By Mo Floyd, Guest Writer
While I was a police officer in Wichita I was often asked what the hardest part of my job was and I would always answer that it was seeing what people do to other people. In my 27-year law enforcement career I learned to abhor three things: child abuse, mistreating the elderly and domestic violence (DV).
People who commit these atrocities, in my humble opinion, have a special place in hell awaiting them. I could write volumes on why I believe people commit these crimes, how this affects society, the mentality of the victims, etc., but I want to focus on one of these issues and what we in our Jet community can do about it. My burden today concerns the victims of domestic violence.
There are all kinds of official definitions of domestic violence so let me give you mine: “A person physically, sexually or psychologically misusing another person they are in a relationship with in order to gain or maintain power and control over them”. I have seen all of these scenarios play out, the physical, the sexual, and the psychological.
I’ve seen results of these scenarios that I will carry with me the rest of my life; horrible things that someone did to someone else that they claimed to love. All too often I would then sadly watch the victim of these crimes go back to the perpetrator and in a short time we would be right back to dealing with their DV issue again, usually the hurt inflicted on the victim was much worse.
There are two lies when it comes to domestic violence: “I won’t hit/hurt/do that to you ever again” and “I’ll change”. These two lies come up in what is called the Cycle of Violence. This cycle plays out over and over in the life of a DV victim because they believe the lies.
They want to believe their partner because either their emotions are too tied up in the relationship, or they believed the perpetrator when they told the victim they were worthless and no one else would want them, or they watched their parents go through the exact same thing and think that it’s a normal part of a relationship.
When the victim has enough and threatens to leave the abusive person or call the police, the abuser starts the cycle going by saying they are sorry and they’ll never do it again and they’ll change. Bullshit – pardon my French. The only way to break this cycle of violence is for the victim to leave the perpetrator for good because yes, they will do it again and no, they will not change.
In addition to the physical violence the National Domestic Abuse Hotline website lists possible behaviors of a DV perpetrator:
· Tells you that you can never do anything right
· Shows extreme jealousy of your friends and time spent away
· Keeps you or discourages you from seeing friends or family members
· Insults, demeans or shames you with put-downs
· Controls every penny spent in the household
· Takes your money and refuses to give you money for necessary expenses
· Looks at you or acts in ways that scare you
· Controls who you see, where you go, or what you do
· Prevents you from making your own decisions
· Tells you that you are a bad parent or threatens to harm or take away your children
· Prevents you from working or attending school
· Destroys your property or threatens to hurt or kill your pets
· Intimidates you with guns, knives or other weapons
· Pressures you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with
So Mo, why are we talking domestic violence here at Newman University? It doesn’t happen here because we’re a nice, quiet, small Catholic university nestled in the plains of the Midwest where the deer and the antelope play. My answer is simple: because it’s everywhere, even here. Three years ago I authorized the arrest of a student athlete who was witnessed battering his non-student girlfriend here on campus. Last year I helped a student who was being battered off campus by their partner. I have helped four students and one staff member in getting No Contact or No Stalking Orders against people in my time here. These are only the ones I know of and I believe there are more out there but the victims are caught in the cycle so they haven’t reported the crime or taken any action.
The beauty of being at Newman is that if someone does become the victim of DV and is wanting to break the cycle, we as a community are ready to surround them with love, help and understanding. Just try to stop us. There are friends, coaches, teammates, classmates, faculty, staff and clergy here that would do absolutely anything to help a DV victim recover and move on with their life. We also have access to off-campus resources that we can bring in to help with a situation.
I want to challenge everyone reading this to take the time to listen to friends, classmates, teammates or co-workers who may say something concerning their being a domestic violence victim. In addition to listening, don’t dismiss what they are saying and don’t judge them. Believe what you are hearing and encourage them to seek help. That help should begin with contacting security or a trusted faculty member and even the police. Without seeking help to break the cycle, the victim will endure physical and emotional pain that is 100% preventable and squander valuable time in a relationship built on lies and violence. The sad truth is that many victims even lose their lives because they didn’t break the cycle.
If anyone out there needs to talk, needs to cry, needs to rant, needs to scream or just needs someone to listen always know that my door is open. No judging. No pressure. No coercing. Lots of love. You all are way too precious to me to not do everything in my power to help. If you ever need to call me my personal cell is 316-207-3308. Remember that you have the entire, wonderful Newman community here to support you and help you. All you have to do is ask. Blessings.
Wichita Family Crisis Center Harbour House
1111 N St. Francis 316-263-6000
Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center
355 N. Waco #100
PHOTO: Courtesy Photo, medium.com