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My Body Feels like a Crime Scene: Invisible Victims - Part 4 of 6Coral Anika Theill Salem-News.com
“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”
(SALEM) - People ask me what I have learned from the local religious and judicial systems these past 17 years. I candidly share with them that I have learned that in America’s dominator society “my body is not mine, but belongs to the community that upholds male dominance and female possession and ownership. By being possessed (occupied) the female becomes weak, depleted, and usurped, in all her physical and mental energies and capacities by the one who has physically taken her, by the one who occupies her. Her body is used up, and the will is raped. In our society, “masculinity is still measured by how well a man controls his wife in the house and his horse in the field.” – Andrea Dworkin
Many professionals who have read accounts of my story say they are shocked and appalled by two common denominators of the number of women who betrayed me during my life and at the time I finally sought safety, both on professional and private levels. They were all “Right to Life” and pro-life advocates, and legalistic fundamental Christians.
Like the story of the emperor with no clothes, religious-minded people are most often the last to realize their hypocrisy and how spiritually impoverished they truly are.
After my divorce, many of Mr. Warner’s Christian friends and supporters called me and told me, “Coral, you are going to hell.” Mrs. Kay Dixon, a pastor’s wife in Salem, Oregon, and one of my daughter’s former teachers, phoned me, “Coral, you have torn your home down with your hands. You need to get away from your evil Jewish psychiatrist.” I was repulsed by her arrogance and anti-Semitic comments and told her I was going to hang up. (Warning: Kay & Steve Dixon, and my oldest twin daughter, Sarah (Warner) Bobeda and her husband, Ben Bobeda are camp directors of Camp of the Risen Son, Salem, Oregon, a ministry of InFaith.org. http://infaith.org/
The Camp takes place at the Drift Creek Camp facility outside of Lincoln City, OR. All four of these individuals supported my abuser, Marty Warner, by condoning rape, domestic violence, child abuse and molestation and court abuse. See link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/
The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. – Marcus Aurelius
In 2003, my daughter and son-in-law, Sarah & Ben Bodeda were present in court supporting Marty Warner, my ex-husband. At the time, I was homeless, destitute and disabled. They appeared to be pleased to hear I was sued for several thousand dollars and that I would not be allowed any further contact with my younger children. They did not speak with me and looked at me with contempt.
When I first saw my baby, in 1996, after two weeks of separation, my oldest daughters, Sarah and Rachel arrogantly announced, “He’s our baby, not yours.” I hope they receive professional and spiritual help someday. They were with my abusive mother two years ago when she died, but failed to acknowledge that my mother had and been a predator/pimp to me as a child. My twin daughters and son-in-laws consistently support predators and dismiss victims.
When I learned my baby was going to be abruptly removed from me per court order, in March 1996, I begged permission to be granted a couple weeks to slowly wean my infant son, Zachary. My attorneys, Mr. Warner’s attorney, and Mr. Warner all said, “No.”
I met with Mr. Warner and his pastor, Pastor Ron Sutter, and elders from Bridgeport Community Chapel the week my nursing infant and children were removed from me. Ellen Callen, a church member, also attended this meeting. I told them the breast-pump was not working well for me and I was in a lot of pain. I also begged permission to nurse my baby and shared my same request - that I be allowed to wean my baby. They said and did nothing. I will never forget Pastor Ron Sutter’s stone cold face. He reminded me of my favorite quote from Mayo Angelou, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
I believe my ex-husband and his religious supporters were calloused to my well-being because my well-being is not compatible with their idea of sex – possession, power, control, manipulation, and ego gratification. Their God condones kidnapping and rape: Numbers 31:17, 18, Deuteronomy 20:13, 14
I agree with Matilda Joslyn Gage that the Euro-American patriarchal Christian/Catholic religions are the root cause of violence in our society today.
The greatest obstacle to woman’s freedom and equality lay in the teachings of the church, that woman was created inferior to man, brought sin into the world and was therefore under an especial “curse.” I know these teachings to be false and support my statement with my life testimony and documentation.
I have asked numerous people throughout the years if they ever heard an in-depth sermon from the pulpit - Christian/Catholic/Jewish - on Domestic violence, rape and childhood abuse and molestation. So far, 100% respond "no." I never heard any sermons or teachings on these topics in all my 40 years of "church going" - but these events were occurring in my life. When I sought help from abuse, pastors told me, “You need to learn how to submit and obey your husband.” As a child I was taught to “obey my parents, teachers and elders.”
