Sometimes love doesn’t work right

One of the most complex, confusing parts about domestic violence is the fact that women go back. Even after extreme abuse, sometimes even after their children are sexually abused or murdered they may go back. That is so hard for friends and family to understand. Sometimes they stay because they fear even worse violence, sometimes because they truly do feel that the abuse was their own fault, sometimes they feel that it just wasn’t the fault of the abuser (it was the stress he is under, they abuses he grew up with, the alcohol, the drugs….any number of reasons) sometimes it is because of financial reasons. And sometimes it is because this is what they grew up with, and what they feel is normal, or at least what they deserve. And sometimes it is because they feel they are the only one who can help the abuser to get over their problems.

Susan Moore, 39 lived with Felix Medina 28. They had a “troubled” relationship as shown by their history. Moore admits that she was a drug user, but says she quit in ’93 after an arrest.

Medina, however began using drugs in 2003. And that Aug. he was arrested for striking Moore’s 16 year old son and a teen friend of the son’s when they tried to intervene during a domestic dispute. A protection order was issued to bar Medina from coming into contact with the children.

In 2004, Medina was shot several times and the domestic violence seemed to get worse and police were called to the address several times. In Jan. 2005, Medina was arrested for harrassment of the family (Medina had been in jail for an unrelated crime, but Moore had bailed him out). A month later, Medina was charged with threatening Moore in front of the children. Hours after being released, sheriff’s deputies found him hiding Moore’s chimney and they arrested him again. Mar. of 2005 Medina was arrested for possessing and using drugs in front of the teenage boy and his friend.

Moore has stated she kept up with the relationship because she wanted to help him get off drugs.

Though court orders barred Medina from being around the children, Moore and Medina were still allowed to attend church and counseling together.

On Mar. 31, Medina was determined to drive Moore’s car. Moore tried to stop him. While he got into the car, Moore jumped onto it and held on while he was driving in circles in front of the home. Medina stopped suddenly and Moore fell off. The car rolled back, pinning her underneath the undercarriage and so Medina pulled forward, which further injured Moore.

What did Moore get for being faithful, and trying to help?

She is currently back in a hospital. The injuries she recieved resulted her being paralyzed from the waist down. Related infections have put her back in the hospital. Her home is in foreclosure. She is in debt due to medical bills. When she gets better, she must face charges that she also violated the restraining order which barred Medina from being around her children. One of her children is staying with friends, and two of her children are in foster care. And she may lose custody of all three.

Love is a powerful emotion, there’s no doubt. But when love goes wrong, it destroys lives.

By allowing Medina back in the home she exposed the kids to violence, she just told her kids that domestic violence is ok. It is what happens in families. She endangered the children, as evidenced when the 16 year old and his friend were struck when they tried to come to her aid. She allowed them to be exposed to drug use. They have gone through being separated from their mother, worrying about their mother and about what will happen to them. And that still hasn’t ended.

She is confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life, lost her children, perhaps permanently, and is losing her home.

Medina is in jail, perhaps headed for prison. He has told her he will take care of her, but he will probably be unavailable for a while.

But one other thing stood out in this article. I don’t see where Medina was ever charged with domestic violence. Had he been charged, there would have possibly been longer stays in jail. Drug and alcohol treatment might her been ordered for him. He might have been required to obtain anger management or domestic violence counseling. Maybe it would have helped, and maybe it wouldn’t have. We can’t know that now.

There is a federal law which requires police departments to file domestic violence charges, if they see evidence of domestic violence. They can file the charges whether the victim wishes to cooperate or not. I don’t know why they didn’t. Maybe they didn’t see anything. Mom was also never charged with violating the protection order, until after Medina ran over her. That means the children were exposed to the drugs and violence for another year and a half.

The article doesn’t say if Moore was ever referred to a domestic violence program.  

http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial/20060225/1052138.asp

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7 Comments

  1. Soobs said,

    February 26, 2006 at 8:37 pm

    >>Though police characterized it as a violent assault and charged Medina, Moore maintains Medina did not intend to hurt her.

  2. Soobs said,

    February 26, 2006 at 8:38 pm

    >>Though police characterized it as a violent assault and charged Medina, Moore maintains Medina did not intend to hurt her.

