FAQ

Index


Requests for Information.

  1. I’m doing a paper on (some other kind of) abuse. Do you have any information on that that you could send me? No, I don’t. Pretty much all the information I have on abuse I’ve put out on the site somewhere. If it isn’t there, I don’t have it. Depending on the nature of your assignment and your topic, you may be able to use an interview, though, and I’m quite open to doing interviews ( e-mail is best for me, but telephone interviews work also).
  2. Do you have any statistics on X kind of abuse? No, I don’t. There’s only one generalized abuse statistic I believe, and that is that it happens far too often to far too many people. For what I do, that’s adequate.
  3. Some of the questions on the lists in the “Perhaps You Have an Abuse Problem document are so vague that anybody could answer “yes”. Doesn’t that make the lists invalid as diagnostic tools?I don’t think so, for the following reasons:
    • I refer people who find themselves answering “yes” to questions to those who can help them determine if they have a problem or not, so this is not a diagnostic tool designed or intended to stand alone.
    • Those questions which seem very generic will have a particular resonance to those who have been in abusive situations.
    • There is far more of a problem of people who are in abusive situations thinking they aren’t than vice versa.
    • The feedback I get from professionals and regular folks is that they find the lists to be useful tools. Most of the folks complaining about these lists to me seem to want to pick fights with me about gender and abuse, or false allegations of abuse, or things of that nature.

Requests for help.

  1. Help! I’m in crisis! My partner has left me/has abused me and I need to know where I can turn for help! The best place to turn, believe it or not, is your phone book. Look in the areas where they talk about community services and look for human service organizations that deal with abuse. Contact your local crisis center and talk to them about what’s going on. The people who deal with these things in your community will be much more aware of what’s available there than I will be. If you live in Whatcom County, Washington, I can help you a bit more, but I’m just going to tell you to call the DV Hotline anyhow.
  2. Hey, I’d just like to talk to you about what’s been going on in my life. Would that be okay? Sure. Throw me an e-mail. No problem. I’m always happy to listen to what you want to say, and to share with you my perspective on your situation. Everything I say comes with a money-back guarantee, on the understanding that your mileage may vary, and that you should take what you liked, and leave the rest. It should also only be taken for what it’s worth.
  3. I think my son/daughter/niece/nephew/friend is abusing/being abused. How can I get him/her to stop/leave? Well, you can’t. You can try to, but you’re pretty likely to cause problems and pretty unlikely to solve any problems. The difficulty here is that you understanding that there is a problem, even if you are correct, does nothing to solve the problem because you aren’t a party to the abuse, and you are powerless to stop it. However, there are things you can do, and things you can learn that I’ve put on my main abuse page. If you have further questions after reading that, feel free to contact me.

About the site….

  1. How do I submit my story to your site?For a true story to be included on my site, there are a few things that need to happen:
    1. You need to send it to me ( e-mail is the best way).
    2. I need to know that you’ve looked over the whole site and are comfortable associating with what is presented here.
    3. I need to know what name you wish to go by in your submission. Some folks have gone with their full names, some with their first names, others with pseudonyms. It is possible to be “Anonymous Submitter #1” also.
    4. I need to know if you want feedback. If you do, I can place a link on your submission that will allow readers to send e-mail directly to you. Anonymous accounts through web-based emailers allow you to receive e-mail without compromising your anonymity and security.

    After this, I need to have some time to process it. How much time that will be depends a lot on how busy I am.

    As I said, the story needs to be true, at least true enough that it convinces me. I don’t have to have any proof to verify it, and I’ve never rejected a submission because I didn’t think it was true. If the story isn’t true, don’t submit it. If it is, feel free to. I’d be really surprised if I didn’t take your word for it.

