Category Archives: News

I Cannot Tell You Why I Stayed

The Janay and Ray Rice controversy sparked an outpouring of support for victims of domestic violence and has motivated many survivors to tell their stories about why they stayed. It also has many people who are unfamiliar with domestic violence wondering why anyone would stay in an abusive relationship. As a survivor of domestic violence I will say I am not entirely sure why I stayed.

Several years ago, I was almost murdered by a boyfriend and afterwards, I stayed. It was not a violent relationship initially. After the first six months, he increasingly shouted and yelled at me, but he never put his hands on me until the night he almost took my life.

Family members ridiculed me and called me stupid for staying. I thought it was cruel to call me stupid. Intelligence and emotional intelligence are two vastly different things. I cannot tell you why I stayed. I cannot pinpoint an exact reason or come up with a clear answer to that question, but after looking back on my life and some of the things I’ve lived through and witnessed, I understand what may have contributed to my tolerance and acceptance of abusive treatment and behavior.

As a young teenager, I survived rape by two “friends” who were never prosecuted or held accountable for this crime. The only person I told about it, a boyfriend, invalidated me and called me a slut.

Going even farther back in time, as a young child I was exposed to some seriously questionable behavior within my family. Crazy relatives. Abusive ones. I remember arriving at my relatives house on Christmas Day and seeing my aunt’s face bandaged because her husband punched her. I recall on more than one occasion taking a ride with my mother to a pawn shop to pick up my aunt’s wedding ring (that her husband pawned again for God-knows-what-reason). I had a grandmother who took beatings from her son, hid it for years and gave him her life savings to keep him out of harm’s way and from getting in trouble. Furthermore if anyone confronted her about this or tried to call the cops on him, she would turn on them and make them sorry for trying to help her. I saw her lie to law enforcement on more than one occasion to protect him from being held accountable for his crimes against her. It is no wonder I never ran away at the first or even second sign of abuse in unhealthy relationships after living through all of this and more.

Clearly the recurring theme here is the normalization and acceptance of abusive behavior and the long term effect it had on me because I witnessed it as a child. Then later in life as a victim, blamed again and again for being raped probably contributed to my tolerance of these dangerous situations and caused me to blame myself for what was happening.

It is understandable why a person who has never experienced domestic violence firsthand is confused as to why someone would stay. They are trying to reason with and make sense of this behavior, but it is not reasonable and it does not make sense. Even after living through it, I don’t pretend to have the answers. I can only share with you my personal experience and reasoning processes during those times. There were a lot of feelings of confusion, helplessness and also a lot of irrational justification.

To help people understand why women and men stay in abusive relationships and to show support for others in these situations, my book I Know Why They Call a Shell a Shell: Tales of Love Lost at Sea will be available as a FREE download via Amazon from September 12th to September 16th. The book is a creative non-fiction story about the empty existence that is life inside an abusive relationship told firsthand by me. By sharing my story, I hope to reiterate to those who are currently in an abusive relationship that they are not alone and to give insight to those who may not understand why someone would stay a snapshot into the mind of a domestic abuse victim.

FREE copies of my Ebook I Know Why They Call a Shell a Shell: Tales of Love Lost at Sea are available until September 16th so please get your FREE download available here.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

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We already had an Assault Weapons Ban, Remember?

Guns Used in Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre

“In addition to the gunman, blood is on the hands of members of Congress and the Connecticut legislators who voted to ban guns from all schools in Connecticut (and most other states). They are the ones who made it illegal to defend oneself with a gun in a school when that is the only effective way of resisting a gunman,” says Larry Pratt.

What is wrong with Larry Pratt, of Gun Owners of America and those who think like him? Tonight on “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” he pretty much admitted his intention to commit treasonous acts against the United States government.

During the show, Pratt resisted the proposition of legislation for an assault weapons ban. But why? Did everybody forget that this assault weapons ban legislature is not new? That at one time it did exist and was signed into law in 1994 by former President Bill Clinton? The ban lasted for 10 years until President Bush, who promised to renew the ban during his 2004 bid for office, inevitably let it expire.

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Fluffy’s Law

Horrific news from Connecticut today. Between these senseless murders and all of the other bad news out there regarding animal murders (most recently dead puppies skinned a live in PA, dolphins being shot to death etc)… I made a petition this morning after seeing this about a local dog on Facebook:

Of course since this morning, 27 people (18 children) have been murdered a few towns over from me- by no means do I want to overshadow that atrocity (I just happened to write this before hand and need 25,000 signatures by January 13th!).

