Women Cause Their Own Domestic Violence Victimization According to Toledo Mayoral Candidate Opal Covey

Toledo,  Ohio residents must have felt they traveled back in time this week when oddball mayoral candidate Opal Covey offered her thoughts on domestic violence in a forum for candidates.


“People who receive domestic violence, a lot of cases, except the children, is [sic] causing it themselves because they are not keeping control of their lives, watching out, suppressing their feeling, which you should do — not every feeling that you have is going to work for you,” Ms. Covey, making her fourth bid for mayor, said. “It is going to have consequences and you will reap your consequences.”
She went on to say the victims are “causing it themselves” by choosing bad mates and not leaving abusive mates.
“They should not be with that mate. … They’ve been told get rid of him. Now, you know you should wait,” Ms. Covey said. “One of the biggest problems is sex. People, when they get up to adulthood, of course they have the sexual feelings, all right. And so, therefore, they are going to go out and they are going to try it, but they are not realizing they are putting their lives at stake.”
The Toledo Blade covered the mayoral forum, and reported consistently horrified reactions from the other candidates.
In fairness, every large community has a nutty wannabe politician who causes a stir. But a closer look reveals it wasn’t too long ago in US history that most of us shared Opal Covey’s views about domestic violence.
In 1964, an article published about battered women by three psychiatrists indicated battered women had a masochistic need that their husband’s aggression filled. 
Two years later, New York state allowed divorce if a woman was beaten by her husband so long as it was proven that a sufficient number of beatings had taken place.
We have come a long way in understanding domestic violence in America. Instead of focusing on the psyche of the victim, we’ve learned to spend our energies scrutinizing and intervening in the behavior of the perpetrator.
Dear Opal Covey,
No one deserves to be hit. Abusers can choose to leave rather than hit their partners. Victims cannot force someone to hit them.
Not all battered women can safely leave. More women are killed after leaving their abuser.
Some battered women are promiscuous. Some are not. So what?
Let’s keep moving forward. 
Do you know someone impacted by domestic violence? Tell them to call 1-800-799 SAFE.
And enjoy this older video by Oval Covey.  (This is not an endorsement!)

Listen and Learn/The Secret to Being a Good Advocate

Sometimes, I learn the most when I simply listen.

I phoned one of my brothers a few days ago. As we were catching up, he mentioned that he and his wife took an out of state trip to Michigan from Kentucky by car. How did he decide on Michigan?
“I wanted to see a car museum, and my wife loves quilting, so I got online and found a location where we could do both.”
This, from my oldest brother who is all thumbs with computers, and whose wife doesn’t travel easily due to health problems. It wasn’t a simple trip, but they both had a wonderful time.
I’ve repeated this story a few times to married  friends this week, and it always seems to catch at the back of their throats, this act of uncommon chivalry more than 50 years into a marriage.

Later, I attended my oldest daughter’s ultimate frisbee tournament.  My more secretive daughter used her quick break from frisbee-playing to visit. She told me that her new boyfriend had objected greatly to her playing frisbee. It kept her away from him, and he maligned her participation on the team. My eyes may have widened, but I said nothing. “And I told him he should be supportive of my hobbies and interests if he wants to be with me,” my daughter said before she re-joined her team.

She’d paid attention. All those years of talking about the signs of abusive relationships had taken root.

When my daughter was a toddler, I got my first and perhaps best job as a domestic violence advocate at the local battered women’s agency. 

We gave clients access to information like the online handout  below from AWAIC. There, I learned the art of active listening. Active listening was followed up with a referral. No one should have to suffer alone, nor should they feel pressured or judged by professionals or loved ones to make the difficult choices ahead. As my girls grew up, I showed them the handouts I used with clients to start conversations, both about my work, and about safe relationships.

How is your relationship?
Does your partner:

  • Embarrass you with put-downs?
  • Control what you do, who you see or talk to or where you go?
  • Stop you from seeing your friends or family members?
  • Take your money or Social Security check, make you ask for money or refuse to give you money?
  • Make all of the decisions?
  • Tell you that you’re a bad parent or threaten to take away or hurt your children?
  • Prevent you from working or attending school?
  • Act like the abuse is no big deal, it’s your fault, or even deny doing it?
  • Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets?
  • Intimidate you with guns, knives or other weapons?
  • Shove you, slap you, choke you, or hit you?
  • Force you to try and drop charges?
  • Threaten to commit suicide?
  • Threaten to kill you? 

