I am sickened by the slap on the wrist that Zachary and Jerry Smith received, as well as by the slap in the face that all victims of domestic violence got from our judicial system last week.
Anyone who deals with domestic violence knows that one of the first steps toward breaking the cycle is helping the victim understand that it’s not their fault. Studies show that victims of domestic violence have been “programmed” by their abuser to believe that the abuse is their fault. Any law enforcement professional will say their biggest frustration with domestic violence cases is that it’s extremely difficult to get the victims to press charges, rather than take blame.
In many cases, the first indication of domestic violence is not a black eye or a fat lip. It is a belittling word, or an angry look, that causes the victim to beg forgiveness. It is a slow degradation of the self-esteem of another; a slow process that gradually builds up to the first punch, slap or kick.
For people to write letters in support of these two is sickening. If Zachary was unhappy, or was “not wise to stay in the relationship,” if he were truly “an outstanding man who had never displayed aggressive behavior,” how did he have the presence of mind to barricade the door with a chair before commencing with the beating? This wasn’t Zachary Smith’s first rodeo.
Real men don’t have to hit.
Kim Chittick, Time Out, Inc. Board of Directors