Letter to my State Senator - Francesca Weber and needed change

Last week I emailed both my state senator, and state assembly representative regarding the tragedy that took Francesca Weber's life..

Surprisingly, yesterday, I receieved a response in the mail from Senator Dale Schultz...to follow is my appreciation and my thoughts on what needs to change if we ever hope to make an impact on domestic violence and it's negative cause and affect it has on our society....

I urge that if you agree, that you too write you state assembly representatives, and assembly persons.

We can make a difference!!!!!
June 1, 2009

Dear Senator Schultz;

First I would like to thank you for your timely response to my email regarding the recent tragic murder (in my opinion - preventable) of Francesca Weber. While I may not have known her nor her killer- her ex husband, Steve - I have experienced, such as she did, living in an abusive relationship.

In your letter you refer to me as showing courage in sharing with you my story, while I appreciate that comment I am also compelled to let you know that it is not courage which prompted me to share with you those small glimpses, but rather out of a need and desire to survive.

You shared with me that indeed you have co-sponsored legislation which "created stiffer penalties for strangulation and suffocation" as well as allowing a victim to terminate a rental lease in order to escape from an abusive relationship. I commend you on seeing through that legislation, and the need for it.

While accountability is definitely a need, and stiffer penalties may in fact keep offenders in behind bars longer than at one time in our history, my need is to focus on prevention and offender rehabilitation. In my opinion it is the only way we will lessen the negative impact domestic violence has on every member within the house, and the community as a whole.

I would venture to guess that by most times an offender is convicted of a domestic violence incident where there is a strangulation, he/she has been charged with other incidents of domestic violence. This is the pattern I have witnessed in my own county, Juneau, as well as some other counties, which is a history of disorderly conduct charges, and sometimes, convictions where there was first a probation and a fine issued, then when there was a repeat of offenses perhaps the offender received a short jail sentence in the county jail. AODA and/or anger management classes may have been mandated when he is released and under the eye of a probation agent.

If you take a good look at Steve Weber's criminal history you will see how each of his numerous convictions were like steps of a ladder and all lead to that final one where Francesca lost her life...building blocks on a weak foundation.

The same can be said for my ex husband's( Timothy Luke Roberts 10/17/1966) own criminal history...steps that escalated to that final assault where he physically, emotionally and sexually assaulted me in front of our sons. In an audio recording which captured that assault that occurred on August 13, 2007, I believe he said something that highlights the way these offenders think...the twisted thinking of a mentally ill mind:

"I can play games, I can play them very good. Whether I am in jail, whether I am here whether I am there. It doesn't matter to me. You need to come to the (expletive) clairvoyance that it is going to be what it is going to be. I am not going to leave you to live your life like you want to. You've got to go through me.

Hey, you want your life, you have to go through me..........

You're going to have to put me in jail and then once I go through jail, I do my time, then I come out and it's like same ole same ole. Period."

In my opinion the reason he felt he could say that to me after he sexually assaulted me, was because that is the exact pattern of behavior that lead to that last assault, and all steps prior had escalated to it. Serving time in jail wasn't a deterrent for future assaults......mandated AODA meant nothing to him...."anger management" classes through probation and parole had been postponed repeatedly so obviously did no good...and at no time was he ever sent for a mental health evaluation, or treatment, despite my constant advocating for such as I knew there was an underlying mental health condition at work.

Scenarios such as I experienced and lived are being played out in every county, every town in our state. Our justice system addresses the cause and affect of violating the laws, but the consequences do not include an early intervention of rehabilitation and true batterer's treatment that address not only the behaviors of an offender but as well as address any underlying mental health condition.

This is what needs to change if we ever hope to combat future incidents of domestic violence, and tragedy's like the murder of Francesca Weber. We need in place effective treatment programs, we need legislation that mandates it for not only repeat offenders but first time offenders, rather than the hit or miss form of disconnected programs now in place.

We as a society are doing valid attempt in making sure victims have support services, and places to go when in need. However, when the victim leaves the abuser it doesn't mean his obsessed mind has let go of that victim....nor does it mean he will all of a sudden become non-violent...it just means he will move on to the next victim, and more children will grow up in abusive households and learn how to become either a victim of power and control, or the offender.

In the long run it will not only save our state money - but lives as well.

Again, it is not my courage that prompts me to write this...It's my need and desire to survive...my offender...my ex-husband...is slated to be released in 2015 - I don't want to become that year's headline news such as Francesca was this past month.....

I look forward in future dialogues on this issue and others that can have a positive impact on victims of domestic violence.


Eva Marie Woywod


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