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Chipping Away at Domestic Violence

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Chipping Away at Domestic Violence

 

When the abuser co-opts the system

 

By Scarlette McCallum Nakamura

Hawaii Reporter

 

This weekend, the Domestic Violence Clearinghouse and Legal Hotline will hold its annual “Chipping Away at Violence” gala.  Each year, this event raises discretionary funds for the DVCLH, Hawaii’s frontline in the war against domestic violence. 

 

Domestic violence is devastating.  Its eradication is a noble crusade – one I supported as a member of the Board of Directors of a DV organization on the mainland.  While I lent my support, thankfully, it had no place in my life.  Then my wonderful husband passed away, and four years later I was awakened by a box spring mattress crushing down on my backside. 

 

Many episodes later, I left my abuser.  That’s when I experienced the dark side of a movement that, for many victims, constitutes their only hope. 

 

Within three months, my abuser became engaged to a staff attorney with the DVCLH.  She, a 50 year old, two-time divorcee with no children of her own, had new law degree.  To complicate matters my abuser accused me of endangering our child by keeping company with a prominent Oahu citizen whom the DVCLH powers-at be, had described as a “stalker”.  There was never a complaint against this man and he did not take kindly to the rumor. 

 

I suspect I may have been caught in the crossfire of a skirmish between the director and her detractors. I’m told the fiancÚ believed she was the member of a sorority so omnipotent; she could help herself to another woman’s child.  Needless to say, I became a persona non grata with the DVCLH.  My nightmare began.

 

For two years, my child and I endured a campaign of malicious litigation, tantamount to court stalking.  As though they were following a recipe, a series of baseless allegations were put before the court.  I was arrested without a warrant or investigation by a police officer/friend of the DVCLH, based on two letters which contained no threats whatsoever.  I too, was accused of stalking when; in fact, I was shopping with the credit card receipts to prove it.  Although my abuser could not afford an attorney, he was represented, ad nausea, by the current Board President of the DVCLH.

 

Twenty plus court appearances and six figures in legal fees later, I retain custody of our child, and the criminal case was dismissed in its entirety without even stipulation to probable cause.  It is not the end result I contest, but the being dragged through a process that was nothing more than a continuum of the abuse I was trying to escape.  

 

Today, I wonder; how can I reignite the spark in my child’s eyes lost to the chaos of police and courtroom melodramas? Might I once again become the target of furious nonsense designed to humiliate me?  Perhaps…but then they would only be proving my point.  It is not scrutiny I fear, but the absence of scrutiny in the wake of their mindless propaganda.

 

As we open our wallets to this virtuous cause, as well we should; let’s not be na´ve.  First, abusers can and do co-opt the system.  Secondly, the campaign against domestic violence is popular politics.  It attracts millions of dollars in federal funds – over 11 million for Hawaii during the Clinton era - and creates political fiefdoms for its most effective custodians.  Individuals within the DV community are as ego-centered as the rest of the population and just as likely to pathologize those who disagree with them. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I was awakened by a box spring mattress crushing down on my backside. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

For two years, my child and I endured a campaign of malicious litigation, tantamount to court stalking.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Today, I wonder; how can I reignite the spark in my child’s eyes lost to the chaos of police and courtroom melodramas?

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