By Susan Murphy Milano
Last weekend Oscar winners Halle Berry and Jamie Foxx attended the Jenesse Center’s Silver Rose Gala in Beverly Hills, which works to help families who suffer from domestic violence. Unless you watched TMZ or access Hollywood on television you likely missed the fact that star power was working towards brining awareness to this national epidemic. The event did not appear on CNN , Fox News or any mainstream media.
As we know Intimate partner violence knows no bounds, and this includes those from the gay and lesbian community and men who are also victims. But the hard reality is that 98% of women in a stalking or domestic violence related relationship are the ones who are not only affected, but they are the gender with more headstones in grave yards than those that lost their lives during the Vietnam War.
“It’s important for everyone who has a voice, who has a chance to have global or national spotlight to use that voice for good,” said Halle Berry.
But I liked what Jamie Foxx said as he spoke on what he feels is a double standard in the way some men approach the issue, saying “A lot of times you see the split. You see people try to make excuses for guys’ behavior. And it’s not fair and it’s not right.” The actor nailed it.
We are seeing a double standard in the way the “country” approaches the issue from first responders, judges, the courts turning a deaf ear to the media who often writes what I term the “glorified killer” obituary. That’s when a media related article on the tragedy appears mentioning the person who was killed and goes on to write “what a great person or family man” this bozo was to slaughtered their loved ones. Or if the person suspected of the crime does not commit suicide remaining alive, the media often writes about the alleged killer’s mental state, frame of mind or quotes a family member saying “they are innocent” because the person would do nothing to harm anyone.
Those family members need to wake up and get their head from out of their respective behinds.
A classic example is the case of Sandra Viramontes, 30, of Chicago, who was beaten and bruised covering 90 percent of her body. No one could say for sure how many hours she was unconscious before her mother received a call from her son-in-law saying her daughter needed medical attention back in January of 2010.
When the mother walked in to her daughter’s home Luis Viramontes, the son-in-law was gone in his place a relative who stood by and did nothing until the mother shouted to call 911. But it was too late.
At the hospital a trauma doctor informed the family “they had never seen anybody get a beating like that before.” Sandra’s had been beaten and bruised over 90 percent of her body. After the doctors ran tests the family was told her injuries were not survivable and two weeks later while in her mother’s she was taken off life support.
My question is how the hell was this bozo allowed bail in the first place? Her condition was critical and she was not going to survive her injuries. Maybe the judge who set his bond did not consider Luis, "oh so gentle" as dangerous.
This is a classic case of senseless and ignorant denial. It makes my skin crawl when I read comments made by members or friends of a killer’s family, “he always been real gentle.” Another comment as if to set the tone when this case goes to trial, “Luis couldn’t sleep or he cried nonstop.” Was this before during and after the beating? Or was it only when this cowardly individual realized he’d better have a few witnesses to testify as to his acting out the part of showing remorse for murdering his wife and the mother of his two young children? He probably thought it all out and carefully deciding what he would tell the person who will represent him that he lost control or it was an accident he had no intention of hurting her. The defense attorney will respond something like “I’ll talk to the State and see if we can get the charges reduced to manslaughter or second degree murder. Or maybe he’ll get his client a deal. You know so he will not have to spend the rest of his life in prison.
Part of the solution is for families, even those of the person committing the violence to speak up and step to the plate when they sense or know a family member is hurting a loved one. Another important component to this epidemic is for the mainstream media to report these incidents of violence and bloodshed with the same fire power they cover politics issues that affect everyday Americans’.
It is then, that we will have a level playing field for everyone affected by intimate partner violence to understand the cause, the solution and possibly the ability to prevent the bloodshed because the issue is out in the forefront. Instead of hiding this epidemic behind closed doors swept under the rug no different than those whom are suffering and entering cemeteries in silence.
"Been there, done that…” Susan Murphy- Milano has turned a tired phrase into demonstrable realism through the gift of her newly published book, "TIME'S UP: A GUIDE ON HOW TO LEAVE AND SURVIVE ABUSIVE AND STALKING RELATIONSHIPS"