With March being Women's History Month, I wanted to discuss domestic violence through a past blog of how victims of domestic violence are affected, and the ultimate consequence of abuse as Chuck Williams (aka Rockin Rebel) murdered his wife Stephanie Burtnett (Williams) What I write, sadly, stands just as true three years later this summer.
If what is written about those victimized applies to anyone reading this or are a friend or family member of someone in such a situation, please take the steps necessary.
Domestic violence is defined by the National Domestic Violence Hotline as "a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship." It involves actions where one partner engages in behaviors that harm (both physical land emotionally), that cause fear for self and children and cause the victim to behave in ways they do not want.
National Domestic Violence Hotline defines it as "physical violence, sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation (or dependency)" . At any one time, multiple forms of this can be occurring at the same time.
For anyone who doesn't know where I'm leading, here it is: West Goshen Police Department officially issued a statement this past Saturday on the murder-suicide officially confirming the names of former ECW wrestler Chuck Williams (Rockin' Rebel) and Stephanie Burtnett (Williams).
As was reported Friday, first by NBC 10 in Philadelphia, Williams and wife Stephanie Burtnett (Williams) were found dead in their home at 302 Five Point Road, West Goshen, PA, after police responded to the home following the report of a shooting. Their bodies were found by family members in the living room, with the Police report dated 6:37 am Friday. In the statement, West Goshen Police determined that the initial indications are that Williams murdered his wife, then committed suicide.
What social media had depicted of the family's lives could not possibly have been different than the apparent reality. Images on social media from Williams, neighbors, and friends showed a happy family.
But there were eerie and cryptic mentions on social media that seem (admittedly with 20-20 hindsight) to show something quite different. Only 72 hours before the killing, Williams posted the following :
"Days of spending time with the ones you love and you love them are far and few, make them count".
The day before, he had posted the following: "A little love goes a long way"
But if one looked at the same social media of Stephanie Burtnett (Williams), one would never know anything was wrong in the least. There were depictions of Girl Scout cookie sales, watching the Eagles win the Super Bowl as a family, and trips out as a family.
But her mother gave a fairly involved and angry depiction on her Facebook page after the killing, suggesting the couple's relationship was anything but that, stating Williams "had tortured my Stephanie for 30 years".
There were those within wrestling who seemed in denial that Williams could have committed the act. They knew a very different person, one who had helped them professionally in various ways. So, much as many people continue to do to this day with the Benoit family tragedy insisting others must have been to blame, they couldn't reconcile the person they knew with the one who existed in reality, so were actually doing remembrance posts for Chuck Williams, rather than the person who deserves it, Stephanie.
There also have been been mentions online that suggest that Stephanie spoke to them as best she could, showed fear regarding the relationship.
Here are some realities about domestic violence:
"On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.
*1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.
*1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
*1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.
*On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.
*The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%.
*Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime.
*Women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner.
*19% of domestic violence involves a weapon.
*Domestic victimization is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior.
*Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries."
Please understand that anyone who is a victim of domestic violence may feel the need to minimize the situation, even to engage in denial to the public, and show the reality they had hoped for. They do it for themselves. They do it for their children. They do it for their loved ones not aware of reality, or to minimize how bad things are.
If anyone reading this blog knows of someone in such a situation, please consider these actions, again from the National Domestic Violence Hotline:
"ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THEY ARE IN A VERY DIFFICULT AND SCARY SITUATION, BE SUPPORTIVE AND LISTEN.
Let them know that the abuse is not their fault. Reassure them that they are not alone and that there is help and support out there. It may be difficult for them to talk about the abuse. Let them know that you are available to help whenever they may need it. What they need most is someone who will believe and listen.
BE NON-JUDGMENTAL. Respect your friend or family members decisions. There are many reasons why victims stay in abusive relationships. They may leave and return to the relationship many times. Do not criticize their decisions or try to guilt them. They will need your support even more during those times.
IF THEY END THE RELATIONSHIP, CONTINUE TO BE SUPPORTIVE OF THEM. Even though the relationship was abusive, your friend or family member may still feel sad and lonely once it is over. They will need time to mourn the loss of the relationship and will especially need your support at that time.
ENCOURAGE THEM TO PARTICIPATE IN ACTIVITIES OUTSIDE OF THE RELATIONSHIP WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY. Support is critical and the more they feel supported by people who care for them, the easier it will be for them to take the steps necessary to get and stay safe away from their abusive partner. Remember that you can call the hotline to find local support groups and information on staying safe.
HELP THEM DEVELOP A SAFETY PLAN. Check out our information on creating a safety plan for wherever they are in their relationship whether they're choosing to stay, preparing to leave, or have already left.
ENCOURAGE THEM TO TALK TO PEOPLE WHO CAN PROVIDE HELP AND GUIDANCE. Find a local domestic violence agency that provides counseling or support groups. Call us at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) to get a referral to one of these programs near you. Offer to go with them. If they have to go to the police, court or lawyers office, offer to go along for moral support.
REMEMBER THAT YOU CANNOT RESCUE THEM. Although it is difficult to see someone you care about get hurt, ultimately they are the one who has to make the decisions about what they want to do. Its important for you to support them no matter what they decide, and help them find a way to safety and peace."
If you are someone living in an abusive situation or a friend/family member of someone that is, please take what is written above seriously.