The August 2009 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, has a feature story (beginning on page 154, after the book reviews?!) on how the laws against domestic violence aren’t enforced. The piece, titled “Why Didn’t They Stop Him?” (by Phoebe Zerwick, photographs by Mary Ellen Mark) is an excellent one — and long overdue.
Not only did I pitch this story roughly 6 years ago to Oprah, but the horrible especially because it’s true story of the ordeal of Vernetta Cockerham which resulted in her daughter’s murder is really only half the story.
Every time I start to blog about Oprah and her ignorant stance on domestic violence (she thinks it’s as simple as leaving), I get so infuriated I have to quit; I have 7 posts in draft to prove it. And this one will be short so that I can finally get to posting something without getting so outraged or ill that I cannot continue.
For the past 6 years I’ve contacted Oprah by every means I could find: via her website’s online form, via email, via phone messages at Harpo, and even spoke directly to producers of the show — who told me the half-dozen books and another half-dozen studies on the subject weren’t enough; call back when I published my own book.
Grrr — I’m in the middle of a battle for my own safety & that of my children; the book, and 1 million other things, will have to wait.
Wait for the day someone wants to open their minds to the realities — before another woman &/or her child(ren) dies.
Yes, Oprah, I told you about the Massachusetts study in 2000 which said that as many as 60-80% of restraining orders are not enforced; and I have the personal experiences to prove it. Running from my abuser kinda kept me a bit too busy to write that book.
Yes, I told your staff about the U.S. Department of Justice study that same year which said that arrests were only made in:
47% of the cases in which the victim reported being raped
36% of the cases in which the victim reported being assaulted
29% of the cases in which the victim reported being stalked.
I especially went into great detail about what happens when children are involved in domestic violence cases.
And I emphatically stated how all of this not only results in victims having a loss of faith in the system, how it not only results in keeping victims with their abusers, but how it is further abuse of victims by the system & how it impacts the children involved.
I even offered to put myself at further risk by going on-air to discuss this.
So, while I applaud you for finally getting to the truth of some of the matters involved in domestic violence, Oprah, I wonder why it took you so long? Especially when you had 6 years of my nagging.
I wonder how much longer it will take for you to heed my voice and take up the other issues I have brought to your attention?
And I wonder how many more women & children will suffer & die during that time.
But I guess death just sells more that saving lives, doesn’t it; don’t worry, continue to ignore us, and you’ll have more deaths to put on the cover of your publications.
Oprah, and staff, be prepared for more calls & emails from me.