Monday, October 22, 2012

How to Spot a Victim of Domestic Violence

October is known for scary Halloween festivities - but what is really scary are the countless stories of Domestic Violence in our country and the world. While Domestic Violence can happen to anyone, any gender or age, it is most often considered a crime against women because of the statistics.

Domestic Violence is a subject I touch on in my book Bartlett's Rule. Bartlett's Rule is a work of fiction, the problem is not. October 2012 is NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH.

Please read the following article by Linda O’Dochartaigh and help spread the word.

How to Spot a Victim of Domestic Violence

Health-Care Pro Discusses the Many Warning Signs

In the United States, women are assaulted or beaten once every nine seconds; worldwide, one in three women have been battered, raped or otherwise abused in her lifetime, according to women’s advocacy organizations.

“That means most of us – while grocery shopping, at work or at home – come across several women a day who have either been abused, or are currently enduring abuse,” says Linda O’Dochartaigh, a health professional and author of Peregrine ( “It’s a terrible fact of life for too many women, but if there is something we can do about it and we care about fellow human beings, then we must try.”

There are several abuse resources available to women who are being abused, or friends of women who need advice, including:, National Domestic Violence Hotline, open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, 1-800-799-SAFE (7223), provides unbiased, advertising-free mental health information to give people the self-help options to help people understand, prevent, and resolve life’s challenges, allows women to search for an offender in custody by name or identification number, then register to be alerted if the offender is released, transferred, or escapes, 1-888-7HELPLINE, offers crisis intervention and support services for victims of intimate partner violence and their families

Perhaps the best thing friends and family can do for a woman enduring domestic abuse is to be there for her – not only as a sympathetic ear, but also as a source of common sense that encourages her to take protective measures, O’Dochartaigh says. Before that, however, loved ones need to recognize that help is needed.

O’Dochartaigh reviews some of the warning signs:

• Clothing – Take notice of a change in clothing style or unusual fashion choices that would allow marks or bruises to be easily hidden. For instance, someone who wears long sleeves even in the dog days of summer may be trying to hide signs of abuse.

• Constant phone calls – Many abusers are very controlling and suspicious, so they will call their victims multiple times each day to “check in.” This is a subtle way of manipulating their victims, to make them fearful of uttering a stray word that might alert someone that something is wrong. Many abusers are also jealous, and suspect their partner is cheating on them, and the constant calls are a way of making sure they aren’t with anyone they aren’t supposed to be around.

• Unaccountable injuries – Sometimes, obvious injuries such as arm bruises or black eyes are a way to show outward domination over the victim. Other times, abusers harm areas of the body that won’t be seen by family, friends and coworkers.

• Frequent absences – Often missing work or school and other last-minute plan changes may be a woman hiding abuse, especially if she is otherwise reliable.

• Excessive guilt & culpability – Taking the blame for things that go wrong, even though she was clearly not the person responsible – or she is overly-emotional for her involvement – is a red flag.

• Fear of conflict – Being brow-beaten or physically beaten takes a heavy psychological toll, and anxiety bleeds into other relationships.

• Chronic uncertainty – Abusers often dominate every phase of a victim’s life, including what she thinks she likes, so making basic decisions can prove challenging.

About Linda O’Dochartaigh

Linda O’Dochartaigh has worked in health care is an advocate for victims of child abuse and domestic violence. She wants survivors to know that an enriched, stable and happy life is available to them. O’Dochartaigh is the mother of three grown children and is raising four adopted grandchildren.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

I’ll be at the Piermont Library Book Fair on Oct 21, 1-3pm

2nd annual








Sunday, October 21, 1-3 p.m.

Angelo Parra…Catherine Whitney…

Chelle Cordero…Charmaine Gordon…

Cristina Biaggi…Firth Fabend…

Gay Partingon Terry…Greta Nettleton…

Janet Lane Walters…Shari Maurer…

John Dullaghan…Joan Gussow…

Karen Steinmetz…Linda Zimmerman…

Marty Schupak…Marian Armstrong…

Mary Cardenas…Paul Braus…

Peter deLisser…Robert Samuels…

Stephen Roberts…Fran├žois Vuilleumier…

Dr. Michael Nevins…Lennon Nersesian

take home SIGNED copies for your OWN FEAST –

and MORE for holiday giving!

all are welcome to attend FREE

refreshments will be served.


Thursday, October 18, 2012


Funny... the things that can trigger a memory.

I had a mouse in the house yesterday. It was a little field mouse. I think he might have come in through the garage, we see them outside all of the time.

He ran across the living room and then doubled back to sit in front of the TV set. Foolish little fellow considering that I have three cats in the house.

My cats did NOTHING – the three of them, they just watched! I really don't think that they know they are cats.

I went and got a big-mouthed glass and a hard piece of thin cardboard and caught the little critter. He was actually cute. Then I walked him outside and let him go near a storm drain where he could find shelter. I certainly hope he had a safe night.

When I came back into the house I suddenly thought about my childhood friend Donna. When we were kids in grade school our science teacher encouraged us to raise and observe pet mice as a science project. Donna, another mutual friend and I bought three white mice at a pet store. Donna’s mom was cool about it and let us keep the cage with our mice at their house. (The other two moms were not so thrilled about having mice in the house.)

The mice were fun to watch and play with and the three of us took serious notes on the behavior for class. They became more pets than just a school project. Several weeks into the project the mice got out of the cage (I think one of D’s brothers left the cage door open). We never saw the mice again… I hope they made a break for the outside and got away, we never could get a straight answer from the little brothers.

I thought of Donna, she died a few years ago in a car accident. I miss her. Funny that a little field mouse would make me think of her. I miss her, but I didn’t feel like crying. I thought of the fun times we had and I chuckled at some of the mischief we got into. This little mouse actually made me happy.

The unexpected trip down memory lane made me think of how I have used memory flashbacks in my writing.

I thought of Tom Hughes, the hero of Within the Law. Tom has many poignant moments when he remembers the past - like the time he found his cousin after she ran away from home, the last time he saw his high school sweetheart before she died, or his memories of a brief love affair with the woman who taught him to love again. What triggered his memories? How did those memories affect the man he had become?

I’ve used flashbacks in other stories too, such as with Samantha Chaunce in A Chaunce of Riches. She had memories of Ben, a man she thought she would never have to see again after she left him in his hour of need. Sam had tried to suppress those memories along with the love she still had for him. Seeing him again and hearing his voice haunted her with those agonizing memories and all that she had given up.

Many things can trigger a memory and our minds wander. Sometimes the nostalgia brings us laughter and sometimes it brings us tears. A favorite cooking aroma, a perfume, a photo, a song we once danced to - they all seem to have the power to reach back into our subconscience and bring the memory to the forefront.

But a mouse on my living room carpet, that’s a first.