(Continued from Part I)
Since reconnecting with my friend, I learned that her pregnancy was less than a pleasant one. The communications between her boyfriend and herself became more contentious. In 2008, he repeatedly grabbed her by the throat, and would restrain her with his body weight on their bed while restricting her airway, but not to the point that she lost consciousness. Her attempt to try and to kick him off of her, with a child inside her, was fruitless. Not just once, but a total of 3 times before the child was born. This was just the beginning of what she would endure as the years progressed.
The more I learned about her story from reading her detailed planner of events, I understood her present state of being in a much clearer light. She was a mirror image of myself years ago when I had to leave my son’s in the hands of an abusive man under the imminent threat of death if I tried to take them away from him a second time. With my friend, it seemed that the additional years of fighting the system to get help from a variety of Social Services in her region seemed to have taken a much deeper toll and still weighed heavy on her heart and soul.
The accounts of some encounters she had with a few key people in the system made it clear that they might perceive her as being more of a thorn in their side. Their attitudes seemed to bleed through their communications. I discussed this her as I began to consider their overall mindset toward her. Would their attitude toward her cause them to unwittingly turn a blind eye to the plight of a high-strung frustrated woman who was still being abused? Would not the fact that she continued to fight to keep herself and her child safe from harms way for so long indicate that something more was wrong here?
Their investigations seemed to always yield a ruling that her allegations of abuse “could not be substantiated or physically proven,” Yet she was the living proof that was standing right in front of them. If they were mindfully aware of the side effects of abuse, perhaps they would have viewed her and her case differently. If they investigated, would they not have her son’s medical records that recorded the potential of abuse at a very early age?
The effects of physical, mental, emotional and sexual abuse on a victim can incite a wide variety of things to occur, which can make it very difficult for a battered person to function under stressful conditions. The scientific studies that have been done on the subject reach across many disciplines of medicine.
The scientific field of Psychoneuroimmunology – “is the science and study of the interaction between the psychological and physiological molecular biology and the nervous system has shown that prolonged stressor affect not only the immune system, but also how the brain functions and changes. The correlations between the neurochemicals and neuroendocrine activities affects the brain cells.”
The scientific field of Psychoneuroendocrinology – “is the study of the stress hormones, its functions and how it affects human behaviors including mood, agitation, confusion, inability to think, organize thoughts and more.”
My friend was a different woman before all this erupted in her world. I heard her struggle in communicating with me. I was well aware of the fact that it was difficult for her to follow a train of thought to a conclusive point, or communicate in a straight line on one subject without trailing off on a tangent storyline, and forgetting the point she was trying to make. It happens to the best of us under extremely stressful situations.
Social Services already had it on record that my friend was diagnosed with PTSD and anxiety. Her frustration in not being heard would have caused an good mother to become more increasingly combative. In my friends case she made it a point to tell one or two of them that they were not doing their job, and that may have polarized a few ego’s against her instead of garnering the alliance she so desperately sought. The system continued to repeat their stance that “without proof of abuse” there was nothing they could do.
I began to wonder about some of the people employed in these agencies. I know they are educated people. I know they have their standard protocols and procedures. “Did they not know the “common” effects of domestic violence on the mind includes, PTSD, severe anxiety, uncontrollable thoughts, depression, prolonged sadness, low self-esteem and questioning ones sense of self?” My friend displayed all of these symptoms.
Could they not physically see she was a living walking example that displays “the physical effects of domestic violence, in her inability to focus, think and communicate clearly? Did they not see her body visibly shaking from her nerves being frazzled right in front of them as she spoke? Were they not able to hear the desperation in her voice as she continued her plea to keep her son out of the hands of a man who was abusing them?
I am shaking my head, astounded at how long her journey has been feverishly fighting the system for help to keep herself and her child safe.
There is more to the story…
Keep an eye out for Part III.