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Toms River NJ femicide/suicide post-mortem concludes strangled DYFS worker should’ve hooked up with “agencies such as ourselves”

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She “did everything right,” filed a protective order and “reported every violation,” and even moved out of a home she owned, but still her death was her fault, because she (being a state employee) didn’t hook up with “agencies such as ourselves” to develop a safety plan.  it wasn’t the county prosecutor’s fault because, well, sometimes domestic violence just “spirals out of control.”  It wasn’t her coworkers’ faults (I don’t say that it was), because they (self-report) they were concerned and talking about intervention.  it wasn’t any police officer’s fault, because bail should’ve been set higher.  It wasn’t, as far as I can tell, anyone’s fault, is the general conclusion.

It is a self-defense mechanism, and entirely human, to ask “why” when something this horrific happens.  It challenges a lot of theories (myths?) about the field of “domestic violence” and shakes up one’s confidence in authorities that were supposedly handling these problems so the rest of us could get about our lives.

Clearly it is in the interest of the stability of the social fabric (at least for those not IN such relationships currently, for whom stability basically doesn’t really exist outside the self-created kind) that said authorities should be interviewed, published, do press conferences and give an explanation.  Then the public can accept their explanation, or ease all but the most persistent of interests, and go about their business, while the police, prosecutors, judges, and others continue to go about THEIR business of issuing protective orders that don’t protect, and releasing people with clear criminal intent and identified disrect for the law, on their own “recognizance.”

Case in point, this suicidal/murdering father was known to be a check-bouncer and significantly behind on child support.  When he came up with $1,500 bail, why were no questions asked about why he could raise a bit less than that for his past-due support?  He had 3 sons.

Why would not, of all places, the coworkers at DFYS where she worked, not see that this man was seeing $$ in a relationship, even though she herself may have thought this meant “love.”  (or companionship).


Here’s the article, then my commentary/questions — below it.  This is the 3rd article I’ve posted on the Zindell/Frisco situation in Toms River, NJ.


August 17, 2009

Toms River murder-suicide highlights domestic violence cycle


{{That’s ONE spin.  I personally — from afar — think it actually highlights system failure, and inexcusable system failure, too.  What about ‘evidence-based practice in this field, in NJ?}}


Victim worked for DYFS

STAFF WRITER  “(APP.COM news — see link above)

The murder this week of 30-year-old Letizia “Lisa” Zindell “rattled the public” because the victim was both educated and knowledgeable in the cycle of domestic violence, said Mary Pettrow, associate director of Providence House Domestic Violence Services of Catholic Charities.

Zindell held a master’s degree in criminal justice and was about to earn her second master’s degree in social work. She worked for the state Division of Youth and Family Services.

“To think, “How can a DYFS worker be a victim of domestic violence?’ ” stunned people, Pettrow said. “There are a lot of professional women who are victims of domestic violence.”

People think domestic abuse is “just physical violence,” Pettrow said. “But often, it is much more subtle. Abusers attempt to control the important aspects of their partner’s life using intimidation or threats and other psychological and emotional tactics.

“Even if you have not been hit, the cycle of violence exists,” Pettrow continued. “There is tension, a verbal or physical assault, then contrition. It is subtle. Over a period of time, that escalates.”

That escalation took its double-deadly toll, police believe, some time after 10 p.m. Wednesday night. The man whom police believe killed Zindell, Frank Frisco Jr., had been released from jail that night about 5 p.m.

Frisco, 36, was being held on restraining order violations and child support arrears, among other fourth-degree crimes.

Zindell was discovered strangled to death Thursday afternoon in the back seat of her car, which was parked in a friend’s driveway in the Penny Layne condominium complex in the East Dover section. A short time later, police found a suicide note in her Lafayette Avenue home penned by her ex-fiance, Frisco, against whom she had a restraining order. Police found Frisco hanged to death in the detached garage.

Friends said that Frisco’s growing control issues and instability had escalated to a display of rage against Zindell in front of his and her family and friends at a party after the couple’s rehearsal dinner. The next morning, Zindell called guests to say the scheduled June 21 wedding was off.

She moved out of the home she owned, leaving him behind, and stayed with friends at the condominium complex where her body was found Thursday. She filed a restraining order against Frisco and called police every time he violated it, friends said.

He had been jailed each time and was placed as an inpatient at a local mental health facility on at least one occasion since Zindell ended the relationship hours before their scheduled June 21 wedding, authorities.

“She did everything right,” as far as restraining orders go, said Kevin Arnold, an Island Heights police officer and resident. He has known the Zindell family since she was a youth. Zindell worked with Brooke Arnold, Kevin’s wife, at DYFS.

At work, Zindell’s life was excelling. She was promoted to take Brooke Arnold’s place following Arnold’s promotion.

Prior to the breakup, Zindell’s co-workers were genuinely concerned for her.

Before Zindell called off the wedding, “We were talking about interventions,” Brooke Arnold said. “He manipulated her so she could not talk to anyone. And she is an extremely, extremely intelligent person. It makes you think if this could happen to Lisa, it could happen to anybody.”

