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Back to In Memory of Haille

Discussion Question Responses
In Memory of Jasa 'Haille' Anguillo

The following responses correspond to the discussion questions found here. They're organized in the same way as the questions, and follow in the same order. The responses aren't meant to be comprehensive answers, nor are they intended to cover the topic. Rather, they are meant to provide one or two talking points that we hope will serve as stepping stones leading to more of your own ideas.

Nectar in a Sieve

1) Antonio's actions show the deep interdependence of all people who live in the same community. It's a fundamental interdependence that overshadows the superficial and socially imposed hierarchies of language, birth place, skin color, gender, or documentation. Along with this interdependence comes shared obligations that people in the same community have to each other. Antonio and other Latinos fulfill thousands of these mutual obligations of human interdependence every day, though not always in such a dramatic way. And they do so usually without the dominant culture taking any notice. So, of course, all people living in the same community should have the same rights to public services.

Though tragically Antonio's brave actions didn't result in saving Haille's life, his willingness to get involved and to go to the police likely saved Haille's family the terrible grief and added torment of not knowing what happened to their daughter. This is because if the Sheriff's deputy hadn't arrived when he did, Atticus very likely would have taken off and hidden Haille's body. And Haille's family wouldn't have known where she was or what happened to her.

2) It's very difficult to predict exactly what a person will do in a life and death emergency. But it's worth talking about what you hope you would do.

3) We, along with police officers from other jurisdictions whom we asked about this situation, feel that Cloverdale Police had both a moral and professional obligation to respond immediately to Antonio's report of the man strangling the woman, even though the location was just outside their jurisdiction.

4) We don't know why the Press Democrat gave so little coverage to Haille's murder. We do know that a member of Haille's family called the reporter early on and asked for more coverage, and the paper still didn't respond. We also know that today, September 10, as we write these answers, the Press Democrat carried a long article about a young woman who was killed in a car crash. This article was complete with quotes from those who knew her, a photograph of the young woman, and an early attempt to uncover the details of the event. It would make an interesting student project to analyze differences in the press treatment of young people's deaths.
5) Whether intended or not, the meager press coverage of Haille's murder sends powerful messages to the community that Haille's life and death didn't merit much attention. This is dangerous to other young women and girls. It signals both the community at large and other domestic violence victims in particular that their problems with domestic violence are not of interest to the community. The meager press coverage also signals abusive men that society is going to look the other way no matter what they do to the victims.
Lavender and Roses, Jasmine and Geraniums

1) Many people feel so uncomfortable about their ability to talk with a friend who has lost a loved one that they often try to avoid the person. This only makes everyone feel worse, especially you and them. So here are three simple and helpful things you can do and say for someone who is grieving the loss of a friend.

  1. Ask your friend what you can do or get to make them more comfortable; simple things like food, warm drinks, or a more comfortable chair.
  2. Encourage them to talk about the person they lost. Ask them questions about their memories of the person, and then listen carefully.
  3. Offer to take over some of your friend's routine daily tasks so your friend can be free to grieve with less stress.

A very important thing to remember when you're trying to help a friend who is grieving a loss is that you can't fix the cause of the problem. If you can remember that, then you won't feel so inadequate, and you can focus on the simple things that really do help to ease their pain.

2) A person's lifestyle or personality has virtually nothing to do with causing them to be victims of domestic violence. There is a very strong tendency in our society to always look for something in the victim's personality or behavior to explain the perpetrator's violence. The reason this tendency is so strong is that we still live in a male dominated society in which blame for domestic violence is still consciously and unconsciously shifted away from men and onto the woman. This is unjust. In order to eliminate violence against women in our society a crucial first step is to understand that the perpetrator of the violence is solely responsible for the violence.

It's also important to note that studies of domestic violence victims have substantiated that there is no 'victim personality' type that predisposes to domestic violence victimization. But despite these studies, the tendency to look for the victim's part in causing the violence remains strong.

3) Haille's friends were definitely doing the right thing by repeatedly warning Haille about Atticus. We hope that when you see a friend in an abusive relationship that you also speak up clearly to your friend again and again. When you do talk to a friend be sure that you don't express blame or judgment, and that you don't embarrass your friend in front of others. Pick a calm and safe place to talk. Ask a lot of questions. Try to understand the many ways that a victim is trapped by the abuse. (See Tips on Talking with a Friend)

Understand that talking with the victim is just the first step. Getting free of a domestic violence relationship is usually very complex and dangerous. As we go through these responses, we'll give you more tips on helping a friend.

