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 Post subject: Desperate Pleas
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 1998 6:49 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 875
This afternoon I answered a frightening call to my dojo... a distraught woman began by asking how she could learn some self-defense techniques to use against a violent family member! I immediately went on red-alert and asked her if she was in immediate danger - she started to sob and said that she was behind a locked door and thought he had left the house - I was about to call 911 on the other line when she continued that he had not hurt her physically yet - just threw things and had broken things around the house - she said that she did not feel like she was in immediate danger but could be. I asked if she had called the police and she said that she has been dealing with his problem for many years - and the police have never done anything to help - only caused more compliations and hardship in her life! When they finally even arrived after the worst was over! She said she was new to the area but knew that the story would be the same here - she wanted to learn some way of defending herself because no law enforcement agency would ever help her! When I told her that the police needed to be called she got hysterical on me! What a sad and desperate plea for help this was!!! I told her that NO ONE had a right to hurt her - and that she needed help - and we would find someone to help her - she only had to ask - she agreed to my connecting her with the domestic violence hotline - so I got them together and disconnected.

Why did she call my dojo? We are listed in the yellow pages as offering classes in women's self-defense - surely this woman had reached a breaking point - let down by the system - and wanted to get back some of the power she has surrendered to her assailant. Of course, we do not know the whole story - but this was clearly a call for help. What a sad state of society - this happens many many times an hour - and this one call reminded me of how many desperate situations are going on in this country, right now, as you read these lines - domestic violence is occurring - and sooner or later someone dies.

We know that most murders are committed by people KNOWN to the victim - and domestic violence accounts for a large percentage of these. I could quote you many statistics - but you've probably heard them before. There is an excellent article on the home page of the Uechi-Ryu.com site in the articles section that talks of this very subject. And public awareness still needs to be raised.

As martial artists/instructors, we never know when someone is going to come to us for help. In fact we may already have someone in our classes that needs more help than the study of karate can give. For this reason I make the following suggestions, and welcome more from all of you...

Get in touch with the local domestic violence shelter/hotline and get cards/brochures that you can keep in the dojo. Keep one with you so that you have the phone number at all times. Don't push it on someone that you think might need it if you are not sure. Rather leave the material where they may find it - by chance.

Post the number of the domestic violence hotline near the phone at the dojo for referrals.

Recommend the Gift of Fear to every student, and EVERY inquiry for self defense lessons!

Do not forget the all important mental aspects of training for your students! Technique won't count for s___ when the emotionally charged domestic situation escalates into violence! Abused need more than a forumula for the "karate chop o doom" they need something to get through the haze of self-defeat and hoplessness to tell them that they must take a step to break the cycle of abuse - a step that is not easy - but will find people supportive and helpful along the way...offer your hand if you can. Sometimes that's all that it takes.

Peace,
Lori


[This message has been edited by Anthony (edited 11-23-98).]


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 Post subject: Desperate Pleas
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 1998 8:29 am 
I just read Ian's article which was obviously well-written and well-researched. I closed the article wondering about the demographic makeup (education, financial status, urban vs city dwellers, race, sex, etc.) of the perpetrators and wonder how revealing it would be to study that type of profile. Sometimes graphical representation (as in charts) of those things help us to form accurate opinions and be more aware of patterns in our society. I find those patterns to be much more interesting and revealing in terms of where the real problem areas exist.

I know about family violence first hand, I suffered through many beatings until I was about ten years old; REAL beatings -- and bore witness to some on my mom. Fortunately for us, we both survived on top.

Alcohol abuse CAN be a sickness for which there is sometimes no cure, not even with medication and therapy.

Ian's #7 rings so true; some memories are still vivid (I can still feel the whelts up and down my backside from my shoulderblades to the back of my knees; and on my hands and fingers from trying to stop the swinging guerrison belt -- talk about conditioning, Wow!) even after 40+, 45+ years have passed. However, not all of us who have undergone years of physical abuse as a child deliver same and I personally feel that although the pattern does exist in many, it is an unfair stereotype against those in which it doesn't. But then again, what's fair in life?


[This message has been edited by moulton (edited 11-23-98).]

[This message has been edited by moulton (edited 11-23-98).]


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 Post subject: Desperate Pleas
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 1998 12:05 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 2075
Location: Boston, MA
Lori,

Thanks for your post and alert. Domestic violence is more common than many are willing to "see" or admit to. Nothing is more daunting to a victim then to reach out for help and to find the other side not willing to "see" and to discount what the victim is saying. (Denial of the victim's situation could be as simple as saying, "Oh, maybe he <the batterer> he was just having a bad day.") The best support is to listen and to help the victim find help from people trained to handle these types of situations. There are, as Lori pointed out, domestic violence hotlines springing up in many places. If you are not aware of them, try the police or district attorney's offices. Increasingly, these offices maintain a domestic violence unit. THe staff of these offices generally are aware of and in communication with area shelters. They also will walk/support the victim (often needed) through the court "restraining" process on the batterer.

