Domestic Violence is Real, and it’s Serious

Feb 27, 2014 by

Domestic Violence is Real, and it’s Serious

There have been two murder-suicides in Dallas in as many days.

Domestic Violence is a real and serious crime and far too often it goes unreported and when it is reported, many times little or nothing is done about it until it’s too late.

As a victim of Domestic Violence in my own home (yes, a man can be a victim, too), and having worked with Veronica Galaviz, who in April 2010 was attacked in the middle of the night by her estranged husband who after trying to kill her, set her house on fire and then killed himself, I take it very seriously and often roll my eyes when local media give props to efforts to hold awareness rallies or DV agencies that have been in operation for years clammer for additional funding of programs that haven’t even put a dent in addressing the problem.

Let me qualify that. I get why there have been rallies to raise awareness in Dallas about Domestic Violence and I applaud Mayor Mike Rawlings’ efforts to raise awareness about the problem. Raising awareness of the problem is good. Getting people to come make a pledge not to do it, admirable. Sending high school kids to a Cowboys game (to see a star wide receiver who allegedly assaulted his mom) for the most pledges at their campus, yeah.  Saying our agency needs money for shelters because more and more women, children AND men are  falling victim to Domestic Violence, yeah, I get that, too.  There’s just one problem with all of that–little has changed.

Where is the effort to stop Domestic Violence before it happens? 

Sometimes my level of efficacy about the issue is low. Domestic Violence takes place in every culture around the world and has since the beginning of time. The “If I can’t have you, no one will” jealousy mentality is powerful, isn’t new and it isn’t going away. And it’s often deadly.

Veronica has been doing research the past few years and has made yet un-heeded recommendations to lawmakers about ankle bracelets for protection order violators. In her case, she kept telling Rowlett Police that her ex was at her house cutting her cable wires, slashing her tires, and just stalking. They said, even with a video of a man in front of her house slashing tires, that the video wasn’t conclusive it was him. And so they did nothing.  And so he kept acting, and acting, and acting, until April 21, 2010 at 1:30 a.m. he broke into her house and tried to shoot her. When she got away, he set the house on fire and shot himself.

Veronica has advocated for a one-strike you’re out provision for violating a protective order. Right now, it’s basically just a piece of paper, and if law enforcement won’t act on what’s in it, then it is an EXPENSIVE piece of paper that’s worthless. So add an ankle-bracelet, and when there is a 500-foot violation, etc. it’s off to the county lock up until the person can appear in front of their judge again and the potential victim is kept safe.

Just two ideas. Two ideas that could be a little more costly to enforce, but they could save lives and certainly do more than people filling out pledge cards or shelters filling up with more and more victims.

My Own Case

Domestic Violence comes in different, but nearly always at escalating, levels. I have had things thrown at me, been rushed at like I was going to be physically hit, and scratched and more.

When you wake up in Dallas and fly to New York for an event and don’t want to go walking in Times Square at 12 p.m. EST cos you’re exhausted and have to be up at 3:30 a.m. to go over to the Today Show, you don’t deserve to be beaned by an iPhone in the back of the leg by your spouse, your “safe” person in their anger. (See photo). And then you’re in a mentality of “if I just don’t crack eggshells, things will be better.”  But I’ve learned the hard way that once someone begins doing that and more to you, the relationship needs to end and fast before it gets worse. Getting An iPhone Thrown And Hit In the Back Of The Leg

I have no problems saying that hearing about pep rallies about Domestic Violence make my eyes-roll. The Dallas media has done a lot to promote the mayor’s efforts. And each story I’ve seen, I’ve just rolled my eyes and tried to keep my mouth shut, you know, the victim mentality.  I’ve lived through the abuse and have lost more of my life than I ever could have imagined. People think Domestic Violence only happens to women, but it affects the whole family, and women can do it and act like they’re the victim themselves and few would believe it to be the other way around.

This also is why I don’t take lightly when I hear others making threats either to me or my children whether married, dating or separated. I’ve finally reached the point in my life where if people in relationships are going to be dangerous, the relationship with that person is over and if it keeps up, someone is going to jail. Period.

Domestic Violence is a serious crime and it’s high time it be taken far more seriously than standing in front of City Hall and saying “make a pledge.” I get why it’s being done. It’s just not having an impact.

