Tag Archives: public opinion

Peace to you.

            

 

Peace.

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I wish you peace, not just for the holidays. Not the peace of religion, but the peace of faith.

What I wish for you is awareness of the PROCESS that is the life and faith of you and others. I wish you both comfort and growth, knowing that they are not often simultaneous, but can be.

May we all hear past the memes, ads, and rants to the heartbeat of every other – which is essentially one life shared here and now.  May we speak words that enlighten and connect so that understanding will make our dwelling together easier as we share our time on this global patch.  May we listen beyond anger and hard words to the underlying fear expressed there, then answer that fear with compassion. May we guard our own hearts, without guilt, but with increasing wisdom, from those who don’t understand and so believe they prevent fear by creating fear.

May we see past the glitter and lights to see people as individual treasures, not stereotypes or cultural caricatures. May we see that this world does not define us…we are already part of Someone much greater and already nestled in eternity, and we define ourselves within that greater belonging.

May we begin to end violence by ending it toward and within ourselves. Then in all thoughts and words. In all responses to others. In all of our wishes and prayers.

I love you. I just do.

Happy Holidays.

Peace.

 

#Why I Stayed

A domestic violence advocate told me that the entire month of October, which is dedicated not only to Breast Cancer awareness, but also Domestic Violence awareness, should be spent explaining the answer to THE MOST COMMON QUESTION: “Why does she stay?”

The answers to that are as varied as snowflakes or grains of sand, and as plentiful, because there are so many reasons and so MUCH abuse, on all levels, that is either ignored or fully sanctioned by our society. The answers are important. Please look into #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft. There is also a #WhyIAbuse, but I have seen no comments from abusers there.

I know many women who left, and a few who stayed. Hindsight is not 20/20 even though we hear the phrase. We have no idea what trajectory a life would take given alternate choices. So my question to myself: “Did I do the right thing, to stay….then to leave?”

My youngest daughter tells me that she remembers the anger in the air, but didn’t know what it was from. It has cost them. But would it have been better if it was out in the open, with open fighting (there was plenty of that, too). Would it have been better if I left, and they lived a dual life? Would it have been better if they had to cope with him alone? No way to know.

This is why I stayed:

#fear – of losing my kids, hurting my kids, creating greater instability for my kids, being financially unable to care for them, leaving them alone with their dad when he was “weird,” disappointing God, doing the wrong thing and regretting it

#hope #love  #faithfulness #long-suffering #denial #naiveté

Ephesians 5:21-33 (and many others)

This is why I left:

#fear – of losing my mind, taking my own life, wasting my life, failing my kids, not being there for my kids, God’s silence, suffering, desertion, ruin, being a fool.

#hope #love #faithfulness #wisdom #courage

Ephesians 5:1-7 (and many others)

For some who left, it was fairly clean and decisive, however traumatic. Many others have been re-abused and further abused by ex-spouse, court system, families, and faith communities. They are enduring things I think may have crushed me. I had it good, very good! When I hear their stories I recognize my greatest fears in staying AND leaving. For very few who stayed, there has been improvement and a decent to good relationship.

I think the word is out for those who care to listen: it is hard to stay – it is hard to leave – it is hard to be abused.

I think the word is out also that a hugely neglected issue is #WhyIAbuse.  Abusers don’t respond because they don’t believe they are abusive, are ashamed they are abusive, want to be secretly abusive, or don’t care because it doesn’t apply to them. True, but incomplete.

