Domestic Violence/IPV Survivors

Barbara Bentley: Dance with the Devil

Barbara BentleyBarbara Bentley’s charming, fascinating, and charismatic late husband presented himself as a retired Navy rear admiral and the descendent of two infamous admirals named Perry.  They were VIP guests of the Navy during Fleet Week in San Francisco.  He had war medals including the Congressional Medal of Honor.  They were invited to President George H.W. Bush’s inauguration and the inaugural balls.  The only part of his story that was true was that he was the black sheep son of Admiral Perry.

The truth was that he was a con man wanted by the FBI for impersonating a US Navy officer.

Christie Brinkley: Divorcing a Narcissist & Litigation Abuse

I  grew up thinking Christie Brinkley lived a fairy tale life.  She was Billy Joel’s uptown girl and news anchor David Brinkley’s step-daughter.Yet, even cover girls can experience litigation abuse when they divorce a narcissist.  To the outside world, their ten-year marriage appeared to be perfect.  But, behind closed doors, Ms. Brinkley’s ex-husband Peter Cook admitted he was “an idiot.”  Like David Letterman, he sexually harassed  his 18-year-old personal assistant Diana Bianchi.  To avoid a lawsuit and to keep her quiet, he paid her $300,000.  She testified at their divorce trial.

Victory for Vernetta!

Vernetta CockerhamIt took seven years and two trips to the appellate court for Vernetta Cockerham to receive justice.  Vernetta’s landmark case holds police accountable for failing to enforce orders of protection.  Her story was featured in the August, 2009 issue of O Magazine.  To read about Vernetta’s journey, click here and here.  To read about her story in O Magazine, click here andhere.

Connie Culp: Courageous Survivor

When the Today Show  promoted that the country’s first face transplant patient would be on, I had a feeling domestic violence had been involved.  Yep.

If any of you dear readers need incentive to leave the pit bull abuser in your life, I hope you’ll take the time click on the links to look at the photos and read Connie Culp’s story.

 Mary Margaret Farren: CT Attorney Brutally Beaten by Her Husband who Was Pres. Bush’s White House Counsel

Mary Margaret Scharf Farren, 43, is an attorney at the prestigious Skadden, Arps firm in Washington, D.C.  She lives in a 4,300 square foot mansion on a heavily wooded lot with a swimming pool at 388 Wahackme Road in New Canaan, CT.  Their home is worth $4.8  million.

When she married J. Michael Farren, 57, in Washington, D.C. on May 3, 1997, the marriage was reported in the New York Times.  Her husband was at the time a vice president at Xerox.  He had previously served in the cabinet of Pres. George H.W. Bush as Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.  He also served under Pres. George W. Bush as White House deputy counsel.

Sounds like a fantasy, eh?

Bravo, Rihanna: Breaking Down the Wall of Silence

Rihanna was just a toddler when the Berlin Wall came crashing down 20 years ago today.  Tonight Glamour Magazine is honoring her at Carnegie Hall as their 2009 Woman of the Year for breaking down the wall of silence on domestic violence:

“Domestic violence is a big secret.  I want to give as much insight as I can to young women. . .to help speak for them.”

Bravo, Rihanna!

Lorena Gallo Lorena’s Red Wagon

“Lorena Bobbitt’s response to being continually raped, sodomized and beaten by her husband was uniquely bizarre. But her situation was commonplace. What happened to Mrs. Bobbitt happens, in varying degrees, to more than a million American women every year.”  (New York Times)

Carolyn JessopCarolyn Jessop: Safety in the Spotlight

On April 21, 2003, Carolyn Jessop achieved a miracle. She escaped from an abusive polygamist marriage to FLDS leader Merril Jessop.  See also:

BettyJean Kling: Lady Liberty

Statue of LibertyBettyJean Kling is on a mission for her daughter Louisa.  She’s working to get Louisa’s law passed.  She is passionate about domestic violence prevention.  She believes that without Women’s Rights there is no true democracy and believes we need to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.  She is the founder of Free US Now.  She has the fighting spirit of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who as you know started the women’s movement by editing the Declaration of Independence to read “all men and women” are created equal.

To read more, click here.

Orders of Protection: A Victim’s Frame of Reference

RitaAnita Linger, M.A.

Guest column by Rita Anita Linger, a domestic violence survivor and the Executive Director of the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  To read her sage wisdom about orders of protection, click here.

L.Y. Marlow

L.Y. Marlow: Saving Promise & COLOR ME BUTTERFLY

L. Y. Marlow is a survivor.  When domestic violence threatened her granddaughter Promise, she decided to end 60 years and four generations of silence.

She launched the Saving Promise grassroots movement to end what she calls a pandemic of domestic violence.

Her goal is to collect 100,000 signatures in support of shining a spotlight on domestic violence until it becomes a national priority.

Ms. Marlow chose the butterfly as her symbol because she believes it is the “universal symbol for change.”  When domestic violence threatened the fourth and fifth generations of her family, Ms. Marlow decided it was time for change.

