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I can’t reconcile this. I just can’t.

If I can’t, his wife can’t….

they were going through hard times, my friends… but this? I just can’t reconcile…

I met Scott briefly in 1995 when my girlfriend threw me a baby shower for my son’s upcoming birth.  Scott was a neighbor.  He came over bearing gifts – simple gifts – a couple bottles & pacifiers for my soon to be newborn son.  He was not anyone I knew, but heard about the shower, and thought it’d be the neighborly thing to do.

Later in life, after a mutual friend of ours was brutally and tragically murdered in 1996. We were at the funeral and met again & Scott gave me a ride back from Louisiana to Texas after it was all over.  We were friends from then on.  In fact, our friendship grew into such a close friendship that we often said we were one soul split apart from eachother at the start; our lives emulated eachother’s lives a lot, and we worked so well together spiritually, that sometimes we’d seem to think with one brain; communicate from over a distance telepathically, and feel when something’s wrong.  We ran into eachother at the emergency room one time in Dallas, both of us had loved ones admitted, and so I was able to be there at the exact time to help him through his mother’s passing.  After that he sought healing through a spiritual advisor named Margie.  He called me one evening and said, “Mollz, I felt my mother’s hands, I could say goodbye to her through this lady I met…. you have to go meet her…” 

I did, and another friendship was born.  The three of us met often, discussing spiritual ideas and practices, and implementing them in our lives.

After losing a friend to murder, sorrow had the best of us, and we all had the strong desire to start over.  Scott & his new girlfriend headed to the mountains in Colorado and I took off for the beaches of Florida.  He and his bride-to-be flew to Florida to attend my wedding, and I went to Colorado to theirs.  We went camping in Santa Fe New Mexico , listened to countless hours of music & loving certain lyrics that grabbed our hearts.

Uur favorite songs together were What’s Up by 4-Non Blonde, Tomorrow Wendy and Caroline by Concrete Blonde and I Wanna Be There by Blessed Union Of Souls. 

Every Thursday night we’d call eachother after watching Survivor.  Scott was always trying to get me to tell him who won before the show aired there, in Colorado, where the time zone was several hours difference. 

I never told.

I saw his amazement when he learned of his daughter, and we all went for a day at the zoo.  I saw the love in his eyes for Kari.  I saw a future open wide for them, the beautiful redheaded couple…

I didn’t see this coming though….



Man Shot; Deputies Find 2 Dead Children Inside Home

Their father was identified as 37-year-old Scott Montgomery. Read the whole story here.

El Paso County Deputies Shoot, Kill Man Believed To Be Father

 POSTED: 7:39 pm MDT June 22, 2008 UPDATED: 7:50 pm MDT June 23, 2008

 MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. — Sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a man suspected of killing his two young sons in his home before deputies arrived Sunday.

 El Paso County sheriff’s deputies were checking the man’s home around 4:45 p.m. after the children’s mother told authorities she was worried he might hurt their children, ages 2 and 5, sheriff’s Lt. Lari Sevene said.

 Deputies who arrived in the gated mountain community got no answer at the door and looked through a window to see two boys laying on the bed with a “significant of blood on or around them,” Sevene said.


Related To Story

She could not confirm what injuries they had or how they might have been injured but the sight of so much blood in the bedroom forced deputies to act quickly.

 Deputies burst into the home and were confronted by the father, who was wielding a knife, so they opened fire, Sevene said. She said a deputy shot the man, who died.

The children did not survive either. 

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I left my abuser…but he keeps coming after me… nobody was there to stop him…so I went back…

If I leave him, he’ll just come find me… so I might as well stay…”

I’m afraid to stay home alone… my ex might show up one day if he finds out where I am….”

Its been ten years and still I keep the shades closed on the windows, always wondering if he’s out there…”

Climbing out broken windows may be the only way to get to safety…

But now, the state of Texas wants to help keep victims of abuse safe once they do leave the abuse…by keeping residential addresses confidential & forwarding abuse victim’s mail to their safe location.

I don’t live in fear anymore…

I cleaned my house with the windows open for the first time in years …”

I’m free…. I finally feel like I’ve

gotten my life back…

Thank you ACP!

Under a new statewide program, Texans who are the victims of stalkers, sexual assault or family violence crimes can now make their home addresses confidential.

State Attorney General Gregg Abbott outlined the new program on Monday, which is designed to protect their privacy and help keep them safe.People who are eligible can sign up to have the Crime Victim Services Division of the Attorney General’s office designate a substitute address for them.

The division will receive the mail, process it, and then forward it to the participant’s actual address.

The substitute addresses can be used on voter and school registration cards, driver’s licenses and most government documents, including court records.

For more information about the Address Confidentiality Program or to learn more about the eligibility criteria, contact the program at ( 512 ) 936-1750 or ( 888 ) 832-2322.

You can also visit the agency’s web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.

This is a wonderful program I recommend for all 50 states – I was a member of this program in another state until I moved back to Texas where they did not have the program in place. Had this program been in place in Texas when my ex found, stalked and utlimately planned and assisted in abducting my son, I may have never lost my little boy.

Attorney General Abbott Announces Confidential Address Program For Crime Victims

Victims of family violence, stalking and sexual assault can register for anonymous address

AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today announced that family violence, stalking and sexual assault victims may be eligible to participate in a new, state-sponsored address confidentiality program. Eligible Texans can register for an anonymous address that will appear on voter and school registration cards, driver’s licenses, and most government documents, including court records.

The Attorney General’s Crime Victim Services Division will designate a substitute address for eligible victims; receive service of process and mail for the participants; and forward mail to participants’ actual address. During the 80th Legislative Session, Sen. Eddie Lucio authored legislation creating the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP), which authorizes the attorney general to provide this service to crime victims.

“Texas family violence, stalking and sexual assault victims can now obtain a confidential address that will help them protect their privacy and keep them secure,” Attorney General Abbott said. “We are grateful to the victim assistance organizations that partnered with us to ensure this program provides the meaningful protections intended by the Legislature.”

