LIMA — Taking a walk. Sleeping with the windows open. Going out to dinner. These are things that Angela Garcia, 36, said she can do now that she is free from her husband, who emotionally and physically harmed Garcia and her three sons, Max, 6, Donovan, 7 and Gabe, 10, since before 2007.
Garcia has moved eight times in the past four years, trying to escape her aggressor. But the mother of three is moving on from her experience and wants to share her story and the resources available in Lima with others.
“Those emotions and scars, you learn how to deal with them. But they don’t go away,” she said. “You learn how to adapt and overcome them. But you always have this fear in the back of your head and trust issues in the back of your head and safety issues in the back of your head.”
When Carlin and Andrea Glenn were shot and killed by Randy Glenn on July 26 at 9 Beaumont Place, it served as a reminder just how serious domestic violence situations can become, even in Lima.
Randy Glenn, 45, sent threatening text messages to his estranged wife while en route to Lima from his new home in Georgia. Carlin Glenn, 46, filed a report. A few hours later, Randy Glenn walked into his wife’s home in Lima and used a handgun to shoot their 20-year-old daughter, Andrea Glenn. He then chased down Carlin Glenn, who ran across the street for help. She was fatally shot while standing in a neighbor’s driveway. Randy Glenn then turned the gun on himself.
Before the July 26 double murder and suicide, Randy Glenn had three domestic violence complaints filed against him by both Andrea Glenn and Carlin Glenn.
A similar situation unfolded Jan. 27 when 51-year-old Raymond Collins, of Lima, was charged with strangling his girlfriend, Teresa Burge, 43, to death. Though he did not commit suicide, a similar form of escalated domestic violence was involved.
These two situations are what concerns Garcia, that women aren’t getting the help they need, even when women like Carlin Glenn make reports to the police.
“What can happen when women don’t get help — that’s a big concern of mine. There’s a lot of women in my position who don’t get any help,” she said. “The incident the other week in town, that should never happen. There should be more places, more safety guards, more resources. It just flabbergasts me.”
Domestic violence in Lima
Lima does have a few valuable resources for battered women, one main resource being Crossroads Crisis Center. The facility is an emergency battered women’s shelter and though it’s small, its staff are experts in the field of domestic violence.
“We see survivors. If you live through it, you’re a survivor,” said Emily Wrencher, director of Crossroads Crisis Center. “I think that there’s a long, hard road — a struggle to get from the mind-set of being a victim to the mind-set that you’re a survivor.”
Wrencher said the process of healing is what her staff sees a lot. Her shelter knows the “ins and outs” of domestic violence and how to take care of battered women.
“They’re on their own personal journey. It’s our privilege to plant the seeds. Sometimes we get to reap the harvest, but sometimes we don’t,” Wrencher said. “Sometimes we see that and sometimes we don’t get to. You just hope that someday they will get to their own happiness.”
Wrencher said that though 48 percent of domestic violence crimes go unreported, Crossroads Crisis Center provided safe emergency shelter to 61 women and 90 children in 2011, assisted 212 women at the Lima Municipal Court, which represented 258 children, and assisted 612 nonresidential women, which represented 675 children in 2011.
Furthermore, she said national statistics show a woman usually tries to leave her abuser eight to nine times before she is actually able to do so. She said nationally, nearly 6 million cases are reported per year.
Another Lima resource is Samaritan House, who serves homeless and abused women and children. About one-third of the residents are victims of domestic violence, Director Marilyn Cipollone said.
“As we work on their stress struggles, naturally it changes them,” said Samaritan House case manager, Janel Engberg. “It’s a positive experience that unfolds. Sometimes with domestic violence, it’s so bad that we have to refer them to somewhere else to keep everyone else safe.”
An immediate change
Garcia resides at the Crossroads Crisis Center in Lima, a facility with a confidential location so aggressors cannot track down victims such as Garcia, whose already been found twice.
It all began when she married her husband, Garcia said, when he immediately began to drastically change.
“My marriage was perfect. It was perfect. I had a son before we were married and he was attentive to him. He worked — we were happy. We got married and literally instantly, like the night of our wedding, he was gone for three days,” Garcia said. “I mean I knew right then and there, like what did I do? Two weeks later, he lost his job, three weeks later, he was cheating on me and a month later I was getting beat on.”
From there, she said, she didn’t know what to do. She began to feel like it was her fault he was emotionally and physically abusing her.
“You struggle with that because they convince you it was something you’ve done wrong,” she said. “And I think that’s just the one thing that women don’t understand, is that we are nurturing creatures, so naturally we want to think that there’s something that we’re not doing. There’s something we can do more of. There’s something we’ve done wrong to cause the situation. And that’s not true.”
It wasn’t until an emergency trip to a Toledo hospital that Garcia hit her rock bottom and realized she had to get out of the situation.
“What really got me was that I had taken so many nerve pills that I was unconscious in my house for three days with no help, and my husband had found me and he left me there. He didn’t call an ambulance. He left me there to die,” she said.
Garcia realized after her emergency visit, she would have to get her three children and leave. And she never turned back.
“We tend to wrap ourselves up into people so much that we forget ourselves and it just got to a point where I forgot who I was. My whole life had become somebody else,” she said. “It was all about his needs and his wants and his commands. I didn’t know me anymore.”
But the violence did not stop Garcia and her children from living a positive life, no matter where they go.
“I’m not going to lie, if I didn’t have those kids, I don’t know where I would be. They are the reason I get out of bed. They are the reason I don’t quit, because who’s going to take care of them if I don’t?” Garcia said. “But at the same time, they feel that way about me. I’m the reason they do what they do because they know I won’t quit on them. Because in all their life, I’m the only person that hasn’t left them. Ever. And they know that.”
