The murder trials with convicted felon Jodi Arias and accused murderer Oscar Pistorius are being heralded as trials of the century. There is something about these trials that has us all on the edge of our seats waiting for justice to be served. The most important thing to remember during these high profile murder trials is the victims.
This is why trials are reported, this is why trials are analyzed, and this is why laws are changed after analysis when trials finally come to a resolution. Is there anything that can be learned about the Jodi Arias trial for the murder of Travis Alexander? Or the Oscar Pistorius trial for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp?
Both of these trials are bringing to light the issue of abuse. Both trials have presented mountains of evidence chronicling the last days of both of the victims, and those last days for both of those victims were days filled with fear, manipulation, and narcissistic behavior from their abusers. Those abusers are still displaying many of those traits and qualities.
But these trials are so confusing for many because they are the results of the least known kind of abuse. And this is why it is so important to talk about. To shed a light and expose the truth about the kind of people that can become killers if they are not stopped. These are the types of secret killers that nobody wants to talk about.
The kind of people that make boyfriends and girlfriends say to their friends and family, "If anything ever happens to me, you know who it was." Those are words that Travis Alexander was quoted as saying to his friends about Jodi Arias.
The cases of Travis Alexander and Reeva Steenkamp are not the only 2 isolated cases in the world. The statistics of abuse are overwhelming.
The Canadian Women's Federation reports that every six days, a woman dies in Canada at the hands of her intimate partner. 67% of Canadians have reported in a survey to the Canadian Women's Federation that they know someone who is the victim of some kind of abuse. That is, 2 out of every 3 people you meet at your next cocktail party, know someone who is a victim.
The Canadian Center for Justice has reported that approximately 40,000 arrests are made annually for domestic violence in Canada, and that this number represents 12% of the total crime in Canada on any given year. They suspect this number is on the low side, considering only 1 in 5 people that are actually abused ever report it. The most common reason abuse victims do not report it is because they are terrified of being hurt or killed by their abuser.
The police also report that their approximation is that 1 in 5 Canadian women are stalked annually, while a 3 in 5 Canadian women reported to The Canadian Women's Federation that they have been stalked at least once in their lifetime.
The Department of Justice reports that approximately $7.4 billion is spent every year on domestic violence. In the State of Arizona, in the last year alone taxpayers have already spent over $2 million on the Jodi Arias trial. The $7.4 billion spent in Canada annually on abuse includes everything from legal fees, incarceration costs, to hospital visits.
Abuse is happening. In some cases, the only way to stop it is to get out, and to take the steps to stop it yourself. But that does not mean that you are alone. There is support in every city in North America that can assist you in a safe exit plan. If you wait for your abuser to free you from this prison, you may wind up like Travis Alexander and Reeva Steenkamp.
In many cases of domestic violence where the violence is physical, those that are being hurt by someone else's hands know that they are being abused. Those women and men can see bruises on their body and call the police and have their abusers taken away in handcuffs and then be taken to safety and shelter. That is how the law is written.
But there is no law to date that is written to protect the victims of domestic violence whose hearts, souls, and self-esteem are being battered and shattered by their abusers every day.
These kinds of abusers are not your stereotypical abuser. They are not tattooed bearing and undershirt wearing drunks that slap their woman around once in a while. They are more cunning and often more educated than what many people think as the average abuser, and this is what makes them so good at their craft. They know the law. And they know how to get around it, and will spend months or years emotionally controlling and manipulating their victims as much as they can.
When those abusers lose control, or even worse, just feel like they have lost control, tragedy almost always occurs.
The statistics of emotional abuse are much more difficult to report because women and men that are the victims do not know it is happening, or still feel some form of intimacy or affection for their abuser that they don't feel it's serious enough to do anything about it. There is also fear of their abuser that stops them from doing anything about it, for fear that they will trigger their abuser into another one of their episodes. This fear is used by their abuser to manipulate and control the victim.
In many cases, and certainly in the cases of Reeva Steenkamp and Travis Alexander, the victims don't know until it is too late. As well, the law as it is written now in most states and provinces in North America requires physical evidence in order for the police and authorities to do anything from a legal standpoint.
In most states and provinces, charges can not be laid when someone hurts your feelings or makes you feel afraid, unless there is evidence of the matter. You can't even get a restraining order in some states unless you have physical evidence. Sadly, fear or terror is not often considered enough physical evidence in the eyes of the law.
For Travis Alexander and Reeva Steenkamp, by the time there was enough evidence to charge their abusers, they were dead.
Victims of emotional abuse can not and will not be protected until there is enough physical evidence to prove abuse. They have to protect themselves, and we have to help them, because in most cases, the law won't help them. How can we accomplish this goal?
By exposing the abusers for who and what they are and taking them down. Those who control with emotions and manipulation tactics are clearly the scariest abusers of all.
The National Coalition for Men is one organization that is beginning this fight to expose abusers for who they are. In a brilliant release, they have already sought for more "closer scrutiny of violent women who abuse men in light of Travis Alexander’s murder by Jodi Aris".
View the slideshow to see the 5 creepy similarities between Jodi Arias and Oscar Pistorius that will do just that, expose abusers for what they are. Does this sound at all like you? If you are breathing and reading this, it's not too late to get help.
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