29 July, 2009

Poet Mourns Daughter's Murder

Audio for this story from Fresh Air from WHYY will be available at approx. 5:00 p.m. ET

Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno

Poet Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno's new collection of poems details the aftermath of her daughter's murder.Mat Krzesiczan/Alice James Books

July 29, 2009

Poet Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno's new collection of poems, Slamming Open the Door, documents the aftermath of the murder of her daughter Leidy Bonanno.

Leidy was found dead in her apartment in 2003, strangled with a telephone cord by an ex-boyfriend. She had recently graduated from nursing school.

Two of the book's poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and poet Sharon Olds calls the work "a gift of power, truth, rage, and beauty."

The New York Times writes of the unflinching collection: "Readers will have to step outside of a familiar, comforting tradition of poetic grief while reading this book. Here are not the solemn measures of Shelley and Tennyson."

Bonanno is a contributing editor of The American Poetry Review. She teaches English and creative writing in Pennsylvania.

Excerpt: 'Slamming Open The Door'

Cover: 'Slamming Open The Door'

Courtesy of Alice James Books

Slamming Open The Door
By Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno
Paperback, 80 pages
Alice James Books
List Price: $15.95

Death Barged In

In his Russian greatcoat, 
slamming open the door 
with an unpardonable bang, 
and he has been here ever since.

He changes everything, 
rearranges the furniture, 
his hand hovers 
by the phone; 
he will answer now, he says; 
he will be the answer.

Tonight he sits down to dinner 
at the head of the table 
as we eat, mute; 
later, he climbs into bed 
between us.

Even as I sit here, 
he stands behind me 
clamping two 
colossal hands on my shoulders 
and bends down 
and whispers to my neck: 
From now on, 
you write about me.

What People Give You

Long-faced irises. Mums.
Pink roses and white roses 
and giant sunflowers,
and hundreds of daisies.

Fruit baskets with muscular pears,
and water crackers and tiny jams
and the steady march of casseroles.
And money, 
people give money these days.

Cards, of course:
the Madonna, wise 
and sad just for you,
Chinese cherry blossoms,
sunsets and moonscapes,
and dragonflies for transcendence.

People stand by your sink
and offer up their pain:
Did you know I lost a baby once, 
or My eldest son was killed, 
or My mother died two months ago.

People are good.
They file into your cartoon house
until it bows at the seams;
they give you every
except your daughter back.


Don't pity me:
I was too lazy to walk
up the stairs
to tuck her in at night.

When I brushed her hair
I pulled hard
on purpose.

And always 
the sharp, 
plaintive edge
on the rim
of the spoon
of my giving.


An ant rears its front legs,
its rosary-bead parts
startling and black,
but I do not see it.

You name it.
I cannot see 
what she can
not see.

The Unitarian Society of Germantown

The church is a big wooden boat,
Dave and I in a corner,
as the rain drops patter
then slash 
through the dark outside.

Hold on tight,
says the kindly moon face 
of the minister.

But we can smell our own sweat.
We roll our eyes and moan
and grapple for position.

One by one, the others
press their bodies against us,
until finally,
we tire and lean in
to their patient animal breath,
to wait it out together.


We see them everywhere now.
Last month, a tiny baby one
more orange than red,
purposeful, crawling
on the wall 
above my side of the bed.

Inside a domed reception hall
at a fund-raising supper,
in the middle
of our round table
sits a perfect dead one.

We eat our soup
until one of us spots it,
our spoons slowing.

My niece wraps it in a pink tissue,
as if it were a sequin dropped 
from the sleeve of God,
and takes it home.

After the trial, a blizzard
of ladybugs on the courthouse steps,
more this week
than Berks County has seen in years.
At first we crunch them underfoot
until, horrified, we look down
and know what we do.

Hundreds of them,
shining orange and black,
the dead and the living together — 
the living
on the backs of the dead.

Excerpted from Slamming Open The Door by Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno Copyright 2009 by Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno.