“What is distressing is this is a typical cycle of domestic violence. . . . It just spiraled out of control,” Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford said at a news conference held after the discovery of the two bodies. “The initial violations did not involve acts of tremendous violence, but consistent with what we know about domestic abuse, it often starts out with harassment that often spirals into violence, and that’s exactly what happened here.”

“She was just really well-rounded, from a good famly, and he bled her dry,” Brooke Arnold said. “Something just needs to be done about restraining orders. His bail” was too low.

“These kind of (controlling) behaviors, if not addressed, over a period of time escalate and become physical,” Pettrow said.

“Anyone who came in contact with her, loved her,” said Angela Sarantinoudis, a co-worker at DYFS. “She was personable and down to earth. She was committed to her job and clients.”

“One of the hardest things in this story, is she had the world in front of her with access to resources we deal with with clients everyday. But she was not a client,” Sarantinoudis said.

Breaking the cycle of violence without support is extremely hard, Pettrow said.

It is necessary to link up with agencies such as ours to create safety plans to break the cycle of violence,” Pettrow said.

“This is a heart-breaking tragedy for our agency as well,” Pettrow said. “Our hearts go out to her family. Help is only a phone call away. Take steps to prevent the cycle of violence before it is spiraling out of the control.”

The Providence House Hotline is 732-244-8259 or is toll free at (800) 246-8910.

All services are free and confidential.


I would like to share my dialogue on reading the post-mortems of this account:

First of all, any sense that in Ocean County, the word isn’t out about this type of crime, should be made clear:


(The Blood & Tears of Domestic Violence: A Survivor’s Revelation)(note:  she has a Victim Safety plan as well, read a few paragraphs:  http://www.DonnaSavage.com)


2008/06/28… Man who allegedly killed his wife at YMCA was under court restraint
The man who allegedly shot and killed his estranged wife Thursday night as she watched her son in a YMCA swim class had a court order forbidding
him from having any contact with her, law enforcement officials said yesterday

2007/06/02 Sat   Man in murder-suicide distraught over woman PERTH AMBOY: A man who fatally shot a woman May 26 and wounded three other people  before fatally turning the gun on himself was apparently distraught over his failed relationship with the woman,…

2007/01/22 Mon  Attack on estranged wife is foiled — Police report a phone call saves woman from assault, fire set by her husband.   …Reza forced his wife into the basement, where he held her captive and tried to sexually assault her at knifepoint, police said. But a friend’s chance phone call and the woman’s panicked screams stopped what authorities said could have been a murder-suicide.”The way this fire was starting to move . if another couple of minutes had gone by, we would’ve been dealing with a couple people (trapped by fire) in the basement,” Police Chief Joseph Clark said yesterday. (Geographic location unclear from summary)

2007/01/08 Mon  Motive for killing Ocean Gate family is unclear, police say —
…Suspected murder-suicide is Ocean County’s third in four months …motives for the killings is unclear. While one neighbor remembers hearing the husband and wife argue loudly and into the night, others described them as a happy couple. Though violent crime is a rarity in Ocean Gate, population 2,100, the deaths were the third murder-suicide in Ocean County in four months. Shellhamer, who attended the couple’s wedding, called the pair “very nice, pleasant people.” Kyle, she said, used to play in the yard with her two sons. Married last April, Peckham and… 

2007/01/07 Sun   A woman, her young son and her boyfriend were found dead inside an Ocean County home
… was released from the Somerset County Jail yesterday after posting 10 percent of $10,000 bail. Couple, boy found dead in Ocean County home. A woman, her young son and her boyfriend were found dead inside an Ocean County home yesterday in an apparent murder-suicide. Jeff Eyerly, 46, was found hanged inside the East Point Pleasant Avenue home in Ocean Gate, authorities told the Asbury Park Press of Neptune for a story posted on their Web site. The bodies of Carol Ann Peckham, 41,… 

2006/09/22 Fri  Couple shot to death in Lacey — Case apparently a murder-suicide
… went frightfully wrong. After an argument, David Walters followed his wife into the garage and shot her in the head, authorities said. He then turned the gun on himself.
Ocean County Prosecutor Thomas Kelaher called the deaths an “apparent murder-suicide.” Neither he nor Lacey Township Police Chief William Nally knew what caused the argument. David Walters did not leave a suicide note, Nally said. “Why wouldn’t he just walk away? What could be so bad that he couldn’t just walk…


2006/05/05 Fri  Shock and mourning follow Middlesex murder-suicide 
TOM HAYDON, SULEMAN DIN AND NAWAL QAROONI STAR-LEDGER STAFF Their romance started with a personal ad in a newspaper and quickly led to a wedding in a Las Vegas chapel. But their marriage was turbulent, neighbors and friends said, leading Donna Palladino to seek a restraining order against her 32-year-old husband, Joseph Palladino Jr. Less than 24 hours after he was served with the order, Palladino killed his 36-year-old estranged wife 
early Wednesday morning, stabbing her between… 

2006/05/04 Thu  MURDER-SUICIDE LEAVES THREE DEAD IN AMBOYS — Woodbridge man kills estranged wife, her mom and himself  
… Donna Palladino, who lived in Barnegat, had been staying with her mother in the South Amboy home since her father’s death.
William Beckmann’s wake was to be held yesterday and his funeral today. Both were postponed. Yesterday’s murder-suicide came less than a day after Joseph Palladino was served with a final restraining order his wife had obtained in Ocean County. The order was the result of threats her estranged husband had made against her in telephone conversations,

