WHAT’S THE POINT — National Domestic Violence Awareness month began with the death of Los Angeles County Probation Officer and Bell Gardens Mayor, Daniel Crespo at approximately 2:30 p.m. the afternoon of Sept. 30. He was admittedly shot by his wife. They had been arguing when she left the room to presumably find his service revolver and returned to fire three shots into his chest.

The case made headlines for a few days as the lurid details leaked out, allegations of years of domestic violence, whispers of his affairs, loans and angry text messages from Lyvette Crespo to one of Daniel’s alleged girlfriends have all added to the tawdry tale.

What bothers me is that Mrs. Crespo has been free after killing her husband. She claims it was self-defense, and their 19-year-old son said it was self-defense when he called 911. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department is continuing to investigate the matter. Her lawyer says she was the victim of years of spousal abuse, but I’d like to point out that the dead guy is traditionally considered the victim.

I am shocked by much of this case. Yet is the deafening silence from those who last month were sharpening their pitchforks for any alleged abuser in the NFL that bothers me more. Specifically Senator Dianne Feinstein who made a very public call for any player alleged to have been an abuser to be suspended from his team, and if convicted, to be banned for life. She has made no public statement on the death of Daniel Crespo. Her office has not responded to one of the four phone calls I made to her press office, nor the two emails that I sent.

I am deeply saddened that the Senator would be aware of the death of a constituent, a fellow public servant and human being, and do nothing. Perhaps I’m too optimistic but I had hoped that I would at least get a stock reply like the “tragedy that has befallen this family and our thoughts are with them at this painful time.” Instead it’s been crickets. A total media blackout from her.

Domestic violence is a tragedy that lives and breathes in the shadows and silences. It is when we don’t speak of it that the cancer of abuse extends into the crevices of our lives. Any survivor of domestic abuse will tell you one of the worst parts, is the constant state of anxiety, the ‘walking on eggshells’ that happens when you can’t share your pain.

This is why we must speak of it. This is why we need our leaders to break the silence and have the discussion that no one wants to have. That domestic violence is a dance between two people, abuser and victim.

On Wednesday of last week I was at the Inter-Agency Council on Abuse and Neglect conference that was held in Pasadena. It was an excellent event and training for the hundreds of social workers, investigators and therapists from the Department of Children and Family Services, and the Department of Mental Health who attended.

The day started with the usual array of politicians and agency spokespeople. District Attorney Jackie Lacey gave brief opening remarks. City attorney Mike Feuer was there, as was retiring Judge Michael Nash who presides over children’s court. There was one very telling event that struck me.

Jerry Powers is the Chief Probation officer for the Los Angeles County Department of Probation. He gave a short speech about the department, and said one thing that stood out to me for its cursory treatment of a tragedy. At this conference that deals with domestic violence he said, “Last week we lost one of our own.” That was it. No mention of Daniel Crespo by name. Nothing about how DV can strike anywhere, just eight little words and then on to the next subject.

If our leaders can’t face a tragedy like the Crespo killing especially at a conference on child abuse, how can we ever hope to break the cycle? If the agencies charged with enforcing our laws want to sweep cases under the rug, and mention them as little as possible, how will we ever stop the dance?

David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at dpisarra@pisarra.com or 310/664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra.

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