OOP Survivor Blog

Four women and five children die every day in the U.S. due to domestic violence. Read President Barack Obama's Presidential Proclamation announcing his commitment to reducing the prevalence of domestic violence in our country.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Lessons in domestic violence recounted in Kathleen Krenek's insightful article

I just came across a fantastic opinion article that actually ran nearly two weeks ago in the Silicon Valley Mercury News. It was written by Kathleen Krenek, executive director of Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence. In the article, Krenek refers to the Mel Gibson tapes and basically analyzes aspects of Gibson's behavior that are obviously that of a typical batterer.

Gibson's phone calls indicated stalking, asserts Krenek, by the fact that he was "calling repeatedly, in this case allegedly 30 times in one day, including in the middle of the night,...(and) attempts at sleep deprivation through the calls ..."

It seems like most people, including the media, have spent a lot of time analyzing the content of Mel Gibson's phone calls, but what Krenek brings up, which is the stalking aspect of the phone calls themselves, is very important. Just the fact that he made these repeated phone calls is scary. And I know very well how scary it is to be on the receiving end of repeated, degrading phone calls. When I was dealing with repeated, stalking-type phone calls, I had the advantage of having access to the caller's phone records since we shared a cell phone account. When my phone was turned off, which I had to do at night when his phone calling was often incessant and interrupted my sleep, I could track his calls even when he didn't leave a voice message. And it was scary to see the frequency and crazy times of night that he attempted to call me.

This type of behavior is obviously all about control, and that's what I believe Mel Gibson's problem is. He apparently can't take the fact that he's not in control. He was grasping for some semblance of control through attempts at intimidation and degradation. But all that he accomplished with his horrific tirades on the phone was to give the world a reflection of himself.

Krenek ends her article with encouragement for people to act to bring an end to abusive behaviors. Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence is an incredible organization that was actually the second domestic violence shelter program to start in the state of California, and the very first domestic violence shelter to offer bilingual English-Spanish services in the U.S. You can reach Next Door by visiting their web site here or by calling their 24-hour hotline at 408-279-2962.

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