To Whom It May Concern:
I am emailing as a response to a quote attributed to Bridget Brennan, in reference to opposition to an Ike Turner day in Saint Louis. The quote I read is as follows:
"We believe there is a zero tolerance for any kind of violence," Brennan said. "We would not want to honor someone who has publicly stated they have hit their wife."
In reference I will give you a bit of my own history and background. In 1991 I was convicted of assault with injury for an assault on my wife. Not the first, but as things would have it, the last. I did time in jail. We divorced. I eventually sought help for chemical dependency and in the course of my recovery had to come to terms with my violent behavior. Even today I struggle with the issues that made it difficult for me to behave sanely. But I am still clean and sober and have not done any violence on a partner, not even verbal violence.
As someone who was a perpetrator of domestic violence years ago, and who had to pay the consequences and find healing I find the attitude expressed by Ms. Brennan to be counter productive. As part of healing from my sickness I spoke publicly about my experience and was surprised at how many men approached me afterwards, expressing how hearing my story and my feelings on the matter expressed openly affected them. Being shamed for this behavior can force a man to turn his back on it, reinforcing denial and actually diminishing any chance of healing his behavior. When someone is treated as a hopeless case, that hopelessness does little to inspire the difficult journey of personal transformation. You missed an important opportunity to create a public forum around this issue and I feel chose instead to mete out your own punishment to this individual.
I am of the view that domestic violence is part of a complex pathology, involving both the individuals involved and their community. If the relationship canít be healed, which it often canít, the individuals involved can be put on a path to healing. People often canít heal without help. I am of the opinion that anyone truly interested in fostering healthy relationships should, on the matter of domestic violence act in an enlightened manner. You seem to have failed at this.
I am also shocked that a federally funded organization that has the support of a university should behave in such a Draconian manner.
In closing, I will say that this is an expression of my personal opinion, based on my personal experience and beliefs. I do not expect everyone to agree, but think that any public works organization should hear input from people on their sphere of influence. I would welcome any dialog or feedback you might offer.