By: Cherry Simpson
I am the mother of Regan Martin a spousal rape and abuse victim. Her story entitled “One woman's struggle to escape abuse”, by reporter Megan Twohey, was on the front page of the Chicago Tribune on Nov 11, 2008. It’s a story full of pain, fear, hope to escape and most of all the truth. (Update)
How did the Chicago Tribune become interested in Regan’s case? A friend introduced me to Susan Murphy-Milano a DV advocate/author - the child of a batterer - her father, a police officer, murdered her mother. Susan got the Tribune interested in Regan’s case. I was a mother desperate to save my daughter. Susan was a daughter who could not save her mother. Susan taught me helping others helps you.
Susan also knew the in and outs of the justice system. She acted as my daughter’s advocate, going to court with her, counseling her, and she helped make a video to serve as testimony if Regan’s ex did take her life. We successfully got a GPS put on him upon his release from prison in 2008. Susan also made sure, when Regan’s ex violated the OP a 3rd and 4th time, that he was prosecuted “fully”, picked up by his parole agent and rearrested. Thankfully he is now back in prison until 1/2/2010.
Since then Regan has reached out to help others by writing to the Survivor Blog on the National Domestic Violence Hotline. She has been working on inviting a piece of legislature, which would stop sex offenders from plea-bargaining out of sex offender status. (Spousal Rape Laws Continue to Evolve).
We need move education and awareness of the overwhelming problems of domestic violence. Families and friends need to actively advocate for their battered loved ones. Instead of judging or blaming a battered woman for staying or taking him back. Many are convinced they are safer if they stay. Some go back numerous times.
I now ask why isn't domestic violence thought of and treated like torture? They both have the recognizable profile of imprisonment, detention, enforced isolation, extreme physical and mental abuse and some end in death. Mothers and daughters are raped, beaten, burned, deprived of sleep, food and human contact. Its purpose is to break her. What she learns in order to survive can make living later unbearable, causing post-traumatic stress even suicide years later. We need not ask, “What led you to become a member of this concentration camp?” We just need to help them escape.
I am often asked, “When will this be over?” I think of it the same way I would of a terminal illness. I do not believe we will ever be free of him until he dies. I pray the courts stop allowing batterers the right to kill their families, as in the Leichtenberg boy’s case; it is obvious these cases have reached a critical mass. (See number of DV deaths.)
What can I do to help them? I lend my support and help her to be strong and diligent in her pursuit of a normal life. I encourage her to prosecute the abuser every time he violates the law. I give her love unconditionally, share my faith with her and look for the joy God gives us everyday. Get involved you might save a life.