Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Domestic Violence and Murder in Florida - Was it Anger?

View Julie Christiansen's profile on LinkedInThis just in: Fla. mother slain with five children had been warned of danger by friend
This story was Submitted by SHNS on Mon, 09/21/2009 - 13:09

Marie Aimee lay awake, replaying old conversations with her best friend in her head. "We always said, 'Guerline, if he tries to kill you, just leave him,'" Aimee said. "Don't let him kill you."
Police told a family member Guerline Damas' husband, Mesac Damas, did just that, slitting her throat and that of their five children.
Saturday night at 8:30, Aimee got a phone call she had dreaded receiving for the nine years she knew Guerline Damas.
Damas was dead, and worse, her five children were found dead with her. Mesac Damas, 33, the father and "person of interest" in the case is believed to be in Haiti following a Friday morning flight out of Miami.
... She said she had been telling Guerline Damas for years to leave her husband, whom she married two years ago after the birth of their fourth child together, Megan, 3. The other four children were Michzach, 9; Marven, 6; Maven, 5; and Morgan, 11 months.
They had married two years ago.
... They went to an anger management class together on Wednesday... On Friday, Guerline Damas failed to show up for work.
The employee said that when reached, Mesac Damas said his wife was sick and was on her way to the hospital.
Collier County Clerk of Court records show a history of domestic violence charges against Damas' husband involving Guerline Damas and some of her children. Records show there also was a charge filed against Guerline Damas, with her husband listed as the victim, but it was dropped.
In a Sunday press conference, Sheriff's Office officials said they had received calls about disturbances in the Dieu-Damas home as far back as 2000. January 2009 was the only time deputies had enough evidence to arrest Mesac Damas, however. Officials said the couple had been together for 10 years.
Marie Aimee said Mesac Damas was physically violent, as well as controlling.
"Sometimes he was breaking down everything in the house," Aimee said. "He was always getting her money and spending it on nothing."
Up to 10 million children experience domestic violence every year and more than three women are murdered by their partners every day in the United States, according to Family Violence Prevention Fund statistics.
Oberhaus said the majority of domestic violence relationship murders occur when the woman has decided to leave or shortly thereafter, and that it is important to establish a safety plan to prevent such tragedies from occurring.

Naples Daily News staff writer Matt Clark contributed to this story.
(Leslie Williams is a reporter for the Naples Daily News in Florida.)
I have said it before and I'll say it again: it is time to STOP assuming that when a man exerts his physical power over a woman or her children that it is an anger issue. Anger management will NOT save these women from their abusive partners.

Domestic violence is not an anger issue. This is about power and control - poor self-mastery skills on the part of the abuser. You ask an abuser what it is about - if he were completely self-aware and honest with himself, he would say, "It is about making you feel small so I can feel strong. It is about me forcing you to love me, to stay with me, to take care of me, to please me, because I do not feel that I could deserve that love any other way. I'm not angry, I'm scared. Scared that you'll leave me. Scared of what that will say about me. I'm scared that I can't change and I can't stop. I'm scared of the monster that I have become. But I can't blame me, so I'll blame you. If only you would do what I want, have sex when I want, shut those kids up, put dinner on the table when I want it, quit your job because your independence makes me feel insecure... if you would do all of that I wouldn't have to beat you. But then even if you do all of that, the fact that you have self control and I don't - that says negative things about me too. I hate myself but I'm too much of a coward to hurt myself, so I'll hurt you instead. At least then, I feel powerful, and I feel in control."

Please, please, please, crown attorneys, district attorneys, family lawyers, and judges - please stop sending these men with mile-long rap sheets for domestic violence to anger management classes. Send them to programs for men who batter, and get their families away from them before it is too late.