Politics is not just a national phenomenon, especially in races with local consequences.
Many folks in the media and politics tend to focus on the national scope when it comes to the ins-and-outs of the legislative landscape. And before some of you go any further, I’ll admit that yes, I can be guilty of that as well. What we do know, though, is that the old axiom is true, “all politics is local.” It particularly applies in years such as 2009, when there are very little statewide elections going on and no federal races hitting the tape in November.
However, politics and civics are always important, each and every day.
Which brings me to the story of a girl I am friends with. She went by the name Jennifer Willowsby.
Jennifer was always a sweet girl despite the challenges that she faced. Sadly, the more she lived, the more the challenges caught up to her, by way of playing against the odds herself or through the circumstances she was born into.
The daughter of two domestic violence survivors, the odds cleared showed that she would likely head down a similar path as she entered adulthood. Her provider’s alcoholism during her childhood only exacerbated the situation, making a tough road of psychological healing worse through the complexity brought on by the substance abuse, including bouts of poverty and family discord. She was smart, but had to leave the best schools when the family money dried up. She was pretty, but felt alienated as the shame never healed from her parents’ adversities impacted her as well.
As the odds would dictate, these unresolved issues from past domestic violence would darken her romantic relationships as she grew older. Unfortunately, the odds won out. Dating life became a paradoxical escape from the grayness she lived through in her childhood. She would tell me that, at best, some relationships were exercises in low self-esteem as she tried to make things work out with men because of her self-esteem, not any connection. At worse, the experiences led to more physical and psychological heartache.
Physical abuse. Verbal abuse. Degradation and sexualization by young men. Public humiliation. Date rape.
The apex of it all was with a guy she met in school. Trying to find the domestic peace she could never find in her childhood, she pursued love with a man whose idea of reciprocity was not love. As the statistics foretold, she lived the domestic violence her parents never resolved nor talked about with her directly. For years, her “man” (a term used very loosely) regularly abused her physically, verbally, emotionally, and psychologically. When she broke up with him on several occasions and went to the police, he was given opportunities to stalk her at work and at home, despite incidents of police interaction.
Only later did she learn that he was a pattern abuser, someone that was given slaps on the wrist by police officers and judges, just to abuse again later on.
Once, he punched her in the face in