27 July, 2009

Divorce & Parenting: Bashing Your Ex is Bad News for Your Children

By Rosalind Sedacca, CCT

25 July, 2009

Angie Loves Alice, A Daughter's Love for Her Mom


Mom, you are deeply missed

On November 14th 2002 my family got up that morning and did their normal routine in life..We all got ready for work and my mom Alice Donovan had the day off and was looking forward to her day of relaxation and rest before she had to start a new work week..

At noon mom decided to go to walmart to start her christmas shopping. She pulled in the Walmart parking lot at 2:39pm, parked in a parking spot but never made it into the store.She was ambushed by to young men with guns who forced her to drive away in her car with them..She spent three hours begging and pleading for her life. All her attempts to have her captives let her free failed..After raping her repeatedly and recieving a large chunk of money from her bank accounts they murdered her and left her body in a wooded area in Horry County South Carolina..

Both men were caught several days later and were put in to prision where they surely belonged. But they never told nor brought any law officials to the place where they discarded my mother..

Our family suffered the loss of my mother in different ways..It split our family apart into many different dynamics and the family fell apart. We sat through the trials of both of these men and heard the accounts of what they did to mom and the others over and over. We had to relive the nightmare over again and it seemed that no matter what we did to try to get on with our lives without her, we couldn't..She was still missing..Her body was out there somewhere. We could not except that. We were not at peace with that. For many years I often wondered if my mothers soul was at rest. Later I had to bring myself to believe that it did not matter where a person was placed in death, If they were going to spend their eternity with the higher power then their souls are at peace.
January 17th 2009 almost seven years later one of my mothers murderers decided to come forward and explain where they left my mother all these years with a map and pictures..A search was conducted and skeletal remains were found in that area he said she was..The memory gate lifted and my soul was flooded with all memories of my mother, good and bad and of the events that lead to her death..I relized on that day in January of 2009 standing on that dirt road as CSI came out of the field with brown bags which hopefully hold my mother, that I had been running and hiding from the truth..Not wanting to face the memories of my mother. The pain of losing her was so great and so painful that I thought it would be easier to forget her..And all I did was prolong the innevitable. 

Now as I sit and wait for DNA to confirm that it is my mother's remains, my mind is flooded with thoughts of my mother. A woman with integrity, a woman with passion for life, a woman who saw the beauty in all things, a woman who loved like no other, a woman who I am honored to say is my mother.

A Place For Alice
For Alice Donovan, From Her Daughter, Angie

The mail-order bride industry exploits women

Cash on Delivery

The mail-order bride industry exploits women.

By Mae Bunagan

“"Get ready for some serious fun,"” begins one advertisement. “"Choose from hundreds of beautiful, fascinating women. Go to nightclubs with ten women for every man. Meet women worldwide-from the Philippines to Brazil. Learn why mail order bride marriages are usually successful."

"Mail orderbrides and international introduction services: The real story, with objective reviews and descriptions, of ‘mail order bride' services-what to pay for and what not to pay for. How to get the most out of your dollar."” Sound appealing?

What do these two advertisements have in common? They attest to the increasing popularity of the mail-order bride industry, one of the most sexist and degrading businesses operating legally today. The term “mail-order bride” refers to a woman whom a man marries after paying to obtain her contact information from a company. Although the United Nations in 1950 passed the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others, denouncing international trafficking of women for sexual services, the international law-enforcement community has paid little attention to the open trafficking of mail-order brides. While estimates on the number of companies in the mail-order bride business vary, in 2000, Kathryn A. Lloyd reported in the Northwestern Journal of International Law and Business that there were approximately 500 mail-order bride companies in the United States in 1995. A watchdog group for mail-order bride companies, called the World Association of Introduction Agencies, currently monitors 2,700 mail-order bride agencies located across the globe, from the United Kingdom to the Philippines. Still operating virtually unregulated, the modern mail-order bride industry has successfully grown into a multimillion-dollar business by exploiting the power disparities between men and women and between the rich and the poor.


