Rev. Anne Grant has an alarming op-ed about the failure of the child protection system to fulfill its mandate to put the welfare of the child first. From ProJo.com…
We have a new chief judge of the Rhode Island Family Court, Haiganush R. Bedrosian, so it is time we banished the ghost of Dr. Richard Gardner, whose coercive tactics in Rhode Island courtrooms have been haunting families traumatized by domestic abuse.
Victims of terror do not present well in court. They are tense, emotional and understandably outraged. On the opposing side, tyrannical controllers can be calm and charming litigants, confident in the damage they have inflicted. Their lawyers, who are often accomplished bullies in their own right, tell astounding lies calculated to trigger a full display of symptoms in the victims.
Even recognizing that there are contentious divorces and false accusations, the picture Rev.Grant paints of Family Court is a comfortable place for lawyers and judges, but a deadly one for victims of crime.
Would Raymond A. Grundy have been walking free if those responsible for justice made him accountable? Would Staria Silva be alive today if Grundy had been prosecuted for every offense he committed against women and children?
Grundy has been in and out of the Adult Correctional Institutions for a variety of offenses. The last time was in early November, when he spent a night at the ACI before making bail on the charge of assaulting Silva.
Although Grundy has the names of his two older daughters tattooed on his body, he also has a record of assaulting their mother, Gail M. Arnold.
Arnold applied for several restraining orders against Grundy in the mid-1990s, writing about his “uncontrollable” temper and her fears for herself and their daughters. But Arnold failed to appear at hearings and the orders were dismissed.
Reading Anne Grant’s account of what she witnessed in court, it’s understandable that victims lose hope of finding justice or protection.
If you, or someone you know, is a victim of crime and needs advice and support, call
Victims of Crime Helpline
There is help.
This isn’t crazy. The young man I saw lying on the floor at the IMH, wetting his finger to pick up bits of dirt, which he ate– he was crazy.
“Yelling, screaming, for us it wasn’t that unusual,” said Frank.
But something about the voice on Christmas Day grabbed Diana’s attention. The woman used no words, just vented an unspeakable sorrow.
“I said someone died there,” Diana recalled on Sunday afternoon. “I just knew.”
Tragically, her intuition was correct, and the police are calling it homicide.
The screams had come from Linda Silva, who had just found the body of her daughter, Staria Silva, in the second-floor apartment at 9 Fifth St. Staria’s twin nine-month-old daughters lay crying not far from their mother.
Raymond Grundy was following a well-worn script when he murdered the mother of his children. He wounded a community and devastated a family. But the story of the poor put-upon man who couldn’t take it anymore is probably the story playing in his mind. He’s not crazy, he’s acting true to form.
No remedy now, we will lock him up till he gets back out. In the long run, we have to so disgrace the domestic abuser that no one will want to play that role.
Thank you to the Providence Journal reporters Kate Bramson and Paul Edward Parker, who looked past the lurid crime to the suffering and loss of Staria Silva’s family. We need more reporters who will show us the true cost of crime.
If you know of anyone who needs help and advice on stopping domestic violence, call–
1-800-494-8100 or go online at stopdomesticviolence.info
Help yourself or someone you know.
Several years ago there was a man in my neighborhood who raised eyebrows by cutting down all the trees in his yard and paving it over. (It was in the area between Camp St. and N. Main, to the best of my recollection.) His landscaping was legal, but weird. Like he had ordained that no blade of grass would enter his property. But that was his right.
He got into the ProJo for other reasons. He tried to cut his wife’s head off. If it were not for an Emergency Medical Technician with insomnia who heard her screams there might have been orphans. (Next time I have access to the Journal archives I will search for this story so I can give a link.) I hope this woman is now living with decent and peaceful people, and that the children are doing well.
An abusive husband does not usually see himself as a violent criminal. He sees himself as a disciplinarian. He deals out punishment and exerts control. Pave that yard, keep those kids quiet. The wife has to learn how not to make him mad. She’s so dumb. She’ll never get it right. He resents her incompetence. He’s only a poor, put-upon man who is trying to make things perfect.
Smarter men than the above-mentioned (who ended up dead) know that a cutting word will do the job, with no risk to liberty or reputation. Tell her she’s ugly. She’s heard other women called that. It’s the shadow side of beautiful. And best of all, she’ll never be good enough when the goal is perfection. She’s human, physical, mortal– the shadow side of our ideal image. You can always point out a flaw.
There’s a whole consumer industry that depends on our collective unease. Women are an especially profitable market for a whole range of improvements. It’s important to convince them that improvement is needed. Get them to internalize the fear of the natural. Get them to pay to be paved over. Any sense of confidence can only be temporary, if it’s based on self-hatred and the approval of men who do not like women.
So where is this leading? An article from BBC News says that the British National Health won’t pay for surgery to correct the appearance of women’s genitals, so women are paying with their own money. The National Health has deemed the surgery medically unnecessary and potentially harmful. The main reason women choose to go under the knife is that they feel ugly.
Any woman who got that intimate with a man who made her feel that way should do the obvious– dump him and find someone else. He’s not a lover, he’s an abuser. But maybe it’s not one man, but the thousand voices whispering every day that you are not good enough. Maybe it drives some women so mad that they will pay a doctor to take a knife to them. Subjugation is most efficient when the target is trained to degrade herself.
All the concrete and vinyl siding in the world cannot change the fact that the house cannot last forever, and the earth has her own way, and will prevail after the concrete has crumbled to dust.