The war on terror here in Rim Country’s not going so well. No, we’re not talking about the distant threat of a terrorist bomb that so preoccupies Congress, although it poses no threat at all to this community.
We’re talking about domestic violence.
You need look no further than today’s paper, with the disturbing story of one Payson man’s reign of terror over a woman who spent years seeking help. A jury convicted Terry John Parker of harassment and domestic violence.
Back in 2009, a terrified woman obtained an order of protection against him — after he warned her against testifying against him in a criminal case.
Despite the court order, Parker continued to harass, intimidate and threaten her for years. In one case, he actually tried to send her a letter from jail through a chaplain, in violation of the still-standing order.
But Parker, with apparent impunity, ignored court orders to terrorize his victim, given his criminal history and access to weapons.
Finally, a jury convicted him on multiple counts of domestic violence and interfering with judicial proceedings. He will face sentencing on Sept. 13 and could receive anywhere from 3 to 21 years in prison.
Domestic violence remains our great and terrible scourge. An estimated 1.3 million women suffer physical assault by intimate partners each year, according to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence. Surveys suggest women actually report only about one-fifth of the assaults they suffer. Domestic violence also accounts for one third of the murders of women.
An estimated 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men have experienced a rape or rape attempt — most committed by people they know. Almost half of all women who get beaten by their partner also suffer sexual assault. A dismaying 1 in 12 women and 1 in 45 men say they’ve been stalked.
Orders of protection do work — sort of. One study by researchers from the National Institutes of Health followed for two years 150 women who had asked for orders of protection. One woman committed suicide soon after the study started, a sign of the terrible toll this terrorism takes on its victims. The others all reported a decline in assault, threats, stalking and worksite harassment over the course of the study. Interestingly, this decline affected both women granted the order of protection and those denied the court’s protection. Apparently, the decision to stand up to the abuser marks the turning point — even without the help of authorities.
Still, studies show batterers violate half of the protection orders issued — and stalkers and rapists violate three out of four of those orders.
So while we hope a nice, long prison sentence will end the nightmare for Parker’s victim, we must also insist that the system do more to protect the victims of this most deadly form of terrorism.
For starters, that means making sure anyone who violates an order of protection does time behind bars — right away — not four years later.
We run out of room
Sometimes, we just run out of room.
That’s especially true when it comes to documenting what a great community the open-hearted residents of Rim County have created.
Just skim today’s paper.
Out front, you’ll find the story of Rocky, a dog rescued by the Humane Society, then adopted by a good-hearted woman who turned the amiable pooch into a therapy dog that delights in visits to nursing homes.
On the inside you’ll find stories and notices about the Kaitie’s Closet clothing give-away at the middle school, the donation-supported promo for the Missoula Children’s Theater show, a bake sale to raise money for church missions, a clothing sale at the Nook to benefit a pregnancy and parenting center, a Wells Fargo donation to Habitat for Humanity, the Beaver Valley Days fund-raiser for wildfire prevention, the PetSmart grant to provide low-cost spay and neuter services and the standout performance of local kids in clubs supported by Credit for Kids donations.
That’s just today’s paper. Next issue, we’ll report on another slew of good causes supported by the residents of Rim Country.
Admittedly — Americans are a generous lot. The American Enterprise Institute reports that on a per-capita basis, Americans donate more to charity than any other country. That includes four times as much as the French, seven times as much as the Germans and 14 times as much as the Italians. Moreover, Americans are also far more likely to donate their time to charitable organizations.
But even matched against an American standard of generosity — Rim Country residents continue to open their hearts — and wallets — at impressive rates. So please excuse us if we don’t mention you all. We run out of room long before you folks run out of heart.