Applicants must meet with a local domestic violence shelter, sexual assault center, law enforcement, or prosecution staff member to discuss a safety plan and learn more about the enrollment process. To get contact information for local shelters, access the Texas Council on Family Violence Web site at http://www.tcfv.org or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE. To contact local sexual assault centers, access the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault Web site at http://www.taasa.org or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at (800) 656- HOPE. Meeting with a victim advocate is vital to this process and required by law.

Sheryl Cates, chief executive officer of the TCFV and the National Domestic Violence Hotline praised the new program: “The ACP is yet another valuable tool available to victims of family violence in protecting themselves from the perpetrators who abuse them. We are grateful to General Abbott and his staff for seeking input from the Texas Council on Family Violence and many other domestic violence service providers in the development of ACP guidelines.”

Annette Burrhus-Clay, executive director of TAASA, added: “Rape is a crime that removes control from a victim; this measure provides one additional avenue for restoring that control.

TAASA is proud to have worked with the Legislature, the Attorney General and other victim advocacy organizations to see this important program through to fruition and we’re hopeful that survivors of sexual violence, stalking and domestic violence will find this a helpful tool on their path to recovery.”


relating to the creation of an address confidentiality program to
assist victims of family violence, sexual assault, or stalking in
maintaining confidential addresses.
SECTION 1. Chapter 56, Code of Criminal Procedure, is
amended by adding Subchapter C to read as follows:
Art. 56.81. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:
(1) “Applicant” means a person who applies to
participate in the program.
(2) “Family violence” has the meaning assigned by
Section 71.004, Family Code.
(3) “Family violence shelter center” has the meaning
assigned by Section 51.002, Human Resources Code.
(4) “Mail” means first class mail and any mail sent by
a government agency. The term does not include a package,
regardless of size or type of mailing.
(5) “Participant” means an applicant who is certified
for participation in the program.
(6) “Program” means the address confidentiality
program created under this subchapter.
attorney general shall establish an address confidentiality
program, as provided by this subchapter, to assist a victim of
family violence or an offense under Section 22.011, 22.021, 25.02,
or 42.072, Penal Code, in maintaining a confidential address.
(b) The attorney general shall:
(1) designate a substitute post office box address
that a participant may use in place of the participant’s true
residential, business, or school address;
(2) act as agent to receive service of process and mail
on behalf of the participant; and
(3) forward to the participant mail received by the
office of the attorney general on behalf of the participant.
(c) A summons, writ, notice, demand, or process may be
served on the attorney general on behalf of the participant by
delivery of two copies of the document to the office of the attorney
general. The attorney general shall retain a copy of the summons,
writ, notice, demand, or process and forward the original to the
participant not later than the third day after the date of service
on the attorney general.
(d) The attorney general shall make and retain a copy of the
envelope in which certified mail is received on behalf of the
be eligible to participate in the program, an applicant must:
(1) meet with a victim’s assistance counselor from a
state or local agency or other entity designated by the attorney
general under Article 56.92 and receive orientation information
about the program;
(2) file an application for participation with the
attorney general or a state or local agency or other entity
designated by the attorney general under Article 56.92;
(3) designate the attorney general as agent to receive
service of process and mail on behalf of the applicant; and
(4) live at a residential address, or relocate to a
residential address, that is unknown to the person who committed or
is alleged to have committed the family violence or an offense under
Section 22.011, 22.021, 25.02, or 42.072, Penal Code.
(b) An application under Subsection (a)(2) must contain:
(1) a signed, sworn statement by the applicant stating
that the applicant fears for the safety of the applicant, the
applicant’s child, or another person in the applicant’s household
because of a threat of immediate or future harm caused by the person
who committed or is alleged to have committed the family violence or
an offense under Section 22.011, 22.021, 25.02, or 42.072, Penal
(2) the applicant’s true residential address and, if
applicable, the applicant’s business and school addresses; and
(3) a statement by the applicant of whether there is an
existing court order or a pending court case for child support or
child custody or visitation that involves the applicant and, if so,
the name and address of:
(A) the legal counsel of record; and
(B) each parent involved in the court order or
pending case.
(c) An application under Subsection (a)(2) must be
completed by the applicant in person at the state or local agency or
other entity with which the application is filed. An applicant who
knowingly or intentionally makes a false statement in an
application under Subsection (a)(2) is subject to prosecution under
Chapter 37, Penal Code.
(d) A state or local agency or other entity with which an
application is filed under Subsection (a)(2) shall forward the
application to the office of the attorney general.
(e) The attorney general by rule may establish additional
eligibility requirements for participation in the program that are
consistent with the purpose of the program as stated in Article
56.82(a). The attorney general may establish procedures for
requiring an applicant, in appropriate circumstances, to submit
with the application under Subsection (a)(2) independent
documentary evidence of family violence or an offense under Section
22.011, 22.021, 25.02, or 42.072, Penal Code, in the form of:
(1) an active or recently issued protective order;
(2) an incident report or other record maintained by a
law enforcement agency or official;
(3) a statement of a physician or other health care
provider regarding the applicant’s medical condition as a result of
the family violence or offense; or
(4) a statement of a mental health professional, a
member of the clergy, an attorney or other legal advocate, a trained
staff member of a family violence center, or another professional
who has assisted the applicant in addressing the effects of the
family violence or offense.
(f) Any assistance or counseling provided by the attorney
general or an employee or agent of the attorney general to an
applicant does not constitute legal advice.
Art. 56.84. CERTIFICATION; EXPIRATION. (a) The attorney
general shall certify for participation in the program an applicant
who satisfies the eligibility requirements under Article 56.83.
(b) A certification under this article expires on the third
anniversary of the date of certification.
Art. 56.85. RENEWAL. To renew a certification under
Article 56.84, a participant must satisfy the eligibility
requirements under Article 56.83 as if the participant were
originally applying for participation in the program.
applicant is ineligible for, and a participant may be excluded
from, participation in the program if the applicant or participant
