A Snapshot of the Problem
We all know them now, after the fact—the fact of missing, murdered or
mangled women such as:
The common denominator for them is at
one time they were in abusive, dangerous and pathological relationships.
Two still in a marriage and one out of the marriage—the end result the
We sat as a nation crying out, “Couldn’t SOMETHING have saved
them? Why did this happen?”
Finding safety from pathological
abusers is obviously not as easy as it seems. Safety plans encompassing
restraining orders, just leaving, living in transitional shelter care,
or staying with others is not fool-proof regarding protection.
Some victims have confessed to others the danger in their relationships
as a form of documentation because they sensed they would be killed.
However, family and friends often don’t know what to do with the
confession other than telling them to go to the police or to a shelter.
Police tell them if they don’t have evidence he has done something, they
need to wait until he does something that can be proved. With dangerous
and pathological perpetrators, what they CAN do is usually permanent.
Other victims share little of what they were experiencing. While family,
friends, pastors, therapists, and others might have known there was
danger from watching the dynamics, in the end, by the time that evidence
was criminally needed, the victim was dead.
“The Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit contains information that is
critical to help victims’ in documenting their experiences and
creating a record to insure that instances of abuse are
memorialized should they be needed for future use in the legal
system. It throws a life preserver to those adrift in the waves of
a tumultuous sea while offering hope for a brighter landscape once
safe on the other shore.”
(Donna Pendergast is the First Assistant Attorney General Office
of Special Investigations in Lansing Michigan. In her career she
has successfully tried over 100 murder cases. She has been
featured on such shows as 60 minutes, Dateline NBC, True Hollywood
Story, Justice and Cold Case Files. She is a regular contributor
to the site
Why, Why, Why?
The million dollar question
remains: ‘Why don’t women come forward before it’s too late?’
Her thought: He’s Not That Disordered
Not aware of, or unconvinced of, his danger and pathology she believes
simply leaving to relieve the pressure in the relationship will grant
her safety and freedom.
Her thought: He Won’t Go That Far
While many women are fearful while in these abusive relationships, many
women do not count on being killed.
Her thought: If Something Happens To Me, He Did It
Those who do fear they will be killed have had very few creative ways of
documenting their fear of serious injury or death, outside of telling a
close confidant. Let’s face it-- the courts have been less than
supportive in Domestic Violence(DV) law requiring proof of violence before granting
restraining orders or requiring removal from the house, and after the
deadly injury—re-labels testimony as ‘hear say.’
Indeed, the court has a long way to go in preventing intimate partner
Abuse and Its Impact
*1 in 4 women experience physical, mental, and/or emotional abuse by
their intimate partner, often referred to as domestic violence or
intimate partner violence
*Last year 32,000 lost their jobs due to Domestic Violence absences and
on the job harassment
*Which resulted in 8 million days of lost work
*Millions lost in revenue and
*18.5 million mental health visits
*Billions spent in programs that represent the aftermath effects of
violence (social services, law enforcement, criminal justice programs,
DV programs, etc)
*But most importantly, 2,500 people died last year from Intimate Partner
violence and thousands remain missing and unaccounted for.
suspect is husband
TESTIMONIAL:“Murphy-Milano has given us another tool to save lives. It's
practical, inspirational and USEABLE. The insights are precise and
(Honorable Nancy Sidote-Salyers, Former Prosecutor, Retired
Circuit Court Judge)
TESTIMONIAL:"This is not merely a ground swell of support but
rather a tsunami. The Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit is brilliant!"
(....former Federal Prosecutor)
How Do Abusers Get Away With it?
No Due Process --She Can’t Testify: In a coma, on life support
was married for 20+ years in a relationship with someone whose abuse was
never overtly physical but had always been emotional, verbal and with
threats of eventual violence. The threats were escalating when she asked
for a divorce. Her husband worked as an air conditioning repairman. She
reported the threats to the police but no reports were filed, no
restraining order allowed.
She awoke to find she had been poisoned by air conditioning fluid, had
been in the hospital on life support in a coma for four months. The day
before she was poisoned her husband had called community mental health
services to report his ‘concern’ she would try to kill herself. With
four months on life support, her husband began discussing with the
doctor when he could ‘relieve her pain and suffering’ and unplug her.
She woke up the day the plug was going to be pulled.
If Terri had had a way of documenting her fears that he may try to kill
her, he would have become a suspect immediately in the case.
TESTIMONIAL:“The E.A.A. is a sworn statement detailing the facts of an
individual's victimization, preserving the specifics so they are
not lost even if the victim is. It is difficult to think about
speaking from the grave but no different than any life insurance
policy obtained in consideration for those left behind. The E.A.A.
has the additional psychological benefit of being forced fed
reality and admit that the potential for the ultimate kind of
violence exists...and that if it occurs the perpetrator will be
(Diane Santhany, Victims Services Coordinator Tuscola County
She Can’t Testify: She’s Missing
Renee Pernice Missing since 2009
Weapons found in her home belonged to
Iraq War Vet husband, blood evidence removed from their home with
acid washing. A history of martial problems, separation and
previous filings for divorce are named as part of the probable
motives. Her husband was also questioned in the disappearance of
Star Boomer. Documentation of her husband’s weapons, mental health
history, other acts of violence, questioning in another woman’s
disappearance, would have aided a quicker arrest in this case.
Testify: She’s Murdered
Mary Jane Zich
It took 17 years for her husband to be charged.
She can't testify...she's murdered
Was missing and her body later
found. She simply tried to redirect the interest of someone she had
dated but who continued to stalk her.
Active military assigned to the Fort
Eustis Army base in Virginia, murdered along with her 3 children and
in the process of a divorce. He is awaiting trial.
Kelly Currin Morris
Likewise, Kelly was
missing for several years until finally her husband was charged in
her murder and the arson of their home.
All the women had verbalized concern
about their safety to others but no documentation existed to point to
their perpetrators in case of abduction or death. If they had
completed an Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit their investigations would
have not taken years, resulting in quicker arrests.
Do you need to know how to do an
Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit to document your situation in case of
serious injury or death? Do you need the E.A.A. because of stalking
IN THE MEDIA
Stacy Peterson’s pastor helps
victims of domestic violence
An advocate born from tragedy
Pastor who was Stacy Peterson's
confidant has pledged to help women document domestic abuse
TESTIMONIAL:“Once in a decade or more, a victim idea, strategy, process or
product comes along that revolutionizes victimology. When that
happens, everything in the field is measured before it, and after
it. The E.A.A. is this decade’s idea, strategy, process and
product rolled into one. It will be forever how we mark when the
tides turned and victims had a life preserver they could change
their cases with. We will always remember this time in history
when the E.A.A. changed what we do and how we do it.”
(Sandra L. Brown, M.A., CEO The Institute for Relational Harm
Reduction & Public Pathology Education)