Remembering Lucy


I posted about Lucy twice last year: when she was beaten and when she died, two months after she was beaten. The October 2012 post is below. I’m remembering Lucy this weekend, a year after her husband of over 20 years essentially took her life. I think about her a lot, and about all women who are in violent marriages or relationships from which they believe there is no exit, no escape.

I found this video online, and it just seemed appropriate for this weekend.

For those of you who read my blog regularly, you may recall a post from August. You can read it here. A woman with whom I’d worked for over ten years, from 1988 to 1999, died yesterday, two months after her husband beat her severely. He then drove to the farm where he worked and hanged himself. Lucy never regained consciousness. Yesterday, at Home and Hospice Care of Rhode Island, Lucy died.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

  • One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
  • An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
  • 85% of domestic violence victims are women.
  • Historically, women have been most often victimized by someone they knew.
  • Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.
  • Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.
  • Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. But what does it mean, aside from a purple ribbon?  There is a campaign called “NO MORE,” a simple idea with the power to unleash new, major  attention to the people who are hurt – directly or indirectly — by domestic violence and sexual assault every day and every minute.  With a new symbol, the goal is to end the stigma, shame and silence that often accompany domestic violence.

I’m thinking of Lucy, and a life ended way too soon. A bright light dimmed, but never forgotten. Rest in peace, bonita Lucilia.

Tragic and Senseless

Yesterday, there was a news story that a local woman was the victim of an attempted murder.  The report indicated a street and showed a house, so I could see the house number.  No names were released, but the victim was a woman in her late 40’s or early 50’s, and there were two grown children.

Sometimes, we have intuitive triggers inside, and I followed my instinct.  The address was vaguely familiar.  As a former investigator, I knew some of the simple tools to find people, and confirmed my suspicion – I knew this woman.  I’d worked with her for over ten years.  We commuted to work together for about a year. Her children were so small then.  I’d met her husband once.

In December 1994, he was charged with simple domestic assault, a misdemeanor.  The case was disposed. In January 1995, he was charged with violation of a protective order. The case was dismissed. In February 1995, he was charged with felony assault with a dangerous weapon. He pled nolo contendere and was given a suspended sentence. In August 1999, he was charged with simple assault/battery, he pled nolo, and was given 350 days probation and ordered to have no contact with the victim.

You may be like me, saying ‘why didn’t she leave?’ I can’t answer it. Millions of women stay with abusive, violent spouses and partners. (And yes, I know domestic violence can affect men, too.)  For those of us who know this victim, it’s hard to imagine, because she is a strong, very dominant personality, yet she continued to live with this poor excuse for a man.  There may have been cultural and/or religious issues that others would never understand.

Either way, a friend is battling for her life.  Her grown children are devastated.  Her husband, after trying to kill his wife, took his own life, perhaps out of shame, or fear, or cowardice.  He cannot hurt her any more.  But if she survives, the scars will remain.