knowingly makes a false statement on an application filed under
Article 56.83(a)(2).
(b) A participant may be excluded from participation in the
program if:
(1) mail forwarded to the participant by the attorney
general is returned undeliverable on at least four occasions;
(2) the participant changes the participant’s true
residential address as provided in the application filed under
Article 56.83(a)(2) and does not notify the attorney general of the
change at least 10 days before the date of the change; or
(3) the participant changes the participant’s name.
Art. 56.87. WITHDRAWAL. A participant may withdraw from
the program by notifying the attorney general in writing of the
(a) Information relating to a participant:
(1) is confidential, except as provided by Article
56.90; and
(2) may not be disclosed under Chapter 552, Government
(b) Except as provided by Article 56.82(d), the attorney
general may not make a copy of any mail received by the office of the
attorney general on behalf of the participant.
(c) The attorney general shall destroy all information
relating to a participant on the third anniversary of the date
participation in the program ends.
(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a state or local agency
must accept the substitute post office box address designated by
the attorney general if the substitute address is presented to the
agency by a participant in place of the participant’s true
residential, business, or school address.
(b) The attorney general by rule may permit an agency to
require a participant to provide the participant’s true
residential, business, or school address, if necessary for the
agency to perform a duty or function that is imposed by law or
administrative requirement.
Art. 56.90. EXCEPTIONS. The attorney general:
(1) shall disclose a participant’s true residential,
business, or school address if:
(A) requested by:
(i) a law enforcement agency; or
(ii) the Department of State Health
Services or a local health authority for the purpose of making a
notification described by Article 21.31, Section 54.033, Family
Code, or Section 81.051, Health and Safety Code; or
(B) required by court order; and
(2) may disclose a participant’s true residential,
business, or school address if:
(A) the participant consents to the disclosure;
(B) the disclosure is necessary to administer the
Art. 56.91. LIABILITY. (a) The attorney general or an
agent or employee of the attorney general is immune from liability
for any act or omission by the agent or employee in administering
the program if the agent or employee was acting in good faith and in
the course and scope of assigned responsibilities and duties.
(b) An agent or employee of the attorney general who does
not act in good faith and in the course and scope of assigned
responsibilities and duties in disclosing a participant’s true
residential, business, or school address is subject to prosecution
under Chapter 39, Penal Code.
Art. 56.92. PROGRAM ASSISTANCE. The attorney general
(1) identify state and local agencies and other
entities, whether for-profit or nonprofit, that provide counseling
and shelter services to victims of family violence; and
(2) require the identified agencies to provide access
to the program, including making program information and
application materials available and providing assistance in
completing program applications.
Art. 56.93. RULES. The attorney general shall adopt rules
to administer the program.
SECTION 2. Article 56.54, Code of Criminal Procedure, is
amended by amending Subsection (c) and adding Subsection (l) to
read as follows:
(c) Except as provided by Subsections (h), [and] (i), and
(l), the compensation to victims of crime auxiliary fund may be used
by the attorney general only for the payment of compensation to
claimants or victims under this subchapter.
(l) The attorney general may use the compensation to victims
of crime auxiliary fund to cover costs incurred by the attorney
general in administering the address confidentiality program
established under Subchapter C.
SECTION 3. Section 18.005(a), Election Code, is amended to
read as follows:
(a) Each original and supplemental list of registered
voters must:
(1) contain the voter’s name, residence address or
substitute post office box address, if required by Section 18.0051,
date of birth, and registration number as provided by the statewide
computerized voter registration list;
(2) be arranged alphabetically by voter name; and
(3) contain the notation required by Section 15.111[;
[(4) until Section 13.122(d) expires, identify each
voter registered by mail for the first time who failed to provide a
copy of a document described by Section 63.0101 establishing the
voter’s identity at the time of registration].
SECTION 4. Subchapter A, Chapter 18, Election Code, is
amended by adding Section 18.0051 to read as follows:
original or supplemental list of registered voters must contain a
voter’s substitute post office box address designated by the
attorney general under Article 56.82(b), Code of Criminal
Procedure, for use by the voter in place of the voter’s true
residential, business, or school address if the voter is eligible
for early voting by mail under Section 82.007 and has submitted an
early voting ballot application as required by Section 84.0021.
SECTION 5. Chapter 82, Election Code, is amended by adding
Section 82.007 to read as follows:
PROGRAM. A qualified voter is eligible for early voting by mail if,
at the time the voter’s early voting ballot application is
submitted, the voter is certified for participation in the address
confidentiality program administered by the attorney general under
Chapter 56, Code of Criminal Procedure.
SECTION 6. Subchapter A, Chapter 84, Election Code, is
amended by adding Section 84.0021 to read as follows:
(a) An early voting ballot application submitted by a qualified
voter who is eligible for early voting by mail under Section 82.007
must include:
(1) the applicant’s name and address at which the
applicant is registered to vote;
(2) the substitute post office box address designated
by the attorney general under Article 56.82(b), Code of Criminal
Procedure, for use by the voter in place of the voter’s true
residential, business, or school address; and
(3) an indication of each election for which the
applicant is applying for a ballot.
(b) The information contained in an application under this
section relating to the address at which the applicant is
registered to vote is confidential, except that the information
must be disclosed if:
(1) requested by a law enforcement agency; or
(2) required by court order.
SECTION 7. Chapter 221, Election Code, is amended by adding
Section 221.018 to read as follows:
INFORMATION. (a) Notwithstanding Section 84.0021(b), the
tribunal hearing an election contest may examine the information
contained in an application under Section 84.0021 relating to the
address at which the applicant is registered to vote.
(b) Information may be examined under this section only for
the purpose of hearing an election contest.
SECTION 8. The attorney general shall establish the address
confidentiality program and adopt rules to administer the program
as required by Subchapter C, Chapter 56, Code of Criminal
Procedure, as added by this Act, not later than June 1, 2008.
SECTION 9. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this
Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this

Act takes effect September 1, 2007.

For more information about the Address Confidentiality Program or to learn more about the eligibility criteria, contact the program at (512) 936-1750 or (888) 832-2322, or visit the agency’s Web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.