I have too many questions to list them all in one post. But here are my top three:

If so many men, women and children are victimized, predominantly by men, as a worldwide proven phenomena, why are we still so essentially impotent in addressing men who do violence – instead accepting male violence as normal, normative…you know, just the way it is? #WhyViolence

Best estimates of multiple studies indicate that around 25% of women are assaulted or abused, and that children privy to that violence are also affected, and that abuse by males is the single most significant health concern of women as a whole, worldwide, and that it is…you know, just the way it is. If that is the way it is, and has been, the misplaced responsibility a reality – why don’t all women take self-defense classes, promote one another financially, carry protective weapons, remove the status-builder of feminine companionship from men who are not respectful, teach each other the signs of abuse, and talk and act to strengthen and protect one another? Yes, I know this is almost like blaming the victim. I still want to know this, because I want to know how women can make each other stronger until abuse stops and we don’t need to anymore, how MEN and WOMEN can make each other stronger, period. #GotYourBack

I look at e-mails, Facebook and Twitter posts, “news” articles, memes and advertisements. What I see is a lot of persuasion without honesty, investigation or conscience. From people I otherwise respect very much I see promotion of dramatic half-truths or untruths that are hard to verify, but meanwhile polarize not clarify. POLARIZE NOT CLARIFY. (Men abuse…well, women abuse too…my statistics…your statistics…and it’s all the president’s fault…ya know?). Why are we so eager to choose sides at the expense of honesty that could yield solutions? That is grass-roots, bottom of the barrel, sneaky, subtle terrorism.  #GetReal

We share this world at this time. We are in this together. There is a lot of violence here. Does it now seem appropriate to ask, “Why do we stay?”

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I invite you to also visit:

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This Year’s Topic:
After decades of “awareness”, why is violence against women still so common?
We’re discussing what’s at the core of
A Culture of Contempt

 

 

Lighten Up! How Simply Christian Is That?!

Every day, a woman stood on her porch and shouted, “Praise the Lord!”

And every day the atheist next door yelled, “There is no Lord!”

One day she prayed, “Lord, I’m hungry. Please send me groceries.”

The next morning she found a big bag of food on the stairs. “Praise the Lord,” she shouted.

“Ha! I told you there was no Lord,” her neighbor said, jumping from behind a bush. “I bought those groceries.”

“Praise the Lord!” the woman said. “He not only sent me groceries, but he made the devil pay for them.”  Found in Reader’s Digest

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“And so,” the speaker concluded, “God will always provide for your needs, explain His will for you, and give you peace.” At our divorced/widowed recovery group, she had just related her glowing story of divorce and God’s care for her…money in the mailbox, direction and divine peace, in spite of her dire financial situation while raising children. I spoke to her, and expressed gladness that it had worked that way for her, but noted that it wasn’t always that smooth and clear for some others, including me. She squinted at me past her halo’s glow and stated, “Then you have a LOT to learn, honey!”

Her ex tells good-humoredly that he paid her $1000 a month alimony — the best money he ever spent!

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god hates figs 2

Original reference unknown. Found in Google Images, multiple sources.

Funny:

WE CAN SEE “IT” ANY WAY WE WANT.

But what about quoting the Word accurately and not misrepresenting God?

If we aren’t sure what is the exactly, specifically, technically, perfectly, doctrinally, theologically, formally, denominationally right, letter of LAW….

…why not err toward love, peace, patience, gentleness, wisdom, common sense, compassion, intelligence, safety…….LIFE!

Really, what will be lost if you quote deliverance verses to an abused person rather than admonition verses, and don’t take a hard enough line with the Word of God????

Nothing, because he/she may live and believe long enough for you to discuss it again later.

Even better, he/she will live and believe long enough to discuss it with her Savior in a place of safety.

How simply Christian is that?

Blessings!!

Diane 

Domestic Violence Awareness Month – Ending the Silence

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

The Color is Purple

End the Silence Banner 2

I am honored to be included with a number of wonderful authors on the website:

 Ending The Silence.

I invite you to visit the site for my articles and those of Lundy Bancroft, Melodie Ramone, Catherine Givans, Sherry Rentschler, P.J. LaRue, Vanessa A Ryan, Stephanie Neighbour, and Jenna Brooks (who is site originator, organizer and administrator), with individual site links and comment and contact opportunities. Each lends a valuable perspective to the diverse issues of Domestic Violence.

Throughout the month of October, Jenna will also be featuring Stories In the News, helpful information, and a Survey with results to be collected during the month, and write-in survivor’s stories.