2004/03/29 Mon  Violent marriage ends with murder-suicide 
… STAR-LEDGER STAFF A marriage marked by domestic violence ended with a husband stabbing his wife more than two dozen times, killing her before fatally stabbing himself, Ocean County authorities said. An autopsy performed Friday, two days after the murder-suicide in Forked River, Lacey Township, showed that 37-year-old Kurt Rosenberger stabbed 33-year-old Kathleen Rosenberger 28 times, said Lt. Robert Urie, a spokesman for the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office

2003/10/26 Sun  Couple die in apparent murder-suicide — Authorities say husband shot wife, himself in the presence of toddler granddaughter
… In this story about a murder-suicide in Elizabeth, the gender of a 2-year-old child found in the house with dead grandparents was misidentified due to incorrect information provided by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office. The child was a boy, not a girl. A man with a history of domestic violence apparently shot his wife and then himself yesterday, leaving their distraught 2-year-old granddaughter trapped in their Elizabeth apartment…  ..

2000/05/16 Tue  No charges for Seton guards in abduction — Police: Inaction cost precious time in case that led to murder-suicide  
… yesterday they could not press charges against a security guard and his supervisor who apparently ignored pleas for help from a witness to last week’s abduction of a Seton Hall University student. The victim was later killed by her ex-boyfriend in a murder-suicide at his Westfield apartment. ‘We really don’t have a charge to file against them,” said Lt. Frank Brunelle of the Westfield Police Department, the agency leading the investigation. As Christopher Honrath, 24, forced Sohayla… 




Sources of commentary (per this article):

Ocean County Prosecutor comments:
“”What is distressing is this is a typical cycle of domestic violence. . . . It just spiraled out of control,” Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford said at a news conference held after the discovery of the two bodies. “The initial violations did not involve acts of tremendous violence, but consistent with what we know about domestic abuse, it often starts out with harassment that often spirals into violence, and that’s exactly what happened here.”

{{note”  The initial violations did not involve acts of tremendous violence” .  notice attitude.  This is what i ran across in my own case, when I attempted to tell police, in an incident that I took violations of court orders seriously.  I also took threats to abduct seriously.  Too bad they chose not to.  I have explained to a policeman in a situation that because of the background of DV (and this was a situation that frightened me and had me trapped at home in a cul de sac situation without a vehicle to escape with) I am taking this seriously.  It was “blown off.”  This “blowing it off” response by a single policeman in my area was taken, apparently, as a declaration of “open season” for that season, and since, culminating — let’s hope — in felony child-stealing one and a half years later, as my reports of concern about that ALSO were “blown off”, shouted down, etc.

SO, . . .. 

My question, to this response:
1. Who is Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford, and what does her (press conference statement) exonerating any type of legal/judicial/ or law enforcement miscarriage mean by “it just spiraled out of control” refer to specifically? Because it seems to me that a man was put into a mental hospital, when incarceration (without bail) would’ve been more appropriate, given the “lethality indicators” in his case. That’s my opinion.

2. How could a prosecutor be unaware of the prior lethality indicators in this case — was it lack of training? Was she so young and just unaware that economic abuse is an indicator, and that the love of money might be a motivator? My take on the situation was that someone in the police/legal community WANTED this woman dead, because otherwise, they would’ve taken appropriate measures to make sure she was not killed. How did her stalker know where she lived, since she’d left her own home (per this article), etc.


Marlene Lynch Ford ’76

In June 2007, Marlene Lynch Ford was nominated by New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine to be Ocean County Prosecutor, a position she still holds today. Prosecutor Ford graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in History from Georgian

Ford Court College and was the recipient of the Departmental Award for the Department of History, Economics, and Political Science. She pursued her dream of becoming a lawyer and earned her juris doctorate from Seton Hall University School of Law in 1979  {for non-locals, I believe Seton Hall is a well-known, well-respected Catholic University in NJ}.  


Prosecutor Ford practiced law in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, before a successful run for the General Assembly in 1983, becoming the youngest women (sic) ever elected to the New Jersey Legislature at the age of 29. She served two terms representing the 10th Legislative District in Ocean County. During her first term, she ensured {HOW?  By authoring them?  Pushing for their passage?  Which bills?}} that more bills were signed into law than any other first-term legislator.


During her second term, she chaired the Assembly Judiciary Committee {{INTERESTING!}}and sponsored over 75 bills that were signed into law, including the Domestic Violence Prevention Act of 1990 {{Note:  Amazing:  this is before the 1994 VAWA act was passed}} ; the Victims Rights amendment to the New Jersey Constitution; and the Ford Act, the largest tax reduction at that time in New Jersey history.


Prosecutor Ford was nominated by Governor Jim Florio to be a Superior Court judge in 1992, and she served in the family division for four years and the civil division for ten years.

