Siouxland Observer

Master of Science

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

30 Second Memory

In a humid world swamp coolers do not work very well, but this did not deter a man named Carl.  He tired anyway.  A maintenance man at Swift and Company, Carl couldn’t afford air conditioning for his family.  So instead he found a coarse piece of burlap and stretched it out on a wooden frame.  By adding water, and a fan to bring air through the burlap, the man tried to cool his family on hot, steamy nights.

Initially, improvement came best (at least for his boys) late at night hunkered down behind the burlap wall.  Interestingly, a powerful fan in the kitchen window helped (found somewhere at Sears on a shelf in a box).  It pulled warm air out of the house, and replaced it with cool air coming in from other windows in other rooms  and, in the case of the back bedroom, through a burlap sack drenched with water from a garden hose.

There were readymade machines called "swamp coolers," or evaporative coolers, of course. They actually existed, but the boys didn't know this. (This picture of the standard window machine is on Wikipedia.  It is reproduced in accordance with Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 legal code.)

Learning about this machine came only from hard work or worldly experience.  Yes, some could grab an encyclopedia (the best would have had the answer), or talked to someone who had lived in a desert (where such machines are common), but such things were beyond the experience of the boys in the back bedroom.  They only knew dad had another bright idea and, of course, that the family couldn’t afford real air conditioning.

This didn’t stop Carl though (and many other fathers like him), because when the project was finished, he was off to another. The classic tinkerer.

And so, just like in countless households across America, dad disappeared into his "shop."  In this household, however, a powerful, industrial-like fan (forcing air outside from inside the house) worked wonders.  Even while venting the mysterious smells up from the basement in their many, varied forms of sawed wood, burnt wire, transformers and solder.

Of course, it is easy these days to learn about stuff.  Instead of looking in books, or walking to the library, learning comes from a computer, tablet or iphone.  The site for some of the information found here is on Wikipedia, and was "dialed up" from a desktop.  It took 30 seconds.

(A little longer to find this video though.  Although not much....)

Monday, September 07, 2015

Help for Abused Men

  1. Escaping Domestic Violence by Women or Partner
  2. Domestic Violence Against Men: Know the Signs
  3. The National Domestic Violence Hotline
For each and every woman abused by a man, there are 3 (or more) women whose men do not abuse them at all (estimated from and These men do not fall under the jurisdiction of the criminal justice system.  Good news. But for those who do, it's often a county prosecutor waiting to say hello.

Men report, unfortunately, that they are often not welcome when seeking help.

In a small eastern Nebraska county, for example, Wayne County Attorney, Michael E. Pieper, spoke openly about his concerns, and how he stops domestic abuse.

"Typically,” Pieper said, "we prosecute vigorously (in Wayne County). Obviously, there are situations where the spouse, or others, are not desirous of that happening.  But we always fear greater harm; and therefore, yes, we take an aggressive stance on domestic violence situations.  Absolutely."

Domestic violence is never simple.  Family members have a say in what happens to abusers, and many times women, and even the men, feel they deserve "punishment."  Many abusers get a second, third or even fourth chance to change their ways.

In the interview with Pieper (during the mid-to-late 2000s), he made it clear it was important to move quickly on cases in order to gain control of the situation.  Unfortunately, change is difficult.  Because abuse is a learned behavior, what happens is simple:

"They repeat," Pieper said, "and they escalate."

Domestic violence if left unchecked often becomes deadly, and moving swiftly to stop the escalation can save lives.  This has not always been easy.  In the past, for example, the criminal justice system had very few options, and according to Wayne State College professor Paul Campbell, when the violence turned deadly, there was little anyone could do.

"Every once and a while,” said Campbell, "some family would be run out of town because their problem boiled over.  But for the most part people ignored it. Women just went home and died."

Not anymore....

Women have made remarkable gains, and services for women and their children abound.  But men not so much.  For men too are abused, and all too often (even for men abusing who want to stop), there are few services.  The video shared here shows another side of domestic violence.  Male Victims of Domestic Violence also explores the topic, although the glass slipper analogy in this video is awkward at times.  Simply put: men can need help too.

Once, there were many reasons to justify abuse.  Men had learned, for example, they should "keep their woman in line," and intimidation, coercion, threats and physical violence worked.  Unfortunately, women today are cheered for much the same thing.  In another video from Men Are this problem is explored, and Judge Pirro hits it "spot-on."

In the old days, men could get away with abuse (and in some cultures still can).  Ironically, one of the most cited justifications abusers used came from the Bible.  Should women use the Bible too? A unisex understanding might say: “Sure, why not?”  But the true lesson for men is apt for women too.

Sadly, even men being abused are often seen as a batterer.  The stigma is a two-edged sword.  Many men are darned if they do; darned if they don’t.

"Christ is indeed, the Saviour of the body," Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians.  "But just as the church is subject to Christ, so must women be to their husbands in everything,” Paul said, according to the New English Bible, Ephesians 5:22-24:


"In loving his wife a man loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own body: on the contrary, he provides and cares for it; and that is how Christ treats the church, because it is his body, of which we are living parts.”

The criminal justice system finally caught up with the injustice of domestic abuse around 1989, and according to District Judge Robert Ensz in Wayne County, women were finally able to get meaningful relief through the Protection from Domestic Abuse Act.

"Essentially what that did," Ensz said, (was allow) “victims of domestic violence to file a request for what were referred to as protection orders—which were essentially a restraining order—that prohibited the other party from disturbing the peace, from coming on the property or, if a person already lived there, to exclude him or her from the property."

As women gained this power, the balance shifted.  This is a good thing.  Personal protection orders are tools victims of domestic abuse can utilize in nonemergency situations, but domestic abuse agencies, and their staff, must work harder at being available to men as well.
Sites for men and women seeking help:
  1. Escaping Domestic Violence by Women or Partner
  2. The National Domestic Violence Hotline
  3. Domestic Violence Against Men: Know the Signs
Agencies routinely work with other community services throughout most states and cities to secure living space for the victims of domestic abuse.  Most shelters, and other services, help develop safety plans and educate community and family members.  Men report, unfortunately, that they are often not welcomed when seeking help.

Batterers education programs are educational programs designed to help abusers overcome the negative behaviors that destroy their lives, and the lives of their loved-ones. It teaches men and women how to stop using controlling and abusive behaviors in relationships.

Denise Palmer, a project coordinator for Haven House, a women’s abuse shelter in Nebraska, worked in the South Sioux City satellite office when this article was first published.  Batterer's programs were more readily available in South Sioux City because it served a larger urban area

"Sometimes we get them (men volunteering for the batterer’s program)," Palmer said. "It depends if they really want to save their relationship….  But you don’t see it a lot because it's getting into the point of accepting that they are a batterer."

Sadly, even those being abused are often seen as a batterer.  The stigma is a two-edged sword.  Many men are darned if they do; darned if they don’t.  This must change.  Women, by far, are battered more, but men are battered too.  Alienation for anyone is far worse than simply acknowledging the pain.  Abuse is a place many visit, and both men and women are victims.

Simply, all seeking help, regardless of situation, gender or need, must be accepted and helped.  It is the only way to truly stop domestic violence.  

(This video, in its entirety, shows the problem again.  Who cares about the guy?)

This is the second article on domestic violence (to read the first, please follow this link).