State (year of implementation) Statute
Arkansas (2005) Ark. Stat. Ann. 27-16-810
California (1998) Cal. Govt. Code §6206
Connecticut (2004)
Florida (1998) F.S.A. §741.403
Illinois (1999) (no funding) 750 ILCS 61/
Indiana (2001) IC §5-26.5-2
Maine (2002) 5 M.S.R.A. §90-B
Massachusetts (2001) M.G.L.A. 9A §2
Nebraska (2003) Neb. Rev. Stat. §42-1201 through 42-1210
Nevada (1997) N.R.S. §217.462
New Hampshire (2001) N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §7:43
New Jersey (1998) N.J. Stat. Ann. §47:4-4
North Carolina (2002) N.C. Gen. Stat. §15C-1
Oklahoma (2002) 22 Okla. Stat. Ann. §60.14
Oregon (2006) 2005 Or. Laws, Chap. 821 (SB 850)
Pennsylvania (2005) 2004 Pa. Laws, Act 188
Rhode Island (1999) R.I. Gen Laws §17-28-3
Vermont (2000) 15 VSA §1152
Washington (1991) RCW §40.24.030

States with Address Confidentiality Programs for Domestic Violence Survivors

Nineteen states have statutes authorizing address confidentiality programs.  Washington was the first state to create a program in 1991.  The programs are similar in most of the states.  The agency operating the program can vary. Some states run their address confidentiality programs through their Attorney General’s office while others place it in the Secretary of State’s office.  Survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault apply for the program.  The state entity running the program assigns them a “dummy” address or an address at the state office.  The entity then forwards mail to the program participant’s actual physical address.  Most states with address confidentiality programs have created procedures to address court summonses, service of process, and other official mail.  They also have provisions for confidentiality of the information, including voter registration.  In most states, program participants vote by absentee ballot.  Their addresses are exempt from publication with state voter registry records.

State (year of implementation) Statute
Arkansas (2005) Ark. Stat. Ann. 27-16-810
California (1998) Cal. Govt. Code §6206
Connecticut (2004)
Florida (1998) F.S.A. §741.403
Illinois (1999) (no funding) 750 ILCS 61/
Indiana (2001) IC §5-26.5-2
Maine (2002) 5 M.S.R.A. §90-B
Massachusetts (2001) M.G.L.A. 9A §2
Nebraska (2003) Neb. Rev. Stat. §42-1201 through 42-1210
Nevada (1997) N.R.S. §217.462
New Hampshire (2001) N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §7:43
New Jersey (1998) N.J. Stat. Ann. §47:4-4
North Carolina (2002) N.C. Gen. Stat. §15C-1
Oklahoma (2002) 22 Okla. Stat. Ann. §60.14
Oregon (2006) 2005 Or. Laws, Chap. 821 (SB 850)
Pennsylvania (2005) 2004 Pa. Laws, Act 188
Rhode Island (1999) R.I. Gen Laws §17-28-3
Vermont (2000) 15 VSA §1152
Washington (1991) RCW §40.24.030

For more information on domestic violence issues, please contact Stephanie Walton in the Denver office at 303.364.7700 or

I am a survivor of abuse.  I have post traumatic stress disorder.  I will flinch and fear you when you’ve done nothing wrong to me.  If you get angry at the dog, I cry.  If you slam the door yelling at the neighbor, I hide in my room.

I cower down in fear and hold up my arms and say “I’m afraid of you, please don’t hit me!” and yet, you have never hit me before…. and you probably won’t.

That’s what happens when you are a survivor of abuse with PTSD.

I run away.

I have even become so fearful that I’ve devised the murder plot in my own mind that was (I convinced myself) being planned by the person I live with and his friends.    When I became distant, and he asks me what was the matter it sounded ridiculous for me to say, “I thought you were going to murder me!”

But I did.

Am I insane? Am I crazy?  Am I completely off my rocker?  I don’t think so.  I have issues.  I have problems to deal with.  I have PTSD, Battered Women’s Syndrome, I am a survivor of abuse, and I am like this because someone made me this way.

Somebody else made me like this…. afraid…

Don’t hit.  If you are abusing someone, stop, get help.  If you are getting abused, get help.

Or you may end up like me… and its tragic to live life in fear …

Boyfriend arrested in woman’s death

By Alex Dobuzinskis, Staff Writer, LA DAILY NEWS

GLENDALE – A Glendale woman was beaten to death by her boyfriend after she tried to break up with him, and he was later arrested, police said Monday.

Susan Kim’s daughter arrived at her home in the 1300 block of Raymond Avenue on Sunday evening and discovered her mother’s body on the kitchen floor, police said.

Detectives tracked the boyfriend, Soo Kim, 45, to the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles. He was booked on suspicion of murder.

Neighbors said that after discovering her mother’s body, the daughter came out into the street and was crying and shaking.

“Especially on the holidays, I can only imagine how she’s feeling,” said neighbor Darreyl Luizzi. “My prayers go out to the family.”

Susan Kim, 52, lived on Raymond Avenue for more than 15 years and was polite and reserved, neighbors said. She owned a health supplement business in El Monte.

Soo Kim, who also went by the first name Brandon, was unemployed, police said. The couple was going through a breakup.

Her body was discovered shortly before 7 p.m. Sunday, police said. Acting on information that he might have fled to Koreatown in a white Lexus, Glendale police sent officers to the area and spotted him driving around, Lorenz said. He was arrested about 5 a.m. Monday.

Eric Kantz, 21, lives across the street and was a childhood friend of Susan Kim’s daughter. He got to know Soo Kim because the two smoked cigarettes in front of their homes a

couple times.”I’ve never seen anything bad from him,” Kantz said. “I didn’t think he would ever do some bad thing like that.”

Residents said Raymond Avenue is a safe place, although Luizzi said his home was broken into over the summer. After that, he installed video cameras, and one of them faces out onto the street.

Officers told him they might need the tape and asked him to look for images of a Lexus driving away between 4 and 5 p.m. Sunday. 

Domestic Violence and Abuse: Signs and Symptoms of Abusive Relationships
Domestic Violence and Abuse:
Warning Signs and Symptoms of Abusive Relationships
If you think your husband or boyfriend is abusive, or you suspect that someone you know is in an abusive relationship, review the red flags of domestic violence and abuse listed in this article. Recognizing the warning signs and symptoms of spousal abuse is the first step to breaking free.