PERSONAL QUALITY:  Well, the Governor liked her, obviously, or got her a judgeship.  Comments (i.e., speculation on my part):  JUDICIAL experience in the family law division.  NOT exactly (if anything like other parts of the country) a place that is tough on criminal enforcements, one might think.  I would love to see how those various cases went. . .

She was honored by New Jersey Monthly Magazine in 1992 as one of New Jersey’s Heroes for her role in expanding the rights of people to fair housing and employment, regardless of their sexual orientation. In 2006, she was promoted to presiding judge of the family division. She also served as the chair of the Committee on Model Civil Jury Charges and chair of the Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Outside Activities of Judiciary Personnel. (the what??) Georgian Court University awarded her the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, for her outstanding legislative and judicial work on behalf of the citizens of New Jersey in 2006.

Summary courtesy:


Has Prosecutor Lynch Ford had a family? 


COMMENT FROM:  Catholic Charities Providence House Domestic Violence Services Associate Director, Mary Pettrow:

The murder this week of 30-year-old Letizia “Lisa” Zindell “rattled the public” because the victim was both educated and knowledgeable in the cycle of domestic violence, said Mary Pettrow, associate director of Providence House Domestic Violence Services of Catholic Charities.


From what I can see, Mary Pettrow is very experienced and understands the dangers of domestic violence, AND the word was out in Ocean County, among the powers that be.  I searched, and found 11 categories of help through this Providence House listed in Ocean County alone! through Catholic Charities.  They appear to be a press go-to resource after another DV murder.  This one, in 2006 in which, of course, the neighbors and police had no idea. . .. 

Neighbors, police had no indication of domestic problems
September 22, 2006

The Asbury Park Press consulted with Mary Pettrow of Providence House for an article on the murder of a Lacey Township woman. Pettrow told the Press that domestic violence is often a progressive pattern and that “warning signs are not always apparent to outside people.”


In my attempt to look up who that was in Lacey township in 2006, I came across this Criminal Defense firm, stating that while Northern NJ has plenty of lawyers, who’s a person accused of something to turn to in Southern (incl. Ocean County) Jersey?

(NOTE:  the list of incidents above, dating back to 2000 was also found in my attempt to find out more about the 2006 this same Providence House associate director/director, had been consulted about 3 years earlier.)


Ocean County is a great place to live and practice law.  The crime rate is low, especially for serious crimes.  Many people that are facing criminal charges do not have the money for private attorneys.  As a result, there are almost no attorneys that solely practice criminal law in Ocean County.  In addition, it seems that very few attorneys who focus a majority of their practice in northern New Jersey counties venture down to the court in Toms River.  Will you get an attorney that will fight for you?

At Jack Venturi & Associates, we live and practice in Ocean County.  Our criminal defense attorneys are proud to bring a tough and aggressive style of practice to Toms River and Ocean County as we believe that defendants in Ocean County deserve quality representation without having to break the bank.

And here’s their assertions of how aggressively they will defend against “domestic abuse” (notice:  not “domestic violence”) in this Southern NJ shore area.  While it is actually domestic VIOLENCE (even in the title to this section), notice how in the text it becomes “abuse” which somehow doesn’t sound so, well, you know, ‘violent.”  NOTE:  this isn’t accidental.  NOTE:  Well-known (and well-funded) DV group out of Minnesota has a well-known “Domestic ABUSE Intervention Program”, as is a different, “Domestic Abuse Project” out of Minneapolis with a well-known author in the field (Edleson, if I”m not mistaken — which I might be).  Whether this is simply in those cases because a vowell makes a better acronym than the letter “V,” or because of ain intention to downgrade the severity of the issue in the public’s minds (i.e., in their language describing it), I cannot say, in that case at least.    But I am on alert for the terminology-switch, for sure.  This a criminal defense attorney firm (and domestic VIOLENCE is a crime — either felony, or misdemeanor) (and it sometimes escalates up to death(s)), so when that entity chooses to downgrade the term, I notice.  

New Jersey Domestic Violence Defense Attorneys

In New Jersey, a family or domestic abuse charge can be a serious offense with long-lasting and life-altering penalties. If you have been charged or are facing domestic violence charges in any court in New Jersey, you should make sure that you have the most aggressive and effective domestic violence defense lawyers on your side. At Jack Venturi & Associates, our attorneys provide criminal court and family court defense to clients in domestic abuse cases.  With offices in Toms River, New Brunswick, Eatontown & Princeton, we can represent you in any court in New Jersey.

A domestic abuse charge can affect your employment, your family, and the rest of your life. You should make sure that you come to court prepared to make the most compelling defense on your behalf. Contact Jack Venturi & Associates to meet with our attorneys and start preparing your defense today.

Click here to read about the recent success that our domestic violence defense attorneys have had in New Jersey.