Anyone can become a victim of Domestic Violence. And that’s the scariest part of all.

 

 

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Veronica Galaviz to Speak to Court Officers Thursday About Domestic Violence

Jan 26, 2011 by

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVOR TO SPEAK TO DALLAS COUNTY PROBATION OFFICERS THURSDAY

Veronica Galaviz To Speak 1st Time Before Court Officers Since April 2010 Attack

DALLAS:  Veronica Galaviz, who has launched her own organization to raise awareness about the effects of domestic violence, Thursday will speak to members of the Dallas County Community Supervision and Corrections Department, during a noon luncheon. Dallas County Juvenile Probation Officers and officers from other surrounding counties will also be in attendance.

This will mark the first time she has spoken before court officers since nearly being murdered by her late-estranged husband who violated the terms of a protective order and broke into her house on April 21, 2010 and tried to kill her before setting the house on fire and killing himself.  While under the court’s protective order, Ms. Galaviz reported multiple violations to Rowlett Police, but they never would make an arrest.

The event will begin at 12 p.m. in the Great Room of Highland Park United Methodist Church, located at 3300 Mockingbird Lane in Dallas.

Ms. Galaviz has created her own organization, LivingToShare.org, and has become active in seeking changes in Texas laws, including support for San Antonio State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer’s House Bill 100 designed to create a domestic violence computer database in Texas, much like the one used to track sex offenders proposed legislation to create a Domestic Violence Registry.

She also is supporting HB 825, that seeks to add stalking provisions to the awarding of a protective order.  The bill was introduced Monday by Dallas Rep. Rafael Anchia.

Veronica Galaviz

After surviving an attack in her Rowlett, Texas home on April 21, 2010 by her estranged husband, Veronica Galaviz now seeks to raise awareness about the dangers of domestic violence, increase victims’ rights, implement tougher enforcement of protective orders and sensitivity training for police officers who respond to domestic violence complaints, and offer educational grants to victims allowing them to obtain financial independence and freedom from their abusers.

Claxton Creative, LLC

Claxton Creative is a Dallas public relations firm focused on social impact, innovation and invention.  Owned by former political advisor and Dallas ISD spokesman Donald Claxton, the company specializes in social media and traditional mediums to market and brand products domestically and internationally.  The company provides PR services for brands, bloggers, businesses and school districts.

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North Texas Domestic Violence Survivor Starts Fighting Back

Dec 10, 2010 by

ROWLETT, TX WOMAN ALMOST KILLED IN APRIL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE TO HOLD FUND-RAISER FOR NEW NON-PROFIT
Veronica Galaviz Launches LivingToShare.org, Establishing Non-Profit

DALLAS: Veronica Galaviz, the Rowlett woman nearly murdered by her estranged husband in April, 2010 will hold the first fund-raiser for her new non-profit organization, Living To Share, Saturday night in Addison. 

Earlier this week, Galaviz announced she has created a Website and non-profit organization to raise awareness about domestic violence and to help other victims.

The Saturday evening event will be held at the Addison Pointe Sports Bar and Grill located at 4578 Belt Line Road at 7 p.m.

“Saturday night’s event is a big step in our efforts to begin to raise awareness about Domestic Violence from the perspective of a survivor,” Galaviz said.  “We have a lot of work ahead with the upcoming session of the Texas Legislature.  Already this week, we’ve heard of some great changes that are going to be proposed in the 2011 session about stalking and obtaining a protective order.”

Galaviz has created LivingToShare.org, a Website she is using to raise awareness about the dangers of domestic abuse and how even when armed with laws and orders designed to protect men and women worried about domestic violence reoccurring, little happens.

Donations can be sent to Living To Share, PO Box 861885, Plano, TX 75086-1885.

Since announcing her organization Tuesday, Galaviz has received three invitations to speak to local and state organizations in the coming months.  Two of those requests have come from Dallas County law enforcement offices.

“Already this week we’re beginning to see opportunities presenting themselves that will help officers in law enforcement better understand domestic violence from the perspective of a survivor,” Galaviz said.  “After eight months of trying to put my life back together, this is an incredible turn of events.”