She became an advocate.  She gives powerful speeches.  She lobbies politicians and corporations.  And, she self-published a fictionalized memoir of the history of domestic violence in her family:  Color Me Butterfly which tells the stories of four generations of women “suffering in silence; surviving in darkness.”

The book won awards, received critical acclaim, and was acquired by Crown Publishing’s Three Rivers Press.  Read more. . .

Fern Michaels: “Persevere and you will prevail.”

Mary Ruth KuczkirMary Ruth Kuczkir created the perennially best-selling Fern Michaels brand, and the rest is history.  Ms. Kuczkir’s books have been so successful that she was able to put all five of her children through college, and she’s set up the Fern Michaels Foundation to fund scholarships and help single mothers.  She lives in a 300 year-old plantation house in South Carolina.

To read more, click here.

 Emily Post: Why did she become etiquette’s leading expert?  [Book Review:  Emily Post:  Daughter of the Gilded Age, Mistress of American Manners by Laura Claridge]

Her ex-husband Edwin Post had humiliated her with his emotional abuse and debauchery.  When his infidelity hit the front pages of New York’s newspapers, Mrs. Post sought revenge.  She never forgave him.  In “Fundamentals of Good Behavior,” Mrs. Post opined:

“Far more important than any mere dictum of eitquette is the fundamental code of honor, without strict observance of which no man, no matter how “polished,” can be considered a gentleman. . .The man who publicly besmirches his wife’s name, besmirches still more his own, and proves that he is not, was not, and never will be, a gentleman.”

Clever lady!  She made it official:  a man who is abusive and/or cheats on his lady love is a jerk-wad.  Eitquette in a nutshell.

Jenny Sullivan Sanford, former First Lady of South Carolina

Elizabeth Edwards took the expected path for political wives.

But, Jenny Sanford did not.  Her estranged husband Mark is the South Carolina governor who infamously went “hiking” to Argentina rather than on the Appalachian Trail.  She kicked him to the curb and was featured in Vogue Magazine‘s September issue’s “Notes on a Scandal.”

Heather Thompson: Speaking Out

Heather and I agree that there’s safety in the spotlight.   Her friends have posted billboards letting her ex-husband know she’s surrounded by a circle of protection.  She is on a media blitz because:

I think the reason that domestic violence is the silent killer is because women tend to stay silent, and that’s exactly what the abusers want.

Nancy P. Tyler: Will Her Nightmare Ever End?

Nancy P. TylerArrest and court records hold abundant evidence that Richard Jay Shenkman intends to kill his ex-wife Nancy P. Tyler.  I am livid that Richard has been allowed to so deftly manipulate the legal system as an instrument of abuse.  The clear pattern is that his brother billionaire Mark Shenkman pays his bail, Richard’s released, and the court proceedings drag on and on.  He was out on $10 million bail when he allegedly kidnapped Nancy on July 7, 2009, held her hostage, and burned their house to the ground.  She had several orders of protection.

Is Nancy Tyler’s nightmare over?  I doubt it.  Even if Richard is convicted, Nancy fears the day he will be released from prison.  Richard has threatened too many times.  Yet, the onus remains on Nancy to keep herself safe.  To read more, click here.

Beauty & the Pit Bull Beast: Miss WA, Elyse Umemoto, Experienced Domestic Violence

She’s beautiful, talented, and brilliant.  She was Miss Washington in 2007 and second runner-up in the 2008 Miss America pageant.  When little girls think of beauty queens, they never imagine those beautiful women are getting beaten up at home by their boyfriends.

Elyse Umemoto’s platform during her reign was “Embracing Diversity, Empowering Women.”  She calls herself an ethnic “quad” because she is a Native American from the Yakama tribe, German, Hispanic, and Japanese.  In the spotlight, she advocated for empowerment.  At home, she experienced an escalating pattern of domestic violence from 2007 until February 8, 2008.

Karen M. Welch

Bravo, Karen M. Welch: Watch Stalked: Someone’s Watching on Investigation Discovery Tonight

3.4 million people are stalked each year.  80% of domestic violence victims have been stalked before they are murdered.

Karen M. Welch and criminal psychologist Dr. Michelle Ward are stalking survivors who are making a difference.  Bravo!

Ms. Welch was stalked for 12 years until her stalker committed suicide to avoid federal prosecution.  Her story is being featured tonight on the “Dangerous Games” episode of Stalked:  Someone’s Watching on Investigation Discovery.

Bravo, Oprah:  BeBe Winans Booted for Allegations of Domestic Violence

Debra Winans

Ms. Winans’ experience was recorded by Nashville television station WSMV:

“He pushed me to the ground in front of my children.”

“When you’re married to someone known all over the world, it has serious challenges.”

The reporter summarized Ms. Winans’ thoughts:

“People of faith are held to an even higher standard, and many Christians suffer through abuse rather than reaching out for help.”

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