Starting a mail-order bride company is not hard. All it takes is a few foreign women, a computer, and basic knowledge of the Internet to begin this business of sexual exploitation. According to GABRIELA Network-a U.S.-based group that fights against the global trafficking of women and the sex industry through protests, speakers, and newsletters-mail-order bride companies are generally owned by men who have obtained wives through this industry. Some companies sell catalogues, which contain the women's photographs, measurements, and addresses. Men simply browse through these catalogs, pick the women they want to meet, and order their contact information. Other companies charge a set rate per contact, with averages ranging from five to ten dollars per address. Large orders may be entitled to a bulk-rate discount. While the sale of a woman's contact information is a significant source of revenue for the company, companies receive the most revenue from selling trips to the women's home countries. For an extra fee, mail-order bride companies also help their customers with the immigration process. In 1997, Business World estimated that clients pay approximately $6,000 to $10,000 for this assistance. Some agencies claim to serve as many as 15,000 clients per year.

An INS study by Robert J. Shocles of Indiana University on the mail-order bride industry estimates that it currently exploits between 100,000 and 150,000 women from various countries, particularly Southeast Asia and the former Soviet Union. More than 50 percent of these women are under the age of 25, and many are as young as 16. The women in the industry generally come from countries where educational and employment opportunities are hard to obtain. Lloyd reported that “poverty and gender roles in the Philippines are the typical forces that turn Filipinas to the mail-order bride industry.” Filipinas already have to deal with gender discrimination in the job market, and growing unemployment rates don't make conditions any better. Furthermore, gender roles in the Philippines place the burden of supporting a family on the shoulders of women. When women are forced to seek alternative means of making money, they often become overseas contract workers, prostitutes, or in a growing number of cases, mail-order brides.

Proponents of the industry claim that the women are not at a disadvantage in these transactions because they have willingly given their information to be placed in the catalogues: “There is no such thing as a ‘mail order bride' or ‘mail-order bride company!' In reality, it is the ladies who do the choosing by selecting which men they wish to respond back to.” However, even if women “voluntarily” enter these situations, they make the decision as a last resort out of the need for money and a better life-not only for themselves, but often for their family as well.


In his study, Shocles also found that the mail-order bride industry attracts a homogenous clientele: customers are generally white and much older than the women they seek. They are well educated, ideologically conservative, and economically successful. They say that they look for foreign wives because American women today are too career-oriented and lack “traditional values.” They want women who will stay home and care for their husband and children. In other words, men looking for women through this industry essentially want wives they can control. Lloyd affirms that these men feed on the “stereotypes of Asian women as subservient and docile.” The easiest way for these men to guarantee a marriage in which they have total control is to obtain a mail-order bride. The very fact that they pick their women through purchasing their contact information indicates that they are hungry for a sense of ownership.

In the United States, supporters of this industry argue that the government has no right to regulate how American citizens meet or select their spouses, denying that any significant differences exist between an international introduction service and national dating service. However, a difference does exist: dating services attempt to create relationships of equals, while the power dynamic in the mail-order bride industry strongly favors the men. Since the man is the paying customer, he can demand the information he wants about the women. Because of industry competition, companies readily provide the information the men demand. The female participants in this bargain, on the other hand, as impoverished women anxious to escape from desperate conditions, have essentially no power. In order to be chosen, women must provide the information that the men want. The companies verify all information provided by the women, going so far as to measure them carefully. They take no such care with would-be buyers. Men with criminal or abusive backgrounds elude any scrutiny, since the companies conveniently neglect to conduct background checks on the potential husbands. As Sumiko Hennessy, executive director of the Asian Pacific Development Center, argued, What you have are older men, people with three divorces, alcohol problems…some who have a his tory of domestic abuse or problems with the law.”