This petition, Fluffy’s Law, is going to the White House to demand harsher penalties for animal murderers and abusers. These horrific crimes upset all of us, but until more people put their words and thoughts of outrage into action, little will be done.

I put my thoughts and words into action and made a petition. Most people are too apathetic to sign it! Don’t be most people! I know what most of them are thinking, “I don’t have to sign it someone else will, no big deal.” Well ya, it is a big deal because I need 25,000 signatures and at the moment, I only have three (and one of them is, you guessed it, MINE!). C’mon people!

Please click here to sign Fluffy’s Law

The Petition reads:

Fluffy’s Law:

After going missing, Coty, a local dog was found murdered. Coty had been missing and rather than report the stray dog to the local animal shelter, the last person who saw Coty alive brutally shot him and disposed of his body in the Housatonic River.

These types of things happen every day. This year in my home state, we have seen senseless stabbings of llamas, and the beheading of cats. Recently in Pennsylvania, a bag of dead puppies was found. The puppies were skinned alive. In the last month dolphin carcasses have shown up on the Atlantic Coast with gun shot and stab wounds! Last year someone shot three seals point blank in the head on Cape Cod- I could go on and on… And the worst part, no one has been found or convicted for any of the above crimes!

US animals are subjected to random killings, bestiality, torture, neglect and abuse. With little protection, very few people are ever convicted for these heinous crimes. Even when they are caught, the punishment is for killing or abusing an animal is typically a “slap on the wrist.”

Let’s ensure that the punishment for the unlawful killing and abuse of domestic and wild animals results in a comparable punishment for the same crime enacted on a human being. Yes. I’m talking 20 years to life in prison and/or the death penalty for these sick animal murderers and abusers. Harsher punishment for these types of criminals may be the only thing to deter them from committing more of these disturbing crimes.

Please sign this petition and share it with as many people as possible!


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Local Brothers Start Storm Sandy Pet Drive

Dale Participates in the Pet Food Drive Efforts and "Guards" the Donations

It’s no surprise that shortly after storm Sandy hit, Marco Deriu of Waterbury, CT was on the front lines helping with recovery efforts: Deriu has a history of serving the public and for many years was a volunteer firefighter and EMT. He and his brother, Roberto “Chester” Deriu, have an equal hand in this charitable endeavor and made it a joint effort to start a pet supply drive for the animals displaced by Hurricane Sandy. So far their efforts have received both encouragement and donations from Good Samaritans, who have donated food, bedding and toys, but the drive has just begun and will continue until November 26th.
Both brothers are animal lovers. In fact, Marco is also the proud owner of two very lucky rescued canines, Dale and JR.
Marco found Dale running around the intersection of Silver Street and Hamilton Avenue in Waterbury. He stopped in the road to get him out of the intersection. When he opened his door, Dale jumped into Marco’s car before he could get out of the car to grab him! At that time, Marco noticed the dog was beaten, malnourished (so badly that he could see the pup’s ribcage sticking out from underneath his skin) and had terrible ear infections. That day, Deriu took him home, fed him, bathed him and the next morning, brought him to the veterinarian.
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Ghosts: Not Just a Halloween Pastime for this Connecticut Resident

For most people, ghosts are only thought about during Halloween. Not for Jo Johnson, the Middlebury Medium. For as long as she can remember, Johnson has been able to communicate with dead people, or more accurately stated: the dead have been able to communicate with her.

“When I was a young child, a lot of things came to me, sometimes in dreams and sometimes I just knew things without having any logical way of knowing them.”

It wasn’t until Johnson moved out of her family’s home and into her first apartment that she was able to take note of this post-mortem prowess. The first time she walked up the stairs to her new second floor apartment, she sensed that something was not right.

“Upon entering the room, I was surrounded by warmth. It’s difficult to explain, but to most accurately describe it, it was as if someone was breathing on me from every direction.”

Johnson dismissed the incident as very strange and rented the apartment anyways. About a week later she received a call from a friend who urged her to immediately abandon the abode.

“At first, I didn’t understand the urgency of her call. Then she told me a man brutally murdered his wife and hid her body under a bed in the apartment.”

Not only did the grizzly crime occur in bedroom where Johnson had been sleeping, but only one month had passed between the date of the murder and the day she moved in.

“I took all my stuff and left that day.”

Though she immediately vacated the apartment and moved into a new one, she could not shake her gift. Not long after moving in to her new place, she woke up and found a woman and a girl adorned in Victorian Era clothing staring at her. Though it was quite alarming, it did not scare Johnson into moving again.

“Nobody was murdered there,” she jokes.

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Out of Dough?