Domestic violence is a very complicated matter. Both the victim and the batterer are in need of serious counseling and psychological/behaviorial modification. The batterer usually won't seek such help unless forced to through the court system. The victim we can try to support as she tries to make changes. Unfortunately, unless she is willing and committed to taking steps to change, she will remain vulnerable and a likely victim.

david


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 Post subject: Desperate Pleas
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 1998 1:18 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 01, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 244
Location: Marblehead, MA USA
Good AM Lorri, I'm reluctant to speak about the kids on the other post because I am sure you are still sensitive to it. I would be. So, later, on that.
Several years ago when I taught at Manny's there was a gentleman who flipped at work in an office building downtown Boston, Lonni Gilcrest, he pistol whipped his boss and I believe shot him, then took over the office and beat and terrorized his coworkers. Later being subdued and taken into custody.
The next week a dozen new students showed up to learn self defense. They were very interested in gun & knife defense and later I found they were from that office.
I cautioned them that it would be a minimum of 2 years before they showed any proficiency at all in martial arts. I further pointed out that their training would probably dictate that they comply with a gun or knife weilding crazed assailant rather than "take 'em out".
Manny told me I was crazy and it didn't matter what got students in the DOJO just keep them there with Uechi. When I recalled what got me in I agreed.
Manny taught many FBI folks, since he worked in the same building as them (JFK building, not the Lonni Gilcrest one) some went on, most dropped out. The Lonni office people all dropped out within 3 months but refferals from them did come in. We forget how long and hard the Uechi road is because we are still in it but look at the dropout rate. Many are called few are chosen.
Back to the distraught phone caller. As Dr. Laura says ".. you can only be a victim once, after that you are a volunteer". Your advice for her to follow up with crises centers etc is excellent but I suspect, unfortunately, will not be used.
Still you can't help but try to help. I do.
Mike


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 Post subject: Desperate Pleas
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 1998 2:32 pm 
Hello all.

It is only in the past few years that the abuse thing is coming into the open and a good feeling to see that there are help groups, hotlines, etc.

Hello Mike.

I feel that even a few karate lessons can spell the difference for some because it opens their eyes (mind) that they CAN actually fight back.

Allen


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 Post subject: Desperate Pleas
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 1998 6:16 pm 
You are absolutely right, Mike. It is how you deal with it. Also IF you can deal with it. It took a lot before I stood up to my dad but I wasn't going to see my mom with bruises and black eyes anymooree. Think it a joke if you will, but I don't; I've been there.

I was 14 the last time my dad punched me out less than a week after he left bruises all over my mom's chest, etc. After I recomposed myself I walked up to him and right in his face, still half-crying I said "I can't take you now but as soon as I am big enough I will!" That was the bravest thing I did in my entire life because I knew for sure he was going to let into me again. Instead he walked away.

I bragged about that one to a close relative and it wasn't long before he moved out.

And there is nothing about MAD TV in my words, nor do I consider it a joke nor would I find anything amusing in that skit. My mom suffered under his hand long before I was born and I from the time I could remember until I was 10 then it picked-up again when I was 12 or thirteen when he started drinking again. This was my life. Story but true.


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 Post subject: Desperate Pleas
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 1998 7:07 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 61
Location: dartmouth, ns canada
Hello Everyone-

Abuse from a family member is usually the most painful type. Here is a person whom we expect will love and support us (a parent or spouse, etc.), so it only makes sense that the abuse would be devastating to a person's confidence.

Thank you for sharing your story Allen. It seems to me that you have dealt with your abusive past in a good way. I didn't get a sense of you hanging on to it in an unhealthy way, and who knows, to just forget it existed may put you at risk for repetition. I appreciate you using real life experiences to back up your opinions on these issues, and I am sure I'm not the only one.

Peace,

Natalie


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 Post subject: Desperate Pleas
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 1998 9:46 pm 
Hello Natalie.

I like to contribute to GEMs forums and right here, in this thread, I felt a few words might help someone somewhere. Years ago when mom and I went through what we did it was always hush-hush; all the neighbors knew it but no one dared talk about it else fear retribution. The police in those days were no help as they are now. Today, help is a phone call away (we didn’t even have telephones back then).

Some people who need help tend to clam-up at the last minute. However, the more who come out of the woodwork and say to them “I’ve been through this; you’ve GOT to get help and things will get better when you do….,” the more apt they are to feel they are not alone and can be a little braver about taking the initial step in coming forward. This is my opinion from the little I know.

