My son-in-law reminded me it was Domestic Violence Awareness Month. He beat up my daughter again. He was much more thorough this time -- she lost her job.
She is a strong woman. It took him 15 years to completely alienate her from her family. I last spoke with her and saw my grandkids up close in July 1995. Since then, the beatings have been more often and they are getting worse. Domestic violence always escalates if there is no intervention; no rehabilitation.
He is a big man -- very big. He stands more than six feet tall and weights more than 200 pounds. My daughter is petite -- maybe 5 feet 3 inches tall and 125 pounds. She doesn't stand much of a chance against him.
Once when the police were called, the officers told them the next time one of them would have to go to jail. After they left, he told her she would be the one going to jail, especially if she ever tried to call the police. He would take her children, and, of course, he would hurt her again if she tried anything. For several months she tried not to scream so the police wouldn't put her in jail and she wouldn't lose her sons.
The overwhelming sense of fear, humiliation and terror is more than most 'normal' people can understand. Telling someone they aren't any good, that they can't do anything right, is a tool used by an abuser to destroy another human being's spirit.
Several years ago our family brought all of them here, hoping it would be a good move and they would do better with family around. It was very nice for awhile, but then he started to lose control of her.
An abuser needs power and control. He must have it or he cannot survive. Years ago, my daughter had a drug problem. He remembered that and helped her start up again. She couldn't be independent if she needed him for drugs. He was able to regain control. He has been arrested several times for domestic violence and several times for assault. He remains on the streets, however, so he can do this again and again.
I don't know if this man can be rehabilitated. I don't care. What I do care about is my daughter and three grandsons. These young boys are beginning to act out in terrible ways. Up until a year ago, their school principal told me they were nice boys and no problem. This seems no longer to be true. The terror and the violence has taken its toll.
Will they grow up to be abusive? The odds are for it.
Education and changing how one lives and is treated are key.
From June through September, more than 45 men were arrested in Payson on charges of domestic violence, including my son-in-law.
If you see someone being hurt and you are afraid to intervene, call 911. The primary reason for visits to emergency rooms is domestic violence. Although drugs and alcohol can certainly exacerbate the situation, they are not the cause.
Domestic violence in all its ugly forms -- verbal, physical, emotional, financial and sexual -- is destructive and an issue of power and control. We have all seen people with this problem, but when it gets out of control, it's a terribly destructive force in the community. Please help, and remember, domestic violence is a crime.