter from her boyfriend.  He had let her in but did not have any way to call the police.  He only had access to Skype, and you cannot make 911 calls.  We called the police, left the restaurant, and went to her apartment.  The police came just under an hour later, handcuffed him, and took him to jail.  He will either be bailed out or stay in jail until his court date.  The woman began to regret her decision to call, but the police took him anyway.  This is not an unusual or bad reaction for a woman to have, but I was pleased that the police went through with the arrest.  I do not know what will happen from here, but I hope it works out for all parties involved.***

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