Posts Tagged ‘Violence and Abuse’

As I was looking through my news feed on Facebook today, a video of attorney Gerald Curry popped up.  Many of you probably don’t even know who Gerald Curry was, but he became headline news about 11 years ago when he was chased down and shot by a man who was fighting a court-appointed trustee over money that he claimed the trustee was withholding from his injury settlement trust fund.  Mr. Curry represented the trustee in the litigation.   Mr. Curry survived his injuries and continued to practice until his death in 2012.  The video of this shooting follows.

Violence is not uncommon against attorneys (even their staff), from not only their own clients, but by the opposing party.  As can be gathered from the information regarding Mr. Curry’s shooting, even attorney’s who are not in Family Law can be victims of violence. It amazes me that the American Bar Association has not updated its article done in the mid-90’s, “Lawyers in Harm’s Way.”  This article revealed that 60 percent of family lawyers had been threatened by opposing parties, and 17 percent have been threatened by their own clients.  I believe that these percentages have probably increased since the mid-90’s, given the recent rise in violence in our world.

In June 2013, in California Lawyer magazine, a well written article by Wendy L. Patrick titled “The Dangerous Client,” talks about the increasing violence in our nation and an attorneys ethical duties a lawyer has to their clients and to the public.  For those of you interested, you can read this article here. As we all know, violence in the workplace has increased and it is a concern that I am sure many people have.  I know that I think about this almost everyday as I head off to work, especially working in the Family Law arena.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and I am proud to have my good friend and colleague Eric G. Young, who is a retired California attorney, as my guest blogger on this personally important subject.  Eric formerly handled family law matters and is a tech/social media enthusiast.  

An Event Of Significance – Domestic Violence Awareness Month

By:  Eric G. Young, Guest Blogger

These days, every month – if not every week or even every day – has one or more events associated with it.  Although they are not holidays in the traditional sense, these events include national or state-recognized advocacy events, commemorative or historical celebrations, and annual education or fund-raising efforts. Some are recognized by special legislation; others are just quirky, highly individualized events (of every kind and type) devoted to a group’s interest.

October is “Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” so this month is no exception.  Sponsored by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Domestic Violence Awareness Month had its origins in 1981 as a “Day of Unity,” to organize and empower abused women and their children.  Subsequently, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed in 1987.  In 1989, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month Commemorative Legislation was passed by the U.S. Congress. The “Day of Unity” is celebrated on the first Monday in October.

Because so many annual events are recognized, one might find himself or herself anesthetized to yet another commemorative event.  Unfortunately, this may be particularly true when the event highlights something we would all rather not talk about, or from which we would rather look away.

When we consider an event focusing on eradicating violence, however, we are considering something entirely unique.  Violence against a spouse, children, parents, significant other or even companion animals are criminal acts that shatter families.  As a childhood survivor of domestic abuse, I can attest, first-hand, that such acts thrive in the shadows of secrecy, humiliation and fear.

Events like October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month seek to dispel these shadows, enlighten society and empower victims.  For that reason, it is not just another event.  Domestic Violence Awareness Month is an event of significance we can all agree is worth marking and remembering, speaking out and writing about, listening to and advocating for.  Domestic violence will continue to exist if and only if we convince ourselves not to talk about it, divert our eyes and ears, or let others bully us into submission.

Because of its potential to reach even the most remote parts of our globe – coupled with an ease of using a variety of media in its approach – social media continues to play a prominent – if not pivotal – role in combating domestic violence.  For example, CopyRanter recently ran an article that graphically – and provocatively – illustrated social media’s ability to educate and empower.

Here are a few clips from the article.  We strongly encourage readers to check out the full article here, however, as each of the entries are well worth taking a look.

I recently read a great article on Firstwifesworld.com, on how to handle a verbally, emotionally abusive ex-husband written by a member of First Wife’s World.  There were also some very good comments made on this article.

One of the hardest things for women (or men) who have been emotionally or verbally abusive is to move on and stop letting the ex continue to push their buttons, or bait them into continuing to respond in the same old way.

The member wrote the following on how she now deals with her ex: “He knows all your buttons to push, so learn to react in a way that is completely different from how you have always reacted.

Here is an example (based on my real experience):

  • Him: “I should call the attorney and tell him that you’re……….”
  • Me – Old response:  “That isn’t true!  You know it isn’t true!  You’re just trying to cause trouble!”
  • Me- New response:  First a long pause of silence, and then, said very calmly and quietly: “If you think that is what you should do, then you should do it.”

This last part is the most difficult for us victims of abuse to understand because we think we’re caving in or letting “them” win.  Quite the contrary.  They honestly don’t have a clue what to do when you don’t react in the same adversarial way they behave, because being adversarial is the only way they know how to deal with people.”

If you would like to read more on this article, please click on the link above.  This website also has many other articles that you might find interesting, such as, Home and Home, Kids and Family, and Money and Finances.  Check it out and let me know if you find it useful.

Disclaimer: I am not a member nor am I affiliated with this website in any way.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Image by heraldpost via Flickr

As October Domestic Violence Awareness Month comes to an end, I wanted to share with you a YouTube trailer that I came across which tells the story of a young woman’s tragic death at the hand’s of her husband.  Amy Homan McGee was a young mother who suffered years of abuse and control by her husband and was tragically shot and killed by him when she finally took control of her life.