4) Almost everyone in an intimate relationship feels some protectiveness about the privacy of their relationship, whether the relationship is abusive or not. So it wasn't unusual or indicative of any problem that Haille would sometimes snap at her friends by saying, "I can handle Atticus." If you have a friend who seems a little defensive when you try to talk to them about abuse, keep talking gently. Tell the person you're worried for their safety. Don't blame them, and don't tell them they're stupid for being in the relationship. If the person tells you they definitely don't want to talk about it more, don't push. Tell them you want to respect their wishes. Tell them you want to help whenever they need it. Then bring the subject up again later. Or ask another friend to try.

5) No, Haille's desire to help Atticus was not a flaw in Haille's character. It's a very positive human value for one person to try to help others with their emotional problems. It's also very difficult to know at what point the help you're giving is getting abused or taken advantage of. And it's difficult to recognize when the other person really isn't trying to make changes in their own life. All Haille's friends with whom we talked said that Atticus was very manipulative, and that he played the mental health card extremely well. Haille was probably naive and inexperienced in continuing to believe she could help Atticus.

Here's something that's important to keep in mind when trying to help someone with emotional problems. No matter what emotional problems a person may have it's never a help to them or you to tolerate any of their abuse towards you. No matter what the underlying cause of the abuse, the abuse has to stop. If the abuse doesn't stop, there is no sense in continuing to try to help the person, not to mention that it's dangerous to keep trying.

6) Yes there are personality characteristics that serve as warning signs that a person may be abusive or violent with an intimate partner. Atticus had many of the most common characteristics of a domestic violence abuser. Here are just three among them. Atticus was always trying to control Haille, he was frequently intensely jealous and manipulative, and he had a history of abusing other women.

Though Atticus also had an extensive criminal record, it's worth mentioning that many domestic violence abusers have no criminal record at all.

7) It seems very puzzling that Haille and her friends would tolerate someone like Atticus. Though none of them knew the extent of Atticus' criminality, a number of them did know that Atticus was often in 'trouble'. But keep in mind that Atticus was very manipulative. Atticus had confused many people over the years about what were his emotional problems and what was criminality. Atticus didn't just fool young people, he fooled many criminal justice professionals, too.
In the Quiet Eye of the Storm

1) Haille's birthday card to her Dad doesn't give any insight into why Haille was a murder victim. The card does show that Haille was very open, trusting, and expressive with her feelings of love. There's also no doubt that Atticus used Haille's open and giving emotions as one means to strengthen his grip on her. But this doesn't mean that Haille's openness led to, or contributed to, her murder.

Look at it this way. Every domestic violence perpetrator tailors their abuse and manipulations to use the individual victim's personality as one of many means to tighten his control. They use the strong parts of the victim's personality and the weak parts, the positive personality features and the negative. The perpetrators adapt their manipulations to whichever personality they're dealing with. But this doesn't mean that the victim's personality led to the murder.

We keep coming back to this point to show you why it's so easy, in any domestic violence situation, to find a way to blame the victim. It's because the victim's personality is always involved. But that doesn't mean the victim's personality shares the blame.

2) We don't know why this particular deputy viewed Atticus as a drug case. But we can make some generalizations about law enforcement and drug crimes. Consider first that over half of all persons incarcerated in the US are incarcerated for drug offenses. This is hugely disproportional to the real spectrum of crimes that are actually committed and reported. This shows that a great many law enforcement officials are overly focused on pursuing drug crimes. Here is just one reason this may be so.

Very little work is required to obtain a conviction in a drug case compared to the work needed to obtain convictions in many other kinds of crimes. Usually all that's needed for a conviction in a drug case is the baggie of drugs and a statement by the officer that the drugs were found on the defendant. Obtaining a conviction in many other crimes like arson, rape, or domestic violence requires much more sophisticated work with victims and witnesses, and more complex gathering and presentations of evidence. Can you think of other reasons that drug offenders make up over half our jail and prison populations?

Whisper in the Wind
1) Some of the major events of young women's lives that are hidden from public view are the difficult and often conflicting decisions that confront young women about family, relationships, workplace career, and child bearing. Though males also make decisions about family and work, they don't usually confront the same painful conflicts in making those choices. These conflicts are often made even more difficult for women by the sharp increase in violence and harassment against women that occurs for females in the 16-24-year-old age range, whether carried out directly by an abusive partner or by social attitudes in general. Yet despite the intensity and seriousness of these issues in young women's lives, these issues don't get near the attention in teen or young adult forums as other youth issues such as gang, drug, and driving issues. You can help by making sure that rape, domestic violence, and discrimination against women are always included in discussions of youth issues.