Listen and refer. That was the essential role of the advocate, as well as safety planning.

We all have opinions about how relationships should go. We want the best for our loved ones. We know they deserve to be treated well. We know emotional abuse is often the first sign of what will later become an violent relationship. 

Do you have a friend or loved one who you think is in an unhealthy relationship? 

Listen and refer. The National Domestic Violence Hotline can find resources accessible to your loved one. 

Do you know of an especially healthy relationship that inspires you?

Talk it up with your circle of friends! We can set these examples as our new normal.
P.S. Want to see my in-progress author page?
Please go to https://www.facebook.com/lizbethmeredithfan and Like me! Thanks! 



What’s in a Name? The Amazing Life of Paul Fronczak

Happy Birthday to me.   I’m 49 today.

Can you imagine not knowing when you were actually born?
The story Paul Fronczak touched me this week. He’s the man who recently discovered his parents were not his parents, and therefore does not know what his name or date of birth or health history is.

The mess all began in April of 1964 in Chicago, just a few months before I was born. Young parents of newborn Paul Fronczak were horrified when a woman dressed as a nurse stole their  son from the hospital. Police were unable to find the kidnapped child, but around a year later, an abandoned toddler was located in New Jersey. He had big ears like the missing Fronczak baby. The bereft mother of the missing infant claimed him as her own, and he was raised with the Fronczaks, who by all accounts were loving parents.

Fast forward nearly 50 years, when a nagging feeling led Paul Fronczak to get DNA testing. Turns out, he’s not related to the parents that raised him.

Now he doesn’t know who he is.
The Fronczak’s don’t know where their missing baby went
And two Jersey parents have missed a lifetime with their own wonderful son.
I imagine every time Paul Fronczak signs his name or date of birth now, he might now feel a bit like a fraud. And the parents he was raised by are upset by the new information, too. 
Talk about having the rug ripped from underneath him.

Lots of us have histories we might want to re-write. But at least we know them. 
Maybe the online community can help Paul Fronczak (or whatever his real name is) solve the mystery.

You can like the  Facbeook page Who is Paul Fronczak  and share the updates, or contact ABC news ifyou have a tip. 

Wouldn’t it be great if the new media attention could put two families back together? Or at the very least, put a period where a question mark has lingered far too long. 

Best wishes to the many efforts of Paul Fronczak. I can’t wait to see the resolution.

Have a great week.


Hot Fun in the Summertime: The Family, Friends, and Fun of 2013

How was your week?

Summer for all of us is half over, and for those of us living in Alaska, it will end in nano-seconds.
Not only that, we’re more than half way through 2013. 

I find summer brings less time for writing, but adds time for visits with family, friends, and fun. With both of my daughters doing well, combined with the best weather in Alaska’s history and the company of so many I adore, my cup runneth over. 





Let me not forget the other connection I love. You! When I get comments, emails, and re-posts, I feel so blessed. Connections, in person or online, are wonderful things.

Favorite books (Liz fun)

THE BUTCHER, BAKER by Walter Gilmour and Leland Hale 

The story of Alaska’s most prolific serial killer will now be told in the film On Frozen Ground with Nicholas Cage and John Cusack. None of us who lived here will ever forget this story, and it’s always exciting to see people you know (the lawyers, judges, not the criminal) portrayed by actors.

To follow that up, I had to choose a sweet book. AS I KNEW HIM by Anne Serling tells the sweet story of a daughter’s love for her father. I think most of us can’t imagine the extraordinary private relationship Serling had with her very public father. What a fortunate daughter.

And lastly, I may be late to the cause, but I love, love, love Malcolm Gladwell’s OUTLIERS. It’s a book I’d have never picked up without my book group’s insistence, and I’m so glad I did. If you wonder why you might not be a musical savant, or think about why so many Asian cultures children exceed American children’s math scores, give it a read. The author provides a different point of view.

Family. Friends. Fun. This is a good time of life for me. I hope it is for you, too.

What are you grateful for this summer? Do you have New Year’s goals you’re working on? Read a new book you’d like to share?

I love hearing from you.

Thank you.