In 2012, I wrote my ex-husband’s close relative, Father Pat McNamee, Portland, Oregon, and asked him if he could advocate for me and my children. Father McNamee counseled us before we were married and officiated at our wedding ceremony. In my letter, I shared details about the abuse I suffered, news articles, documentation and information about my published book. He wrote me a short note saying, “Sorry to hear about your poor marriage.” I reached out for help, and he slammed the door - literally, and figuratively!
After my divorce I became homeless, due to the years of ongoing court abuse. I contacted my close relative, Harriet A. Spanel, former Washington State Senator (D), Bellingham, WA, and asked for help, per the recommendation of my physicians and mentor, Dr. Barbara May. I received no response from Harriet A. Spanel throughout the years of my survival. Fr. Senator Spanel, a devout Catholic, was close to my abusive mother who committed crimes against me. I spent many holidays with her and her family as a child. I did receive a cc of a rude email from Senator Spanel and her legal assistant regarding my calls for help. The email was their communication about me and my situation, not a letter of response.
On November 4, 2003, I hand delivered a copy of my published book and a letter about my case to United States Attorney Karin Immergut, U.S. Attorney’s Office and Judge Michael Mossman, Portland, Oregon and sent a copy to Washington State Senator Harriet Spanel (my relative). I did receive a kind letter from U.S. Attorney Karin Immergut.
I received no response from Senator Harriet Spanel.
Sitting in silence is as powerful as approval.
Before my fifth pregnancy in 1987, I was diagnosed with anterior membrane dystrophy, a rare disease of the eyes. My eyes were patched for several weeks. A surgery was performed on my eyes in Corvallis. I had no household help and did the best I could to get my chores accomplished. The surgery and recovery was painful. Mr. Warner impregnated me during this time, while my eyes were bandaged. I was under a great deal of stress at the time with four children and bandaged eyes. My husband simply told me to “trust God.”
The surgery was unsuccessful and I was referred to the Casey Eye Institute in Portland, Oregon. My physician, Dr. Larry Rich, recommended I wear bandage lenses (large contact lenses) to help heal the scar tissue on my eyes. If this did not work, they suggested another surgery. Mr. Warner asked Dr. Larry Rich what might be aggravating my condition. Dr. Larry Rich explained that the numerous pregnancies were a stress to my condition.
My 24 year old son, Joshua Warner, assistant baseball coach at Corban University, Salem, Oregon, http://www.corban.edu/
In Joshua’s early years, I often protected him from his father’s rage. Mr. Warner’s weapons of brutality consisted of his fists, his fraternity board, belts or logs. Once, when I was pregnant with my 7th child, I put my body in between my son and my ex-husband while he attempted to beat Joshua. After this incident I wanted to report my husband to the police, but instinctively knew my husband and his religious supporters would be protected by the system. Joshua and his wife Annie, daughter of Corban University head coach, Jeff McKay, have shunned me also, and remain friends with my abusive ex-husband and his supporters. They condone batterer’s and child abusers.
Justice, Vindication, Restitution
A few years ago, I received a letter from Governor Kulongoski’s office telling me to go get an attorney and go through THE APPROPRIATE channels. There are no appropriate channels for help in Oregon and of course, being destitute, there is no legal help, even from Legal Aid.
"One of the overwhelming issues for Coral became the sheer expense of paying for lawyers.
I will continue to seek justice from a corrupted system that protects those in power and rejects those without the resources to seek redress from the corrupters.
Reporting Unethical Judges and Attorneys
Dr. Barbara May, Professor of Nursing at Linfield College wrote a two page MEMO to Kingsley Click, Oregon Court Administrator, reporting Judge Paula Brownhill's abuse in my case. I also wrote a letter reporting the abuse I had suffered from Judge Brownhill. We wrote our letters of complaint because Judge Brownhill serves as "chair" of the Oregon Statewide Family Law Advisory Board Committee.
Judge Brownhill continued to rule against me while she has presided over my case, assisting my abuser, Mr. Warner, over and over. She is NO FRIEND TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE survivors as she presents herself to be. We had hopes that our complaints would remove her from that position, but we were “dismissed.”
The staff attorney who gave me the address to the Oregon Court Administrator informed Judge Brownhill that I had reported her. She gave Judge Brownhill my private email.
I was shocked to receive an email and letter from my presiding judge. Judge Brownhill complained that my physician and counselor, Dr. Barbara May, and I reported her abuse to the Oregon Court Administrator in Salem, Oregon, and asked me via an email what my problem was. I did not respond to her and find it inappropriate for her to have written me.