Amy’s co-workers were aware that she was being abused and helplessly stood by not knowing what to do to help her.  Her story can be seen on PBS, or you can order the DVD. While I have not seen the special, nor am I being compensated in any way by PBS or Verizon, who funded this special, from watching the trailer I think that we can learn how to help our co-workers if we suspect they are the victims of domestic violence by watching this story.

In California, employees are protected from losing their job under the California Labor Code 230-230.1 as amended by 2000 Cal. Stat. 487 where victims of domestic violence are protected against discharge or discrimination for taking time off to seek protection orders or other judicial relief to help secure their own or their children’s safety or welfare.  Firms with 25 or more employees must also allow workers job-guaranteed leave to seek medical attention for domestic violence-related injuries; obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, program or rape crisis center; receive psychological counseling; or participate in safety planning.  The employee must give reasonable notice, if feasible.  The employer may require certification of domestic violence: a police report, protection order, documentation from court or from a medical professional, domestic violence advocate or counselor.  To the extent the law allows, the employer must maintain the employee’s confidentiality.  An employee whose rights under this provision are violated can file a complaint with Dept. of Labor Standards Enforcement. They are also entitled to unemployment benefits.  Workers who must leave their jobs to protect themselves or their children from domestic violence – “good cause” under the law – are eligible for unemployment benefits.  The employer’s reserve will not be changed if the employer informs EDD of the circumstances within ten days of being notified of a claim. California Unemployment Insurance Code 1030, 1032, 1256.  For more information about breaking the silence on domestic violence, click here.

If you are the victim of domestic violence or you are the co-worker of a victim of domestic violence, I hope that the above information is helpful to you and that you are aware of the help that is available.  A great place to start is at the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence.

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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, otherwise known as DVAM.  As domestic violence is on the increase, I wanted to focus on two groups, teens and returning war veterans.

TEENS AND WHERE THEY CAN TURN FOR HELP  

Many teens do not understand or recognize the signs of abuse and don’t know where to turn for help.  For instance, in a healthy relationship, you would never feel guilty about having your own friends and interests, feel pressured to spend time with your boyfriend/girlfriend when you would rather be doing something else, keep opinions or comments to yourself to keep the peace, or change your behavior to avoid fighting with your boyfriend/girlfriend.  If you have questions about whether your relationship is a healthy one, there is confidential help available.

Loveisrespect.org is designed to assist teens and young adults using the technology they use the most, the phone, the web and chat.  There is anonymous 24/7 help available to young men and women, along with their friends and families, by phone at 866-331-9474 or TTY 866-331-8453.  They can also chat in a one-on-one, confidential conversation with a peer advocate between the hours of 4 pm and 2 am.  All advocates are trained to offer crisis intervention, safety planning, and referrals from a database of over 4,500 resource providers.

Educating our youth about domestic violence is important to break the cycle of abuse.  If you are a teen or parent of a teen and you have any concerns, there is a wealth of information available at loveisrespect.org.

VETERANS AND THE HELP AVAILABLE

As our young men and women begin returning home from the war, there are many adjustments for them and their families.  The experience of combat may lead to startle responses or trauma triggers.  Flashbacks and nightmares can interrupt sleep and normal activities, and they can be upsetting not only to the veteran but their families.

Witnessjustice.org is a national nonprofit organization that provides support and advocacy for victims of violence and trauma.  They can be reached at 800-4WJ-HELP.  At their website you will find specific help for U.S. Military personnel and families affected by the conflicts of Iran and Afghanistan. One of the organizations available for veterans is Giveanhour.org which gives free confidential mental health services for these veterans and their families.

Also available is the ComingHomeProject.net.  There programs are also free to U.S. Military personnel and their families and is confidential.  Cominghomeproject.net is devoted to providing compassionate expert care, support, education, and stress management tools for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, service members, their families, and their service providers.

In past war times, when our veterans returned home there was no place for them or their families to get assistance that was confidential.  Now, there is assistance and at no cost to our veterans.

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BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 15:  (FILE PHOTO)...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

I am sure by now you have all heard some, if not all, of the recordings released in which Mel Gibson is allegedly ranting and raving at his baby mama.  While I have never condoned domestic violence and have written many times about it and how it seems to be increasing among celebrities and even amongst the legal community itself, I am having a hard time with what is going on in this matter.

Mel Gibson has so far, remained very quiet about these recordings.  I read today that the police are now opening a case and reviewing the allegations against Mr. Gibson.  Apparently, these recordings were part of a child custody dispute between Mr. Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva and were sealed.  The police have now received a copy of this sealed recording.

As someone who works in the legal field, my question is when and how were these recordings made?  Did Ms.  Grigorieva have a court order that allowed her to record Mr. Gibson or were these recordings made without his knowledge?  Don’t get me wrong, if the recordings that have been released are in fact accurate and if there is domestic violence of Ms. Grigorieva by Mr. Gibson, he should be held accountable, no matter how wonderful an actor he is.  Abusing another human being should never be tolerated!  What should also not be tolerated is illegal recordings of another and then these recordings being leaked to the public.  It will be interesting to see how this matter moves forward and believe me, I will be paying attention to it.

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