Domestic Abyss
Westword has provided a very valuable public service with its June 11 report on domestic violence, "Hitting Them Where They Live." But you didn't stop there: The domestic-violence stories were also good (if depressing) reading, told with the usual Westword flair. Congratulations are in order to all involved.

Sheila Fox

I hope you can find it in your articles on domestic violence to tell both sides of the story. There are so many people being falsely accused of this very serious crime, and they are considered guilty until found innocent. Maybe $5,000 or $10,000 later, justice is truly served--after people's lives are already ruined.

Bruce Werschke
via the Internet

As a survivor of domestic violence and of stalking, I just wanted to say that Mike Newell, profiled in Steve Jackson's "Falling Through the Cracks," is a hero. I wish I had had him on my side during my ordeal. Betty was very lucky to have his support and protection in a situation where the victim is often vulnerable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The world needs more people like him.

Rhiannon O'Byrne

I am a former perpetrator and also a victim of abuse in the drama-triangle called domestic violence. My hat is off to you and your team for an amazingly accurate and balanced representation of the topic.

Too bad I was so biased, ignorant and narrow-minded in my first marriage. Both my former spouse and I were outrageously abusive. The situation was made much more complex by those who are personally gaining in the $16 billion martyr/victim perpetuation "business," a monster that we've created that rarely caters to those of male gender. Thus, we lose the opportunity to eliminate the root cause and elect instead to treat the symptoms. The family system in which I thrived was sick and, thank God, is doomed to failure.

I consider myself very lucky to be here and now in a co-creative partnership with a self-liberated woman (totally equal) who likewise sees through the sacred veil and likewise was deeply scarred by "the system." The deepest of all our pain comes to us when we see the damage we have perpetuated upon our own children, how they mimic and emulate what we erroneously taught them, and how they have no interest in learning about the wizard behind the curtain.

Name withheld on request
via the Internet

Thank you, thank you. As a survivor of an abusive marriage, I cannot tell you how important it is to educate people about domestic violence. While it is true that programs and laws dealing with it have improved over the past twenty years, the basic problem of abusive men remains a constant.

Jeri Ryder

I read your articles on domestic violence with great interest. I was dragged into the sewer of the DV program by an ex-girlfriend who had worked in the court system for years and played it like a harp. After wracking up $20,000 in attorneys' bills, having my house burned to the ground and being accused of child abuse, assault with Uzis and stalking, I ended up "beating" all of the charges except the one where I confronted the new boyfriend. After amassing a huge list of false accusations over two years, the county finally filed stalking and other charges against her, but they called her to warn her that the charges were coming and she fled the state.

The list goes on, but so do I.
Michael McGee
via the Internet

Steve Jackson's "A Quick Ride on a Fast Track" correctly points out that domestic-violence programs have come a long way since even five years ago. However, in giving a glowing report to Jefferson County's Fast Track program, the possibility that the program needs to be better is not even mentioned.

I have been through the Fast Track program and was extremely dissatisfied with how my case was handled. First, the offender was arrested even though there were no prior incidents of abuse toward me; there was no damage other than a painless red mark I wasn't even the first to notice; and getting a conviction was likely doubtful because of the lack of damage.

Second, I was issued a restraining order and told how to handle it by the police officers (who couldn't have been any better in handling all this), but I was not told that the offender had an assault rap sheet a mile long. This was vital information and if he had chosen to come after me, it might have meant the difference between health and serious injury. I was not told by the victim/witness center, even though there was ample time to do so.

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