Garcia said at first, she was upset her three boys would not have a father-figure, but then she realized it was better to have no father than a bad one.
“I think that it’s better to have no man in their life than to have the wrong man in their life. And that’s something I had to struggle with, too, because they are boys because I want them to learn how to fish, and camp and pee on trees out back,” Garcia said, laughing. “But what I realized as my children got older was that, they do that stuff anyways. It’s normal. They learn how to do that stuff anyways, whether they have a man in their life or not.”
What’s next for her? She wants to continue to raise awareness through her story and increase resources for women exactly like her.
“I don’t know where my kids are going to be next week. I don’t know where we’re going to be in a month. But whatever comes our way, we tackle it and we get through it,” Garcia said. “And I think that at this point, I don’t know how much good is going to come out of my situation. But I think that there needs to be more awareness of how serious the situations can be. And how lightly sometimes they’re taken.”
Legal system and domestic violence
So what went wrong after Carlin Glenn filed her report of domestic violence against her estranged husband to the police just hours before her death on July 26?
Lima Police Department Major Chip Protsman explained exactly how his department handles domestic violence calls and reports and deputy law director, Tammie Hirsch, explained how they go about prosecuting those charged with domestic violence.
First, there has to be a complaint or report, usually taken by the dispatchers, Protsman said.
“We know domestic violence can be one of the most volatile things officers can handle,” he said. “We send multiple officers to calls like that just for their safety and the safety of everyone involved.”
They separate the parties immediately and determine who the primary aggressor is, he said. The aggressor will be arrested immediately if he or she is still on the property, Protsman said. If the aggressor has fled the property, he said, usually they will either issue a warrant for the person or actively search for him or her.
“Officers will take the report and gather as much information as they can and then they’ll go out and look for that person,” Protsman said.
Protsman said if a call is made and an arrest is made, at that point, the charges will be filed. More often than not, Protsman said aggressors are not allowed to put money up for bail and are required to stay confined until their first court appearance.
“There is no bond that they can post to get out,” he said. “Usually it is they have to stay in jail until they appear in front of a judge.”
From there, it’s handed over to Hirsch’s office to prosecute the case. Hirsch said all domestic violence reports are forwarded to her office for review.
“We look at those on a daily basis to make determinations as to what charges to file,” she said. “We have an intake process. Basically Monday through Friday for domestic violence victims, they can come in between 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. and talk with us.”
Her office then decides what charges to file and if the person will get a temporary protection order associated with that domestic violence, she said.
The first appearance an accused aggressor would have to go to is the arraignment where they enter a plea, but more often than not, it’s the pretrial because the victim would be present and a defense attorney, Hirsch said.
Although there are several types of domestic violence charges, Hirsch said, the typical domestic violence charge is a misdemeanor in the first degree with a possible sentence of up to six months, 180 days, in jail and $1,000 fine. There is also the possibility of probation for up to five years, she said.
Jim Everett, chief of deputy for Allen County, said Carlin Glenn did file a charge against Randy Glenn for domestic violence around 9 p.m. July 25, the evening before her death.
Garcia said one problem is that some police departments think when a woman reports domestic violence, she is going to drop the charge further down the road, so they take it too lightly.
“Here’s the other problem that happens in the court system is you get women who they like to say they cry wolf. Some women, they go in and they make the report and then they get strong-armed to drop it,” Garcia said. “And they’re more fearful of what’s going to happen to them if they keep the charges than trusting in the system because the system can take a while.”
That may have been the case with Andrea Glenn because she dropped charges against Randy Glenn in 2010. But Carlin Glenn’s 2011 charge of telecommunications harassment and domestic violence were still pending in the court system.
But there still is hope in Lima, said Donna Dickman, director of the Partnership for Violence Free Families. Her organization offers violence-free classes and programs for mothers, fathers and children.
“When we first started the coalition, 10 years ago, we started with kids,” Dickman said. “They remember things forever — so what they experience, it can really change the way they will treat their significant others in the future.”
Dickman touched on a few programs her coalition offers — the Adult and Children Together Parents Raising Safe Kids program, SafeDates program and a Men Choosing Non-violence program.
The ACT program is offered through the American Psychological Association and they feature few programs for it in Lima. They do one at Apollo Career Center for graduate students and one at their offices every Wednesday beginning Sept. 20 at 4:30 p.m. It’s an eight-week program and goes through how children respond to certain situations.
“The whole goal behind this program is to help parents understand that kids don’t respond the same way as adults. They’re not mini-adults,” she said.
SafeDates is another program offered that is for young adults, grades seven through 12. The program offers state-mandated domestic violence education throughout middle and high schools. Dickman herself has helped train educators for the program, so they can teach Lima’s youth about domestic violence.
“We’ve trained almost all the schools in Allen County, all the schools in Putnam, and one or two schools in Hardin County,” Dickman said. “Usually they’re putting it into the health classes.”
One of the most effective programs is the men against violence program the coalition offers, called Men’s Choosing Non-violence. The group has six to 10 committed men who come together and stand up for domestic violence, she said.
“What it really is, is holding each other accountable,” Dickman said. “If you would know your neighbor is being hurtful to his partner or spouse, you might go over and have a discussion with him. We will call the law enforcement that’s going on.”
On Oct. 4 from 6 to 8 p.m., the organization is going to have a regional forum on how men can be engaged in the movement. Russ Funk, an influential leader in the men against violence movement, is coming to rally Lima’s men. The location has not yet been decided.
And there’s more to look forward to. October is national domestic violence awareness month, and Lima residents will take notice, Dickman said. Dickman said downtown they hang ribbons during a purple ribbon ceremony — one for each woman who comes through Crossroads Crisis Center.
“I think awareness is a way to say this happens right here in our community and we need to address it,” Dickman said. “There’s power in numbers.”