2) The owner of the restaurant provides a good example of why everyone in a community has an important role to play in ending violence against women, and why everyone needs to be knowledgeable about what to do. The owner did the right thing by calling police when Atticus wouldn't leave the restaurant. He also recognized Haille's level of fear in response to Atticus' rage. What he perhaps didn't realize was that Haille's fear was a significant indicator that the problem was much more serious than he had thought, and that the police "shooing Atticus away" was not a sufficient response to protect Haille. With a better understanding of domestic violence, the restaurant owner could have stayed with Haille and made sure that police took a proper report and then that police took proper action against Atticus.

An important point to remember about domestic violence from what happened at the restaurant is that when you see fear in a person's face, it is a significant indicator that there is real danger lurking in the relationship, and that your help is needed to make sure the victim gets the protection she needs. Also, if you are concerned about a friend's relationship, an important question to ask your friend is if they fear their partner in any way.

3) The text of Haille's story at the end of this section gives a number of reasons why the author thinks the police officer "shooed Atticus away" instead of arresting him. Do you agree or disagree?

4) Here are just five of many things communities can do to make sure that police officers respond properly to victims of violence against women.

  1. Track the number of female officers on the police force. (This information is on the public record and must be provided to any member of the public who requests it.)
  2. Monitor the written policies of your local department governing the department's response to domestic violence, sexual violence, and child abuse. (All police department written policies are on the public record.)
  3. Listen carefully to concerns of individuals in the community regarding police responses. Help these individuals to put their concerns in writing and get them addressed to the chief, the city council, and other local leaders.
  4. Establish community police review committees.
  5. Encourage girls and women to consider a career in law enforcement.

5) It's generally very good advice to encourage victims of violence against women to go to police. But because many police still don't take violence against women seriously, and because victims often find it difficult to tell their stories even when someone is taking it seriously, simply telling women to go to police is often not sufficient. In addition, it's important to offer to accompany the person when they go to police, or offer to help them find someone who can accompany them. It's best if the person chosen to accompany the victim is someone who is smart, caring, and has some experience dealing with the issues and with police. But even if your friend can't find the perfect person to accompany her, the most important point to remember is to advise her to always have someone with her.

This isn't just because the victim needs support. It's also so that she'll be treated more seriously, and so that, if she is mistreated, she'll have a witness.

6) Haille's phone call to her friend Barbara indicates a number of things about Haille. It indicates that Haille had some knowledge about her rights and about how the police should have responded to her situation. It also indicates that when her rights were violated and her needs went unmet Haille didn't just retreat. The fact that Haille called her friend and protested right in the officer's presence indicates that Haille had an unusually good sense of how to advocate for herself even at her young age. Unfortunately, the Cloverdale officer still did not correct his behavior and do the right thing. And apparently Haille didn't quite know what to do to take the next step.

A couple of things Haille and her friend could have done next are listed in the answer to the next question.

7) If you were Haille's friend who got the phone call from Haille that day, here are a couple of things you and/or Haille could have done next: Validate to Haille that the officer's response was not sufficient. And validate to Haille that her fears are legitimate, and that she really is in serious danger from Atticus. Then, offer to go with Haille to the police station and make the report directly to the on-call sergeant. In other words, if you feel your friend is in danger, don't hesitate a minute to go up the ranks of the police department until your friend gets the protection she deserves. Another thing you can recommend to your friend is that she write out her statement to the police, so she can be sure that nothing important is left out.

In addition, there are a number of things Haille could have done on her own. As soon as the officer left, Haille could have called 911 and made her protest to the 911 operator. One reason this can be effective is because everything you say on a 911 tape is preserved on tape. That way the police know they can't tell their superior you were not calling about domestic violence. Or Haille could have called the police station and asked to speak to the on-call sergeant. Or she could have gone to a trusted adult and asked that person to accompany her to the station to protest to the sergeant (or to the chief) and to help her insist on a proper response from the police.

The two main points to remember are that domestic violence victims have the right to a proper and effective response from police. And that you should not stop pushing until you get it.

8) Once the police officer saw Haille's level of fear and heard her request for a restraining order, the officer should have detained Atticus and then proceeded to talk with Haille in a location where Haille would be free to talk. The officer should have questioned Haille in detail about the current incident, about threats and fears, and about the history of violence, threats, and fears in the relationship. He should have called back to his own department to obtain information on Atticus' criminal record, in particular about open current cases. The officer also should have gotten verbal and written witness statements from the owner and others present in the restaurant.

