I was sent a link this morning to a story that was run on City TV in Toronto within the last 24 hours. It is the story of a woman named Jennifer Corsini, a survivor of Domestic Violence who was viciously and brutally attacked five years ago by her husband of seven years. Jennifer's husband plea bargained his guilty, 13 year sentence to one which allows him to apply for parole this spring and Jennifer thinks that is wrong. She has started an online petition through Facebook: perpetrators of crimes of Domestic Violence need to serve what they are sentenced, no plea bargains.
I remember hearing about the attack that left Jennifer so physically and emotionally scarred. As I watched the clip of the recent news coverage, I felt anew the horror that I had experienced five years ago... He cut her, strangled her, poured corrosive paint thinner on her and left her to die, and die she almost did. Today she lives with all of the scars of that fateful day, but her spirit is very much alive. I admire her courage and I support her cause, we all should. It is never wrong to seek justice, unfortunately as many of us have found out, it is often all too elusive.
I don't know how to say this next part without sounding ungrateful to City TV for airing this story. I am grateful, this kind of story highlights just what can happen in a relationship hallmarked by Domestic Violence. It's just that the comment made by the News Anchor reflects all too sadly the root ignorance that the general populace has in regards to the reality of what can happen in an abusive relationship. In my opinion, people don't just 'snap', they have been headed that way all along. It is called 'escalation of violence' . Once again, Domestic Violence encompasses way more than just the physical aspect... there is name calling, there is financial control, perhaps criticism of your abilities or of your appearance, the subtle undercutting of your confidence, the muttered comments designed to instill fear, the breaking of doors, the smashing, the trashing, the apologies and the promises not to repeat... this is often the lead-up to the actual physical assaults. In the interview, Jennifer speaks of how he had never been like that before (physically violent towards her), yet it happened. This reality is experienced by far too many women, women who are caught by surprise when physical violence actually happens because they had never thought their partner would ever do something like that. The reality is that abusers often betray their violent tendencies in many, many ways before actually reaching the point of physically assaulting a partner. There is no mystery here, once you know what to look for it becomes all too clear. Unfortunately, it is in hindsight that we possess 20/20 vision.
I don't know what the solution is but in truth I feel that City TV missed the ball. They had the perfect opportunity to educate the public, to say something inspired like "Statistics tell us that 1 in four women experience Domestic Violence in the their lifetimes" or perhaps they could have said something about the insidious nature of abuse, how it classically isn't often noticeable at first but grows with time... or perhaps they might have put in a plug for any number of the Domestic Violence services and crisis lines that are in Toronto... it's too bad, what a great opportunity to speak truth into the darkness. Please don't misunderstand me, I think they did a wonderful and sensitive job of conveying a very difficult story, their portrayal of Jennifer allows her strength and dignity to shine through the gory details and for that they definitely should be commended. You see, it's not that they did anything wrong per say, it's just that I think they could have done so much more. However let that not overshadow the fact that I'm glad that we now know about what Jennifer is trying to do with the petition and I hope that all of you reading this will do your part and add your signatures.
I suppose I just feel frustrated that this big TV station, in one of the biggest cities in the nation, couldn't have thought that this would be a great opportunity to do some outreach, some public education or at the very least to be able to display some crisis line phone numbers... anything that could assist someone sitting at home watching who might fear for her own safety.
If we at 1 in Four were just to post interesting blogs with interesting images, we would be accomplishing very little. Yes, the blogs are important because they tell our stories and we connect with each other when we can see similarities in our experiences... but it is the Resources tab, the Community Links list and the monthly Calendar that set us apart. We do our best to use our own stories to help people connect to the places that will help them with theirs. This website is in existence because we recognise that there is a gap between the women that need help and the services that can help them. We know that it is very hard, without some kind of direction, to find resources in a community - and it is even harder, as a victim of Domestic Violence, to reach out and contact them.
So, well done Jennifer Corsini. You are a brave and fiercely determined woman. We support what you are doing and will do our best to help your petition to make a difference in the Justice System.
Please follow the links below for more details about Jennifer's petition for change.by