We understand that every case is unique; every case is different.  Our attorneys will take the time to know you and your family and help prepare the best defense in your case. With our assistance you can be rest assured that you are entering court armed with attorneys who know how to present your side of the story. Our New Jersey domestic violence restrain[in]g order defense attorneys can assist you with any of the following charges:

  • Domestic abuse  {Good grief which is it?  This website is training applicants how to name it, I gather}
  • Harassment
  • Stalking
  • Restraining orders: temporary restraining orders and final restraining orders
  • Child neglect
  • Domestic disputes {translation:  what the first press release after a murder calls it, case in point, see “California” – on my recent blog/  toll booth shooting initially was characterized in news as arising from a “domestic dispute,” i.e., she somehow provoked him while at her job in an enclosed toll booth.  The next report characterized it quite the opposite.}
  • Child abuse
  • Domestic disturbance

{{NOTE:  isn’t that an interesting assembly of charges that seem to come hand in hand with “domestic violence” charges?  Yet in the venue of family court, they are still convening studies (and taking federal grant money, LOTS of it) to “explicate” the context of this behavior in custody determinations, even though laws exist in many states saying that batterers don’t make good parents.  That’s probably WHY more research is “needed” to (reframe) the discussion.

We can also help you vacate a New jersey final restraining order or appeal a final restraining order that has been entered against you.

This criminal defense firm also mentions — right up front — things that many women are not told, fleeing DV into the arms of the local justice center, or agency.  They are told to file restraining orders, and make custody arrangements, and not told what is going to happen in the family law venue (which exists primarily in part to weaken consideration of crimes as crimes, I say), nor will they be reminded THIS:

Constitutional Protections for the Criminal Defendant

The United States Constitution and its subsequent amendments define the scope of governmental power and reserve certain individual rights to the people. The first 10 amendments, also called the Bill of Rights, contain basic, fundamental rights of individuals on which the government may not impinge. Many of these constitutional rights provide protection to criminal defendants in the criminal justice system. The Fourteenth Amendment extends substantive due process rights beyond just the federal system to criminal defendants in state courts where the vast majority of criminal trials occur.

The basic constitutional rights of the criminal defendant permeate every aspect of the criminal justice process. If you have been accused of a crime, whether federal, state or local, a seasoned criminal defense attorney can explain these rights to you and help you to fight for them at every step of the way.

The stage at which a woman with children is likely to be remembering these above privileges (and thank God for them) is likely to be after a custody-switch in the family law venue which violated this due process.  However, the person opposing the charges is not so likely to be unaware of these rights.

I know this is quite a bit astray from the Toms River case, except my question is, after a murder in 2006, same thing, same Providence House director quoting the same truths about the domestic violence cycle, how come someone died THEN?  (And who?) and what policy changed, if any, after that?


Per zoominfo:  Indicator the Probation Dept. might have been aware:

The Probation Association of New Jersey, Local 106 – [Cached Version]

Published on: 6/8/2001    Last Visited: 2/2/2002  

Contact: Mary Pettrow, CSW, Program DirectorProvidence House, a Program of Catholic CharitiesPO Box 104Toms River, NJ 08754732-244-6257

We were very fortunate to have representatives from the Probation Association of New Jersey volunteer their time to assist us with projects to maintain the clean and home-like appearance of the facility” stated Mary Pettrow, Director of Program Services for Providence House.If you are a victim of domestic violence, call the Providence House 24 hour hotline — 732-244-8259 or, in the 609 area, (800) 246-8910.If you are interested in volunteering, call 732-244-6257.


Looking for volunteers for domestic violence response teams
September 23, 3008

September 23, 2008 Whiting, NJ– Providence House Domestic Violence Services of Catholic Charities, and local police departments are seeking volunteers to assist victims of domestic abuse. These volunteers must reside in the following municipalities: Toms River, Seaside Heights, Seaside Park, Lavallette, Island Heights and Lakewood. Volunteers would be part of the Domestic Violence Response Teams (DVRT) located throughout Ocean County. DVRT volunteers meet with victims at the police station following a reported incident and provide supportive listening, options and referrals to help those affected by domestic violence. Volunteers are required to attend 40 hours of training over a period of 10 weeks. Ten of those hours will be spent observing cases heard in Superior and Municipal Courts. All prospective volunteers must undergo a background check and interview process, and must be at least 18 years of age, have a valid NJ drivers license, and available transportation. Interested individuals may contact Donald Horbelt, DVRT Specialist, at 732-350-2120 by November 7, 2008 for more information.


Several articles here refer to Providence House, including that Prosecutor Lynch-Ford might have known about it, as well as police chiefs, mayors, Ocean County Freeholders, and others.  So “what gives” that Ms. Zindell didn’t get to their doors yet, or feel she needed to?


Providence House thanks awareness month supporters
November 14, 2007

On behalf of Providence House Domestic Violence Services of Catholic Charities we wanted to share with you how grateful we are for the community support that was shown during October, which was Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Specifically, on Thursday, October 25, 2007 staff, clients, and community members celebrated the journey from “victim” to “survivor” of domestic abuse. The day began at the Providence House Outreach office located on Schoolhouse Road in Whiting with a flag raising ceremony on the newly installed flagpole given to Providence House by Manchester Township. PHOTO: Mayor Michael Fressola, Mary Pettrow, Associate Director of Providence House, Police Chief William Brase, and Councilman Kenneth Vanderziel joined to raise the flag to start off the day’s events (see photo, below). The Catholic Charities outreach building has also become a satellite location of the Manchester Police Department – a partnership that will greatly benefit the community and those affected by domestic abuse in Manchester Township.