Target, Bread Aisle, Hayley Rose 2012

Ok. So it’s hard to believe that we are having another record storm just days before Halloween and exactly one year after last year’s Hurricane Irene disaster.

Last year I was suppose to go down to The City with a girlfriend. We were going to meet up with this tattooed guy I was dating at the time. That Friday, she tried her darndest to convince me to drive to Stamford from Waterbury as the snow storm commenced. I hate to break it to you, I said, but this is going to be a blizzard. She insisted I come. Her Cinderella costume was burning a hole in her hanger. No, I really cannot make it, I told her, and then proceeded to explain that my Kia Sportage would not be able to make it up the slight incline (that is my street) even with a 1/4 inch of snow (ever since the four wheel drive kicked the bucket it has been completely useless in bad weather).

She wasn’t happy and drove off to her stylist to get her hair done. She called me on the way back insisting I drive down (the 1.5 hour trek which would likely take at least four hours to accomplish in the snowy weather if I ever made it). So I stayed here. She insisted on going to The City but ended up camping out in a local hotel with her family. Like me, they had lost power. I was house sitting a bird. If you happen to lose power while house sitting a tropical bird in freezing cold weather, it’s quite stressful. The  key is to insulate the bird’s cage by covering it in tons of blankets.

Several days later power came back on, both the bird and I survived, but other areas, like Manchester and West Hartford went without power for two weeks.  That better not happen this year. It’s bad enough that I went to Target this afternoon and could not get a loaf of their mocha bread. Below is a picture taken at the Southington, Connecticut Target this afternoon at 2 PM ET.

Bread aisle, Target. Hayley Rose 2012

To all my friends, especially Connecticut and Tri-State area peeps, please keep me posted on your weather info, conditions and updates! You can leave comments on this blog, email me or tweet me your Storm Sandy News. I will be reporting on the weather from the CT area on Huff Post Live tomorrow at 12 PM Eastern time and again at 4.


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Has Slave Labor Come to America?

Those under the impression that the United State’s free market is actually free couldn’t be more wrong. This so-called “free” market is actually costing American taxpayers money and lots of it. Unfortunately, slave labor and wages have come to a neighborhood near you via your most popular retailers. Many of our country’s favorite corporations do not pay workers a living wage. How could the retailers we loyally shop at treat us so badly in return?

Instead of paying workers a living wage, these places opt to pay the government’s bare minimum wage requirements. Paying employees the modern day equivalent of a slave wages not only adds another helping or two to these corporation’s already obese profit margins, but does so on the taxpayer’s dimes.

Last week marks the first ever successful strike for Walmart employees. It’s no surprise the retailer has long gotten away with underpaying and exploiting their workers and then sending us the bill. Whether you shop at big corporations with bad reputations (like Walmart) or not, if you are a taxpayer, you are being short-changed by this very company and others of its caliber. How is that, you say? Slave wages have come to America and you are paying the price.

Don’t let Walmart fool you. Just because they aren’t paying their American employees $0.55 an hour (a rate of pay that exceeds the hourly wages of their sweat shop workers in China) doesn’t mean Americans aren’t receiving slave wages. The average Walmart worker makes $8.81 an hour, $15,576 per year which is below the poverty line for a family of two or more and low enough a wage for even a household of one to qualify for public assistance and food stamps. Walmart reaped over $400 billion in global profits last year and your hard-earned taxes helped foot a bill that Walmart could’ve easily took care of.

Walmart workers, as a group, are the largest food stamp recipients in the country totaling $2.66 billion annually. That’s right, Walmart, a company that makes more than $400,000,000,000 a year is taking more than $2,660,000,000 out of tax payers pockets annually because they have refused to pay their workers a living wage. Not only has Walmart callously expected the taxpayers to pick up the slack, but the government has allowed them to get away with it! In fact, reports say Walmart has direct knowledge of this and directly assist employees in applications for both food stamps and Medicaid. And that is not all. Walmart also takes millions, perhaps billions in tax breaks, free land and other government subsidies.

There are slave laborers in America and they are right under our noses. We encounter these workers every day of the week. Some may argue that minimum wage is far from slave labor, but without government assistance and food stamps, these workers would be starving and homeless. How are these not slave wages? Additionally, “Walmart’s intentionally low wages and lack of covered benefits cost taxpayers over $1.02 BILLION a year in healthcare costs.”

Of course, many of our biggest retailers are guilty of paying intentionally low wages at the cost of the tax-payers (McDonald’s, K-Mart, Target), but Walmart is the worst of this motley crew. Since Walmart began its move into a neighborhood near you, wages have decreased; small business have closed and been shipped over seas; the poverty level has sky-rocketed; and we lost a total of 196,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector because of the company’s imports from China.

