The Heartsick Judge

Posted by Anas
12/5/2014 9:48 AM  RssIcon

Judge Amy Holmes Hehn was presiding over a contentious child custody and parenting-time case when, On Nov. 10, Ian Elias kicked in the door of the home of his ex-wife, Nicolette Elias, and shot her to death with a handgun. He took their two young daughters to his home where he ultimately stepped out into the back yard and shot himself in the head in front of police. Judge Hehn describes everyone involved in the case as ‘heartsick’. The legal system, even when it is working ‘right’, can’t prevent these tragedies. It takes community involvement. Judge Hehn’s perspective, coming from 27 years of dealing with domestic violence has lessons for us all.

The judge’s insights fall into two groups. One group has to do with ongoing ignorance concerning domestic violence and its impacts. In her piece, she addresses several misconceptions:

  • We should never again ask, “Why doesn’t she just leave?”
  • With rare exceptions, domestic abusers, including those who murder their partners, aren’t “crazy”.
  • Domestic abusers don’t have “anger management problems”.
  • Some of the worst domestic violence isn’t physical; it’s verbal, emotional and psychological.
  • Domestic violence isn’t something that just happens to “those people”.

While these points are well known to those who have educated themselves about the issue, they are common misconceptions among the general public. The very best way to address such ideas is in conversation with your brothers and sisters. So, don’t be afraid to speak up. There’s plenty of discussion of these and other misconceptions in the section of our site called “Understanding Abuse”.

The other group of the judge’s insights are recommendations for action:

  • Men need to start standing up to men about domestic violence.
  • We need to put money where our mouths are.
  • We need to talk about guns.
  • Everyone needs to educate themselves about domestic violence.
  • If you see or hear abuse happening, call 911.

These are the kinds of changes that require more than just educating yourself about the issue and speaking up about it. We need to work with others, to team up to build the public will that results in the kind of ongoing, consistent, long-term action to change our communities. Judge Hehn’s article covers a lot of territory. As she points out, it can be easy to be discouraged when dealing with an issue that continues to have such heartbreaking consequences. Of course, we all have lots of other commitments – but the point is that all of us can do something – and doing what we can always matters.

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Blog List

In The Beginning
Emotional Literacy -- The Key to Preventing Domestic Violence
Feeling Like an Expert?
Forebearance and the Family
The Heartsick Judge
Letter to a Stranger
True Love in Marriage – A Mirage, Why?
Wholeness of Love - The Tranquil Home
Greatness of Women
Stand with Purple
Indian Documentary Film Maker Tackles Child Abuse
Cultural Differences and Child Abuse
Adoption in Islam: Not in my house
The Plight of Abused Muslim Parents
Team Up with Ramadan
Revive the Spirit: Do 4 Things for Aasiya
The Origin of The International Purple Hijab Day
E-Wali--A Good Idea
One Easy Thing to Do to Help Keep Kids Safe
Five Tips on Finances / Your Financial Safety Plan
The Issue of Child Abuse: What We Should Do
It's all about Saving Muslim Lives at Home!
Stop Domestic Violence: Wake Up, Speak Up, Team Up
Please Help Me: The Child Abuse Epidemic
On Shaima Alawadi, family violence, and hate crimes
Hurting Homes
Honor is Gender Neutral
My Khutbah Against Domestic Violence
Abuse of Women is Sadly Endemic
Do we have a Will to End Domestic Violence?
Domestic Violence, Islam and Muslim Women
Domestic Violence: A Violation of Islam
Honor and Terror
Muslims Working Against Domestic Violence
Muslim women wage jihad against violence
Imam Zaid Shakir: The Problem of Domestic Abuse
The Wife-Beating issue and its impact on our community
ALLAH Prohibits Domestic Violence
Does the Quran Tolerate Domestic Abuse?
Inviting Muslims to Respond to Domestic Violence
VOICE TO ACTION: Muslims Against Domestic Violence
SISTERS Annual Tea Honors Muslimat Al Nisaa Shelter
Did We ever Bother to know Muzzammil?
Downtown Chicago Event
He Stood Right Here



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