Although national figures on abuse in mail-order bride marriages do not exist, there is reason to believe that the incidence of abuse is high. American law enforcement officials agree that abuse in these marriages can be expected based on these men's need for control in their relationships. Many individual stories reinforce this claim. Sometimes the abuse ends in murder. One such tragedy occurred in March 1995. Timothy Blackwell originally met Susana Remerata after seeing her picture in a catalog called “Asian Encounters.” The two wrote to each other for a year, then met in the Philippines and got married. Soon after their wedding, Tim became abusive and tried to choke Susana on more than one occasion. Ultimately, Tim shot and killed his pregnant wife and two of her friends in the King County Courthouse in Seattle, Washington, as their divorce proceedings were about to begin. Another tragedy occurred in Seattle, this one in September 2000. A thirty-eight year old man named Ingle King, Jr. strangled his 20-year-old wife, Anastasia, to death. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that in her diaries, Anastasia wrote that King withheld her college tuition, restricted her time with friends, sexually assaulted her, and threatened her with deportation or death if she tried to leave.

Despite incidents like these, mail-order bride companies proudly claim that marriages arranged through their services have a lower-than-average divorce rate. Perhaps so, but it is doubtful that all these marriages are happy. Indeed, it is likely that many of these marriages are unhappy, but the women are unable or afraid to escape because they do not have the resources to leave their husbands. American immigration law only complicates matter for mail-order brides. Under the Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments (IMFA) of 1986, a US citizen must petition for “conditional resident status” for his or her foreign spouse. After two years, the couple may jointly petition the INS to adjust their status to that of permanent resident. These laws put mail-order brides at the mercy of their husbands by giving the men control over their wives' immigration status. Mail order brides often lack the language skills or knowledge about their new home to negotiate the immigration system or even to support themselves without their husband.


Although the mail-order bride industry desperately needs regulation, the international community has, for the most part, turned a blind eye to the problem. For example, increasing concern over for the trafficking of Filipinas has led to restrictions on the recruitment of women from the Philippines. In 1989, the Philippine government passed a ban on advertising for “recruits.” In 1990, it banned the operation of sex tour and mail order bride agencies in the Philippines. In 1996, the Anti Mail-Order Bride Law further limited the agencies' recruitment methods. However, the state of the Philippine economy has allowed the industry to prosper. Informal recruiting practices have been able to circumvent the regulations. In some cases, women are fooled into thinking that they are being recruited as domestic workers. Once an agreement between the women and recruiters are made, it is difficult to turn back. On the other hand, nations such as the United States have concentrated on the immigration consequences of the mail-order bride traffic. American authorities focus primarily on identifying fraudulent marriages and threatening brides with deportation.

Ideally, countries around the world would outlaw this industry and make participation in it a crime. In reality, however, such laws might only create a black market for mail-order brides. Alternative solutions might not eliminate the mail-order bride industry but can perhaps address its most pressing problems. In an attempt to protect women from serial abusers, companies should be required to conduct background checks of potential husbands. Mail-order brides should be informed of their rights to report domestic abuse and provided with names and contact information of advocacy groups-such as the Legal Aid for Abused Women and Children and the National Coalitions Against the Trafficking of Women-that can help women in abusive marriages. Finally, governments should hold mail-order bride companies accountable for the marriages that they engineer. Currently, mail-order bride companies stop communication with the customer and the bride once they are married. Instead, these companies should be required to provide support services to help women adjust to their new countries or protection if they are abused. The companies can pay for language classes, help women develop marketable skills, and provide a shelter to which they can turn to if they are abused.

Even the strictest regulations, however, fail to address the fundamental problem of the mail-order bride industry. It is a form of sexual exploitation that is no different from prostitution. In fact, it may even be worse than prostitution because the marriage contract and immigration laws give it a more permanent nature. Impoverished women surrender their lives and sexuality because they hope to obtain economic security-but their dreams for a better life often turn into the cruelest nightmares.



Questions? Comments? Please contact perspy@hcs.harvard.edu

19 July, 2009

What's A Little Rain?

I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that
I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You

Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings
You glory And I know there'll
be days When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to
praise You Jesus, bring the rain

I am yours regardless of the clouds that may
loom above because you are much greater than
my pain you who made a way for me suffering
your destiny so tell me whats a little rain

[1st Chorus]

Holy, holy, holy
Holy, holy, holy
is the lord God almighty
is the lord God almighty
I'm forever singing

[2nd Chorus 2x]

everybody singing
Holy holy holy
you are holy
you are holy

[2nd Chorus 2x]

17 July, 2009

Learning To Trust Again: Intimate Partner Violence

Although statistics vary, over a life time, over twenty percent of women may suffer an Intimate partner violence (IPV) episode. IPV survivors can view their abuse as a breach of trust, isolating them from society and leaving them with an incredibly sense of loneliness. 

