Letters to the editor: Abusers continue to abuse victims; Silent casualties

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Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act

TO THE EDITOR

During National Family Caregivers Month, we recognize the impact of caregiving and honor the more than 15 million Americans caring for someone with Alzheimer's. In the past year, these caregivers provided an estimated 18.2 billion hours of care valued at over $230 billion.

I am one of those caregivers. I have been a professional and personal caregiver for many people with dementia. It can be very stressful and challenging going through the journey of watching loved ones change daily through this devastating disease.

Importantly, Congress is currently considering legislation that would provide much needed support to our nation's family caregivers—the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act (S. 1028/H.R. 3759). Endorsed by the Alzheimer's Association and the Alzheimer's Impact Movement, the RAISE Family Caregivers Act would facilitate the creation of national strategy to address the many issues facing caregivers, including education and training, long-term services and supports, and financial stability and security.

In September, the Senate unanimously passed the Act, sending a clear message of support to our nation's family caregivers. I am thankful for Senators Johnson and Baldwin for supporting the RAISE Family Caregivers Act. It is now time for the House of Representatives to take the same action and pass the RAISE Family Caregivers Act. Please join me in asking Rep. Duffy for his support.

Jackie Waalen

New Richmond

Abusers continue to abuse victims

TO THE EDITOR

A study of over 1,500 abusers and hundreds of their victims shows that abusers fare better in psychological testing than the victims do. In a domestic relationship, the abuser is controlling, manipulative, feels he is entitled, is disrespectful, and has a unifying principle in his attitude of ownership.

Because of the distorted perceptions of the abuser, he thinks he's the victim and is very skilled at twisting his descriptions of events to make it look as though he is the victim. Abusers are typically charming and persuasive. Batterers can be on "good" behavior for extended periods of time when it benefits them. The problem is that abusers fool guardian ad litems and court officials.

The abuser commonly accuses the victim of having mental health problems. He is very comfortable lying after years of practice and can sound believable when making false statements. Courts tend to fail to look closely at the facts because of his charm. Because of trauma, the victim may seem disjointed which makes the evaluator think the victim is the source of the problems, It works to the abuser's advantage when the victim does not want communication between them which is the best thing for the victim and their children. There is no way for a victim to avoid criticism and suspicion and the abuser uses this to his advantage.

Studies have shown that 50 to 70 percent of men who use violence against their partners are physically abusive to their children as well. The abuse to the primary caretaker is a form of emotional abuse of the children in itself. A bigger danger is that children are particularly vulnerable psychologically because they are already scarred by violence that they have observed or experienced. If the abuser has a history of sexual assaults against the mother, there is an increased risk of sexual abuse of the children and increased physical danger.

The legal system needs to be informed on the ways abusers continue to abuse victims and their children. It's time we protect the victims and children instead of giving them visitation with the abuser.

Darlene Bochman

Menomonie

Silent casualties

TO THE EDITOR

Can you see us? Can you hear us? We are the silent casualties, the ones trying in vain to protect our children in the face of a system so hopeless and twisted that hope seems elusive.

We will die for our children, to give them one home, one stability, so they don't have to go back and forth between one parent and another, constantly wondering what way is up or down. You see, my child is hit by her father, and alcohol reigns supreme. I am only a possession, too worthless to do anything but serve the husband and master. And yet I stay.

Why? Because if I leave, as social services and the police advise, the court system will only place my child back in that dark home in the name of parental equality. But what about my child's right to live without fear? What about her little voice, her future? So I shut up and survive, because to talk about what goes on in that house will make me sound twisted, demented, and unstable.

I do not have proof of every verbal, emotional, and sexual assault that slowly kills your inner being until you are nothing more than a shell. But I must stay, for to leave is to place my child back in that home without me to protect her, to be a buffer from the worst of the hell.

Is there anyone to help? Is there anyone to hear? Is there anyone to see? Don't just offer words of condolence. Give us hope. Give us freedom. Give us a future. Or we won't be seen, for we truly are silent casualties. By the time help is there, it will be too late. Will you please see us Commissioners? Judges? Guardian ad Litems? We are desperate for hope.

F. and Mary York

Menomonie