As for my dad, I wouldn’t speak to him for years after he moved out. I was with him during his last week of life some 15 years later and we made peace; so did mom. She is 82 and still loves him through all he put her through (I can’t figure that out)– an amazing woman and still as tough as a DI.

Me, I was lost through high school and put the world to its test while growing up but found myself again. The message I want to deliver with this paragraph is: Parents with abusive spouses and single parents, stand by your children and give them all the love and protection they need (even though they try to walk all over you sometimes) because this is how they will survive and flourish. …And get help.

Allen


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 Post subject: Desperate Pleas
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 1998 12:29 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 875
Hello all,

I don't even need to say that this is an emotionally charged subject! I know that many of you reading this have your own personal stories - some of them still fresh and incredibly painful - some of you may have even wanted to share them with us to provide others with an example of survival and/or success in the face of adversity.

Not quite so inviting when faced with remarks likening your true life and painful experience to some slapstick humor eh?

Allen-san, thank you for sharing your story of survival. Coming from that type of background - your healthy family, your success in karate, your professional career - all of these are testament to the wonderful survivor within you - and hopefully it may provide some hope to someone who may still be enmired in what seems like a desperately hopeless situation. The author of Gift of Fear, Dr. DeBecker also came from an abusive childhood - surviving and creating a positive, successful life in the face of such pain is no easy task - and you are to be congratulated.

Mr. Hurney, your posts continue to demonstrate a lack of sensitivity or compassion in the midst of some heavy, emotionally charged subjects. You may just not be a sensitive guy - hey - that's not a pre-requisite for participation here - but courtesy is - please show some courtesy for the feelings of others who are working through some strong emotions. We can grow as individuals if we can identify and embrace these strong emotions - (fear being one, reference the book again) and developing an "emotional intelligence" as a part of our survival mindset is part of what can happen through the exploration of tough issues like this. (Please see Van Canna Sensei's Realities of Self-Defense forum for discussion on mindset and emotional intelligence.) Humor is a natural response to situations that make us uncomfortable - yet comparing someone's pain to a skit on Mad TV is not appropriate as it belittles the significance of the situations described. If your only response to these emotionally charged issues is this type of humor - please do everyone a favor and refrain from posting. Your story about Lonnie Gilcrest was appropriate and well placed however - input such as that is always welcome! Honesty is always welcome. Do not hesitate to broach issues here - "issue" being defined as "a matter of importance to solve" NOT unsolicited inquiry into someone's personal life or minimizing the impact an experience should/did have on a participant.

David-san,
Thank YOU for your post - you seem to have experience or at least a natural compassion and sensitivity for dealing with this type of problem - your advice is very well said and I hope well read by everyone.

Natalie and J.D. san(s)
Timely commentary from both of you - appropriate and well said - thanks for the posts.

UPDATE on the lady who called - she is being abused by her 28 year old son - she is newly divorced from her abusive husband who taught this behaviour to their son - and both used to beat up on her at once...sadly, this is not the first case like this that I have come across. Another lady was abused by her husband and teenaged daughter! The cycle of abuse continues until the victim can get intervention - the woman who inspired this thread is now in contact with the local women's center and hopefully will be seeking counseling - she says that her son is also receptive to counseling - so perhaps there is hope for their family. We can only pray that there is some peace in the future for them.

Honor peace, and add to it,
Lori


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 Post subject: Desperate Pleas
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 1998 5:43 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 01, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 244
Location: Marblehead, MA USA
Allen, Your abuse sounds like the skit on Mad TV Saturday night 11 pm, Fox, 11/21/98. Steven Segal and Claude Van Damme were brothers who went back in time to where Steven was a child being whipped by his father for getting an A- in English. Then they beat him up. With all due respect we all have problems. It's how we deal with them and move ahead that counts!
Mike


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 Post subject: Desperate Pleas
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 1998 10:22 am 
Anthony,

In the animal kingdom, non-human animals that is, there are species that when the male takes over a female with a brood fathered by another male, he kills them. National Geographics ran a show on a species of monkeys not too long ago. We are not too far removed from the other animals and it is only our free-will and ability to think on our own which separates us; either good or bad.

