Heather Thompson will be released from Federal Prison in Bennettsville, SC and be able to resume a relatively normal life after being incarcerated for the last 14 years for beating her to within an inch of her life. He has had a lot of time to think about how he can fulfill his promise to kill her and her children, and has made numerous threats over the years from prison.
Today Bloggers Unite has declared "Domestic Violence Day" and I hope that by banding together and writing about this epidemic, it will bring awareness to the many who are still trapped in an abusive relationship, men and women alike. While there are agencies and advocates all across the country, many of the abused aren't aware or savvy enough to figure out an escape plan. There is hope and healing available on the other side of abuse, if only the abused can reach out far enough.
In Heather's, and many other cases, all the right steps have been taken, but yet she and her children are not safe. GPS monitoring has been proven to be a useful tool, but in her case, authorities will not violate her abuser's rights by putting one on him at this time. Apparently he has to take a step towards murdering her and her children in order to be eligible. I know, this makes no sense, but is another flaw in the system that re-victimizes the victims.
The public has become immune to stories of fathers brutally murdering their families in the last few months. The news reports cover these stories and all the gory details, and yet there are families grieving the horrendous losses who are raw in their emotions. Please don't let Heather and her family become just another statistic or another news story and then wonder where the system broke down. The system that should protect the rights of the innocents is protecting the rights of the ones who have beaten, battered and killed in hopes that they are rehabilitated in prison and will become productive members of society again. That rarely happens.
The faces of domestic abuse are bloody and bruised, just like Heather's was, but at least she has survived.....so far. Reach out into your community, your church, your neighborhood and become more vigilant. Really look at that woman in the grocery store with the black eye, listen to her and if nothing else, guide her to a shelter or even a website that will get her the information she needs.
Educate yourself about the ways the abused may be helped. There are many organizations and advocates willing to share this information. Susan Murphy Milano has written the "bible" of safety escape procedures in her book "Moving Out, Moving On" and her new book to be released titled "Time's Up". These are important works which lay everything out in a step by step fashion so that abused women don't wind up dead.
Heather Thompson and her children will be living in great fear starting on May 29. She is in dire need of help, publicity, and protection from the man who most likely will make a move to snuff out her life and the lives of her children. Let's hope he is not successful and that Heather is not another entry at Mothers are Vanishing.