If you’re afraid for your immediate safety, call 911. For help and advice on escaping an abusive relationship, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224.
In This Article:
Domestic violence or abuse
Cycle of violence
Signs of an abusive relationship
Types of domestic violence and abuse
Domestic violence warning signs
Related links
EmailPrintDomestic violence and abuse
Special note:
Although men also suffer from domestic abuse and violence, women are five to eight times more likely than men to be victimized by an intimate partner. Because men are more often the abusers, abusers are referred to as “he” in this article.
Domestic abuse, also known as spousal abuse, occurs when one person in an intimate relationship or marriage tries to dominate and control the other person. An abuser doesn’t “play fair.” He uses fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and gain complete power over you. He may threaten you, hurt you, or hurt those around you. Domestic abuse that includes physical violence is called domestic violence.

Victims of domestic abuse or domestic violence may be men or women, although women are more commonly victimized. This abuse happens among heterosexual couples and in same-sex partnerships. Except for the gender difference, domestic abuse doesn’t discriminate. It happens within all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds, and financial levels. The abuse may occur during a relationship, while the couple is breaking up, or after the relationship has ended.

Despite what many people believe, domestic violence is not due to the abuser’s loss of control over his behavior. In fact, violence is a deliberate choice made by the abuser in order to take control over his wife or partner.

Violent Behavior is an Abuser’s Choice
Reasons we know an abuser’s behaviors are not about anger and rage:

He does not batter other individuals – the boss who does not give him time off or the gas station attendant that spills gas down the side of his car. He waits until there are no witnesses and abuses the person he says he loves.
If you ask an abused woman, “can he stop when the phone rings or the police come to the door?” She will say “yes”. Most often when the police show up, he is looking calm, cool and collected and she is the one who may look hysterical. If he were truly “out of control” he would not be able to stop himself when it is to his advantage to do so.
The abuser very often escalates from pushing and shoving to hitting in places where the bruises and marks will not show. If he were “out of control” or “in a rage” he would not be able to direct or limit where his kicks or punches land.
Source: Mid-Valley Women’s Crisis Service

Spousal abuse and battery are used for one purpose: to gain and maintain total control over the victim. In addition to physical violence, abusers use the following tactics to exert power over their wives or partners:

Dominance — Abusive individuals need to feel in charge of the relationship. They will make decisions for you and the family, tell you what to do, and expect you to obey without question. Your abuser may treat you like a servant, child, or even as his possession.
Humiliation — An abuser will do everything he can to make you feel bad about yourself, or defective in some way. After all, if you believe you’re worthless and that no one else will want you, you’re less likely to leave. Insults, name-calling, shaming, and public put-downs are all weapons of abuse designed to erode your self-esteem and make you feel powerless.
Isolation — In order to increase your dependence on him, an abusive partner will cut you off from the outside world. He may keep you from seeing family or friends, or even prevent you from going to work or school. You may have to ask permission to do anything, go anywhere, or see anyone. Source: Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, MN
Threats — Abusers commonly use threats to keep their victims from leaving or to scare them into dropping charges. Your abuser may threaten to hurt or kill you, your children, other family members, or even pets. He may also threaten to commit suicide, file false charges against you, or report you to child services.
Intimidation — Your abuser may use a variety of intimation tactics designed to scare you into submission. Such tactics include making threatening looks or gestures, smashing things in front of you, destroying property, hurting your pets, or putting weapons on display. The clear message is that if you don’t obey, there will be violent consequences.
Denial and blame — Abusers are very good at making excuses for the inexcusable. They will blame their abusive and violent behavior on a bad childhood, a bad day, and even on the victims of their abuse. Your abuser may minimize the abuse or deny that it occurred. He will commonly shift the responsibility onto you: Somehow, his violence and abuse is your fault.
Cycle of violence
Domestic abuse falls into a common pattern, or cycle of violence:

Abuse — The abuser lashes out with aggressive or violent behavior. The abuse is a power play designed to show the victim “who is boss.”
Guilt — After the abusive episode, the abuser feels guilt, but not over what he’s done to the victim. The guilt is over the possibility of being caught and facing consequences.
Rationalization or excuses — The abuser rationalizes what he’s done. He may come up with a string of excuses or blame the victim for his own abusive behavior—anything to shift responsibility from himself.
“Normal” behavior — The abuser does everything he can to regain control and keep the victim in the relationship. He may act as if nothing has happened, or he may turn on the charm. This peaceful honeymoon phase may give the victim hope that the abuser has really changed this time.
Fantasy and planning — The abuser begins to fantasize about abusing his victim again, spending a lot of time thinking about what she’s done wrong and how he’ll make her pay. Then he makes a plan for turning the fantasy of abuse into reality.
Set-up — The abuser sets up the victim and puts his plan in motion, creating a situation where he can justify abusing her.
The Full Cycle of Domestic Violence
A man abuses his partner. After he hits her, he experiences self-directed guilt. He says, “I’m sorry for hurting you.” What he does not say is, “Because I might get caught.” He then rationalizes his behavior by saying that his partner is having an affair with someone. He tells her “If you weren’t such a worthless whore I wouldn’t have to hit you.” He then acts contrite, reassuring her that he will not hurt her again. He then fantasizes and reflects on past abuse and how he will hurt her again. He plans on telling her to go to the store to get some groceries. What he withholds from her is that she has a certain amount of time to do the shopping. When she is held up in traffic and is a few minutes late, he feels completely justified in assaulting her because “you’re having an affair with the store clerk.” He has just set her up.

Source: Mid-Valley Women’s Crisis Service

Your abuser’s apologies and loving gestures in between the episodes of abuse can make it difficult to leave. He may make you believe that you are the only person who can help him, that things will be different this time, and that he truly loves you. However, the dangers of staying are real.