There is no doubt that with the information he would have obtained, the officer should have arrested Atticus for domestic violence crimes and for violating his probation. The officer also should have called the 'on call' judge and obtained an Emergency Protective Order for Haille (as Haille had requested). And he should have given Haille written information about domestic violence resources in the community. Then the officer should have taken Atticus to jail and booked him on a no-bail-hold. And before finalizing the report, the officer should have gotten statements from the 'outcry' witnesses Haille had told about the strangling incident.

If you don't know what police should do on a domestic violence call, you should ask your police department for their written policy on handling domestic violence calls. And you can look here for an outline of the basic elements of proper police response to domestic violence. See Form for Evaluating Police Response to Domestic Violence .

9) There is no question in our minds that this police officer should be held accountable for refusing to help Haille. Not only did the officer's failure violate state law by not writing a report. The officer's response also violated the local Sonoma County Law Enforcement Chief's Domestic Violence Policy. This policy, which has been in effect since 1996, spells out in great detail what police officers in Sonoma County must do when responding to domestic violence related calls. The officer's response to Haille also violated this officer's sworn oath to protect and serve.

If we were the Cloverdale Police Chief we would fire this officer. After all these years, there is no way the officer could say he was uninformed about the proper response. In other words, we feel certain that the only reason the officer didn't fulfill his duties to help Haille is because the officer didn't feel like it. We also feel the people of the community have an obligation to each other to make sure this officer is disciplined or fired.

10) Male dominance and sexist attitudes in law enforcement are still so accepted that it is often overlooked as the cause of officer mishandling of domestic violence. But in 2002, a federal judge ordered Sonoma County Sheriff's Department to pay a million dollars to the family of Maria Teresa Macias, a Sonoma woman who was murdered by her husband. Prior to the murder, the Sheriff had rebuffed Teresa's pleas for help on more than 22 occasions. The lawsuit which resulted in the court ordering the Sheriff's Department to pay a million dollars, claimed that the primary reason the Sheriff failed to help Teresa was the Sheriff's sexist practices of denying women equal protection of the laws, especially women victims of domestic violence.

We feel that when law enforcement officers give inferior response to victims of violence against women, these inferior responses almost always stem from officer sexism.

Deadly Decisions Far from the Public Eye
1) Atticus' stalking of Haille just hours after being released from jail, and just a block away from where he had been arrested the day before, indicates that Atticus had no respect for the law and no fear of the law. Many people would be scared straight for at least for a day or two after spending a night in jail. They'd be afraid that police would go harder on them the next time around. Atticus' behavior seems to show he wasn't worried at all that police would ever crack down on him. Atticus' behavior that day and on other days also shows how obsessed Atticus was with tracking Haille down.
2) Probation officers monitor persons who have been convicted of a crime and who have been put on formal probation as part of their sentence. An interesting part of the probation officer's work is to try to help the persons on probation to live within the law. Probation officers also investigate and compile summary reports on a person's life and crimes, and then make recommendations based on those reports to the rest of the criminal justice system, i.e. to police, prosecutors, and to judges. As key members of the law enforcement team, probation officers also have the power to arrest.
3) A bureaucracy is a group of non elected government officials with a shared mission of serving a public function. Some characteristics of bureaucracies that give them a tendency to insensitivity are repetitive work tasks, endless case loads, a tangle of rules and red tape, a fixed hierarchy, and a lack of accountability. Workers in a bureaucratic work environment often feel burned out, feel like their work doesn't make any difference, and that their work isn't judged on its merit. Police, district attorney's offices, and probation departments are bureaucracies, even though the person at the top may be an elected official.
4) Making sure that Bureaucracies remain responsive to the public requires a constant effort by the community. Bureaucracies need to be monitored by the community both for how the workers perform their jobs, and for how the bureaucracy treats its workers. Establishing community oversight committees is one way communities do this. Another way is by making sure that there is an effective, independent mechanism in place where individual community members and workers can bring their complaints. The people of Sonoma County have never established oversight mechanisms to monitor the behavior of their criminal justice system bureaucracies. This failure gives the community some responsibility for the probation department's abdication of its cite/release duties.
5) There are many similarities in the failures of Sonoma County Probation Department in regard to Haille and FEMA's failures in regard to the citizens of New Orleans following hurricane Katrina. Both these agencies are bureaucracies with a mission to protect the public. Both agencies were maintaining a public image of protecting the public, while on the inside vital functions had been corrupted.