IPV survivors also have a higher rate of physical and mental health problems with an increase in depression, PTSD, drug abuse and poor health. Dr Christina Nicolaidis talked about her study, to Hamish Holewa, for IPP-SHR podcasts. 

Christina's study focused on how IPV survivors want their health providers to talk about the rest of their health, and on what IPV survivors thought about the connection between abuse and mental/physical health symptoms. It was found that women who are IPV survivors are very aware that the abuse is related to mental and physical symptoms, but they wanted the providers to holistically understand their symptoms and not dismiss symptoms purely because they are IPV survivors. 

Trusting health professionals to view their symptom holistically was a large concern, women felt unsure of disclosing information: the more the providers knew, the more chance they could use it against them, making the women feel their symptoms were all in their head. 

Respect from a health provider towards the women was seen as very important: women wanted respect towards their whole selves. Health providers need to be very sensitive about these issues: an appropriate preface is required before the discussion of violence can begin. 

Visit Podcast page with transcription and additional details

16 July, 2009

Grow Up Already

“Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving.” —Dale Carnegie

Article by Zen Habits contributor Jonathan Mead; follow him on twitter.

If we really want to be happy, why do we act like such babies?

We can claim to be proactive in our life by settings goals and going after what we want. But if we’re always whining and complaining all the time, are we really living effectively?

If you don’t believe me, count how many times you complain about something or other in one day. Whether it be being stuck in traffic, being bothered by the weather, not enough mustard on your sandwich, or whatever it is, there are endless instances where you can find a reason to complain.

But it’s not just outside circumstances that we complain about. We complain about about ourselves too. We complain that we don’t have enough time, we don’t have enough money (this one is huge because it’s often “true”), that we’re not smart enough, cool enough, or just enough.

I know I’ve experienced plenty of unpleasantness due to complaining about things I can’t control. I never really thought about it much until I found this website about “living in a complain free world.”

Imagine how much happier you would be if you simply stopped complaining? Much of what you complain about is outside of your control anyway. What’s the point of brooding about something you have no power to change? Not very intelligent, if you ask me.

Simply becoming conscious of how much you complain is the first step to stopping. When you recognize that you’re complaining, stop and take notice of it. Ask yourself if you would rather complain, or be happy.

Are you ready to live a complaint-free, happier life?

The two steps to stop whining so much:

  1. Make it a priority to notice every time you complain or unnecessarily criticize. This includes judging others. Now, every time you catch yourself complaining, just stop and notice it.
  2. After you’ve noticed yourself complaining, ask yourself this: Is there anything I can do about what I’m complaining about, or it outside of my control? If there is something you can do about it, do it. If there is nothing you can do, let it go.

Obviously, this is a little easier said than done. Complaining is an addiction and a hard habit to break. Like any other habit to break, it will take time.

Even though it may be a long time (or possibly never) before you’re living completely complaint-free, that’s still okay. The good news is this isn’t all-or-nothing. Even 10% less complaining will have an immediate positive impact on your life. Then, once you’ve decreased your whining by 10%, you can keep bootstrapping your way down to complaining less and less.

After complaints show up less and less, something awesome starts to happen. Once your mind realizes that you won’t tolerate its moaning, it will begin to give up its efforts. (Whatever you do, don’t fall into the trap of complaining that you’re complaining.)

So the question is: Would you rather complain or be happy?

(Oh and by the way, having gratitude is a great way to stop complaining.)

This article was written by Zen Habits contributor Jonathan Mead of Illuminated Mind.  For more ways to stop whining so much, grab a copy of Reclaim Your Dreams.