With Walmart employees accounting for 1% of the country’s working population, it seems that proper government intervention is needed to redirect this burden back to the retail giant and away from the country’s working class citizens. The six heirs to the Walmart fortune are worth the same as the bottom 40% of Americans: Sam Walton’s six living family members are worth the same amount of money as approximately 1,250,000 Americans!

Many of these 40%ers happen to fall in the category Mitt Romney regards as the 47%, or as his constituent Daryl Metcalfe describes them “people that are living off the public dole, living off their neighbors’ hard work, and we have a lot of people out there that are too lazy to get up and get out there.” Au contraire. It appears to be the other way around, some type of Reverse Robin Hood, if you will…

Walmart could easily afford to pay their associates an extra $5,000 per year. Though this would cost them an extra $7 billion annually, they would still reap record profits and this time with a clear conscience. However, it seems that having a clear conscience is not all that important to them.

For years Governor Romney and his countless Republican pals have championed the free market system as a self-governing entity that has resulted in a fair chance for businesses to not only regulate themselves through supply and demand, but to fairly exercise business ethics and morals based on societal need. Of course, this is a joke; we all know what happens when you leave a young child alone with a big sack full of Halloween candy. The only difference here is that when a child’s sibling or baby sitter enters the room and unexpectedly finds the child scarfing down candy in all his glory, the child might offer them some. But not Walmart and like-minded conglomerates.

Walmart should change their symbol of a smiley face to a picture of a leech. But with all six of Walmart’s heirs being a group of shamelessly obese hogs, such a sign might be an insult to leeches.

It’s an insult to every American that most Walmarts have a huge American flag hanging proudly outside their premises. Until further notice, the flags should be taken down and replaced with a sign that reads, “Walmart: enemy of the state. Destroying the American dream one community at a time.”


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The Self-Proclaimed “53%”

While Romney very accurately expresses the core values of what the Republican Party has become, there is a subgroup within the 47% that openly agrees with these principles. This group, refers to themselves as “the 53%” and post 99% meme-esque photos (in which they take a picture of themselves holding up a paper detailing their struggles related to this debate). Unlike 99%ers, who held up pictures detailing how Obamacare initiatives saved their lives and so on, the 53% hold up signs detailing their poverty-stricken struggles, debt-ridden lives, and how proud they are to take on these burdens because living in squalor is always better than the alternative which they cite as depending on the government.

What started off as a response to 2011’s Occupy Wall Street protest has never been more pertinent than it is today. And after Romney’s now infamous 47% dinner party revelation, it’s hard to believe that parts of the 47% will still vote for him, and it’s likely many of those individuals consider themselves to be 53%ers.

Not surprisingly, the 53% posters represent Republican spin at its best, after all, the party has slowly been brainwashing people for years to blame the poor for (insert random economic issue here) and unfortunately, many do. This is incorrect, of course, because corporate welfare and tax breaks have almost always exceeded all of the social welfare combined. Who’s the lazy one now, Daryl Metcalf?

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The Face of the 47%

I graduated college in the Fall of 2008, right after the big stock market crash in October. Lucky me. When I came home from school, I was fortunate enough to work per diem at my pre-college job for $9 an hour with no benefits and no union.

They had avoided giving me raises for two years (I was due a $0.30 raise per year). I finally called them on it, and they said they would have to get back to me.

Another raise-less week passed by before I received a phone call informing me that instead of giving me my $0.30 a year raise, they would only be giving me a raise of $0.20 for one year and $0.15 for the other. This had nothing to do with my job performance (as it was documented as “spotless” during reviews by my supervisor).

Yet I could understand why this had happened. Shorting me and other staff members of our wages would only serve one person: the owner, whose fleet of luxury vehicles mocked us every time he pulled into the driveway.

I was working at a privately-owned hospital. Though I was not happy about my low wage, I felt worse for the certified nurse’s aids. They did so much work, the dirtiest work there was, and they too only made $9 an hour.

After working there for a month or so after college graduation, a supervisor came to work ill (though she was aware that she had pneumonia) and a few days later, I was in the emergency room refusing chest X-rays. My bill for the emergency room visit and the medication was already nearing $600. I could not afford another $400 for X-rays to tell me what I already knew: that I now had pneumonia.
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Huff Post Live

I have been on a few more Huff Post Live segments since I last wrote blogged, however, the following link is to only one of those shows. I thought if you saw any of them, you should see this very special one which features the brilliant Dr. Deepak Chopra


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