Domestic abuse often escalates from threats and verbal abuse to physical violence and even murder. And while physical injury may be the most obvious danger, the emotional and psychological consequences of domestic abuse are also severe. No one deserves this kind of pain—and your first step to breaking free is recognizing that your situation is abusive. Once you acknowledge the reality of the abusive situation, then you can get the help you need.

Signs of an abusive relationship
There are many signs of an abusive relationship. The most significant sign is fear of your partner. Other signs include a partner who belittles you or tries to control you, and feelings of self-loathing, helplessness, and desperation.

To determine whether your relationship is abusive, answer the questions in the table below. The more “yes” answers, the more likely it is that you’re in an abusive relationship.

Your Inner Thoughts and Feelings Your Partner’s Belittling Behavior
Do you:

feel afraid of your partner much of the time?
avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?
feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
wonder if you’re the one who is crazy?
feel emotionally numb or helpless?
Does your partner:

humiliate, criticize, or yell at you?
treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends or family to see?
ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?
blame you for his own abusive behavior?
see you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?

Your Partner’s Violent Behavior or Threats Your Partner’s Controlling Behavior
Does your partner:

have a bad and unpredictable temper?
hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?
threaten to take your children away or harm them?
threaten to commit suicide if you leave?
force you to have sex?
destroy your belongings?
Does your partner:

act excessively jealous and possessive?
control where you go or what you do?
keep you from seeing your friends or family?
limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?
constantly check up on you?

Types of domestic violence and abuse
There are different types of domestic abuse, including emotional, physical, sexual, and economic abuse. Many abusers behave in ways that include more than one type of domestic abuse, and the boundaries between some of these behaviors may overlap.

Emotional or psychological abuse
Emotional or psychological abuse can be verbal or nonverbal. Its aim is to chip away at your feelings of self-worth and independence. If you’re the victim of emotional abuse, you may feel that there is no way out of the relationship, or that without your abusive partner you have nothing. Emotional abuse includes verbal abuse such as yelling, name-calling, blaming, and shaming. Isolation, intimidation, and controlling behavior also fall under emotional abuse. Additionally, abusers who use emotional or psychological abuse often throw in threats of physical violence.

You may think that physical abuse is far worse than emotional abuse, since physical violence can send you to the hospital and leave you with scars. But, the scars of emotional abuse are very real, and they run deep. In fact, emotional abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse—sometimes even more so. Furthermore, emotional abuse usually worsens over time, often escalating to physical battery.

Physical abuse
When people talk about domestic violence, they are often referring to the physical abuse of a spouse or intimate partner. Physical abuse is the use of physical force against someone in a way that injures or endangers that person. There’s a broad range of behaviors that come under the heading of physical abuse, including hitting, grabbing, choking, throwing things, and assault with a weapon.

Physical assault or battering is a crime, whether it occurs inside or outside of the family. The police have the power and authority to protect you from physical attack.

Sexual abuse
Sexual abuse is common in abusive relationships. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, between one-third and one-half of all battered women are raped by their partners at least once during their relationship. Any situation in which you are forced to participate in unwanted, unsafe, or degrading sexual activity is sexual abuse. Forced sex, even by a spouse or intimate partner with whom you also have consensual sex, is an act of aggression and violence. Furthermore, women whose partners abuse them physically and sexually are at a higher risk of being seriously injured or killed.

Economic or financial abuse
Remember, an abuser’s goal is to control you, and he will frequently hurt you to do that. In addition to hurting you emotionally and physically, an abusive partner may also hurt you in the pocketbook. Economic of financial abuse includes:

Controlling the finances.
Withholding money or credit cards.
Giving you an allowance.
Making you account for every penny you spend.
Stealing from you or taking your money.
Exploiting your assets for personal gain.
Withholding basic necessities (food, clothes, medications, shelter).
Preventing you from working or choosing your own career.
Sabotaging your job (making you miss work, calling constantly)
Domestic violence warning signs
Take Precautions
Call 911 or the police in your community if you suspect a case of domestic violence.
It’s impossible to know with certainty what goes on behind closed doors, but there are some telltale signs and symptoms of domestic violence and abuse. If you witness a number of warning signs in a friend, family member, or co-worker, you can reasonably suspect domestic abuse.

Frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents”
Frequent and sudden absences from work or school
Frequent, harassing phone calls from the partner
Fear of the partner, references to the partner’s anger
Personality changes (e.g. an outgoing woman becomes withdrawn)
Excessive fear of conflict
Submissive behavior, lack of assertiveness
Isolation from friends and family
Insufficient resources to live (money, credit cards, car)
Depression, crying, low self-esteem
Reporting suspected domestic abuse is important. If you’re afraid of getting involved, remember that the report is confidential and everything possible will be done to protect your privacy. You don’t have to give your name, and your suspicions will be investigated before anyone is taken into custody. Most important, you can protect the victim from further harm by calling for help.

Continue Reading…
Click here to learn more about:

Protecting yourself from domestic violence
Leaving an abusive relationship safely
Restraining orders
Domestic violence shelters
Staying safe after you’ve left
Dealing with the trauma of domestic abuse
Related links for domestic abuse and violence
Domestic violence hotlines and help
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) – A crisis intervention and referral phone line for domestic violence. (Texas Council on Family Violence)

State Coalition List – Directory of state offices that can help you find local support, shelter, and free or low-cost legal services. Includes all U.S. states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)

Abusive relationships and domestic violence
Domestic Violence Awareness Handbook – Guide to domestic violence covers common myths, what to say to a victim, and what communities can do about the problem. (U.S. Department of Agriculture)

Domestic Violence: The Cycle of Violence – Learn about the cycle of violence common to abusive relationships. (Mid-Valley Women’s Crisis Service)

Equality Wheel (PDF) – A “wheel” that gives guidelines for a healthy, nonviolent intimate relationship between a man and a woman. (Domestic Abuse Intervention Project)

Warning signs and symptoms of domestic violence and abuse
The Problem – Offers a checklist of behaviors and feelings that will help you assess whether you are in an abusive relationship. (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)

Domestic Violence Warning Signs – Describes common warning signs that a woman is being emotionally abused or beaten. (Safe Place, Michigan State University)