About 1:25 a.m. April 21, Galaviz awoke to find her estranged husband in her home and armed with a shotgun.  He told Galaviz that he was going to kill her.  Galaviz says thankfully she had a friend also in the home and began to fend off her husband but he was shot in the hand in the process.  Galaviz and her friend were able to escape the home and call authorities.  When the Rowlett Fire Department arrived at the home at 1:44 a.m., it was engulfed in flames and her husband was found dead inside.

Part of Galaviz’s conflict remains that she repeatedly notified the Rowlett Police Department of her husband’s violations of a protective order she obtained in November 2009 through divorce attorney Julie Lucio.   Each time she confronted the RPD they told her that her husband hadn’t done enough to warrant his arrest so he could be brought before the judge who issued the protective order.

Veronica Galaviz

After surviving an attack in her home on April 21, 2010 by her estranged husband, Veronica Galaviz now seeks to raise awareness about the dangers of domestic violence, increase victims’ rights, implement tougher enforcement of protective orders and sensitivity training for police officers who respond to domestic violence complaints, and offer educational grants to victims allowing them to obtain financial independence and freedom from their abusers.

Claxton Creative, LLC

Claxton Creative is a DFW-area based public relations firm focused on Social impact, innovation and invention.  Owned by former political advisor and Dallas ISD spokesman Donald Claxton, the company specializes in social media and traditional mediums to market and brand products domestically and internationally.  The company provides PR services for brands, bloggers, businesses and school districts.

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Woman Almost Killed By Estranged Husband In April Launches Domestic Violence Site

Dec 7, 2010 by

Rowlett Woman Almost Killed By Estranged Husband In April Launches Domestic Violence Site
Veronica Galaviz Launches LivingToShare.org, Establishing Non-Profit

DALLAS: Veronica Galaviz, the Rowlett woman nearly murdered when her estranged husband broke into her home in the middle of the night on April 21, 2010 and set the house on fire before shooting himself, announced Tuesday she has created a Website to raise awareness about domestic violence and the poor enforcement of protective orders, and she is establishing a non-profit to help other victims and seek changes in Texas law.

“During the summer and fall I’ve made contact with key members of the Texas Legislature and asked them to investigate what can be done about laws in Texas that allow protective orders to be a little more than expensive pieces of paper that tend to be all but ignored by law enforcement,” Galaviz said.  “Sadly, reaction from some members of the Legislature has been that the laws are working; but I’m evidence that there’s a big problem, and I’m lucky to be alive to share. I wasn’t killed on that night in April for a reason.”

Galaviz has created LivingToShare.org, a Website she is using to raise awareness about the dangers of domestic abuse and how even when armed with laws and orders designed to protect men and women worried about domestic violence reoccurring, very little happens.

“I’ve met with district attorneys in Texas who have said that something needs to be done to give laws that protect victims of domestic violence with greater protections and also seek to give police officers responding to claims of domestic violence with a better understanding of what their role is in the process,” Galaviz said.

About 1:25 a.m. April 21, Galaviz awoke to find her estranged husband in her home and armed with a shotgun.  He told Galaviz that he was going to kill her.  Galaviz says thankfully she had a friend also in the home and began to fend off her husband but he was shot in the hand in the process.  Galaviz and her friend were able to escape the home and call authorities.  When the Rowlett Fire Department arrived at the home at 1:44 a.m., it was engulfed in flames and her husband was found dead inside.

Part of Galaviz’s conflict remains that she repeatedly notified the Rowlett Police Department of her husband’s violations of a protective order she obtained in November 2009 through divorce attorney Julie Lucio.   Each time she confronted the RPD they told her that her husband hadn’t done enough to warrant his arrest so he could be brought before the judge who issued the protective order.

Galaviz has an upcoming event in Addision, Texas on Dec. 11th at the Addison Pointe Sports Bar and Grill located at 4578 Belt Line Road at 7 p.m.

Veronica Galaviz

After surviving an attack in her home on April 21, 2010 by her estranged husband, Veronica Galaviz now seeks to raise awareness about the dangers of domestic violence, increase victims’ rights, implement tougher enforcement of protective orders and sensitivity training for police officers who respond to domestic violence complaints, and offer educational grants to victims allowing them to obtain financial independence and freedom from their abusers.

