Wednesday, October 12, 2011

We are Topeka, Kansas

This morning I woke up and heard on the news that so and so was kicked off of Dancing with the Stars last night, that whatever magazine named Rihanna the most beautiful woman in the world and Kim Kardashian had on the same dress as Lada Gaga and oh yeah, domestic violence is no longer illegal in Topeka, Kansas. And that's the order the stories were reported. I have searched my poems and thesaurus and I cannot find a word for how I feel. Angry, upset, outraged are all in the family but even they leave me smacking my lips for salt or the something missing.

We are Topeka, Kansas. If you think we are not, then you are crazy. They "can't afford it" and so far thirty suspects have been released. Rita Smith, executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence said in the Kansas City Star's report "I absolutely do not understand it. It's really outrageous that they're playing with family safety to see who blinks first. People could die while they're waiting to straighten this out."

I don't understand it either, Ms. Smith. I read it over and over. Shawnee County's budget was cut by ten percent. Fifty percent of the county's misdemeanors are domestic battery cases. Fifty percent! According to Chad Taylor, Shawnee County prosecutor, domestic violence prosecutions have increased so extra funding is needed from the county. Now the county had been handling Topeka's cases but Topeka can't afford it either. So now what?

What do we tell the women of Topeka who are being abused? Suck it up? Deal with it? Don't call the cops? This is such a dangerous starring contest. Somebody please blink. Your women are arming themselves now. They will not just die. They heard your message loud and clear and they will not just take it. Your domestic abuse cases were fifty percent of your cases? What happens when murder is fifty percent of your cases? How much is that gonna cost? If women start killing their husbands in their sleep and those cases become more than you can afford, will murdering your husband not be a crime anymore either?

This action wasn't thought out. Not all the way it wasn't. By accepting this what message are we sending to our children? All of our children. And this just after the young man killed his ex girlfriend who was in high school. The killing wasn't out of the blue. He had been abusing her. We are constantly warning young women against accepting this behavior so that they won't grow up to marry abusers. My point, if it's not already clear, is that it is disturbing to hear that violence against women anywhere is accepted. Because for real, that is what we are saying.

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