The staff of Providence House then transitioned into preparations for the thirteenth annual Celebration of Survivors event held that night from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Whiting. This annual commemoration honors all those affected by domestic violence, from clients who have worked so hard to transition from the role of victim to becoming a survivor to those who have lost their lives at the hands of someone who claimed to love them. At the beginning of the ceremony, Ms. Madelin Einbinder, representing Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch-Ford conducted the opening candle lighting. Many of the clients participated in this event either by speaking; writing a poem, or taking part in making affirmations about the positive steps they have taken in their lives. Clients of Providence House created a beautiful quilt depicting the various phases of domestic abuse and the journey to becoming a survivor, which was on display that night. The Ocean County Freeholders and the Township of Manchester gave Proclamations declaring October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Every year at this event awards are given to particular groups or individuals that have generously supported Providence House throughout the years. This year three honorees were awarded this accolade: Dr. Peter Lewis for choosing Providence House to be an ongoing beneficiary of the “Smiles for Life” program; Verizon Wireless for its cellular phone donation program, sponsorship of the Providence House gift auction, and provision of trainings to clients on job seeking skills; and the Zonta Club of Ocean County for being actively involved in addressing violence against the elderly through the creation of the Elder Abuse Task Force. The audience was deeply moved by all of the components of this special program.

In closing, another very important occurrence during Domestic Violence Awareness Month for which the staff of Providence House was extremely grateful was the recent grant of $80,500.00 from the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders. This contribution will continue to make it possible for victims of domestic abuse and their children to receive free, confidential, and professional services through the various Providence House programs. Please let your readers know that if you or someone you know needs assistance or would like to learn more about domestic abuse, please contact the 24-hour hotline at 732.244.8259 or 1.800.246.8910.

There is also a significant article on this same web page about a parallel (??) treatment program for men, dating to 2008, Feb.

I remember a certain close to Valentine’s Day long ago, a severe and escalating incident involving guns (and a close call) was defused.  The next day, or soon after, I attempted to discuss this in the religious, joint-counseling we had been recommended to (and did) attend.  BIG . . .. BIG . . .. mistake.  They didn’t want me to bring this up, so I shut up.  I was asked (in a show of grandiose, after the incident, and public, pretense – – absent any repentance or apology or acknowledgement for how this incident had affected me, including from those counseling — to go attended a couples Sweetheart dinner and dance at the same church.  I was still in shock, and went, and entering into the ladies’ room, recognizing someone I knew whose husband knew of the incident, I collapsed.  The ladies room of this church was apparently a safer place (to me, emotionally), than the pastor’s office in the exact same hallway.  After speaking my piece to a woman, I wiped up off my face, straightened up, and went out to the event.  I have a photo from it; and look frozen.  I don’t see that its import registered — at all — with anyone employed by the church.

So, here is an article around Valentine’s Day written from the perspective of a man counseling men who have been court-ordered into treatment for Violence against, presumably, their intimate partners  From the same organization and page as the Providence House one:

From Violence to Compassion
February 14, 2008

Valentine’s Day is here – the time for expressing affection with loved ones. It seems improbable that the people we love can sometimes be the people whose hearts and bodies we hurt. Yet we know domestic violence is a reality, even on Valentine’s Day, necessitating shelters and services to protect women and children. If we really want to protect women and children we must also reach the men committing these offenses. Through court mandates, some men who have abused their partners and children enter our treatment program. Our goal is that they take responsibility for their actions so that the intergenerational cycle of abuse is stopped.When I started this work 25 years ago, we had a plan. Confront them. Lecture them about male privilege. Change their social beliefs to accept women as equals.

{{read on:  sounds like the men coming through the program helped talk them into abandoning said plan, including accepting women as equals….}}

Trouble was, as seen through the rear view mirror of time, we were replicating the power tactics we wanted them to stop. We had the “truth”, and I was going to force it on them.

{{LET’s GET HONEST, anecdotal commentary:  When I brought this up to individuals in my own case, the exact truth, and have continued bringing it, up, I found no such audience or understanding.  This is in fact the general attitude I have noticed in the family law venue, and (generally speaking) in other venues in which “experts” tell those who have actually “experienced” violence and near-death or other trauma (ongoing, often enough), how to view their own experiences — namely, to minimize them.  This is in effect telling people NOT to trust their gut and NOT to trust their own assessments of things that they actually have gone through assessing and taking legal action on.  As such, it’s condescending, and yes, we do (whether male or female) pick up on the condescension AND the power tactics.  One reason we understand this is that domestic violence IS a power tactic.  The violence part is about power, punishment, and refusal to take orders, particularly from a woman (inferior in the relationship.  Again, and unfortunately, too many “faith institutions” echo the same dynamics, including Catholics, Catholic Charities and other large institutions of various sorts.}} 


We got compliance, significantly less capital “V” violence, the violence that is against the law. But when you looked closer at the picture, we saw more small “v” violence, the emotional and verbal abuse often goes under the radar of law enforcement but is equally damaging to its victims.