Claxton Creative, LLC

Claxton Creative, LLC is a DFW-area based public relations firm focused on Social impact, innovation and invention.  Owned by former political advisor and Dallas ISD spokesman Donald Claxton, the company specializes in social media and traditional mediums to market and brand products domestically and internationally.  The company provides PR services for brands, bloggers, businesses and school districts.

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Where are we going, America? Our nation of laws is hurting those who follow them

Jul 5, 2010 by

Something’s wrong in America. I hate to say that the day after our nation’s 234th birthday, but there are many things that have gone bad and I’m not seeing much on the horizon to fix it.

All my life I’ve had a great love for our nation.  My father was an Air Force B-52 pilot.  Red, white and blue is sewn into my mental, emotional and life fabric.  In my younger days, all I wanted to be was an Air Force pilot like my dad, to help protect and serve our nation.  In 1984, the Air Force wasn’t granting waivers for asthma, and those dreams of military service ended.  But my patriotism didn’t.

In front of the house I fled at the end of March, we kept an American flag flying almost 365 days a year.  Well, we changed out for a Santa flag in December–334 days…

But I have to say that after enduring in the injustice I suffered in our legal system from June 2009 to June 2010, having been exposed to Veronica Galaviz’s near death in Rowlett on April 21, 2010 because Rowlett Police failed to act when she needed them most, and after being exposed to my friend Marshall Harris’ ordeal over his missing daughter and after repeated requests of the Dallas Police Department and the Dallas Sheriff’s Office, I don’t really feel anymore like our legal system is designed to protect, nor serve.

Add to that, our US Supreme Court struck down the 28-year-old Chicago gun ban only for the Chicago City Council to re-enact it once again last week, but with some changes.

What I’ve seen about law enforcement and the laws of our nation is that the laws are for those who will follow them.  For those who won’t, for the time being it seems, they don’t care about them, and upon violation of them and court orders, well, I’ve not seen a whole lot of good come to those who deal honestly with the law, and it’s whatever goes for those who fail to observe them or respect them. Pardon me for my cynicism, it’s just really how I’ve come to feel.

My first ex wife fabricated incredible stories about me and told them in court, on the stand and under oath.  When we showed evidence of her lying, she claimed the evidence was a lie, (though created by doctors and trained medical staff) and her lies mattered not.  The documentation was two-inches thick. It had no bearing on a fair and impartial decision and wreaked havoc on destroying the rest of my family life.

VERONICA GALAVIZ’S NIGHTMARE

Veronica Galaviz had a protective order issued in late 2009 to protect her from the dangers of her now-late estranged husbandShe showed the police video evidence of him being in her drive way, slashing tires on a car in front of her home and Rowlett Police told her it wasn’t conclusive that it was actually her ex-husband.  Only after he broke into her home at 1:30 a.m. on April 21, 2010 did they seem to believe her claims that her husband was going to try to kill her.

Of course, the Rowlett Police Department still won’t tell her the obvious, “We, the Rowlett Police Department, effed up big time and you’re damn lucky to be a live.”  (NEWS TIP: I got word this past weekend that the City Council may now start an investigation into the department.  Hallelujah.)

MARSHALL HARRIS’ NIGHTMARE

Marshall Harris’ ex took off with his four-year-old daughter on May 25, 2010. He now believes his ex has taken his daughter to Mexico, making his daughter’s abduction a federal matter.  But in talking to the FBI in Dallas yesterday, they said they can’t classify the ex as a fugitive until after the judge in his case issues an interference with custody.  He called DPD again yesterday and they came out and took new information that we have.  Still, the paperwork is sitting in la-la-land at DPD somewhere and nothing has been done since 3 p.m. yesterday when the latest report was filed.  There are other calls we’ve made or will be making to advocacy groups to get law enforcement off it’s proverbial ass, but who knows how at risk this child is. 

I read yesterday on the Parental Abduction Child Recovery Team website that there are between 200 and 300,000 parental abductions and kidnappings in America each year. Law enforcement has become desensitized to it.  Even with a decree in their hands, orders from a judge to find a child, and a little damn common sense, they are moving at a snail’s pace at DPD, if they’re moving at all.