I will be trying to post more often, on both sites. And I encourage you to take in the wealth of insight and information that will be available on all fronts during the month, not only web-based, but in communities. Check your local newspapers for articles, web-browse where services are located in your area and what they do. 

There is a HUGE need in churches, who preach compassion, to learn HOW to apply that to DV. 

I hear the salutation, “Love in Christ.”  And think of the motto, “Be Prepared.”  

This month is an easy opportunity to do both.

Blessings, Diane

August Gift of Words

If one would realize that the world of God, His splendour and magnificence, are to be seen in the wise and the foolish, the good and the bad, then one would think tolerantly and reverently of all mankind, knowing that it represents the messenger, as the messenger represents God.  ….If the eyes and ears are open, the leaves of the trees become as pages of the Bible. If the heart is alive, the whole life becomes one single version of His sublime beauty, speaking to us at every moment.  Amras888

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Our fear of “what if “creates our prison, but our trust and faith in  Divine possibilities, is what will set us free. Window of Wisdom

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We think this world is “real” because we observe and interact with people and objects and ideas using our minds and our physical senses.  Certainly, the day-to-day stuff of life is plenty real.  But there is more.  Much more.  Connecting Dots…to God

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I WENT TO A BOOKSTORE AND ASKED THE SALESWOMAN, “WHERE’S THE SELF- HELP SECTION?” SHE SAID IF SHE TOLD ME, IT WOULD DEFEAT THE PURPOSE. Unknown

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All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost.  J.R.R Tolkien

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WHAT IF THERE WERE NO HYPOTHETICAL QUESTIONS? Unknown 

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To me sitting comfortably in Christ is more than the seating arrangements in our churches, light and heating; church is not just simply a physical building of bricks and mortar, it is to be “seated with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6)   whisperingleavesblog

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 Emotional discomfort, when accepted, rises, crests and falls in a series of waves. Each wave washes a part of us away and deposits treasures we never imagined. Out goes naivete, in comes wisdom; out goes anger, in comes discernment; out goes despair, in comes kindness. No one would call it easy, but the rhythm of emotional pain that we learn to tolerate is natural, constructive and expansive… The pain leaves you healthier than it found you.”  Martha Beck

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ONE NICE THING ABOUT EGOTISTS: THEY DON’T TALK ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE. Unknown

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Love everyone. Trust few. Paddle your own canoe.  Anonymous

Blessings.

Diane

 

We Learned Something Post #1

A well-dressed, middle-aged couple walked into Starbucks Tuesday afternoon, as I sat with my computer and chai near the door. The woman entered first, with the man behind her. There was something subtle about his body-language. No swagger, or strut, or leggy man’s man walk. Just a trace of ‘his underwear is too tight.’ End of thought. I went back to my computer.

Minutes later, apparently having found no suitable seating inside, they went out the door to the patio. I overheard him saying irritably that he doesn’t LIKE to sit outside. But they did. As I worked I glanced up occasionally. She was cheerful, animated….but something was off there, too. His body language (back to me) was still different. Gut feeling, but what? Next glance, she was still cheerful, like “making nice” cheerful. The words for him? Testy. Malevolent. Well contained.

He stood up and began pacing. I watched her…wondering if she was smiling or crying. Until her face broke apart and she was sobbing, shaking,  hands to her face. He remained rigid, cold, commanding.

I started shaking, too.

They moved a few steps to the curb, where she sat, shaking and sobbing, as he first stood over her, then moved back a few steps. Stern. Hard faced. Then they were standing in the parking lot. Same. She was talking through sobs. He was talking, hard edged words I couldn’t hear, hard face.

My fingers didn’t work well, but I located the local domestic violence phone number, and wrote it on what I had available – a teabag. I went outside, greeted them both, and asked the woman if I could speak with her a moment. She looked at me, like she wanted to. He said, to me, “NO, we’re having a good conversation here; leave us alone.” I did. I didn’t want to place her at risk by making him angrier. Shortly after that, they were gone.

