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
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
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.
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.
your friend what you can do or get to make them
more comfortable; simple things like food, warm
drinks, or a more comfortable chair.
them to talk about the person they lost. Ask them
questions about their memories of the person, and
then listen carefully.
to take over some of your friend's routine daily
tasks so your friend can be free to grieve with
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.
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
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)
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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.
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
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.)
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
community police review committees.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
feel that when law enforcement officers give inferior
response to victims of violence against women, these
inferior responses almost always stem from officer
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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/
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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:
shelter provides immediate, temporary safety for
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.
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.
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
I think your boyfriend is abusive to you.
The abuse is very harmful to you, physically, emotionally,
and spiritually. I'm very concerned for your safety.
abuse is not your fault in any way.
I want to help you find help.
It's almost certain the abuse will get worse if
the abuser is not willing to immediately get help.
things you can do for your friend:
Research and give your friend written information
on domestic violence.
Research and give your friend the phone numbers
of advocates, police, and shelters in your community.
your friend, find the names of five or six smart,
caring, and experienced adults.
your friend to go to those adults.
you can't convince your friend to go to one of these
adults, then you should do it on your own.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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:
Make sure that the Sergeant and dispatcher are fired
or appropriately disciplined for their failure to
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.
a formal mechanism of citizen police review in Cloverdale.
local press, churches, schools, businesses, in ongoing
discussions of police policies in Cloverdale. Make
sure that women's voices are in the forefront of
or in groups, take your recommendations and demands
for improvements in police conduct to the police
chief and to the city council.
give up until it's done.
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