6) On the one hand, these probation officers did have a moral obligation to warn the public. They are paid with tax payer monies to protect public safety. On the other hand, individual probation officers, like many other workers in a public bureaucracy, are governed by internal rules that forbid them from going to the press. One time-honored way for workers to get around this dilemma is for the worker to 'leak' the information and warning to the press. One reason probation officers didn't speak out may be because they were fearful of losing their jobs. Another reason may be that they felt the local press wouldn't cover it anyway

Whistleblower laws are laws which protect public employees from losing their jobs when they speak out to warn the public of departmental abuses. These laws are needed because it is essential that the public be informed of these abuses so that the public can apply the necessary pressure for the abuses to be corrected. In addition to these laws, the government workers themselves must have a strong ethic to serve the public.

7) We believe Probation Chief Cora Guy disbanded the probation department cite/release program in order to save money, while ignoring the department's obligation to protect the public safety.
Building Up to It
1) Haille probably went to her friend Ron because she was still feeling threatened by Atticus, still afraid for her safety, and still desperately looking for a way to get protection. Clearly, Haille wanted Ron to understand the intensity of Atticus' rage. But she may not have known exactly what she wanted him to do. In all likelihood, Haille was hoping that Ron would be able to come up with ideas about what to do next.

2) There is a possibility that if Ron had gone with Haille to the police that the same officer or another officer would have treated the case more seriously. But it's also just as likely that simply accompanying Haille to the police would not be enough, and that the officer would have brushed them both off in the same way as when Haille was alone. If that happened, Ron would have had to go over the officer's head to a sergeant or higher ranking officer and insist that the case be handled properly.

If you accompany a friend to police and it seems that the officer isn't handling your friend's case properly, you should always speak up. And if the officer still doesn't give your friend the help she needs, don't hesitate a moment to go to officers of higher rank. Or go to an older adult who can help you go to ranking officers.

3) Ron and other of Haille's male friends have told us that they wanted to threaten or beat up Atticus as a way to protect Haille.
4) Threatening Atticus or beating him up would be exactly the wrong thing to do. The first reaction of many men when they become aware that a female friend is being abused or stalked is to want to threaten or beat up the perpetrator. This is about the worst thing you can do. It does not help your friend. In fact, it runs the very real risk of increasing the danger to the woman by increasing the perpetrator's rage, and increasing the possibility the perpetrator will seek his revenge against the woman.
5) Many men's first reaction to a women's plea for help is to want to beat up the perpetrator because they are really thinking more about venting their own emotions than about the women's safety. So this next advise is especially for you the men. Stop and think before you act! Discuss with and ask the victim what she wants you to do. Brainstorm non-violent options only. Then listen very carefully to what the victim wants, then follow through on the option that she prefers - even if you think another option is best.
6) If you believe someone is at risk of domestic violence homicide, you should try very hard to work in coordination with the victim. This means exploring the options for safety that she thinks will be best for her. One of the most important things you can do is help her find the caring, professional, and experienced people in the community she's going to need to be safe. But if your friend doesn't go to an experienced adult, yes, you, yourself, should go on your own to seek that help.
7) We don't believe there is anything Haille's friends could have done directly with Atticus to have deterred Atticus from murdering Haille. From everything we know, it seems pretty obvious that Atticus' fixation on killing Haille went beyond all influence of reason. And, as we've just discussed, any use of force against a domestic violence perpetrator is only likely to make things worse.

8) Though we cannot say for certain, we definitely feel that the decision of the Sheriff's dispatcher not to send a deputy to take the report was an indication of a deeper problem. Sonoma County Sheriff's Department has a proven, long term history of discriminating against women, in particular in cases of violence against women. We see this in our daily work with victims of rape and domestic violence. It is also evidenced by the fact that in the last ten years, the department has paid out more than one million, three hundred thousand dollars in a dozen sex discrimination lawsuits.

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Department pattern and practice of discriminating against women is further evidenced by the fact that, at this writing in September 2005, there are only 12 female deputies in the department out of 243 total deputies. And further, by the fact that in December 2004, the then 13 female deputies all jointly signed a 14 page letter of protest and calls-for-changes in the "sexist" and "abhorrent" work environment the women described in their letter. It's also evidenced by the fact that there is currently another sex discrimination lawsuit against this Sheriff's Department filed by a recently resigned female deputy and by a female corrections officer. (See More Sexism that Ever at Sonoma County Sheriff's Department)

9) It's possible that the Sheriff's dispatcher could have saved Haille's life, though it's difficult to say. Even if the dispatcher had dispatched a deputy to take the report, there's still the question of whether or not that deputy would have treated the threat seriously. Or whether or not the deputy would have bothered to look up Atticus' record which could have then led to an arrest of Atticus for again committing another violation of his probation.

10) We feel the example of the dispatcher is a case in point.