The prevailing sentiment is these men are monsters with no feeling who deny, minimize, or take no responsibility for their actions. {{Welll, as to all but the first part — which I can’t speak for, not being inside the other person’s head, I CAN speak for the other parts:  deny, minimize and take no responsibility for their actions:  Yes.  This is true.  }}  My 25 years in the trenches have allowed me to learn from these men who abuse the same lesson I learned from the victims of abuse. They taught me that if humanity and compassion are goals, therapists must create an atmosphere of emotional safety in order to address the hidden shame and hurt that the men so fear. Frequently, men hide their perceived wounds behind a controlling and domineering veneer. We call these wounds “core hurts”, a term coined by Dr. Steven Stosny** in his work with men who have abused. These wounds usually originate in childhood and lead a man to believe he is unlovable, powerless, rejected, and unworthy of earning trust. The “core hurts”, hidden with accompanying shame, are actually mistaken beliefs about himself. Men who have abused hide this pain and shame from themselves and from others with a “mask”. They use the mask that many men use, but include physical and emotional violence. This mask ranges from the grandiose exuberance of exaggerated manhood to the “strong, silent type”. But behind the mask are men who use power, status, achievement, etc, to prove that they are better than others. Men notch their belts with money, cars, conquests of women, and athletic accomplishments, as demonstrations of superiority, of their definition of “manhood”. Power and winning are used in place of compassion in their relationships. Power may get compliance, but deep inside, these men know that they remain feeling unlovable. They try to manipulate “love” out of others, but they feel unlovable on the inside. When someone does express love to them, they cannot accept it because they do not feel lovable at their core. No amount of love from others will make someone who feels unlovable believe that they are worthy of love. They must do that work on themselves.

The men I have worked with have taught me that, given a welcoming sanctuary of emotional safety, inclusion, and acceptance, they have the courage to go behind the mask that hides their shame to heal their “core hurts’. An interesting thing happens as they expose these wounds and deal with the feelings of unlovablity, powerlessness, etc they were covering up. Their internal beliefs, beliefs about themselves, change. They discover their own lovability and internal power to regulate their own emotions (as opposed to their external power over others.). In the beginning of this compassion for self, they start feeling better about themselves, more worthy of love. And how does a person worthy of love treat others? Many of these men have found that they treat their partners, their children, and their co-workers with more compassion. They realize that both the capital “V” violence and the small “v” violence hurt their loved ones’ ability to trust, love, and connect. The men who do this work can hear and understand the hurt they caused others, and start to make amends.

For the men who dig in and work on themselves, their work does not stop when the treatment ends. About half the men who complete the program volunteer to come back to our “Passing It On” night where they help new group members have the courage to look inside themselves. When the men look behind this mask, the false manhood, the addictions, the aggressions, even the passive withdrawal into stonewalling, they see that they have discarded their own humanity. When the men do the work, one of the most common phrases we hear is “I got myself back”. “Myself” has been there the whole time waiting to be discovered. None of this means that these men should not be held accountable for their actions; they are totally responsible for their behavior no matter what the other person does. However, once inside treatment programs, if we want their humanity to re-emerge, we follow what these men have taught us: Create a safe place where shameful hurts can heal, and the humanity and compassion in the human spirit grows. We have seen men who have the courage to do this work change their definition of manhood to include expressions of sadness, allowance of fear, inadequacy, and imperfection. Compassion becomes a practice and self-responsibility becomes a discipline. The men start connecting with others with more humanity, more humility, and more acceptance.

Protecting women by providing shelters and supportive services is essential. So is holding the men accountable through the legal system. Most men do not come unless there are external forces. At the same time, creating a safe place for men to heal the shame and pain behind their violence will further this effort.

David J. Thomas, LCSW, LMFT, DVS
Program Supervisor, Family Growth Program of Catholic Charities, Trenton
Thomas has worked at Catholic Charities with family violence since 1977

Which brings me to the point of Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood recipients in NJ.  I thought, SURELY, the reason Ms. Zindell had to die was New Jersey somehow had missed the boat on udnerstanding that DV can be lethal, and they were also short of teaching “healthy marriages.”  But here is someone out of Trenton, who is a devotee (apparently) of Dr. Sosny, who teaches, for a fee of course a Boot camp for Smart Marriage attendees.

Dr. Stosny is offering his celebrated Boot Camp training exclusively for
Smart Marriages attendees. Participants will learn invaluable skills in
emotional regulation and dealing with chronic resentment, anger, or
emotional abuse. You are free to use the any of the materials and skills you
learn merely by attending the training. You will also have the opportunity
to become a CompassionPower associate and to use Dr. Stosny’s name, trademarks,
and website for marketing, for a small annual fee. This fee is usually $250, but for Smart Marriages
institute graduates, the fee is only $100 a year.

The CompassionPower Boot Camp consists of 3 sessions of 8 hours each. Love
without Hurt consists of 4 intensive, two-hour sessions, with 22 pages of
homework assignments.

If you do any kind of family education or intervention, you will certainly
encounter hidden emotional abuse and violence against spouses
and children. In some couples you’ll notice harshness and hostility,
but in many you will not – abusers can be charming and affable in public.
Most abuse occurs in private when a loved one, purposely or inadvertently
triggers the abuser’s sense of failure or inadequacy – as parent, spouse,
lover, or provider. This causes a sudden drop in self-value, which makes
them feel powerless and unable to see anyone else’s perspective.