A PROTECTIVE ORDER ISN’T A BULLET PROOF VEST, IT’S A PIECE OF PAPER

While at her first speaking engagement Tuesday night at the Limestone County Courthouse in Groesbeck, Texas, the district attorney got up and talked about how yes, you can have a protective order and papers from the court, but you still have to do things to protect yourself.  As he said, “A protective order isn’t a bullet-proof vest, it’s a piece of paper.” In Veronica’s case, even though she could and did dial 911, it was from her neighbor’s house.  She was able to get past her estranged husband and his shotgun, who then lit her house on fire and then killed himself. She’s lucky to be alive and we will have a website up shortly to talk about her story of survival and the mission she feels God has given her for sparing her life.

And yet I was told of a Fort Worth woman who shot her estranged husband a couple of years ago as he attempted to kill her.  She spent months in prison before the justice system released her.

Today is another day when Marshall Harris will sit on pins and needles wondering where his daughter is, and when, and if, he ever shall see her again.  He’s not even begun to think of the emotional stress and harm this has caused his child.  That will no doubt become a reality for him and her later, provided something is done by the very system that’s supposed to protect us and is spending more time letting the alleged violator get further and further away and he is able to get his daughter back.

Fox News this morning is talking about how the Illinois state government at present is $5 Billion in the red for next year’s budget.  The governor there is proposing a $1.4 billion plan to cut spending.  Yeah, in doing the math, it seems like there’s still a ways to go.

MY SIXTH GRADE TEACHER’S WISDOM FROM HISTORY

When I was in the sixth grade at Leo P. McDonald Elementary School on KI Sawyer AFB in Michigan, my teacher, Mr. John Nesberg, led us through a study of the Greeks and the Romans and the vastness of their empires, how they were the model countries of ancient times, and after about 200 years of prosperity, things began to wither away and eventually, their empires, their goodness, and their glory all faded into what now are history books.  Mr. Nesberg predicted to us 12-year-olds then that he felt like America already was on a much-to-similar track.

MY RELATIONSHIP WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT

Through the years, I’ve had many good friends who have been in law enforcement.   In college, I spent more time writing things for the school papers, riding with police officers, talking with them in the middle of the night when I could have been home sleeping (notice I didn’t say studying!), and getting a taste for what’s real.

I carried a police scanner in those days and knew all of the Montgomery Police Department’s 10-codes,  and the Alabama State Trooper’s 10-Code system.  They were two different languages with some overlap, but I knew what was going on, and was able to use that knowledge to have a better understanding of the troubles of society.

When I was in the Governor’s Office of Alabama for 10 years of my career, I was known for riding with Troopers, talking with them, and getting to know more about the dangers they were facing and what they were doing to protect and serve.

When I was the communications director of Dallas ISD for six years and a seventh year when I was done fooling with the incompetency of Michael Hinojosa and predicted the financial catastrophe and problems that have come in his administration, I was known for my closeness with the DISD Police Department. For seven years of my being a part of the district I carried my own police radio–I was number 706.   There were times when I got to calls as quickly or even one or two quicker, than the officers of the department.

I say all this to attempt to show I’m not at all down on police officers.  I know of their own pains and struggles. They constantly live with the threat of danger.   One officer I knew at Auburn University Montgomery was patrolling through a campus building under construction one night and the next thing he knew, his face was crushed by a pipe from a still unknown assailant.  Even with a Double-Zero alert sent out to all law enforcement agencies within 100 miles, no one was ever found who did that to him, and the officer almost lost his life and if he’s still alive today, is severely disfigured.   I know of the stories of multiple marriages and divorce.  I know how little money they make.  How they often work two or three other jobs, work over time whenever they can, just trying to scrape by to keep their lights on, to pay child support, to live a half-way decent life when they’re not at work.

AMERICA, WHERE ARE WE GOING?

So, America, I ask again, where are we going?  We have a legal system that benefits most those who abuse it or just don’t follow it all together.  Chicago, in it’s infinite wisdom, makes it illegal to own and possess certain firearms in its city.  But the Bad Guys don’t care about that.  And so the break into homes, rob people, and on, and those who believe in the strength and protection under the law, get victimized by the very laws designed to protect them.

I could go on and on with a list about what else is wrong: the economy, national healthcare, illegal immigration, the Gulf Oil disaster … but in her talk Tuesday night, Veronica Galaviz said that we “need to stop victimizing the victim.” She’s so right.  The question is, how in the world to do we get America back to where that’s even possible?

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