We see so many articles where someone is murdered, abuse was found, severe neglect. Those kind of stick out in your mind. But articles like this often get overlooked, though they are no less important.
Ronald Fraze was arrested for abusing his wife Shelly. Not a really outstanding story you think. It happens, they had an argument, words were exchanged, he decided to win the argument. According to the article I have found, he put his hands around her neck, and according to the District Attorney Lisa Green:
“We view choking and strangulation as serious and we take a pretty aggressive stance,” said deputy district attorney Lisa Green. “When a man puts his hand around a woman’s neck like this, he’s either trying to shut her up or stop her from breathing.” http://www.bakersfield.com/local/story/5867278p-5882409c.html
Now this wasn’t the home of a violent drug dealer. This was the home of the fire chief. A person who would have a good standing in the community. A person used to authority, used to having people listen when he speaks.
Now we don’t hear what led up to the assault. Only that it was an argument. Maybe she had done or was planning to do something bad? What could be so bad that a man would choose to choke or strangle his wife? She was not charged with any crime. And he certainly didn’t mention anything in his statement to the press. As a matter of fact, according to him, it was “unfortunate incidents that escalated and shouldn’t have and then got blown out of proportion,” He talks about the stress they family was under, their home had been burglarized, and someone was passing their checks. That is unfortunate. And I do feel sorry that happened. But does he suspect his wife of that? Does he feel that is her fault in some way? What I feel is unfortunate is that their 16 and 6 year old sons were witnesses to that “unfortunate incident”. They saw their mother being attacked, and I can only imagine the fear and confusion they felt over what to do, as the attacker was their father.
According to the police spokesman Det. Ryan Paslay, they are not aware of any other domestic calls to the Fraze address. But it makes you wonder doesn’t it? Many times domestic violence “incidents” are not reported. At least not until something extreme happens. And this may not have been a murder, but I am sure to this family, and to their family, this felt pretty extreme. This was something that they won’t forget. That “incident” is recorded in their minds for a long time, much like a photograph. They may forgive, they might even push it out of their minds, much like a photograph shoved into a drawer. But, just like running across that photograph in a drawer, they will come across it again. A raised voice, an angry face- will bring it back again. Even if they forgive, and try to forget- that incident will change the dyanamics of the family. It may be subtle or it may be dramatic, but it will change.
According to the article, Mrs. Fraze took the boys and went to a relatives home after Mr. Fraze’s arrest. According to Mr. Fraze, the family is together, back at home. Often families will reconcile after a domestic violence ‘incident”. Many people don’t understand that. But an incident with a husband and father is different than an incident with a neighbor or person down the street. There are a lot more emotional bonds there. Maybe they will be one of the lucky ones, who is able to work it out. I hope if they do reconcile, they will get some intensive counseling. And I hope they really take that counseling to heart. Because without some help, it is likely that there will be another “incident”. Domestic violence involves a lot of complex family dyanamics, and it involves a lot of anger and control issues. Without some outside help, studies show it will likely happen again. I wish them lots of luck.