15 July, 2009

Make us a light for the blind, a song for the deaf, a hope for the lost and the lonely

Prayer for Strength and Courage

Dear God,

You are the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. It is safe to place my heart in your hands. In a restless and troubled world, you are a realm of peace and comfort. In a sea of doubts, you are the certainty. In an ocean of darkness, you are the light. Guide us through the night. Your mercy is endless. Your grace is eternal. Your love has no boundaries. Without you, we would be lost and alone. With you, we are saved and loved, we have a purpose and a meaning. Teach us to love and to forgive, the way you love and forgive us. Teach us to find our joy in you. Teach us to find our strength in your name. Make us a candle for others' steps, so that they can see where they are going and do not stumble on the way.

Make us a light for the blind, a song for the deaf, a hope for the lost and the lonely. Make our lives and our beings part of your divine plan. Give us the strength to see beyond this “here” and “now”. Open our eyes, so that we can see your love in everything. Open our ears, so that we can hear your voice in everything. Teach us to be strong in times of weakness. To carry forward the message of faith, hope and love.

When our heart is breaking, touch it with your healing touch and make it whole again. You can turn wrong into right and darkness into light. You can make us strong by the very things that make us weak. Change our hearts. Let us be messengers of your love here on Earth. Where there is bitterness, pour your sweet love, where there is illness and death, pour your living water. Where there is despair, pour your hope.

Give us the passion and the courage of the first Christians. Give us the power you gave to your apostles. Teach us to say the right word at the right time, to choose the right thing every time we have to make a choice. There are so many times when we feel like prisoners in our own bodies, in a world that defies our understanding. Teach us that there is more than eyes can see, that the truth is comforting and redeeming. Set us free by your truth. Let our heart see your glory, so that we can never feel like prisoners again.

For you have the power to build up hearts and minds, to restore and to heal. Glorified be your name forever and ever.


Why are at least half of us selecting the wrong partners?

By Paul Mauchline

I am not an anti-divorce advocate. Divorce is necessary in cases of physical or mental abuse, or in the case of two people who are so incompatible that they never should have been together in the first place. Certainly, if your partner is mentally or physically abusive to you or your children -- or if he or she exhibits any signs of violent behavior -- you cannot ignore these signs. You are putting yourself, and possibly others, in serious jeopardy. Divorce in such cases is merited.

However, considering the alarming divorce statistics worldwide and the growth and economic success of the divorce industry, I have to question whether we seriously consider the question -- "Are you the one for me?" -- before marriage. In my opinion, if relationships are failing at such an alarming rate, why did these people get together in the first place? I have heard many excuses for why relationships fail: "he/she has changed since we met"; "we just grew apart"; "the love just disappeared from the relationship; "we weren't compatible"; "financial troubles got in our way"; "we weren't communicating anymore"; "he/she was unfaithful and cheated on me." To me, the reasons are not important. The real issue is why two people meet, date, court one another, commit to a relationship, purchase a home, have children, get into debt together, and then decide, "You are not the one for me." Whether you have lived together for two years or twenty years, such a decision has repercussions not only for the two individuals who are splitting up, but also for children, friends, and family as well.

Why are we failing, today, in recognizing what we want as individuals, and what we want and need from our relationships? Now, the sixty-four dollar question: why are at least half of us selecting the wrong partners? I do not feel that we are honestly examining the question "are you the one for me?" as much as we may think we are. Relationships are a big part of life for most of us. It is part of our human existence that we choose a mate, share love and intimacy, provide comfort and security for one another, and, in many cases, have and nurture children together. Since intimate, loving relationships are so important to us, many of us are willing to make great sacrifices in order to have a relationship. When we finally meet that potential partner who pushes most of the right buttons, we feel a sense of relief that our search is now over. We are thrilled to have found a partner, a person with whom to have a relationship and share our life. Sometimes, though, we fool ourselves in the initial euphoria of love: we are not honest with ourselves about the things that bother us about our partner. We hope that these things simply will go away. We might ignore upsetting issues and allow them to pass without challenging them, or avoid topics of discussion that could lead to disagreements. We may tell ourselves that the things that bother us about our partner are not very important or that we are being too picky. We may be hesitant about asking questions of our partner that may reveal potential problems for the relationship. We need to make compromises in relationships, but we should not sacrifice our personal dreams and goals for them. By ignoring potential problems, we abandon ourselves for the sake of the relationship.

