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my sister, Angela DeLyser Morgan was murdered one year ago today. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around that concept, but it seems impossible that an entire year has passed. twelve months, four seasons, a full set of Holidays and birthdays and regular days filled with the triumphs and heartaches of joys of the every day. yet I feel as though everything that has happened since last spring is hazy, but the pain and surreal horror of what happened is as fresh as it was only days old. my sister has missed an entire year of her young son’s life. a year of hugs and catching up at family functions, a summer of sunny days spent outside, a fall of apple picking and a wintertime of baking and Christmas caroling, which she loved.

sometimes its hard for me to really imprint on myself that my sister is gone, and not just out of touch. I have to remind myself that she was murdered. her life was taken suddenly and violently by a man that had no respect for her life or the life of their son. I have to remind myself that what happened to her happens far too often to far too many people who just don’t believe that their situation is “that bad”. Who don’t believe that something like this can actually happen to them, to their friends, to their family.

when I first heard about the abuse I shook it off. I thought; people fight, sometimes they lose their tempers.She didn’t want to leave him, so I let myself believe that it couldn’t be that bad. I myself have been in relationships where the arguing has escalated into fighting that would leave bruises on my arms and legs for days or weeks at a time. I saw how it could happen. I condemned her husband for it in my head, a weak man that has to exert his power and control by physically dominating someone smaller and weaker than himself. It’s pathetic. After time, I tried talking to her about it as well, but she would deny it and defend him and I considered her pathetic for that as well.

the one thing I can assure anyone who knows anyone in this kind of situation is that if something were to happen to them, you probably can’t imagine how guilty you will feel. I have trouble expressing the amount of guilt I feel, on so many fronts, about what happened to my sister. I feel guilt about the contempt I showed her when I found out, instead of the compassion and support she needed. I feel guilty about not paying enough attention to what was happening to know how serious it was. I feel guilty for not being someone she felt she could trust with this. Mostly I feel guilty for not knowing enough about how to help her when it could have mattered.

so in memory of my sister, I have put together some information on Domestic Violence I think everyone should know. I urge anyone in an abusive relationship, and anyone who knows anyone who may be in an abusive relationship to get educated and get help. because it really can save lives. Domestic Violence is EVERYONE’S business.

If you are in an Abusive Relationship:

If you’re being abused, document the abuse. If you’ve been hurt, take pictures. If others have witnessed the abuse, ask them to write it down what they saw or heard. If you are being assaulted or your partner is breaking the law– call the police.

Identify safe areas of your house. Know where to go if your abuser attacks. Avoid small enclosed spaces with no exits, like bathrooms, or rooms with easily accessible weapons, like the kitchen.

Have a code word. Come up with a word, phrase or some kind of other signal that you can use with friends, neighbors or co-workers if you are in danger and in need of the police.

Make a list of emergency contacts and memorize them. Identify several trusted friends, family members or coworkers who you could contact if you need a ride, a place to stay, or someone to contact help for you. Memorize the number of a domestic violence hotline, and a local shelter.

Make an escape plan. Keep some cash stashed somewhere safe. If you need to leave in a hurry, have a small amount of cash on you for cab fare, public phones or other needs. Keep a spare car key hidden someplace you can get to it quickly. It is also a good idea to have an escape kit stashed at a friend’s house consisting of cash, clothing, and any important documents.


Know your rights
. Familiarize yourself with the laws set forth for Domestic Violence in your state:

Domestic Violence Arrest Policies by State

Information on Civil Protection Orders by State

Standards of Proof for Domestic Violence Civil Protection Orders

If you know someone in an abusive relationship:

Listen – Victims of domestic violence have trouble talking about what their experiencing for fear of being judged, rejected, or betrayed.

Believe – Domestic violence occurs within every social strata, is never acceptable and it is serious. don’t downplay the situation.

Assure them they are not to blame – Many victims of domestic violence are made to believe that they are to blame for their abusers actions. Tell them they do not deserve to be beaten, nor did they cause the violence.

Support without dominating – Encourage them to see that they still have choices and support them in the choices they make. don’t tell them what to do, don’t yell at them for doing what you consider the wrong thing. Let them know what you think, but let them know you want to help.

Be there – Supporting a victim of domestic violence can be demanding, but victims need to know that you will not desert them, further making them feel as though they are alone and helpless.


Get Help
:

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
Hotline advocates are available for victims and anyone calling on their behalf to provide crisis intervention, safety planning, information and referrals to agencies in all 50 states. ndvh@ndvh.org

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: Serves as a national information and referral center for the general public, media, battered women and their children, allied and member agencies and organizations

WomensLaw.org – Provides thorough, easy-to-understand legal information and resources to women living with or escaping domestic violence or sexual assault.


What you can do
:

Donate a Phone:

Call To Protect – The national CALL TO PROTECT program enables people to retire their wireless phones in a manner that will help the environment and raise funds for national organizations working to end partner violence.

Donate:

Buy Awareness products

National Domestic Violence Hotline

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Other Posts about My Sister:

Dear Ange

My Victim Impact Statement

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