Workplace Domestic Violence– Information for recognizing, preventing, and responding to domestic violence in the workplace. (National Work~Life Alliance)

For men
Intimate Partner Abuse Against Men – Learn about domestic violence against men, including homosexual partner abuse, sexual abuse of boys and male teenagers, and abuse by wives or partners. (National Clearinghouse on Family Violence, Canada)

For gay men and women
Abuse in Same-Sex Relationships – Describes myths about same-sex abuse; unique problems of the victims of same-sex abuse; and what society and professionals can do to help. (Education Wife Assault)

For immigrant women
Information for Immigrants – Domestic violence resources for immigrant women. En Español:Información para Inmigrantes. (Women’s Law Initiative)

For teens
Dating Violence – Guide to teen dating violence, including early warning signs that your boyfriend or girlfriend may become abusive. (The Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence)

Teens: Love Doesn’t Have To Hurt (PDF) – A teen-friendly guide to what abuse looks like in dating relationships and how to do something about it. (American Psychological Association)

Delving deeper into domestic violence and abuse
Violence Against Women – Domestic violence resource provided by the federal. Includes a list of state resources and a fact sheet on identifying abuse. (The National Women’s Health Information Center)

Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse – Electronic clearinghouse of information about domestic violence and abuse, including a searchable online library of articles.

Pat Davies, Melinda Smith, M.A., Tina de Benedictis, Ph.D., Jaelline Jaffe, Ph.D., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., contributed to this article. Last modified on: 8/20/07.


Protect Friends & Families of Incarcerated Individuals From Monopolizing PrePaid Phone Companies (Evercom, Correctional Billing) Unfair Deceptive Business Practices Petition

Great news! On May 17, TN SB 196 passed the Senate Floor, and its companion bill, HB 1161, has passed the House. These bills specifically include animals in protection orders and grant custody of the animals in question to the person who gets the protection order. Please email Governor Bredesen asking him to sign these bills into law.

HB 1161/SB 196Pets Included in Orders of Protection

Sponsor(s): Rep. Janis Sontany, Senator Tim Burchett
ASPCA Position: Support
Action Needed: Please contact Governor Phil Bredesen and ask him to sign H.B. 1161/S.B. 196 into law.

Up to 40 percent of battered women delay going to a shelter because they fear what will happen to their left-behind pet.

One in Four


Will experience

Domestic Violence

In her lifetime.


Update, 5/17/07: Both bills have successfully completed their journeys through the Tennessee Legislature, and now await the Governor’s signature. Great job, advocates! HB 1161/SB 196 will give the courts the power to protect pets by including them in protective orders, thereby helping to break the cycle of domestic abuse and violence. Sadly, animals often are used as pawns in domestic disputes. Batterers abuse animals for a variety of reasons—to demonstrate power and control, to retaliate for acts of independence and to coerce a victim to return.

In recent years, a strong and surprising connection has been documented linking animal abuse and domestic violence. In a survey conducted by The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence of those living in shelters for battered women and children, incidents of pet abuse were reported by 85.4 percent of the women and 63 percent of the children. Sixty percent of women who are the victims of domestic violence have had a pet killed by violence.

Please contact members Governor Bredesen ask him to sign H.B. 1161/S.B. 196.




To help determine whether you or someone you know is a victim of stalking, see if anything on the following checklist of sample stalking behaviors matches your situation.

Does a current or former spouse or boyfriend, friend, coworker, neighbor, casual acquaintance or complete stranger . . .

Leave harassing, threatening or obscene messages on your answering machine at home or at your workplace?

Call you repeatedly at your home or workplace, even when asked to stop?

Insist on giving you unwanted gifts, cards, notes or letters?

Watch you or follow you at a distance?

Appear at or drive by your workplace, home or any other place you frequent in your daily activities?

Harass or question your family members, friends, acquaintances or co-workers as to your whereabouts?

Repeatedly send you unwanted e-mail messages?

Photograph or video you repeatedly?

Vandalize or deface your property, car, mail, etc.?

Repeatedly confront you (or your family members) with verbal or physical threats?

Act in some other manner so that your own personal safety feels compromised on a continuing basis?

Stalking can encompass a wide range of behaviors, only some of which are listed above. A stalker may employ very subtle forms of harassment that can, nonetheless, cause a great deal of fear.


Although no solution is foolproof, the strategies listed below can help reduce the potential danger of stalking.

Some require dealing with the legal system and the courts, while others are self-help techniques that you can do on your own. A few of the strategies will help you prepare for taking legal action. Remember, even if you do not anticipate involving the police or the courts at this time, it is best to keep your options open in case something changes. You do not want to disregard a strategy now that may help you take future action. You should also keep in mind that not all strategies will be right for you at all times. Some strategies may impose risks or costs that you do not want to take on, or you may find that different strategies are more or less helpful as your circumstances change. Only you can decide what is appropriate for you.

1. Keep Records

Maintain a stalking log. This can be a crucial part of your self-protection and can prove invaluable should you decide to take legal action. Keep a record of all of the stalker’s activities or actions, noting the dates, and if possible, the times at which they occurred. This is an essential step to take because, in most states, you cannot obtain a conviction for a crime without knowing the date on which the crime occurred. Because you may need to give the police or your attorney a copy of your recrds,do not keep the log as part of your personal diary.
For an example of a stalking log, you can visit the National Center for Victims of Crime website at http://www.ncvc.org.

Save all evidence documenting the stalking: letters, e-mails, notes, gifts or messages left on your answering machine. Take pictures of destroyed property. Make copies of everything you can, and keep the copies in a safe place or with someone you trust. Evidence of the stalker’s acts can help establish the “intent” requirement present in many states’ stalking statutes, facilitating a conviction.

2. Protect Yourself

Change phone numbers. Have the phone company keep your number unlisted or install caller identification on your telephone. If possible, have coworkers or the receptionist at work screen your calls. You may want to have your name and number removed from the automated phone directory at work.