As Clear as a Clarion Song

1) The district attorney (DA) and his deputy district attorneys review the evidence of crimes gathered by police, and then make the decisions about whether or not criminal charges should be filed against the suspect, and what those charges should be. Then the district attorney prepares and carries out the legal strategy for prosecuting the defendant in court.

The district attorney is the chief law enforcement officer of a county because the district attorney controls which crimes in the community are taken seriously and which are not. Trying to determine whether the DA or the mayor has more power is a little like comparing apples and oranges. But one big difference worth noting is that decisions made by the DA are absolute and undiluted by other officials' votes, whereas a mayor must pass his or her decisions through the votes of other officials. In this sense, the DA's absolute power is a much greater power than that exercised by a mayor.

Many people do not know the name of the DA in their county, but they generally do know the name of the mayor. No one has power over the district attorney, except at election time when the people have the power to elect a new district attorney. Because no one has power over the district attorney, it is very difficult to pressure the district attorney to handle violence against women cases properly. Going up the rank to a deputy district attorney's supervisor or beyond is always a first step. But if the district attorney, him or herself, refuses to treat the case seriously, the only viable option for pressuring a district attorney is to take the case to the public.

This is why paying close attention to district attorney elections is so important. Once the DA is in office, there is no one who has power over that district attorney's decisions.

2) We feel that the Press Democrat leans heavily toward supporting those in power, while giving short shrift to the voices of those who have little power, and that this has been particularly true when it comes to issues of violence against women. Yes, we believe the Press Democrat bears some responsibility. As the largest circulation paper in the area, the Press Democrat exercises powerful sway over the information people use to make electoral decisions.

This is probably a good point to repeat what we said at the beginning of Haille's story. Though we've focused on the criminal justice system, ending violence against women requires that we recognize its roots in all our institutions. Religions, families, businesses, the media, music, schools, all need to examine the ways in which they contribute to perpetuating violence against women, and identify the ways in which they need to change.

3) Libertarianism is the political philosophy that the government which governs least governs best, and the belief that the more freedom individuals have the better. This is a philosophy that works well for those who already have a more powerful status in society. It has many disadvantages for those with little power. Those with little power need strong governmental protections from the powerful; protections such as a strong justice system and socio-economic safety nets. Without these governmental protections, women and children are definitely at much greater risk of violence in a libertarian system.

4) We strongly believe that domestic violence should be a primary responsibility of law enforcement, for all the same reasons that every other kind of violence is the primary responsibility of law enforcement. One of the reasons many don't agree is that up until the last decade or so, domestic violence has traditionally been condoned by both the laws and the beliefs of the land.

It often takes many years for individual attitudes and responses to catch up to the law. In fact, progress in the law is often followed by periods of backlash and organized sabotaging of the progress. We believe that widespread law enforcement resentments of having to treat domestic violence as serious violent crime have a great deal to do with why Atticus was allowed to stay on the streets in the days leading up to Haille's death.

5) Yes, we believe the Mendocino DA's office had responsibility to put Atticus on a no-bail hold following his arrests at the end of April, 2005. By mid-April it was abundantly clear from Atticus' record that Atticus was an imminent danger to the community. One possible reason Atticus was not held on a no-bail-hold was that saving money took priority over public safety. All DA's have direct responsibility for the legal decisions made by their deputy district attorneys.
6) In all likelihood the Mendocino District Attorney's office could have saved Haille's life had they argued forcefully in April for Atticus to be held in jail on a no-bail hold.
So Many Innocent Victims
1) We think that Haille probably really believed that Atticus had seen the light and was going to get himself some help. This may seem very naive following the obvious escalation of Atticus' behavior in the weeks leading up to this day. Ironically, however, Atticus' recent extreme behavior may have strengthened Haille's belief that Atticus was, indeed, finally going to get help. It may have appeared to Haille that Atticus' had gone too far even for himself.
2) If you believe, as we do, that Atticus' calling Haille to come get the car was just a ruse to trap Haille, then it's hard to imagine that Atticus wouldn't have tried again and again if it had failed.

3) One thing we know about emotional trauma is that the severity of the trauma is usually greater for those who are closest to it, closest not just in terms of personal relationship, but also in terms of time and space. At some time of his own choosing, it would probably be very helpful if Adam could talk through his feelings with someone who has professional experience dealing with trauma.

But Adam's friends can help in many ways too. Asking questions in a caring way can be very helpful. As can suggesting in a supportive way that your friend consider getting professional help. Another thing that can be very helpful when your friend has gone through a traumatic experience is just to keep a special eye on them. If your friend looks especially sad, or depressed, or isolated, let them know that you can see their hurt. Ask them how you can help.

