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Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | NOVEMBER 26, 2012 6:30 AM

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Volunteer for Compeer

Thank you to the Iowa City Chamber of Commerce for honoring the Compeer Program as NonProfit of the Year at the 2012 “Toast to our Communities” breakfast on Nov. 15.  

It has been my privilege to serve as a Compeer Board member and as a Compeer volunteer friend. The Compeer Program matches community volunteers in friendship with individuals in treatment for a mental illness.  

My Compeer friend Mary has enriched my life. Thank you, Mary. We chat on the phone, go out for coffee, shop together, and enjoy each other’s company. Please consider joining me as a volunteer Compeer friend. We have a friend waiting for you. “Precious are all things that come from friends.” Theocritus (250 BC)

Sherri Zastrow
Coralville resident

Advocation for greater awareness

I was pleased to read the article in your paper about the efforts of the Strategic Communications Campaigns class in the School of Journalism at the University of Iowa to “advocate for greater awareness and openness to discuss dating-violence issues.” College men attended the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event, there was a spaghetti dinner, and the campus was blanketed with posters and fliers.

While I highly commend this effort, I respectfully suggest that if victims and offenders were informed of the disorder the abusers are possibly suffering from, progress could finally be made in breaking the cycle of violence.

Dr. Donald Dutton at the University of British Columbia has done extensive studies and research into the behavior of abusers. He says that up to 60 percent of abusers suffer from borderline personality disorder.

I experienced an emotionally abusive relationship with a former partner. I didn’t know that my partner was suffering from borderline personality disorder — a “thinking” disorder that makes people misperceive the interactions they have with others, overreact, and then act out all the rage they still have stored inside from their abusive childhoods.

The core symptom of a borderline is seen as frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment with inappropriate, intense rage, and difficulty controlling anger. That’s why behavior looks like jealousy and control. These are how our abused, neglected and abandoned children grown up.

My book Breaking Free from Boomerang Love seems to help abuse victims distinctly see how disturbed their partner is — and the reality of their situation. This seems to enable them to more clearly understand the danger they’re living in and to begin planning how to safely leave.

Domestic-violence abusers need professional mental-health help to understand the intense feelings that are causing their behavior. However, their victims deserve to be informed of the disorder their partner is possibly suffering from so they can be empowered to make their own decisions.

Lynn Melville

RE: ‘Lack of transparency disturbing,’ Nov. 16

Good analysis. You’re advocating what I call “Crisis Communications 101” — some basic guidelines for how to deal with situations like this, whether corporate, the White House, or universities — that continue to be ignored by institutions’ leadership notwithstanding the ever-mounting case studies of their value

Nicholas Johnson

If, in fact [Peter Gray] should have been fired based on the findings of the investigation and wasn’t will be the most troubling question that needs to be answered. The rest of all the “reviewing” and changing policy to prevent a future mistake is all well and good, but it is just window dressing to avoid the possible cover-up.

The perception of the UI is often referred to as “Holier than thou” or living [in its] own cocoon.

The way this is being handled so far only strengthens that perception. One wonders how many other situations have been dealt with the same way. Remember the football players a few years ago? Same thing. If the mother of the victim hadn’t been an advocate, that incident would have gone away as well.

It is really a sorry statement that public employees can isolate themselves so well and believe they have made the correct decisions. It is a systemic failure of the whole administration that continues to perpetuate itself.

Letting the president, etc., investigate without outside help is telling the fox to guard the hen house. The regents should take this on themselves.

It will be very interesting if some or any of the alleged victims of Gray come forward. I hope they do, and then the truth will come out.

Dave Huston


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