Since then I have attended two DV support groups. I related the incident, and got feedback from five professionals who work with DV. This is what I learned from their experience:

I should not have approached her.

It could make the beating she gets at home worse.

He will likely be angrier, and blame her.

It placed me at risk.

I may have validated her experience as inappropriate, and thereby given a little support. But with risk to her and to me.

Better response: Go out of sight and call 911 or Police Dispatch.

Because – the police, if properly trained, will separate them, which gives her time to think.

Because he will not like being embarrassed or focused upon or challenged.

    • Which may subdue him.
    • Which may make her beating at home worse.
    • Which may drive his behavior farther underground, less visible to others, still as dangerous to her.

BUT, the event will be documented, which may help her later to prove need of help, restraining order, etc.

If Police are properly trained, she may receive helpful information.

Each of these DV professionals had dealt with similar situations (they also seem to have the “radar” – one said she tunes into such interactions least once a week – usually in parking lots). This is what they related:

A woman fled into the ladies room at a restaurant. The DV counselor went into the restroom, made no eye contact, but put a DV hotline card on the sink. Then left the room. She said this is because the woman may be ashamed and unwilling to interact. She may utilize the information – maybe not today or for 5 years – but she knows the option is there.

Another woman in a public location was being berated. When the abuser looked away for a moment, the DV counselor slipped a card to the woman and whispered for her to put it in her shoe. They said that abusers often search phones, purses and clothing, but rarely check shoes.

Placing DV information, card, etc., where an abuser may find it can be dangerous. It is best to do nothing rather than being too indiscrete. One way or the other, you have no way of knowing the nature of the abuser’s response, the danger to the  victim, or the danger to yourself. You do the best you can, and hope for the best.

It takes a victim an average of seven tries to leave an abuser, for various reasons. A lot of fear, confusion and denial working.

I stopped shaking after leaving Starbucks. I’m shaking again as I write this post. I’m also learning that shaking is good – it is the body’s way of releasing trauma, whether primary or triggered. So, OK.

There is improvement. I responded better than to the man in my post “To Hell In  A Hand-Basket.” I hope I didn’t set this woman up for worse abuse. Hard to know. But at least you and I know a little more and are better equipped to respond in a way that actually MIGHT help, WHEN we encounter this again.

Please pass on what we just learned.

I Hope

I watched the movie, Ragtime, tonight. It triggered every feeling of injustice, helplessness, rage, frustration, and hopelessness I have been trying so hard to reprogram. I didn’t feel the storm coming in time, to stop watching, calm myself, put my mind in the right place. So I cried, threw a few things, and said bad words. Then I read wise things from blogger friends. And I remembered this half-finished post, looked at the images and videos, and turned my focus away from unfairness and suffering full strength, to hope, one person at a time.

The following videos sent by “Emily” after our conversation about changing public opinion (http://wp.me/p2GxIs-58):

http://www.bloodrelations.org/

The following song was posted by Mile In My Moccasins: http://mileinmymoccasins.wordpress.com/

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/05/24/153597841/kid-told-westboro-protesters-god-hates-no-one-because-that-is-true

enhanced-buzz-23346-1355522599-0 enhanced-buzz-18275-1355522633-1

 

This boy’s sign says “God Hates No One.” When he saw the protesters, he wanted to say something to counter their words, so he went to the car, his mom gave him a pencil, and he wrote his words on a spiral notebook. Click the pictures for the article from which the pictures came.

Good overcomes evil, doesn’t it? I hope.

Sorry, It’s About the Salad Suppers!

I’m again at my parents home as we travel together the road of aging and adjustment and leftovers from the past. While here, where resources are varied and relatively plentiful, I am looking for the help I need.