One of the most crippling emotions of someone who has gone through a situation like Adam can be guilt. One thing we hope that Adam and everyone who reads this realizes, is that everyone in the community shares some guilt for Haille's death. We do too. In all the years of working on violence against women, this is the first time we've made a big effort to educate the youth of our community. Remember, guilt can be a good thing if we use it to learn and change, and if we don't allow it to paralyze us.

4) The social dynamics that unfairly direct a lot of blame on domestic violence victims make it difficult for friends and family to stand up to the perpetrator. In domestic violence situations family and friends are usually all closely interconnected to both the victim and the perpetrator. Taking a firm stand against the perpetrator usually means going against many family and friends who don't yet see the gravity of the situation.

Another very common reason family and friends find it difficult standing up to the perpetrator is that their own close connection to the perpetrator often makes them subject to the same dangers, lies, manipulations, bullying of the perpetrator as the victim.

5) Haille probably didn't go to her parents for help for the same reason that most young people (and older people, too) don't go to their parents for help with problems in their intimate relationships. It's natural when dealing with your family to maintain more privacy concerning your intimate relationships than when dealing with friends. Some young people may also fear that their parents may respond by saying, "I told you so". Or they may fear that parents will respond by treating you like a child, or by taking control, and telling you what to do.

As a result, and very unfortunately, young victims of domestic violence rarely tell parents or parent figures. So there are some important lessons in Haille's story for both young people and for parents/teachers/ clergy/ counselors.

For youth, domestic violence and sexual assault are much too complex and too dangerous for you and your friends to handle on your own. So run through a list of the smart, caring, and experienced adults you know - including your parents. Then for the sake of your safety and your future, pick one, swallow a little pride, go to them for help, and tell them everything.

For parents and other smart, caring, experienced adults, don't say, "I told you so." Don't pass judgment. And don't take charge. Treat the victim and her friends like the mature adults they are trying to be, and work together to get the problem solved.

If you are the young friend of a young victim, and even after talking with her she still doesn't want to take the problem to an experienced adult, you, yourself, should go to an adult anyway. Tell the victim what you're going to do, and who you're going to tell.

6) One other reason that the highest rate of domestic violence victimization is 16-24-years-of-age is that the victim and the young friends she turns to usually don't have the knowledge about how to make the system work for them. As a result, even when they recognize something is wrong, young people often can't find a way out.

7) One of the most important lessons we hope young people take from Haille's story is that teens and young adults cannot handle domestic violence or sexual violence on their own. The dynamics of violence against women, and the dynamics of getting free from violence against women, are too complex and too dangerous for young people to deal with on their own.

When you or a friend have problems with domestic violence or sexual assault or sexual harassment, ALWAYS seek out a smart, caring, and experienced adult to help you.

8) When victim advocates are paid by the criminal justice system they are working in a profound and highly unethical conflict of interest. A conflict of interest exists when a worker must serve two opposing interests. In the case of the victim advocate paid by the criminal justice system the advocate is supposed to fight for the victim's rights while at the same time the advocate doesn't want to displease her employer and threaten her paycheck. Unfortunately, it is the advocates' interest in the paycheck that usually wins out, and the vigorous advocacy of the victim's rights which gets sacrificed.

Here's an example. A prosecutor doesn't file on domestic violence case even though there's enough evidence to file. The victim is devastated and endangered because the abuser walks free. But the advocate who works in the prosecutor's office doesn't want to fight with her boss, so she just sweetly tells the victim (lies to the victim) that they are so sorry, there's just not enough evidence to file the case.

This kind of unethical corruption of the advocate's role occurs even if the advocate only has her office in the criminal justice system.

9) There are a number of reasons perpetrators of domestic violence escalate their violence against the victim after the victim decides to leave. They escalate in order to re-establish their control of the victim. And they escalate because they are enraged that the victim has defied what he believes is his rightful dominance over the victim.

10) Two advantages of sending victims of violence against women to a battered women's shelter are:

  1. The shelter provides immediate, temporary safety for the victim.
  2. A battered woman's shelter puts the victim in contact with others who are dealing with the same problems and with other women who want to help her.

Two disadvantages are:

  1. Sending a woman to a battered women's shelter delivers the harmful message to both the victim and to the community that to deal with domestic violence the victim should go on the run and lose her housing, rather than delivering a message that it is the perpetrator who must be displaced and put under control.
  2. Putting a woman in a battered women's shelter has the devastating consequence of making her homeless, and of rupturing many of her vital weave of support in her neighborhood, her school, and among her friends.
11) It means that domestic violence is not a less serious form of violence. This point needs to be made again and again because the tendency to think of domestic violence as less serious violence is why responses to domestic violence are so often inadequate to solve the problem. This tendency also makes it easy to blame the victim. After all, if you think of domestic violence as no big deal, then it's easy to think that the victim should be able to just get up and walk away.

