Deanna Baumle introduced the first clip, in which we learned about Emerge, an abuser rehabilitation program in Massachusetts. A clip of a video was played, featuring a group interview of three anonymous men who were receiving counseling at Emerge. I can't say that they all sounded remorseful. But they all seemed to use the language prescribed by the program: partner, entitled, rationalization. All of these men were court ordered to enroll in the program. David Adams, co-director of Emerge, said that the men who are court ordered to participate in counseling often do better than those who enroll voluntarily. The reason for this is that the men who are forced to be there will generally stay in the program longer.
Saundra Ramirez led the next section of the talk. Leslie Morgan Steiner is the author of Crazy Love, a memoir that details her marriage to an abusive spouse. In her talk, she discusses some of the ways in which abusers lull their victims into a sense of security before they strike. She spoke of the way her ex-husband created the illusion that she was the dominant partner in the relationship. Then he moved into the next phase: isolation. They moved to a small New England town where she didn't know anyone and the neighbors would not be close enough to hear the beatings. Eventually, he choked her, and banged her head against a wall. A week later she married him
Steiner never thought of herself as a victim. She believed she was a very strong woman in love with a deeply disturbed man. And she was the only person who could help him. And that mindset leads some women to stay. Some victims stay out of economic necessity. And some stay out of a reasonable fear that they will be murdered. As Steiner points out, 70% of domestic violence related murders take place after the break up.
Public perception of domestic violence was examined by discussing the two faces of Ray Rice, the pride of New Rochelle, a man committed to his community and inspiring young men and women. And the Ray Rice we have all come to know, a man who is capable of punching his fiancee in the head, knocking her unconscious, spitting on her, and dragging her out of an elevator by her feet.
Allison Richman led this part of the discussion as she and Rice are alumni of the same high school. She raised questions of what is private v. public? What is the NFL's responsibility, if any? Should Rice be allowed to attend events at the high school? The most disheartening anecdote from this portion of the event was a quote from a fourteen year old student at Allison's old high school, "well, if he did that, then she did something to deserve it."
If the goal of the event was to inspire a rousing debate about the responsibilities of the victim... Then mission accomplished.
The entire event was set in motion by an announcement made by Nicole Abene regarding a couple of ways in which those interested could get involved with this cause:
- Story by Story Stair Climb on Oct. 23
- Used Cellphone Drive: Accepting donations throughout October in the PIRC Office.