Many of the warning signs of incompatibility or potential conflict between two partners are present from the beginning of the relationship. The problem lies in recognizing these challenges and addressing them early on in the relationship, before they become irreconcilable differences. If important issues are irreconcilable from the start, it is a good indication that the relationship will not succeed. Each of us is a unique person, with individual qualities, needs, strengths, and imperfections. In relationships with others, two unique individuals come together, and try to live in harmony with one another. Each person's qualities interact with the other's to set the mood or tone of the relationship. It is the cumulative effect of many attributes in another that make us feel safe and comfortable in a relationship. Many of us fall in love with one aspect or very few aspects of our partners, and try to downplay the other aspects that make us unhappy. Often this gets us into trouble. If we spend our time and energy trying to reassure ourselves that the problems with our partner do not exist, we may be ignoring the issues that will slowly, cumulatively destroy the relationship.

Why do we choose to ignore these problems? Why do we insist on having a relationship when we know deep down inside that this person is not the one? Why do we choose to set ourselves up for emotional hurt? There are many answers to these questions, but fear is probably the greatest motivating factor for these choices. We fear being unable to find somebody with whom to share our life. We fear living alone. We fear being the last of our friends to be in a committed relationship. We fear the financial hardships of doing it alone in a society of two-income households. We fear growing old and dying alone.

14 July, 2009

Decorating for domestic violence

HAYS, Kansas – A former Hays resident has made a name for herself as an interior designer and this week she’s sharing her talents to help a worthy cause. 

Caroline Von Lintel knows a thing or two about decorating a space to make it warm and welcoming. A few years ago, she decided to begin using her talents to help domestic violence shelters. To date she’s worked to refurbish and redesign five of them and now her focus is on a shelter in Hays. 

“I was actually living here at a time when I had two small children, and I was sort of in a situation that the county really helped me,” said Caroline Von Lintel, with DV-8 Designs. “And I always thought if I ever get the chance to come back, I'm coming back.”

The Northwest Kansas Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center serves 18 northwest Kansas counties and around 550 families a year. KSN can’t show the actual shelter, but those who work there say it's in need of serious repair.

“It's not that it's really bad now, it's just that it needs that fresh uplift,” said Charlotte Linsner, the shelter’s executive director. “Some of the rooms haven't really been touched for about 15 years you know.”

So this week Caroline is offering up design consultations at the Hays Ashley Furniture Store for clients who donate $25 to the Northwest Kansas Center for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. Ashley Furniture is pitching in with furniture donations – all of which will help spruce up the center. 

“We're just going to take it inch by inch and add some color and change out the furniture and the flooring and the paint and the window coverings,” Caroline said. 

Caroline hopes to begin working at the shelter in July, giving some much needed TLC to help families feel at home during the difficult time in their lives. 

The Hays shelter is also hoping to add a resource center to its facility with computers for families to use. 

If you would like to donate to help the project, call 785- 625-3055. 

Students Design an Artistic Abuse Awareness Approach

Chairity: Students’ designs raise awareness of domestic violence

11-06-08 Chairs
Published On:
 Thursday, November 6, 2008

ASU interior design students have built chairs to take a stand against domestic violence.

Seniors in a work-environments design studio designed chairs as part of a project with the Phoenix Family Advocacy Center, which helps victims of domestic abuse. The chairs will be displayed in this week’s First Fridays art walk downtown and will go to a charity auction in mid-November.

Josie Urban, Jodie Smith and Jenny Kern won a scholarship from the International Interior Design Association for their chair, which resembles a bus stop and draws inspiration from graphic artist Barbara Kruger. Kruger’s work contains industrial, mass-produced images with statements set on top of the pictures. The bus-stop chair was designed to emphasize the industrial aspect of Kruger’s work.

“It seemed really daunting at first,” Urban said. “There was an infinite number of [design] possibilities.”