Allen


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 Post subject: Desperate Pleas
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 1998 11:25 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 19, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 55
Location: Portsmouth,NH,US
Greetings all. I am impressed by this thread, and particularly so by Allen's and Anthony's posts. The poignant line, "he's dead now and I have regrets..." might have come from Dickens or Twain. Anyway, this stuff is what I work with for a living -- kind of a dark way to earn one's bread and butter, but oh well... I just wanted to say you guys have really hit the nail on the head with several great points. Many times I have seen a wreck of a life salvaged by JUST ONE caring person. How exciting it is to see someone with "victim mentality" make the transition into "can do." Here's a remarkable and true story. I know a girl with horrific, almost lifelong abuse history. She is almost unable to relate to people, because she hears voices, experiences terror of more abuse, has intrusive memories, and the like. Guess where her disability DOES NOT cripple her. In the dojo! I know it's strange, but this woman can interact even with males in the context of karate practice. I can't say it would definitely work for others, but somehow it works for her.
Michael


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 Post subject: Desperate Pleas
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 1998 12:21 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 01, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 244
Location: Marblehead, MA USA
Dr. X "I am contemplating suing my mother for providing me with a reasonably stable childhood and thereby depriving me of an excuse for my faults and failures." I confess to that weakness also but I suspect we have the basis of a class action suit.

Anthony, I think I can understand your situation, especially the regret.

I apologize to anyone else I am not sensitive to. Please read your posts a second time before submitting them so this forum does not degenerate into an AA meeting "...oh yeah! Well, I had two fathers beat me and my kids beat me and..." (Can you top this!).

Incidentally Paul Giella is a certified shrink on another forum feel free to post with him.

Ms Loftus, let me sit back and watch the thread for a while, without posting to see where it goes.

I will close with a quote from the great philosopher, Jed Clampet who said: "I reckon that if each of us could put our problems in a bag and hang 'em on the wall ... that given the chance, we would all run for our own bag."

Peace to you.
Keep smiling.
Mike


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 Post subject: Desperate Pleas
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 1998 12:30 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 2075
Location: Boston, MA
Allen,

When violence is inflicted on a regular basis, it is likely to become deeply rooted in a person's response to the world when s/he is angry, sad, unsure... This is the perpetuation of the cycle. It takes alot, a herculean effort of the will to transcend the cycle.

Your sons are nice young men. They have much to thank their father (and mother) for.

Anthony,

With a few exceptions, most of us want and need love. The family is generally where love is first experienced unconditionally. Sometimes love is distorted and expressed totally inappropriately or not at all. Nevertheless, many a child needs to be loved and wants give love back -- no matter how deeply buried and hidden in response to abuse.

Your response to your father's behavior is not surprising. Your anger and, perhaps, inability to ever forgive him are understandable. Your regret is perhaps for the love that seemed never to have been given or recieved. Should you ever have a family, indulge and binge on the love that may have been missed.

Lori,

Yes. I have experience dealing with abuse in my work... Much more than most people believe exist out there (or in our homes). It takes a lot to help these folks. In college, I knew several women who were abused by their boyfriends. I was totally ****ed off at these guys. Not knowing better or alternatives, I did subtle challenges like staring or bumping into these men to start a fight so I can beat on them. Of course, they never took the challenge. Nor would it help these women had I beat on those guys. They would have just taken it out even more on their girlfriends. Quite frankly, most of us do not have the time or expertise to help these folks. We can be angry but we need to channel that to helping the victims find help from the appropriate sources. That is the best thing to do for all concerned.

david


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 Post subject: Desperate Pleas
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 1998 1:49 pm 
Good morning again.

This thread has been a roller-coaster ride. No matter what one writes or how he writes it, there will always be the gamut of responses. The thread has evolved much differently then started by Lori, and with a different response than I was looking for. My focus was to generate some thoughts about the fact that statistics may show numbers but not what the numbers mean. I really did not intend to expose my personal life as a youngster.

However, I have Mike to thank for getting me going; I let most things go by but he really struck a chord and I ran with it. Mike is a good guy. I work out with him once in awhile at the Hut and he is always most helpful to me and my sons (when I can get them to go). I take no offense because I'm sure none was meant.

Michael,
I am a true loner, possibly because of my rearing. I could be alone on an island and get by; actualy when I was younger I used to disappear into the woods for a week or more at the time during hunting season, snow ans all -- alone -- and the list goes on.

However, we all need people and to be with people, and we all need someone esp. during crisis times. One day, yesterday, I wanted to be there if someone needed me.

David,
The violence endured in my childhood permeates my life today and helped form the way I think today; good or bad. We are all individuals and all brought up differently. If we all respected each other for what we/they are this world would be a better place. Taint gonna happen so we just make the best of what we have. There are two things in life we all must do "We must be born and we must die but we can make up everything else in between." I borrowed those words and keep them close by when needed. Thanx for the compliments on C and D. I suspect they are who they are in spite of me.

Anthony,

YOU have been through a lot. I always knew what to expect, just never when.

Mike,

I have very HARD feelings on child abuse, that is why I let myself go in this forum. but now will top my own story with another personal trajedy then leave this thread so it doesn't turn into an AA meeting. My own daughter who was stolen from me, kidnapped if you will, when she was an infant by her natural mother was raped as a pre-teen, more than once, by her step-father. This is the one I live with and carry inside; this is where I burn.


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