    She’s STILL protecting him. I don’t get it. I’ll never understand it. She loses her home, her child, her ability to walk, and she is still protecting him.

  3. February 27, 2006 at 2:36 am

    It’s called battered wife syndrome. It is common among physically and emotionally abused women. It’s a combination of low self esteem, a desire for attention (and negative attention is better than no attention), denial, scamming by the abuser, “love”, previous experiences, and delusion.
    The smile or positive attention from the abuser becomes the goal, and the victim will work to get that. And just like a new mother will forget the pain of childbirth when holding her new baby in her arms, an abused woman will forget or minimize the pain she went through when the abuser gives her that.
    The abuser knows and fosters that. As they go through the cycle of abuse and “honeymoon” period they begin to lose any respect they may have felt for the women, and often develops more contempt for her. They soon learn that they can do almost anything they want to, and as long as they play nice afterwards and say sorry and promise to change- they can continue on with no change.
    It’s a vicious cycle.

  4. Harding said,

    February 27, 2006 at 2:53 am

    You’re right. It is a vicious cycle. I just found out tonight that my sister has returned to her abusive husband. Moreover, she’s about to have another of his children. She says he’s better, and is being a good father, and has turned his life around. I just don’t buy it, but there’s nothing I can do. It’s her life.

    I don’t have children, and my wife and I have never even shared a harsh word, so I just don’t understand why she would put herself, and her children, in this dangerous situation. Am I missing something?

    H-

  5. February 27, 2006 at 5:52 am

    No, you aren’t missing anything. It is very common and is something that many families go through when they have a family member that they know is being abused.
    However, there are things you can do.
    Learn about domestic violence. There are some links on the right that will give you a lot of information about the problems. And they may help you to understand what is happening, why and may offer you some solutions.
    Learn about the domestic violence laws in the state where your sister lives.
    Find out what resources are available to your sister in the area in which she lives. Let her know you have them, but don’t try to force those on her, just have them available for next time or if she asks for them.
    Even if your sister decides to stay in the relationship, encourage her to get in contact with a domestic violence support group. She doesn’t have to leave to be eligible for it. It is her choice to stay. But in the meantime, she can learn about the syndrome and the solutions.
    Keep an eye on the kids. Watch for signs of abuse. Be supportive to them, and let them know that if they need you, you are there for them. Spend time with them.
    Reach out to agencies in your area who deal with abuse. Find out what you as a relative might be able to do. Suggestions are domestic violence programs, prosecutors offices, and department of human services.
    Stay in contact with your sister. Don’t argue with her about her choice, she doesn’t have many choices in her life and she will defend this one.
    The last one is the hardest one. Don’t argue with the abuser. And don’t argue with her about the abuser. Your first goal at this point is to be there for her to help. If you argue, that can be a reason for the abuser to come between you and your sister in order to isolate her from any assistance.
    If your sister doesn’t have a cell phone, try to see if you can find an old one. Even with the service shut off, newer phones must be capable of dialing 911. Ask her if she will take it and keep it charged. That way she can at least call 911 if she ever needs to.
    And keep telling your sister how much you love her. About how important she is to you. Tell her and keep telling her. Remind her of the good things about herself. Remind her of how much her children love her. Let her know how worthwhile she is.

    And I  wish you all the very best. Thank you for being there for her.

  6. February 27, 2006 at 10:18 am

    I forgot. The spouse who is being abused often is feeling guilt about things, feels pretty worthless, and alone. If you get judgemental with her- you either make her angry or reinforce those feelings, or both.
    So try to be as non-judgemental as possible, and keep reminding her she isn’t alone.

  7. Harding said,

    February 28, 2006 at 3:50 am

    This is really sweet of you. Thank you for your thoughts and dear advice.

    This is actually the first time I’ve received any useful feedback to my situation. Frankly, I’ve been prone to keeping my mouth shut, minding my own business, and leaving my sister to live her life. I sort of feel selfish if I bring it up with family, because I know it is not my problem. Still, the anxiety and fear I feel IS my problem, and it’s not easy to deal with.

    I really do appreciate your offer, and will e-mail you soon. Also, I’m going to print your advice and put it to good use. It’s actually a huge relief to know that there are things I can actively do… that I’m not totally helpless.

    My friend, thank you again.

    Best,
    Harding


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