The 31 students involved in the project formed groups to design 11 chairs over five weeks. Each group chose an artist as inspiration and set out to build a chair.

They spent two weeks designing a proposal, one building a scale model and two more building the actual chair. Students could spend no more than $100 on their design and had to get items or services donated from local companies.

“It was a good way to get the community involved,” Urban said. “People were really generous.”

At the beginning of the semester, an employee of the Family Advocacy Center brought a victim of domestic abuse to speak with students about the cause.

Smith, a designer of the bus-stop chair, said the speakers put a personal and emotional face on the organization.

“[The project is] to understand what they’re about and promote their mission in various ways,” Smith said. “People don’t know about it. That was really inspirational.”

Interior design senior Stephanie Fanger worked with her group to build a chair inspired by New York graffiti artist Lady Pink.

“Since she’s a graffiti artist, we thought she would reflect the violence,” Fanger said.

The forms used in the chair were fluid and colorful, representing the motions used to spray paint graffiti on a wall.

“This is the most emotionally and physically draining project,” Fanger said.

Working on the project from conception to construction was an experience that encompassed all aspects of design.

“I learned how to design quickly and on a budget,” she said. “Once you build a full-scale model, you realize the constraints.”

Faculty associate Bill Furman is a design instructor who helped students through the design process.

He said the most interesting aspect of the project is seeing how students incorporate the inspiration of artists and domestic violence into their chairs.

One group chose a philosopher as their artistic inspiration, which presented an unusual challenge, Furman said.

“They had to come up with their own visual of the philosophy, which previously had no visual representation,” he said. “It’s really interesting what they do with their ideas.”

The chairs will be auctioned off at the Phoenix Art Museum on Nov. 19. The CHAIRity Benefit Dinner brought in about $16,000 last year for the Phoenix Family Advocacy Center.

“The underlying theme here is to talk about domestic violence,” Furman said. “[The project] brings awareness to that issue.”

Reach the reporter at adam.sneed@asu.edu

13 July, 2009

“He would never just leave me,” Maureen thought...

The Maliciously Missing

by DIANE on JULY 13, 2009

Then there is the group of missing people who aren’t really missing at all. They are hiding. They’re called the“maliciously missing” by a woman who knows the subject all too well. Her name is Maureen Reintjes and on May 19, 2005 she kissed goodbye her husband of 24 years at their new home in Las Vegas, Nevada and he disappeared. No warning, no reason, he was just gone.  Jon Van Dyke, a retired Marine master sergeant knew about responsibility, he seemed happy with their new life and

Jon Van Dyke Disappeared - Voluntarily

his new job at the CitiGroup Command Center. They’d worked hard getting their home in shape for a pending family reunion. He would never just leave me,” Maureen thought. 

LINK to Entire Article

Also see...Maliciously Missing Law (draft)

08 July, 2009

The Dangerous Custody Game of Show and Tell

Susan Murphy Milano's Journal: The Dangerous Custody Game of Show and Tell

Janet did not consider the children and the potential battle ahead with visitation, safety and custody. Her former husband did not have much interaction with the children, until now, when the game of show and tell is important for the court appointed mental health evaluator and the children’s guardian ad litem to see the loving yet, dangerous father.

Now her husband views himself as an excellent father per the number of support letters sent in to the mental health evaluator by his employer, friends and relatives. 

Janet scratches her head in disbelief asking why strangers, most of whom she or the children has never met. are sending letters on behalf of her husband’s parenting skills. Letters from people who have only seen a photo of the boys on a desk in a squad room or as it accidently fell out of his wallet at a bar while reaching for cash. 

“Suddenly this dangerous man whom I am trying to break away from desires and is fighting,” says Janet, for 50/50 custody including being involved in every decision from after school activities to driving the kids to sleepovers. Janet, like so many other women, is discovering this is not a good thing for she or the kids.

Silently, when only she can hear, he leans into her neck and whispers "remember, tell death do us part baby, wise up or the only visits you will receive is the flowers on your tombstone."

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Missing Persons Awareness and Support Network