In 1996 Judge Albin Norblad was reported for his abuse and unethical rulings in my case by one of my physicians. The Judicial Ethics Commission wrote the doctor who had sent the complaint a short note saying, "They found nothing wrong."
I reported Mr. Mark Lawrence, McMinnville, Oregon, my ex-husband’s abusive attorney, to the Oregon State Bar after spending 6 months writing a very detailed and documented brief, supporting my complaints with their "laws of ethics." The Oregon State Bar wrote me a note saying I deserved the abuse because of my breakdown.
Responsibility and Accountability
After the traumas of childhood, (beatings, rape, molestation and emotional abuse), twenty years of subjugation to Mr. Warner and his extreme religious views, a breakdown and rapes by my husband, the treatment by the courts was a final outrage.
I believe my human rights were violated by specific people, [Betsy Close] my husband and his attorneys, my attorneys who did nothing to halt the humiliation I experienced in Court, the judges who allowed the process to continue and supported the frivolous and unwarranted claims Mr. Warner made–his onslaught of court orders to try to force me to return–to maintain his control on my life, and the religious community that was so blinded by an abhorrence of divorce that they closed their eyes and their hearts to the truth.
I would like the satisfaction of an apology from all of the people who supported my abuser, Marty Warner, and who violated my human rights. Restitution is not likely, but resolution is necessary. I did not believe I would survive the court trauma, but that does not mean I have given up on getting justice. I believe that if you do not seek or ask for justice, you are victimized twice. My children, who I loved, nourished and cared for and will always love, are still caught in a home environment that is not good for their hearts and souls.
In my research and studies, I found a profound quote on responsibility and accountability in Lucy Dawidowicz’s book, “War Against the Jews.”
Her words accurately portray how I feel. I believe that many of the injustices of innocent people in this country are a result of specific individuals, especially those in power, ignoring their own responsibility in given situations. Dawidowicz writes:
I have discovered that when we deny our own true feelings and commitment to truth, we become victims to our guilt and shame. Guilt is created when we adopt what others expect of us as our guideline, denying our own integrity and self-directed will. Allowing others to make choices for you, allows them to create your worth, and when they do, they always make it too small.
In these past years, I have learned that I have a right to live without fear, to be treated with respect, to have and express my own feelings and opinions, to be listened to and taken seriously, to set my own priorities, to say “no” without feeling guilty, to ask for what I want without reprisal, to ask for information from others, to have my own needs met, to have privacy and support and friendship.
I continue to pray for the highest good for all and envision a healed, whole and conscious society. I am thankful for my past because it has pushed me to reach a higher level of consciousness and a deeper awareness of who I am. I believe each soul has a responsibility for the entire world and that our personal losses can be a vehicle to experiencing a greater good. Surrendering lost dreams helped me prepare for new dreams.
There are not always two sides to every story
Our determination to pursue truth by setting up a fight between two sides leads us to assume that every issue has two sides--no more, no less. But if you always assume there must be an 'other side,' you may end up scouring the margins of science or the fringes of lunacy to find it.
This explains, in part, the bizarre phenomenon of Holocaust denial, among other denials, and that river flows through lots of courtrooms.
According to Euro-American history, women and children were considered legal property, the chattel, of the father or husband. By taking his name, the wife "belonged" to her husband. Today, women and children are not legal property, but attitudes have been slow to keep up with the law and many men still believe it is their right or privilege to control women. I experienced, first hand, the truth of this statement when I sought safety from my husband and left with my youngest children and baby in January 1996.
In the fall of 1995, I went on an extended trip (without Mr. Warner) with my younger children and nursing infant to attend the funeral of Fr. Oregon State Representative Betsy Close's father. I was sane and strong enough to make this trip, and encouraged by Mr. Warner to take the children and my nursing infant. When I left the home seeking safety from my ex-husband a few months later, I was labeled mentally ill, psychotic, suicidal and emotionally unfit to be a mother and became a "criminal" to be hunted by the Sheriffs.
Several close and long term friends wrote affidavits and were supportive witnesses for me in Court. Therese Vasquez, godmother of my twin daughters, expressed her observations in an affidavit and in Court, March 1996.
“Mr. Warner has routinely objected and prevented Mrs. Warner from accessing medical attention in times of dire need with no regard for Mrs. Warner’s health and well-being. I observed such denials of reasonable medical attention on not less than five occasions.
“Mr. Warner’s extreme religious orientations have been imposed upon Mrs. Warner throughout their marriage. Mr. Warner makes no secret of his demands for female submission at all times, and on occasion would threaten to terminate relationships with friends and acquaintances if the male in friends’ households did not subscribe to his religious beliefs to include, but not limited to female submission–socially, physically, psychologically and sexually.