  2. Can I have permission to use X document for a really good purpose?Well, maybe. My standard policy for use of material from here, for the stuff that I’ve written, has been that it’s okay as long as:
    1. We both agree on which document(s) you are using, and how it will be used (who the audience will be, how many copies you will be making, how long those copies will last, etc.). Things are happier if we’re all on the same page. (In other words, if that wasn’t clear enough, please don’t use material from here without asking first and being told it’s okay, even if you’re satisfying the rest of these conditions.)
    2. The information is not to be edited or excerpted. The information has been put together carefully in a context, and that context is the hypertext world of the web. Moving it to the fixed world of print is a shift in context that I’m not really comfortable with, and taking pieces from it can really mess up the message.
      • What’s this “hypertext world of the web” you’re talking about? Okay, let’s have some quick definitions, and then get to what I’m talking about.First off, hypertext is the concept of creating documents which are linked to other documents in such a way that the reader has the option of reading a document from start to finish (normal linear reading — like a book), or, by following those links, can pick up other, hopefully related information that can enhance the understanding.Second off, the web is an electronic construction based in the hypertext transfer protocol (which is what the little “http” that comes before the “://” stands for), and the hypertext markup language (aka, HTML). With these things, folks like me are able to create sites like this that transfer information to people all over the world in a form that is readable and, hopefully, reasonably pleasant to the eye, regardless of the type of display they have.Now, what I’m talking about is that the information I put up here is subject to sporadic change without notice. Sometimes I’m making changes multiple times a day, and sometimes it may be months before I touch the site as a whole — years before I touch certain individual documents. This means that there are reasons to come check the site over from time to time — new material, improved presentation, etc. Printed material, to contrast, doesn’t change automatically to reflect these changes I make. This is why I’m interested in knowing how long the copies you’re going to make of my material are going to last you — I want to keep the information going out in print as up-to-date as possible, so I would prefer you only make as many copies as you’ll need for a month or two at a time, rather than making a year’s supply of them all at once. Also, I reference other documents on the site, such as the document on denial, within documents on the site, and this information simply can not be made available in the same way in print.
    3. My name and the full url of the document be included in the body of the reprint. This is not simply to pad my overinflated ego; it’s to give people the chance to get back to the original document and read it in the context of the site as a whole, and to get whatever updates and changes I may make to it over time. My name gives them something to use in the search engines should I move (as I have).
    4. I get a copy of whatever it’s reprinted in. Not only does this give me nice material for my scrap-book, it also lets me verify that the terms of the permission agreement have been adhered to. It also provides a sort of sliding-scale royalty based on the value of whatever the material’s being used in. Finally, it gives me some new material to look over, so I get to learn too. If you haven’t sent me my copy, unless we’ve explicitly agreed that this is unnecessary in writing, then you do not have permission to use the material.
    5. You understand that you use the material at your own risk. It is entirely possible that someone could use this material in an abusive and harmful manner (using it on his or her victim to show the victim how abusive he or she is, etc.). As I say in my disclaimer, I can’t be responsible for that.
  3. These terms are all negotiable, so if there is a particular reason why it would be necessary to change one, let me know and give me a chance to be reasonable. Also, keep in mind that these terms apply only to the material I’ve written. The material written by other people belongs to them, and you will have to get your permission directly from them. For some folks, this will be difficult, since I’ve fallen out of touch with several of them, one of whom could well be dead.
  4. Is it okay if I link to your page? Yes. Oh, you wanted more? Okay. To date, I haven’t figured out a way that anybody linking to my site will cause any harm, even if they’re busy trashing me around their link. Until I do figure that out, I’m going to have no problem with anybody linking to my site. If I change my mind about this, I’ll be sure to make a change here. If you know of ways harm could be done by anybody linking to my site, please let me know.
  5. So, will you put a link to my abuse related site? Maybe. The lists of links used to be the heart of this website, but time has made those lists woefully out of date. I’ll need to learn how to manage them through this modality, and see what the other folks involved want to do with links. With Google, lists of links just aren’t as important as they used to be. Feel free to ask for the link, but please understand if it doesn’t get posted for a long time, or never does. It’s not a slam on your site — it’s as likely to be a matter of timing as anything.
  6. What about my non-abuse related site? Probably not, but you never can tell. Unless it has something to do with abuse, it’s not likely to find itself among the links to abuse related things.

Contact Information

  1. What is your e-mail address? I’m no longer listing my email address here. However, it’s not that hard to figure out, and I’ve made this feedback page to allow for contacting both Faith and me without subjecting us to the spamming we’ve been getting the past few years.
  2. What if I want to contact you anonymously? The feedback page will be the best way to contact me, and you can use a free web-based email account through places like yahoo, hotmail and gmail if you want anonymity.
  3. Are you going to tell anybody what I tell you? Some of it, maybe. Some of it, no. I do respect the legitimate desire for anonymity in the healing process, and will usually protect that anonymity within reason. I will not, however, promise to keep silent if I believe there is criminal behavior going on, or that lives are in danger. I may also discuss, in general terms, some of the information you send me. This would be along the lines of “I just got an e-mail from a woman who was concerned about her brother, who is abusing his girlfriend. She wanted to know how to talk to him about getting help,” or something like that. I would not use enough information that anybody could identify you (ie. I wouldn’t say “I just heard from the mayor of a small town in northwestern BFE, who was having difficulty with his relationship with his partner, who used to be the candidate opposing him in the last election. He didn’t want the relationship to go public, as it would destroy both their political futures.”)
  4. What is Faith’s e-mail address? As I mentioned above, I’m no longer including Faith’s e-mail address on this page to help her avoid being spammed. However, the feedback pagewill be the best way to contact her. Faith has asked that I ask those interested in e-mailing her to only do so using plain ascii formatted messages and not HTML formatted messages, as the client she uses for this account is unable to legibly render HTML formatting. FWIW, I also prefer ascii formatted messages on general principle as well, because:
    • ascii messages use less bandwidth,
    • HTML messages pose potential security problems,
    • every e-mail client can handle ascii formatting, and
    • not every e-mail client can handle HTML formatting.

