During National Domestic Violence Month, One Mother Shares Her Story of Domestic Violence

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The importance of Domestic Violence Education and Awareness.

As many as four million women in this country suffer some kind of violence at the hand of their husbands or boyfrieds each year, but few tell anyone. They share feelings of helplessness, isolation, guilt, fear and shame.

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month provides us with an opportunity to emphasize that domestic violence is a crime, warn abusers that they will be prosecuted, and offer victims support and aid. It also enables us to mourn those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrate those who have survived, and connect with those who work to end the violence.

Domestic violence crosses all social, economic, racial, cultural and religious boundaries. They come from all occupations and all ages. They could be our neighbor, our sister or brother, our friend, the person making our coffee at Starbucks, our professor, our boss, the person driving next to you on the freeway, or the person who just sold you the latest book on domestic violence. It could be anyone. It could even be you. However, by not telling a trusted family member, friend, clergy, or trained professional, the victims allow the abusers to maintain power and control over them. Power comes from the concealment. Sadly, however, it is when the woman starts to take control over her own life and the abuser feels he is losing his control over her that her life is in the most danger.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, please seek help. The Domestic Violence Hotline can provide you with resources as well as an escape plan. Their number is 1-800-799-7233, and is available 24 hours a day.

Vulnerable victims need to be better educated about domestic violence and must come to understand their abusers' patterns of behavior, so that they feel empowered to walk away before it is too late. Reach out; a therapist can help you or someone you know get the courage needed to get out. A readily available therapist can help accomplish this. MyTherapyNet.com has licensed therapists available specializing in domestic violence. If you are too ashamed or afraid to talk with someone you know face-to-face or simply cannot make it out of the house, MyTherapyNet.com is available around the clock. These online mental wellness professionals are available to provide therapy, guidance, and the strength and hope needed to free the victim from the shackles of the abuser.

Kathleene Derrig-Palumbo, is a psychologist and shares a story of a woman she recently came to know. Gloria is a strong, powerful woman who carries with her a quiet sadness. She believes strongly in the bond of family; however, she was not going to be naïve in thinking that her children would tell their mother everything. Therefore, she raised her daughters to confide in each other and to be there for one another.

Her girls were brought up with strong family values and a firm belief in success and education. Her youngest daughter, Catrina was a victim of domestic violence, and Gloria still seems to be searching for reasons as to why this happened and why no one saw any signs. Although five years have passed, it is definitely a normal reaction to such a devastating loss. Gloria and her family realize now after so much time has passed that the signs really were there, but were not recognized as a pre-cursor to the violence it eventually carried.

Catrina, a strong credentialed young woman, was married and in a Master’s program in Spiritual Psychology. To the naked eye, people would think that she had her life together and would never fall into the realm of domestic violence. One of Catrina’s sisters later disclosed that Catrina had plans to leave her husband and that an airline ticket had been purchased, and at Catrina’s request, mailed to her home.

No one was certain as to whether Catrina’s husband ever knew about the round-trip ticket, but it was for a week-long getaway to visit her mother and start the process of beginning anew. During a conversation with her sister, Catrina had also mentioned that her husband had bought a gun for her protection while he traveled.

Then, the mother of this beautiful young woman received the most dreadful of calls. Gloria was informed that Catrina had been murdered. Catrina’s family took a flight out to where this horrific event took place. What they saw and heard was unbelievable. It appeared as though she had been doing the laundry; as was evident by all the folded clothes on the bed. The dresser drawer that housed the same gun Catrina had told her sister about was open and on the dining room table as was her airline ticket. He must have seen it and thought perhaps she was leaving for good.

Evidence showed that numerous rounds had been fired from the gun, nine of which hit Catrina in the back. After being shot repeatedly, Catrina fled her home running towards her neighbor’s house.

She wanted them to let her in and help her, but because of their own natural and understandable fear and wanting to protect their own family, they did not let her in. Instead, Catrina’s husband reloaded his gun, came back outside and shot her one last time, killing her on this neighbor’s doorstep before shooting himself and taking his own life.

While many of us will read this horrific story and move on with our lives, Gloria and her family will forever live this horror. They feel that if Catrina or someone from her family had been educated about domestic violence awareness, at least one of them may have recognized its face. At the end of the day, their child, their sister, their friend, and this beautiful human being who was positioning herself to help others maintain a healthy life of spiritual and mental wellness, is too soon gone because of domestic violence. Although Catrina’s spirit and energy will live on in their hearts . . . so will the quiet sadness.

Gloria Daniels, Catrina's mother states, "education and awareness beyond Domestic Violence Awareness Month can and will save lives."

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Gloria Daniels