“Mrs. Warner despite all the abuses continually attempted to meet the requirements of her husband. Mrs. Warner has displayed optimal parental skills consistently throughout their marriage.”
At my temporary custody hearing, my attorney, Mr. David Gearing, in his opening statements to the Court, February 28, 1996, said, “Her, (Mrs. Kathy Warner), custody is being challenged now, willfully, intentionally, with full knowledge and with acknowledgment of her husband as to her qualities for 20 years. She has been fit, proper and capable of doing that for twenty years. And, now, we are calling into question her emotional stability and mental health and ability to raise these children. She has been given that role. It is a distraction. We have three doctors who are ready, willing and able to testify, on rebuttal, if necessary. They give her a clean bill of health.”
Some attorneys and advisors believe that the Circuit Court Judges of Oregon used me as “an example” to show what they do to women who defy their power.
I value my life, respect myself, and I believe I am equal to others. I am most disturbed by the fact that I had to seek, beg and ask for permission from the judicial and religious society, to get safe. No individual should have to seek permission to get safe!
The physical, mental, and emotional toll of surviving the negligence, abuse and trauma from the individuals who are part of my story will last forever. Although I risked everything to escape from my ex-husband, and in some ways I lost everything, I have never been more sane or more sure that the choices I made were the only choices I could make and survive.
I questioned a judge's decision and power over me and saved my own life. In Oregon, a judge's "black robe" legalizes his right to commit cruel and unjust acts. Oregon gives judges the same absolute authority over me that a marriage license gave my ex-husband.
I believe Mr. Warner and his attorney received a twisted sense of satisfaction from the pain they caused in the many hours of depositions, hostility in Court and the sudden stripping away of my children. Neither they, nor the judges, and witnesses [Betsy Close] who twisted the truth in Court, have been held accountable for the cruel acts committed against me. Oregon's law system has given them all a legal right to commit acts that would otherwise be viewed as criminal, depraved and inhumane.
Whenever the custodial parent practices control and manipulation tactics in order to separate child from mother, justice cannot be served. This is the lowest and most hateful form of spousal revenge. As long as mothers are unfairly separated from their children and those who hold the power fail to acknowledge and support the rights of non-custodial parents, justice cannot be achieved.
I have concluded by my present circumstances, that the judicial and religious organizations and people [Betsy Close] who have aided my former husband, Marty Warner, all embrace the same views regarding women and children. They believe male power is absolute over women and great harm will come to those who question and/or defy that power. I believe this is the mentality that causes and perpetuates abuse.
I still wake up with night terrors from the abrupt and permanent removal of my eight children. The memory of being forced to give up my children is a continual torment to my body, mind and soul. Time has helped me find peace in the pain. I have learned that perfect peace is when pain is as welcome as lack of pain.
A mother does not forget her children.
1 “Woman Church and State: A Historical Account of the Status of Woman through the Christian Ages with Reminiscences of Matriarchate by Matilda Joslyn Gage
Radio Program: Listen to Coral Theill’s guest appearance on the “Abuse Freedom Live” Radio Program, August 19, 2012 http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Other articles by Coral...
Coral Theill’s Military Articles at Salem-News.com: link
Coral Anika Theill, reporter and advocate, is author of "BONSHEA: Making Light of the Dark." Her published works address abuse, trauma recovery and healing from post-traumatic stress and most recently, wounded Marines, the Warrior Games and Montford Point Marines. Her writings have encouraged and inspired numerous trauma victims and wounded Marines/soldiers recovering from PTS and TBI. Coral's positive insights as a survivor have also earned the respect of clinical therapists, advocates, attorneys, professors and authors. BONSHEA has been used as a college text for nursing students at Linfield College, Portland, Oregon and can be ordered at: http://amazon.com, http://barnesandnoble.com or http:// iUniverse.com
"Those who serve may already know the toll of having to kill or be killed, but civilian society should also recognize that those who go into battle defending our way of life pay a price. I feel a deep gratitude to our servicemen and women and believe our society needs to do more to respect, understand and support those returning from deployment in conflict zones.” – Coral Anika Theill, Contributing Writer for Leatherneck Magazine
The Commandant of the Marine Corps on Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury and Invisible Battle Scars: Confronting the Stigma of PTS and TBI www.woundedwarriorregiment.org/documents/pao/Leatherneck_Oct_PTS_TBI.pdf
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