The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Faces of Domestic Violence

October 27, 2012

John Davis: ‘Defined by your actions and inactions’

Elwood police officer says abusive past helped shape his life

ELWOOD, Ind. — John Davis wants his pain to make a difference.

He’s hopeful sharing what he experienced and witnessed growing up will empower someone else to leave a dangerous situation or avoid it altogether.

John, now an Elwood police officer, was in and out of more than 30 foster homes growing up, as well as several long stints in what was once known as the Bronnenberg Children’s Home.

He witnessed his mom be beaten by nearly every man she was with after his father and was a victim himself at the hands of his own mother even being sent to the hospital with severe injuries.

This abuse had a huge affect on him, as it does on many children who grow up in that kind of environment. Eighty-two percent of children growing up in an abusive home end up becoming domestic violence victims or perpetrators in their adult life.

Thankfully, John is one of the 18 percent who don’t follow that pattern. But it still affected him in several negative ways.

“I was absolutely unprepared for an adult relationship,” he said. “I was a crappy husband and father. I ruined my marriage with an awesome woman. I’m so lucky I got another shot with another amazing wife. My kids didn’t get the father they deserved when they were young though, and I am making up for that now.”

John stressed that he was never abusive. That behavior, as well as drug and alcohol consumption, were things he was so afraid of falling into as he was raised amongst it. So he avoids them altogether.

John realized he destroyed his marriage and wanted to get help. He sought therapy, began reading and took action to become the man he wanted to be.

His past helped lead him to a career path in law enforcement, and John hopes sharing his story can help those he comes in contact with as an officer. John said he talks to those arrested about his past and their own experience during the 30 minute drive between Elwood and the jail in Anderson. Many of them, like him, came from a violent background.

“I’ve come to understand that one is not defined by their parents actions or inactions,” he said. “You are, however, defined by your actions and inactions. I decided that I was not the person that my family deserved, and I began to make a change.”

As a police officer, John has responded to countless domestic violence calls, many of them with male victims.

“Males can, and are, victims too,” he said. “They are much less likely to report the crime though, often because they are embarrassed. They are raised to be strong and tough and not to reach out for help. We as a community need to do a better job making men aware of the resources out there for them and that the help out there isn’t just for women.”

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Faces of Domestic Violence
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  • John Davis: ‘Defined by your actions and inactions’

    John Davis wants his pain to make a difference. He’s hopeful sharing what he experienced and witnessed growing up will empower someone else to leave a dangerous situation or avoid it altogether.

    October 27, 2012

  • ‘It was life-altering’

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    Gender stereotypes are just one thing that Todd Cawthorn and five other speakers, during a 90-minute panel discussion Tuesday night, talked about that create an environment where domestic violence is accepted.

    October 23, 2012 3 Photos

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    Dating violence has been seen locally in relationships as young as sixth grade, Alternatives Inc. prevention specialist Todd Cawthorn said.

    October 22, 2012 2 Photos

  • 1021 news pendleton town court 020.jpg Justice for victims

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    October 20, 2012 1 Photo

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  • Where to find help

    Alternatives Inc., 24-hour crisis line
    (765) 643-0200 or (866) 593-9999
    Kandi Floyd, Christy Clark, Dara Tracy -- victim’s advocates
    Victims Assistance Program, Madison County Sheriff’s Department
    (765) 646-4078 or (765) 646-4079
    Gay Doss, Jaime Wilhoite -- victim assistance providers
    Victim Assistance Program, Madison County Prosecutor‘s Office
    (765) 641-9673
    Melinda Padgett, Karla Montgomery, Alison Lutz, Gracie Roman, Laura Evans -- victim assistance providers
    Victim Assistance Unit, Anderson Police Department
    (765) 648-6773, Lessa Johnson, Christy Jones -- victim assistance specialists
    Sowers of Seeds Counseling, Batters’ Intervention Program
    (765) 649-3452
    Vaughn Walker -- supervisor

    Anonymous The Herald Bulletin Fri, October 12
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