Try to keep the stalker from gaining personal information about you. Particularly if the stalker does not have your address or if you have moved, consider removing your home address from all checks, business cards and letterheads. Change your mailing address to a private post office box. Place property titles in a trust so that the stalker cannot obtain your address from public records. If your state or county authorizes it, request that voter registration and driver’s license information remain confidential. If your local or state agencies do release addresses to anyone who requests them, you should request in writing that your address not be released to anyone but the authorities.

Change your passwords for e-mail or other computer access often and do not tell anyone your passwords or use passwords that a stalker or anyone else could easily guess. Pick a user identification that does not use your real name. Do not reveal any personal information in public spaces on-line, such as chat rooms.

You may want to protect your confidentiality online by not selecting any of the options for your Internet service to remember the user’s name or password. You may also want to clear the search history on your browser to keep the stalker from knowing what sites you have recently viewed. You may want to consult the police or other experts in dealing with stalkers before exercising this option, because knowledge of the stalker’s behaviors may, in some cases, assist in anticipating future threats and potential danger.

In cases of cyberstalking, contact the stalker’s Internet Service Provider (ISP). Many ISPs prohibit harassment through use of their system and will sometimes respond by closing the stalker’s account. Identify the ISP through the domain name following the “@” sign, and contact the system administrator through the company’s web site. Remain aware of your surroundings. This will help you detect and prevent uncomfortable or dangerous situations.

Vary daily routines, driving and walking routes, and places where you shop. It is a good idea to change any social habits that the stalker knows. You may want to go to a new church, a different gym, and change which bars or clubs you frequent.

Try to avoid traveling alone especially in places where you will be away from the public. If you are being followed while driving, do not drive directly home. If the stalker does not know where you live, do not risk revealing it to him. If possible, when you leave work, have a security guard escort you to your car or to the nearest public transportation stop.

Consider informing friends, family and neighbors of the situation, as they could help keep you out of danger and/or serve as potential witnesses. If they do not know what the stalker looks like, show them any pictures you may have. If you do not have a picture, consider carrying a camera with you in the event that the stalker approaches you again.

Warn any friends, neighbors, family, landlords, security guards, employers, etc. that any cooperation with the stalker acts as encouragement. Request that they
not cooperate or encourage the stalker in any way; and realize that if they cooperate with or encourage a stalker, they may be held liable for any subsequent action that the stalker takes against you.

Do not give out information about friends, confidantes, or potential new partners to the stalker. Be leery of please for discussion, meetings or attempts to reconcile; this can put you within physical reach of a potentially dangerous person.

If you work in a large company, you may want to ask your supervisor for a transfer to another office area or branch. Depending on the specifics of the case, your employer may provide additional security measures to reduce your exposure to the stalker. Informing coworkers also can be useful, as they may be more aware of unusual or suspicious activity in the workplace and may later be able to confirm your account of the stalking.

You may want to provide a copy of any protection orders that you have to your employer. You may want to give copies to your supervisor, the legal department, and
security personnel. In some states your employer may also be able to get a protective order for you. (See below for more information on protective orders.)
Consider adding additional home protection, such as dead bolts, outdoor lights and, if possible, a home security system. Change your locks if the stalker has
access to your keys.

You might also consider enrolling in a self-defense class
and participating in support groups.

Involve the Police and the Courts

If it is safe for you to do so, report any and all threats to the police and notify the police of any illegal acts. If possible, contact the police as soon as an incident occurs.

Should the police seem unhelpful, unresponsive or unwilling to help you don’t panic. Simply get their names and badge numbers and report them to their supervisor and attempt to report your complaint to another officer.

You may want to obtain a protective order or restraining order. These orders can prohibit the stalker from coming within a specified distance of you, your home or your workplace.

§ Contact a local domestic violence program or go to your local courthouse and find out if you qualify for a protective order; if you do, apply for an order immediately. If you are told that you do not qualify, make absolutely sure (e.g., speak to a supervisor), because the person you see initially may not have adequate training or awareness of recent changes in the law. A list of some state domestic violence coalitions is available on the National Coalition

Against Domestic Violence website, http://www.ncadv.org.
§ Note that in some states, protective orders can be obtained in either criminal court or civil court.

§ Be sure not to place your home address or telephone number on the actual order, as this will probably become a public record and can easily be obtained by anyone, particularly a stalker who did not previously know your current address.

§ State laws vary. Consequently, after obtaining the order, find out what will be required of you if your stalker violates the order, and what type of proof or documentation you will need to begin prosecution, if necessary. Find out what a police officer who comes to your aid is obligated to do if the stalker violates the order. Also, find out when the order will be served on the stalker, as you may want to take special precautions for yourself and your family at that time.

When possible, file criminal charges against your stalker. Insist on your rights even if the police seem dismissive. After being encouraged to file charges by a female prosecutor, one woman encountered a police employee who only begrudgingly allowed her to file the complaint while another cracked jokes about it. She noted, however, that filing the complaint saved her life. “Last May, [the stalker] was caught by police on my block with a loaded gn. When the officers learned that I had lodged formal complaints, it made a crucial difference: They could arrest [the stalker] without his actually attacking me.”

If possible, bring a civil suit (a suit brought by you and your attorney, not by the state) against the stalker even if you decide not to press criminal charges. If you win your lawsuit, a court may order the defendant to pay you money to compensate for medical and other expenses that resulted from the stalking or for the resulting pain, suffering and physical and mental injuries. Some states have statutes pertaining specifically to stalking behavior that enable you to sue for monetary damages.

In states that lack these provisions, potential claims include “assault and battery” (someone has touched you without your consent),“intentional infliction of emotional distress” (a person acted in a shocking way and intended for you to suffer severe emotional harm or knows that acting in that manner would cause you to suffer such harm) and invasion of privacy. Talk to an attorney about these options.

The strategies listed above provide useful tools for dealing with stalking. Some of them are relatively easy to undertake in terms of time and money.

Unfortunately, though, some of the strategies may be costly and time-consuming. Similarly, regardless of cost, only certain strategies may be appropriate for you in your specific circumstances. Remember, though, that you are not alone. The lists provided at the end of this kit include contact information for organizations that may be able to assist you.