    If you search through the preferences for your mail client, there should be an option for turning HTML formatting off, although it may be turned on be default. Complaining to the authors of your mail client about that default probably wouldn’t be bad.


Personal Questions and Weird Stuff

  1. So, have you guys gotten back together? What’s going on with you guys now? Well, no, we aren’t getting back together. We get along pretty well (better than when we lived together, actually) and talk on the phone most every day (sometimes several times). We’re parenting our kids as best as we can. But we are divorcing and that’s pretty much that. I don’t know how often either of us will make further submissions, but I suspect we both will at some point.
  2. Hey, what’s the real story? I heard that:
    • you’ve been known to post as a woman . . . This is false. This rumor started after I left the Intimate Violence mail-list (INTVIO- L), which I’ll discuss in more detail in a second. During my stay there, I asked the folks there, particularly those who provide offender treatment, if there were any differences in treatment methodologies for female abusers than were used with male abusers. I asked because I do, periodically, hear from women who consider themselves abusive and would like to find some sort of program that could help them live abuse-free. However, some people are not yet prepared to hear any discussion of women being abusive as anything other than rationalizing abuse of women by men, and they did not take kindly to my asking. After I left, a woman with whom I have since become friends began asking questions regarding her own concerns about abusive behavior she had done. Some on the list apparently found it so objectionable to consider that a woman might in fact be concerned about her own behavior being abusive that it was preferable to assume that it wasn’t actually a woman, and that it was actually me posing as a woman.
    • that you’ve harassed people on the net. . . Well, maybe. It depends on how you define “harassment.” Over the years of my recovery, I’ve participated in a number of abuse-related forums, and some of those forums are more related than others. Frequently, these forums become places of pretty serious fighting between members, and I’ve found myself in some pretty major fights a time or two. I have had a problem leaving a fight when I believe the person I’m fighting with doesn’t understand what I’m trying to say, since it’s very important to me to be understood, and sometimes I’ve been known to beat a point to death trying to make certain I’m being understood when it doesn’t feel like I am. This has involved continuing to send e-mail to someone beyond the point they wish to continue discussing the matter by a time or two, which is not cool, and for which, as I recall, I’ve apologized in each case. Should I have missed one, I will apologize now. This appears to be a pattern I’m improving on over the years, and is less and less an issue as far as I can tell.
    • that you’ve been objectionable on some mail lists. . . This depends entirely on how you define “objectionable.” As I said, I’ve been known to beat a point to death sometimes, which can reasonably bother people. Some folks have found my sheer existence to be objectionable. Others find my opinions to be objectionable. I haven’t found a way that I can please everyone, so I try, the best I can, to stay within the bounds of what I consider okay, and to continue to make certain that those bounds are adequate. It has seemed to me that more people have been upset because they disagree with me than because of my behavior.
    • that you’ve been kicked off some lists. . . This is true. I was removed from INTVIO-L (which, as far as I know, ceased to exist shortly thereafter) because I inadvertently violated a limit the list-owner had placed on the number of postings. That is, I posted four times one day, and the limit was three. I was also removed from Feminists Against Violence Network (FAVNET) because my presence on the list caused a huge uproar and made people uncomfortable (somewhat because I don’t consider myself feminist, also because of my abusive past, partly because of my opinions, and partly because of my behavior: I referred to a 19 year-old female human as a “young lady,” which offended some people, and then refused to retract the description). And I have been removed from a private domestic violence discussion area, when it was decided that my participation in the area made abuse victims who frequented the area nervous because of the abuse in my past. Every other mail list of any kind that I’ve subscribed to, to the best of my recollection, I’ve either unsubscribed voluntarily, or been unsubscribed due to network outages causing mail to bounce.
    • and that there are sites that have dropped their links to your site because of these things. I am aware of a person from INTVIO-L (perhaps FAVNET also) who has waged a personal campaign to get sites to remove their links to me. He claims that he got one particular site to remove their link, and it could well be that he has. It is unfortunate and frustrating for me that he is one of the people with whom it is impossible for me to communicate, because he assumes that everything I say is a lie. However, even in the process of denouncing me, he has had nothing negative to say about the content of my abuse site. Make of that what you will.

 

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