My first inquiry was at the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence. I asked about ways I could help and be helped. The dear woman who spoke with me listened, very still, as I described my mental stall and the decisions needing to be made and why I feel so divided and trapped.  Very quietly, like a gentle ripple on water, she said, “You don’t trust yourself.” This wasn’t news to me, but the way she said it…so gentle and direct, was soothing. I nodded. She added, “I am a survivor, too, and I don’t trust myself either.  I would like someone else to make the decisions. It’s been a while, and it doesn’t go away….I’ve just learned ways to cope.” Oh my.

I told her I had encountered much pain, frustration and loss of faith as a result of the teaching and counsel of my church communities. She said she hears that all the time. I asked if there was any training being provided to faith-based communities to help them stop giving such damaging advice. Yes, she said. There is a woman who started her own shelter, with full support of her Baptist church, and that she has formed a team of survivors who share their experiences and teach faith communities about domestic violence. She said that when she was abused, her pastor and church responded ABSOLUTELY APPROPRIATELY! Oh! Oh! How absolutely, positively, wonderful!

I have the contact information for the Baptist shelter founder, and three resources where I can have counseling and attend support groups for DA survivors. Today, I contact the counselors and find the times/places of the support groups. I will be asking the following questions, recommended by two generous fellow bloggers after I requested personal input about PTSD.

Questions to Ask:

1. Are you trained specifically in trauma?

2. If so, do you have experience with trauma patients?  How many years?

3. Are you in your own therapy?

4. Are you under supervision?  (I forgot to mention this and it is very important – you don’t want someone who goes rogue, on their own)

5. What is your training/approach type?  (Cognitive behavioral focus is more coping skills vs. Psychoanalytical which is more about getting to the root)

Would EMDR be helpful and are you trained to do that?

And I picked up an information sheet based on a 2010 survey of 35 out of 39 domestic violence programs in Arizona in a 24 hour period:

1,622 victims served (1,180 in emergency shelters or transitional housing)

442 adults and children received non-residential services (legal, counseling, children’s support groups)

336 hotline calls (more than 14 calls per hour)

131 unmet needs for services (short funding, short-staffed, lack of space)

105 of the unmet needs were from victims seeking emergency shelter or transitional housing

83% of respondents reported higher demand for services, attributed to job loss, decreased community resources, and decreased funding

For consideration:

1 John 3:16-18   This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.  If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?  Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

Titus 3:14   Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives.

“Salad Suppers” and retreats were the ESSENTIAL women’s group activities at my previous church…so much so that any alternative ministry to women outside the church was superseded by these lofty priorities (which is why I resigned as WMs president after an ultra-short term). Wouldn’t it be nice if…instead of party decorations for the next salad supper…the money and time were donated to a nearby family violence shelter or program? And, instead of the usual paid speaker for the next retreat…advocacy training was provided by a survivor…or domestic violence professional?

And, if a church REALLY wanted to go for it, they could involve the MEN’S ministries, too! Since men are the Christian “authority,” and since domestic violence is so ruthlessly damaging to women and children (also known as families), maybe their speaker could be a professional who could address MEN’S roles in abuse, prevention of abuse, and recovery. OF FAMILIES – men, women, children.

Abusers and victims.

And, instead of manufacturing functions and campaigns to entice un-churched people into the building, creating relationships to serve them outside the building to heal their hearts and souls? Which would Jesus choose?

I am very, very grateful for funding sources and dedicated people who are making it possible for me, and others, to receive help. But there aren’t enough dollars and people to get it done  given the magnitude of the problem.

This isn’t just a women’s problem. It isn’t just for government entities and secular non-profits to address. Maybe, within the church, there could be less energy spent on indignation about prayer and the Ten Commandments in (or out of) schools (and other hot topics) and more energy spent on learning about and wisely addressing domestic violence (and mental illness, sex trafficking, neglect, homelessness, etc., etc.).

It’s not such a huge mental shift, really, is it?

The influence of Christianity and churches on the world is HUGE, for positive or negative. Representing Christ, or not. Can you imagine how beautiful this could be?

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Why I Squawk

From whistle-stop.com. May be copyright protected.

From whistle-stop.com. May be copyright protected.

