Thursday, January 28, 2010

Armed For Battle

By Karen Rae Elkins

If there were one battle plan for staying safe before, during or after a domestic violence event there would be fewer murders associated with what has become the hell within our homes. I read a statistic that stated 94% of all domestic violence murders occur in the home. The statistic didn't include the men and women who just couldn't take any more abuse. Many have committed suicide or died homeless on the streets as a result of domestic violence.

I found a report on the web conducted by our government titled "The impact of Domestic Violence." I could feel my blood pressure rise. Our government loves impact statements. Go ahead, I dare you to google impact statement. Billions of dollars - billions of words - created by whom and for what reason? While government agencies spend millions studying the impact of domestic violence, people are dying every day. I could have saved them a bunch of money. "Violence KILLS!" Who is impacted? Everyone....even those who have never lived a violent moment. No one is excluded or untouched by the actions of violence. It's time to wake up.

This is one reason I believe "Time's Up!" is so valuable. Government agencies on violence pledge to protect, but they have lost their way. While they spins their wheels and our money, there are everyday people willing take the frontline in the war on violence. We are armed with first hand experience. Experience is the best teacher. Who better to help others than true Statesmen armed with compassion, solid advise, wisdom and sometimes just to listen? We are soldiers in the Army for a peaceful life. We fight the fight with faith to overcome the captivity called violence.

In memory of who I was, I've created a battle plan in hopes to help save a life from a vicious fate. I call this plan: "Get the Hell Out When The Heat Is On". On my battlefield of idea's you can find, a mixture of friends,  a good dose of confidence, an ounce of prevention, a measure of strategy, and I stir in the waters of faith.

Where do you write your plan for living?

I did so with the help of good friends.  No two violent situations are the same, so I encourage you to read my battle plan then, sit down and write your own plan for surviving and thriving. I suggest you write down your strategy over the pages of an old book laying around the house. I wrote my plan in my Bible...a place my abuser would never go. The margins were packed with my thoughts. He never knew. A journal or a notebook is like a red flag saying, just go on and beat me now. Out of all your troubles, refuse to lose. The more you write, the stronger you grow until... finally you will leave. When the day of victory comes for you, take the hand of someone who was in your shoes and become their ally.

Arm yourself.

The best way out of a bad relationship is to find a good relationship. I'm not talking about hopping from one person to another, What's the saying? "Out of the frying pan and into the fire." I'm talking about real down home, butt kicking, friendships. Isolation is common among abuse victims. Seek out those who have defeated violence. There is a reason they named the movie, "We Were Soldiers." It's good to have friends that have never experienced abuse, but when you are fighting a war, best to surround yourself with both friends and soldiers. I discovered this fact late in my battle because of pride and shame. Don't make my mistake. Soldiers are experienced brothers and sisters. These are my soldier sisters, Alexis, Cherry, Delilah, Anny, Abby, Susan and Shelly. God bless them and God bless my soul sisters too. They are all fishermen, Cousin Jada, Katrina and Christie and Cindy. We can burn the cell phone minutes up.

Where do you start? Much like our brave soldiers fighting terrorist, I look to them for  knowledge. There is a camp near my home to train soldiers for battle in the Middle East. They are taught the tactics of the enemy and train in defense. Soldiers don't go into battle to lose, they get up and fight smart. The best defense is a good offense.

There is a specialized class that is catching on like a wildfire in America. This class could save you from ever taking that first blow. It's like a reserve or insurance, a measure of riches for a life without violence. It's called a personal safety class. Anny Jacoby is a pioneer in the area of personal safety. When I asked her about safety, this was her reply.

Karen, I wish everyone would recommend that every female get training long before the physical altercations so that they can learn the warning signs, be able to see the red flags, understand what Power & Control is all about, learn proactive safety tips and ultimately how one can protect and defend herself mentally, emotionally and ultimately physically. And, every female must understand that any assault is NEVER HER FAULT. Any form of assault/abuse is zero tolerance.
We travel throughout the United States to train, speak, and give presentations to gals in school, ages 5-23 through our division, Project Safe Girls; not in school, ages 19-65, Seniors as well as females with disabilities. We are not stationery - we go where we are needed (everywhere).

Stir up the waters of faith.

I'm sure using the word Hell in my opening statement is not politically correct and neither is my next paragraph. It's my rock and it grew out of the storms I survived. So, what is Hell? Hell is darkness. Hell is the absence of light. Hell is a violent man. He can be like a land mine or a IED. Ya never know when he will explode. For me, Hell is also it's being separated from God. He has the ultimate plan for life. I have been driven to my knees and sought his guidance. Shelly is a praying soldier. I know there are those laying in wait to bash my belief in The Most High, ready and willing to point out my short comings, however I can't deny His role in teaching me who I am, and most importantly in keeping me safe. I've often heard the expression there are no Athiest in fox holes when bombs and bullets fly.

When the Heat is on.

If your knowledge has been butchered tell yourself daily, Domestic Violence is lethal. Don't pay the ultimate price with your life or the life of your children. The first fatal mistake in safety is the belief that "It won't happen to me." Don't put your faith in your feelings. Read sentance # 2 again, 94%  die in their homes.