12) Five things you can communicate to your friend are:

  1. I think your boyfriend is abusive to you.
  2. The abuse is very harmful to you, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I'm very concerned for your safety.
  3. The abuse is not your fault in any way.
  4. I want to help you find help.
  5. It's almost certain the abuse will get worse if the abuser is not willing to immediately get help.

Five things you can do for your friend:

  1. Research and give your friend written information on domestic violence.
  2. Research and give your friend the phone numbers of advocates, police, and shelters in your community.
  3. With your friend, find the names of five or six smart, caring, and experienced adults.
  4. Accompany your friend to go to those adults.
  5. If you can't convince your friend to go to one of these adults, then you should do it on your own.
The Meaningless Processing of Cases
1) Strong, thorough law enforcement response to domestic violence is so effective in reducing the rate of domestic violence homicides because preventing the homicide requires that the perpetrator's behavior be immediately and completely put under control. Only law enforcement has the power to control the perpetrator to the extent necessary.
*2) The willingness of a perpetrator to rape a victim indicates that he wants to do more than just control the victim with violence. He also wants to degrade and humiliate the victim with sexual violence. Rape indicates a level of hatred that may go as far as to completely annihilate the victim through murder.
3) 98% of all perpetrators of rape are male. 94% of all rape victims are women and children. As such, rape is a crime that most clearly exposes the violent sexist oppression of females by males. The male domination and sexist mindset of law enforcement makes law enforcement frequently unwilling to see the outrage of rape and to treat the crime seriously.
4) Law enforcement officials often excuse their poor record in handling rape cases by saying that rape cases are especially difficult because so many of these cases are a 'he said, she said' situation. But if you stop and think about it this doesn't make sense since in all crimes the victim says one thing and the perpetrator says another.

5) Although we haven't reviewed all documents related to various cases against Atticus, here are five that appear to have been handled in a way that fits the description of "The Meaningless Processing of Cases":

The rape case against Atticus, the arson case against Atticus, the domestic violence restraining order violation against Atticus, the second poaching case against Atticus, the May, 2005 violation of probation case against Atticus.

6) It takes much less effort and much less expenditure of effort and money to do this meaningless processing of cases than it takes to apply real system power to effectively protect the victims and punish the perpetrators.
Misdemeanor Murder
1) Law enforcement officials who use the term "Misdemeanor Murder" usually do so to express the idea that the victim of the murder is a low-life who doesn't deserve full consideration as a victim.
2) We believe that all the combined factors we examined in this section help explain why the Cloverdale sergeant and dispatcher made the decision not to respond to Haille's murder-in-progress. We also believe that there are probably also additional defects in the moral characters of the individuals that allowed them to sit by and do nothing while a young woman was being murdered right in their own back yard. .
3) The Cloverdale police sergeant should have instantly gone to the scene, while the dispatcher called in additional law enforcement back-up.
4) The Cloverdale police sergeant should be held more responsible because the sergeant is not only answerable for his own behavior, his job also requires that he set the proper tone and policy for those under his supervision.

5) Because a democracy is government by the people, all power and responsibility for that power ultimately resides with the people. The people must take their responsibility for monitoring officials use of that power very seriously. If people in a democracy become afraid of criticizing those officials in whom they've entrusted the power, then the people have shirked their responsibility to others in the community, especially to those who are most in need of the proper exercise of government power.

The author believes that in the final analysis, the people of Cloverdale have responsibility for the conduct of their police.

6) Here are six things that individuals or groups of Cloverdale can do to make sure that Cloverdale Police would respond differently to the same situation in the future:

  1. Make sure that the Sergeant and dispatcher are fired or appropriately disciplined for their failure to respond.
  2. Get actively involved in the town's current search for a new police chief. Make sure that candidates' attitudes on violence against women are a priority issue in the selection process.
  3. Establish a formal mechanism of citizen police review in Cloverdale. See www.nacole.org
  4. Involve local press, churches, schools, businesses, in ongoing discussions of police policies in Cloverdale. Make sure that women's voices are in the forefront of these discussions.
  5. Individually or in groups, take your recommendations and demands for improvements in police conduct to the police chief and to the city council.
  6. Don't give up until it's done.
In Memory of Haille
1) Ending violence against women is very hard work. The most powerful motivation for doing this work is to remember how very much we lose when we lose someone like Haille.

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Copyright © Marie De Santis,
Women's Justice Center,


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