My daughter, “Emily”, and I have some great talks. Today we talked about advertising, and blogging, and non-profits, and the dynamics of changing public perception and opinion. I suggested that opinion is changed at the deepest level by one on one sharing, when we come to understand and internalize the philosophy of another. Emily recalled reading interviews with close associates of Martin Luther King in the civil rights movement, who voiced their opinion that people don’t change their ways out of the goodness of their hearts; change has to be forced.

I can see it both ways. I doubt women would have the vote yet, if they hadn’t made some men rather miserable. And loud protests make issues hard to ignore. On the other hand, I voice the opinion that we can’t control others, and don’t believe we should try. I’ve also adopted the thought that we each have a circle of influence, and we can affect those within that circle – those we contact – either gently or with force. I, personally, am most likely to make opinion changes when I hear compelling evidence without manipulation from people I trust to be truthful and who can see different perspectives. And who walk their talk.

Have I talked about “cognitive dissonance?” This is really interesting! When we learn something, we put it into a mental category – a file folder in the mind, sort of – an organizational scheme to manage what we know. When we learn something new, we “assimilate” the information, or put it into an existing folder. This is easy. When we learn something really new – something that doesn’t fit into an existing folder or that conflicts with existing information, we feel uneasy…things don’t fit, don’t match…we are uncomfortable. This is called “cognitive dissonance.” We can decide the information is incorrect, or dismiss it some other way, and throw it out. Easy. Or, we can change and oversimplify to MAKE it fit an existing category. Easy. Some, like me, are fairly comfortable with cognitive dissonance, and can leave it alone pending more clarification. OR, we resolve the cognitive dissonance by CREATING A NEW FOLDER, a new category, a SHIFT in our system or paradigm to “accommodate” the information. More work, but voila…a new, more effective, perspective! Well worth it! .

This is what I think: When people hear facts about domestic violence (or other issues), especially if it challenges our sense of comfort, safety and order, it is easily dismissed – we may throw the data out after brief perusal (“she must be lying,” “it can’t be that bad,” “she JUST needs to….”). When we hear enough facts and stories through which we feel others’ feelings and share their experience, and we relate personally – hmmm, then we are getting somewhere. When we can relate strongly enough, and the information is compelling enough, then we can’t, in good conscience, escape the cognitive dissonance. That is when we learn that “she can’t just leave,” “she can’t just pray it away,” “telling her to submit to abuse is dangerous.” ETC. To humanely deal with the people and issues before us, we  create a new mental model or paradigm that fits the data.

As a kid, I used to get fired up and squawk loudly but ineffectively (sometimes still do). My mom used to say, “Diane….don’t sputter!” (Go ahead and laugh…I can’t hear you!). My way was to get mad and walk away in a huff, with dramatic, purposeful strides. (That really showed them! – Go ahead and laugh again – I do!) With Peter, nothing much gave me influence in my own life, without consequences I didn’t want to face or have the girls face. It did no good to squawk. As you know, I have asked for others to help, and often found that ineffective also. I almost quit squawking.

What I’m trying to learn now is squawk EFFECTIVELY. Just as we are to keep coming back to God to make our requests, we need to keep bringing this before others, not sugar-coated, not minimized…also not exaggerated or sensationalized. Just out there to see. Real. Visible enough to create cognitive dissonance. I squawk…in the form of my true stories, told with real swear words, to create identification with my thoughts and feelings as I lived it, and hopefully produce some “accommodation” that will equip someone to be a more effective helper/responder. Or maybe give enabling words to someone “running a gauntlet” so they can identify their own feelings and reality, and know they can have something better.

I want to GENTLY apply just enough FORCE (in words) to INFLUENCE those in my circle. It’s kind of strange, because I don’t think my readers include too many of the people who, in my opinion, need to change their views. Maybe this is just practice in putting it out there.

A sweet blogger friend recognizes such stories as “sacred.” Your stories are sacred also. Pointless suffering becomes meaningful. Victims become over comers and advocates. Maybe, weirdly, evil begets good.

Squawk.

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