Accountability - Domestic Violence and the Weber Tragedy

This morning I was reading the Monday morning quarterback articles on the net...We're all good at that - heck that's one of the reasons I believe blogs exist.

One of the articles I found detailed the incident that happened back in December of 2008, and why Steve Weber was out on a 500 dollar bail -

http://www.channel3000.com/news/19520896/detail.html

"The complaint said Weber was straddling his wife and was punching and choking her. When their 17-year-old daughter tried to stop the attack with a fire poker, Weber allegedly began hitting his daughter, according to the complaint.
The complaint said that when police arrived, Weber resisted officers and tried to take a gun from one officer.

Weber was arrested and charged with four felony charges, including suffocation and strangulation, child abuse and attempting to disarm a police officer. When he appeared in Dane County Circuit Court, his bail was set at $500 cash bond.
According to court records, after the incident in December Weber told his daughter, Jennifer, that he felt like "he lost his marriage, his house, his family." Court records also allege that Weber also told his daughter that "instead of going to jail, I’m either going to Europe or shoot Francie then shoot myself."........."


The article then goes on to quote Executive Director (Shannon Barry) of a Madison based organization, Domestic Abuse Intervention Services...

"Domestic Abuse Intervention Services said that in these cases it's often easy to go back and ask why the bail was set low, but in the end it comes down to the abuser -

"I would like the attention to stay focused on the fact that ultimately this abuser is the only person who is accountable for committing the act of murder, and as a community we need to hold abusers accountable,"


For the most part I do agree with Barry - of course, ultimately the accountability should fall on the person committing the act - but in this case, like so many others - that accountability doesn't happen.

Now we know that Weber was a violent man, there is no doubt about that after reading court records and his rather long rap sheet...and like many, it appears there was alcoholism, and drug use. I will also bet that he grew up in a violent home or there was some form of abuse dished upon him as a child....it's all part of that cycle...no excuse for what he did - just part of that cycle.

But again - like Barry said - "the community needs to hold abusers accountable" - and I believe that community not only means our neighbors, but also our justice system...the State...and even on a federal level (I'll get to that in a moment) -

Now the D.A. said that Weber's bond was set at 500 dollars to ensure he would appear for court. So let's get that straight,,,,

He was punching and CHOKING (actually the term is strangling) his soon to be ex wife...
When his own daughter tried to save her mother, he turned on her...
Then when the cops came, he tried to disarm the cop.......

And that got him a 500 dollar get out jail free card...so then he could go on in a few months and murder the target of his obsession.

A prime example on how the community did not hold this abuser...in my opinion..MURDERER (even back in December it appears he was an FAILED MURDERER) accountable!

Had he been a stranger to the victim....strangled her...punched her...turned on a good Samaritan who was attempting to save the victim...and then turned on the cop...HAD THIS NOT BEEN A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASE......would he have received such a low bond??????????????

I highly doubt it. I would imagine his butt would be sitting in the Dane County Jail awaiting trial because his relatives couldn't afford the bail to get him out...anyone know what the bail is for an attempted murder charge in Wisconsin? Oh, and for someone who in the past was convicted of being an ESCAPED FELON?

And therein lies the problem!

"Oh they're at it again!"

"Steve got drunk again"

"It's her fault...she keeps going back"

"She should just leave when he is like that"

"She should just divorce him."

"I'm not getting involved in THEIR drama."


Those are the comments and attitudes out there..... And I understand the frustration, and why people who don't know or have lived in an abusive household have them....it's like anything else, unless you've been there yourself you will never fully understand the dynamics.

But those attitudes...along with the weak accountability dished out by the justice system all feed that cycle of abuse .....the power and control the abuser has over the victim. Trust me, I know.

Here's another worry I have.....what message does this case send out to current victims? Victims who are worn down emotionally....who are scared out of their mind....who feel like they have nowhere to turn....who don't want anyone they love to be hurt? Think they trust the justice system?

It's easy for others to say just leave him...go to a shelter...go to family...etc. To people that say those comments I ask you this.....what happens to that abuser? Do you think he/she stops being violent when the victim gets free? Or do you think they take his/her unhealthy...twisted mind set...his/her power and control...and seeks out another victim to bully...to control...to harm....to bruise...to kill.

I have a male relative (half brother) six years older than I...when I was a child he'd beat me...he'd get a kick out of throwing pocket knives at my feet. My mother would take me to work with her on weekends so I wouldn't be home to be his target and suffer yet another sprained wrist or bloody nose... A handsome man, highly intelligent - a genius I.Q. ....very charming...quick wit...and more times than not exhibits a truly kind and caring heart to people - unless you live with him....know his "dark side" you would never guess he would be capable of pulling out guns and riffles when he was drunk...punching women in the stomach...whipping children with whatever was present. Every relationship he has had ( there have been many) turned out to be violent and left a legacy of dysfunction for future generations.

He had never been held truly accountable...slaps on the wrists...drying out periods in jail - but never held truly accountable...never had real rehabilitation...treatment..cognitive therapy - and he is out there - where I am not exactly sure...but knowing him he is with a woman in an abusive relationship...he is a charmer!

So you see...a victim leaving the abuser while healthy for that victim.. is not how we will end the rampant problem of domestic abuse - attitudes need to change - offenders need to be held accountable for their crimes....they need REAL MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT as do the victims...and we need to get to those kids living in an abusive environment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Get them the help and support they need while their minds are still willing to accept hope. That's where the cycle starts whether they grow up to be a victim or an abuser..

Ok...there's my morning rant...sorry it was long - I just needed to get that out...

Comments

Gin said…
$500!!! UN-FREAKIN-BELIEVABLE!