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wellstone dem

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 4,460

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VAWA matters

It matters to the woman who sobbed in my office having just learned that her husband beat her children while she was at work. And I could say, "You will be safe."

It matters to the woman who met with me, and the prosecutor, and the victim's advocate because we all believed her husband would try to kill her when he got out of jail. And I could say, "We will get you a security system." And the prosecutor could say, "The police will watch." And the advocate said, "You can stay with us."

It matters to the daughter who told her mother after she got an order for protection, "Safe never felt so good before."

It matters to woman who showed me the brake cables her mechanic gave her, before we went to court to get her custody of her kids.

It matters to the woman who moved three times just to stay safe, who learning her mother-in-law had changed the address at the bank so that her statements were sent to her ex-husband, now has a "safe at home" address.

It matters to the wife, the "mail order bride", who told her English as a second language tutor, "He hits me." And it mattered to his second "mail order bride" as well.

It matters to the woman who sat in the office at the women's shelter with her knees up to her chest, her arms wrapped around knees, shaking as I said, "We will get you custody of your kids."

It matters to the 16 year old girl, brought here from South America at age 12, who was sexually abused from her first night in the country as I tell her, "I can help you."

It matters to the woman who told me, "You gave me my voice. You gave me my dignity back. Do you know what it is like to not have dignity."

It matters to me.

VAWA helps Legal Aid represent victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. It helps prosecutor's develop new systems to hold abusers accountable. It helps shelters keep victims safe so that the system has time to work. The word unconscionable is used frequently, but not always accurately. But I choose it purposefully when I say, "Failing to pass VAWA is unconscionable."
Posted by wellstone dem | Wed Feb 13, 2013, 08:28 AM (11 replies)

If you want to have faith in your fellow human beings, read this thread.

I'm in tears.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kenyon-MN-Police-Department/166558279763?ref=stream

Thoughts from Chief Sjolander...

Today I want to write about The Andy Griffith Show and what we have in common with it here in Kenyon. So this past Monday I travel to see my son Bryant, and on the way I stop to visit my father-in-law. He is one of the greatest men I know, and I wish I was half the man he is. As I walk towards his apartment I can hear his TV from way down the hallway...he is hard of hearing so the TV is super loud...now he could get a hearing aid, but he feels that would be a waste of money and money does not grow on trees!

I sit with him and we visit about what is going on back at home, with my work, and my band. (He says we play too loud) and how he misses "Lover" his wife who will be gone 1 year on Feb 9th. My mother-in-law was larger than life before she became ill. She was the typical farm wife who raised kids, helped on the farm, always looked great, and was an amazing cook. I miss her so much..we all do.

Ok...so as we are visiting the Andy Girffith Show is on and it's the one where some big city guy is driving through town on a Sunday and his vehicle breaks down. he tries to get someone to fix his car, but it's Sunday and the town is pretty quite...like Kenyon. He stops the Sheriff and asks who can help fix his vehicle and when he is told that on Sunday no one is really around he becomes upset and can't believe that just because it's Sunday and the town is so small he is stuck there. Andy stays calm and suggests to the man that he is more than welcome to come stay at his house until he can get his vehicle repaired. The man ends up at Andy's home and is irritated about the slow pace and lack of services in town. Everyone from Opie, Aunt Bee, to Goober are friendly to this man, but he is still grumpy until his vehicle is repaired. Once it's fixed and he is given some home cooking in a bag to eat on the way, and Opie gives him a coin for good luck in his travels does he soften up. So what else does this show and the Kenyon Police Department have in common...

Last week, while I'm heading home from training, I get a call from our city hall asking if I have any suggestions for a person who stopped there looking for shelter. I'm told this person has no where to go and they are looking for any assistance we can offer. I ask to have the person phone me and we can try to figure something out.

I get a call from this person and they explain that they just found a job, but have no where to live. I'm told that are sleeping in their vehicle and are torn between making a car payment, which they need to get to work, and are now living out of, or trying to find some where to live. They tell me they have never been in trouble, but life has dealt them some curve balls and they ended up here. They tell me they tried looking into staying at a shelter in a larger city, but after seeing some of the illegal items around, they could not stay there. I ask them to stop at our office and speak to the staff member working and we would see what we could do to help.

I phone my staff and advise them that this person who be stopping in and they needed assistance. I feel it's very important for everyone in law enforcement to know how to deal with everyone and not all people are bad, and a lot of people look to us for help with all kinds of situations. I stop in the office, meet this person and see that my staff are doing a great job trying to help this person out. We end by buying them dinner at our local diner and giving them my cell number. I ask that they call me and check in during the weekend.

I visit with them during the weekend and on Sunday I'm told they are sleeping in their vehicle in town. I'm told they work Monday morning and the roads are bad, they don't want to miss work, so they are here. I speak to my family and we decide to invite them over to our home. It's not fancy, but it's warm, safe, and we have food. They say no, they don't want to impose, but we state we want them to come here and we will not take no for an answer...they come over.

So now we have a guest in our home...just like Sheriff Andy. They are nice, clean, work hard, and I think a little surprised at how we work in small towns. I'm just glad they are safe and I hope that they one day willl pay it forward when they can.

I'll end with this...According to Forbe's, you can't be a great leader without trust. I don't think I'm a great leader, I think I'm a guy who knows a lot of us are just a couple of paychecks away from being like my house guest.

Stay safe,
Posted by wellstone dem | Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:54 PM (9 replies)
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