Never give up your power. Your goal is to win. I like the saying "Chose to live for something rather than die for nothing". Alexis has a wealth of wisdom when it comes  to victims. She has pledged to leave no victim behind through her organization, Survivors in Action. She said to me,"Too many think there is a bulletproof way to survive, and, unfortunately, there is not.You are worth it. - most of the women I speak with who are victims of rape, stalking or domestic violence share one common attribute and that is we are all struggling with loving ourselves and self-esteem. I often say you are worth it when speaking with victims who are struggling with speaking out or having a difficult time overcoming - i say you are worth it-  The first time Alexis and I spoke on the phone, she said those exact words to me more than once. She turned my I am not into I am.

Safety is all about strategy. How are you going to protect yourself? First report all abuse to officials, therapist, minister or police. Records and paper trails of abuse are important. The other day I tested my mace and it ran down the side of the dispenser. And you know I did it, touch my nose! I knew better, just wasn't thinking. Today I heard of a more effective source of mace. Wasp Spray. It's going to spray at least 3 ft. If you are still living in abuse, pick it up at the grocery store and lose the receipt by accident. You should have a can under your car seat, several cans in your home, and one at work. If you are in true danger of your abuser, aim for his face and run like hell to the police station. Call 911 for him, cause he's gonna need treatment. You have every right to defend your life.

Katrina said, "Girl go to the tackle store and buy a flare gun." They cost about 30 dollars and will be worth it should you need the element of surprise.

I'd rather use the wasp spray. I have a gun permit, but I know that once I lay my hand on my gun it's going off without hesitation. If you can't say the same, don't entertain the idea of a gun. I don't want to use that option, but I can and will. Every year in the United States, 1,000 to 1,600 women die at the hands of their male partners, often after a long, escalating pattern of battering.

In reality, only a very small percent of victims kill their abusers to end the violence.  Most suffer in silence or are unable to leave the relationship.  Several studies have attempted to learn why a small percent of battered women resort to homicide.  These studies have found that battered women who kill in self-defense:

  • suffer frequent and severe abuse
  • are victims of often brutal sexual assault
  • are frequently threatened with death, especially if they attempt to leave
  • are caught and beaten if they leave the abuser
  • suffer severe psychological abuse, such as being beaten in front of others or being forced to watch the batterer kill a pet
  • are socially isolated and often imprisoned in their homes
If you can identify with any of the above situations, he's not worth killing. He's not worth your time either. I believe what comes around goes around. I've seen it happen too many times in my life. It often happens when you least think about it.

The ultimate goal of this battle is to live. If you lack money, here is one temporary idea. Start cleaning out the junk. Tell him you are having a yard sale to buy something that will please him. Make signs and advertise. Then take a good look at the things in your home. The lamp, are you worth more than the lamp? The rug, Has he walked all over you like the rug? The dishes. When did they become projectiles? All that stuff, the material stuff, can never add up to the sum of your life. Now, not in his defense but in the belief that what comes around goes around,  don't go selling his fishing stuff or his play station, but I say the shotguns are fair game. I think hand guns are illegal to sell. Fill the tank with gas the night before the sale. When he leaves for work have the biggest yard sale ever. Have a friend manage the sale while you pack your car of the small sentimental tokens. Sell everything you can until around 2pm then leave the rest in the yard, make a quick stop at the police station and give them his hand guns. Tell them you are taking back your control from abuse and run like hell. Leave town, don't go to a friends house, don't go to family. Best keep them out of danger. Find your soldier friends and fight. There are good organizations out there willing to help you with housing and the divorce. There are advocates that will go to court with you. 

With that I leave you with a story. Remember he is the ultimate liar, a deceiver who only wants to destroy you.

 Don't let this be your story. 

Her name was Virginia and she called a hotline looking for shelter. She was quickly screened and promised two beds: one for her and one for her 15 year old daughter. She told the advocate that she would be there right after work. She would pick up her daughter from school and be right there. Although the writing had been on the wall for a while, Dean, her husband of 16 years had refused a divorce or separation. He had said more than once, “If I can’t have you nobody can.” It had been said as a promise, as a dare and as matter of fact-ly as pass the cornbread. It stopped having its impact. So, Virginia had enough of all of it. All of it. She was ready.

Five o’clock came and went. Five thirty. Six o’clock. Then, the eleven o’clock news.

At about 3:30 Dean called to admit his defeat. He said he knew Virginia was unhappy and had been for a long time. He was sorry he had caused her so much pain. He never meant to hurt her. As a peace offering, he was willing to give her what she wanted. He wouldn’t cause her any more grief. He would leave the house and let her come get her things. She could take whatever she wanted. He would sign any papers, but wanted to keep the house because it was inherited from his parents. It was just what Virginia hoped would happen.

So, Virginia picked up her daughter and got a few empty boxes and went to get her things. She made it out of the car and a few steps before the shotgun blast pierced the air and ended her life. Within seconds, the 15 year old fell dead next to her mother.

Fish Steady my friends. karen


  1. Domestic violence survivor and author Jeannie Claire has written an excellent book on this subject. It's called ALLEGED AND DANGEROUS: MEMOIRS OF PERSONAL SURVIVAL. It's available on at

  2. For a few bucks you can pick up a pepper spray...I would not recommend Wasp Spray as your source of defense. Wasp spray wasn't made to save lives. So, if the nozzle or the spray doesn't work and doesn't hit your target because the spray is weak or blows back in your face...that's because it was intended for insects, not criminals. You can buy pepper spray online too depending on what state you're in. I bought mine from here:


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