 {{i.e., it wasn’t “the devil made me do it” or “she made me do it” but “my drop in self-value made me do it.”

((While there’s I bet truth to the fact that this aggression IS a reaction to the sense of lowered self-worth — I mean what kind of man with a sense of self-respect would go assault (or kill, or beat up on) his wife or girlfriend?  SO WHAT?  Why cannot we not talk about simply the self-respect that goes with understanding what laws are, and the civic duty to comply with them?  I have been through unbelievable situations without violating laws against abuse, stalking, visitation interference, child-stealing or anything of that sort.  In consequence for this level of self-restraint, and after appealing to the justice system(s) for justice, the police for enforcement, the child support system for enforcement, and the courts for protection orders, I have totally lost my sense of safety in my own neighborhoods, all expectation that child support arrears of any sort are going to come in, and with zero assistance as to either protection, victim compensation funding (although a crime was committed and income was lost — ALL income, as a matter of fact) because of this crime and no other identifiable reasons, I have gone to zero again.  this was AFTEr all the years of violence in the home.  So, I have little sympathy for organizations or programs where men, after wounding women physically and in other categories, can get an ear for licking their wounds and wounded egos in front of a ready ear.  Did SHE get this mercy somehow?  Did she get it from the men in question that had to be ordered into treatment to start with?.  What kind of racket and set of alliances is this, anyhow?))

Aggressive impulses occur automatically when people feel powerless,
but unlike most of us, abusers act out the aggression. The power-and-control
tactics for which they are known are merely attempts to keep family
members from doing something that might make them face their failure
or inadequacy as parents, spouses, lovers, or providers. That’s why
research shows that efforts to change behavior without empowering
abusers fail.

Both the Compassion Power Boot Camp and the Self Regulation:
Love Without Hurt
 add-on program feature Stosny’s empowering concept of innate
Core Value, the unique human drive to create value and maintain an inner
store of intimate, aesthetic, spiritual, moral, compassionate, and protective
experiences. The centerpiece of the program is HEALS, which is used to
treat resentment, anger, and violence. HEALS automatically raises self value
during the sudden drops that lead to abuse, by conditioning Core Value to
occur with the first signs of resentment, anger, or anxiety. The experience of
Core Value makes it possible to see other perspectives and be compassionate
to loved ones.


(Where government programs meet market niches; we’re in it.)

Searching on David J Thomas (above’s) program area, Family Growth Services, it would appear that although there’s a high overlap with the department Ms. Zindell worked in, somehow a connection was made.  Perhaps, because she wasn’t yet a “family”?  Here:

Community and Population Served by the Organization 

The Children and Family Service Division serves more than 500 abused and neglected children annually and attempts to also bring their families under the wing of its services. Its programs operate in Mercer, Burlington, Monmouth, and Ocean counties. Division programs are made possible by an extensive network of more than 700 employees and 400 volunteers. Many clients are referred to Catholic Charities from the corrections system or from the state Division of Youth and Family Services.   ..Family Growth helps abusive families change violent patterns of interaction so that children can remain safely in their own home and rebuild their basic trust.



Well, that’s it for this (now long) post, for now!

8 Responses

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  1. I was recommended the Compassion Power site by my therapist and I was about to vomit but then I read this and realized I was not alone. I guess Boot Camp “camp” is the latest virus and ironically the compassion that I have drew the bastards towards me in the first place, and for my own protection I am learning uncompasssion – to the disappointment of many – especially the apologists who have some dark unvalue space to fill to which I can supply the names and addresses of likely recipients for it. Signed Stalked for 40 years.

    LGH: ? ? ? Boot Camp for Dads is simply another name for another marketing scheme, selling pre-fab info through government-enabled circles, probably with a conservative Christian spin. How many tax $$ does it take to teach a Dad to change a diaper, or that doing so in a nurturing manner is appropriate?

    Apart from that, obviously you still need help. If you’ve been stalked for 40 years, that’s understandable, please continue until you get some. I get you are talking in symbols, but probably readers and I don’t get them.


    September 3, 2011 at 9:13 am

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  5. As much as authentic Domestic Violence needs to be criminalized and prosecuted, FALSE DOMESTIC

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    May 19, 2015 at 11:16 am

    • Sorry about the delay in approving the comment. It’s an opinion, and no reason not to. Have you blogged, or are there any particular informative blogs you might wish readers of this one to see? Regarding the Toms River post — it’s one of the older posts. I have learned a lot about the agencies and organizations that take funding both to prosecute DV, and to derail the prosecution of DV into the family court system. See table of posts (April 2014) or sidebar for more information. IF you don’t like false allegations of domestic violence (nor to I, however I was actually battered in marriage and am aware that it does occur, tends to escalate, and without proper separation, deterrence, i.e., restraint, it can turn lethal, and can do so “on a dime.” Moreover, living with such threats is no way to live, or raise children), you might want to take a closer look at what are family courts doing in general. In general, I believe, they weaken the criminal prosecution of felonies by reframing the discussion into relationship issues, diversion, attempting to “treat” DV instead of prosecuting it. So, it’s like a two-edged sword; it can swing both ways.

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