Nothing makes any sense

A few posts back I mentioned about publicity.  So much of the good that is going on with Roller Derby is virtually unknown, and yet someone like Kim Kardashian is followed by millions (not just on TV and media, but literally with 6.9 million following her on facebook and 10.9 million on twitter).  And if she and her family are examples of what America is or should be, maybe the Iranians should just come in and set us straight!

a multi-million dollar wedding extravaganza, higher ratings on cable than major league playoffs, and an example of the spoiled 1% that those in the street are protesting about.

And we have literally thousands of Derby people worldwide who are not only skating at their own expense, but doing so much good work in their communities and lives that they deserve so much more.

And then we have Lori Milkeris who has become such a symbol to all of us.  To be beaten and disfigured within an inch of her life by someone she loved and trusted, and now going through the ordeal of surgery and getting her life together, trying to complete her college degree, raising her children and just existing.  And even when her tormentor was sentenced to a long prison term, it has not given her closure but, because of her compassion has caused her even further anxiety.

But she is making it through all of this, and has the love and help of thousands of Derby sisters and brothers.  And because of her and others in Derby, we now have, thanks to Rhea, Derby against Domestic violence on facebook, with over 2300 who have joined and many who have been helped already.

Kristine Milkeris-Smith,  Lori’s sister, has been there to help take care of her, but is now back home with her own family, but is devoting herself to continuing to help and to further get the word out about domestic violence.  She has created purple message bracelets that sell for $2 each to help with Lori’s continuing surgery.  Please go to Lori aid 2011 on facebook or to Kristine’s site (her name).

Please note that at Lori aid 2011 by the photo of the bracelets, there is a link to make a donation through paypal….any amount is great.

And in Doug Martin and my booth at the WFTDA Championships I will be selling the bracelets and taking checks for Lori.  If you don’t want to come by and see me just for the wonderful person I am, at least make certain you stop by to aid a Derby sister who needs your help now.

This societal ill is endemic both within Derby and certainly without.  Many leagues are working to inform and educate their members and outreach to the community through women’s shelters and more.  And there are organizations that men can join who have engaged in violence or want to stop it.  And it is not only limited to violence against women.  Men and children are also victims.

Roller Derby is often what our life is all about; not just the game, but the empowerment, the closeness with others, with doing good for our community.  When you are at the penultimate event of the year in Derby:  the WFTDA Championships, or you are watching on or listening on Derby news network, add to your good feeling by helping someone who really needs you.

I have asked Lori to be my second Derby wife at Rollercon next year,  and she has accepted!   I hope you understand dear Val and Judi.

I like women… updated January 11, 2013 and Lori needs you!

Today I am re-posting the most widely read page of my blog……almost 10,000 of you read the original.

And I am doing it for two reasons:  Lori needs another surgery or the temporary “fix” on her face is in danger, and her sinuses could collapse at any time… really is critical, and once again I hope you respond as you did before after her brutal beating that almost killed her.  Please go to her page on facebook -Lori Aid 2011 – and on the first post you will see her sister Kristine has put the information how you can donate $5 or more to her on paypal.  She needs to raise $75,000.  She has no insurance any more.

And the second reason I am posting is to remind you to look on facebook at “Derby against Domestic Violence” which was created largely because of Lori’s and Rhea’s situations.  Today it has over 2100 on board and I hope you will join too.   Please read the posts on this page (some very disturbing, others with advice and support from those in the same situations), and it may even help you or someone you know.

And don’t forget “Blockers not bullies” also on facebook.

Now read or re-read my most important post ever.

I last saw Lori on November 4th when we both attended the Championships in Atlanta.

It is hard to believe that this beautiful, vibrant woman – who has been through so many painful surgeries- is the subject of this post written  originally a year and a half ago.

Her 16-year old daughter has gotten on with her life after the trauma of seeing her mother with the battered face shown below, and within inches of death.  She is a freshman (!) in college (her first semester: 3 A’s and a B) while Lori is completing her masters degree (!) and working at two jobs trying to keep her head above water and take care of her 5 year-old daughter (who was shielded from this event and does not know of it).  She still requires surgery to restore her right cheek bone; she cannot skate because until she gets the surgery, her sinuses are open to her brain; she cannot even blow her nose.

And Lori, my second Derby wifey, thoroughly enjoyed the championships – she drove her car for 7 hours with friends and all stayed in a room at the Marriott Marquis…..we actually sold $34 worth of her purple and black bracelets to help pay for her continuing medical.  You can go to Lori Aid 2011 and donate if you would like.

Lori was the initial inspiration for Derby Against Domestic Violence, the wonderful facebook site with over 2230 members (please join) who counsel each other, know where to get help for those living in abuse, and more.  If you know somehow in your league or anywhere else in a similar situation, try to help… can be difficult, but you may save someone from what Lori went through or worse.

This is written on February 11, 2012.  Lori is much better, her vision is focusing, still needs more surgery and help.  If you would like to see current photos, go to Lori Aid 2011 on facebook, and you will see the posting also by her sister Kristine which gives her paypal account.  She really wants to go to Rollercon, but she cannot fly and must go by surface from Florida…..anyone driving in July to Las Vegas?

(August 22nd update)  Today Lori returned to classes towards her Masters in Social Workers.  It is still a struggle for her, her life in shambles for the past months and struggling to recover.  But she is an inspiration to all (see Lori Aid 2011 on Facebook).  Well she and I kicked around an idea that will require all of  you to help establish.  Read (or re-read this again) and then I will let you know shortly when I will be posting what we want to do that will involve all of Roller Derby.

October 24th 2011 update… Lori found out that her attacker was sentenced to 20 years in prison.  She is moving forward with her life and is amazing.    If you want to help Lori please go to “derby against domestic violence” on facebook  and join to tell your story or help others.

The following was first written on May 1, 2011.

I lost my mother to cancer when I was nine;  my sister who was three years older took a lot of responsibility for me (until we were both in high school; I was a pest then), and I lived with my Uncle Oscar and Agatha for a short time when we moved to Illinois and she was wonderful.

And the Roller Derby women looked after me: Ivy King (until I met her again when she was over 90 I never realized she was the raunchiest person in all of the Derby world, but so funny), Mary Youpelle, Ma Bogash, others, as well as Bobbie Johnstone (Atkinson) who was my real surrogate Derby mother.

Lori Milkeris

I am afraid to do this, but the names that jump at me today are Val, Pia, Lauren, Jenn, Juicy, Stacey, Loretta, and dozens more and I better stop before I get in trouble…..but I consider so many real friends.

I have always loved sports, but I knew from my early years that women are often more interesting than men and they want to talk about and get to the real things in life;  not just swap stories about sports, and television and work.  (I’m generalizing, which I hate to do, but it is to give you an idea).  I guess I never learned to treat women as inferiors and even after I broke up with girlfriends, I cannot think of one time that we did not continue to be friends……Judi understands that and I share the feelings with her.

I hate it when any television show or movie shows someone abusing women or children as part of the plot and I will not watch it.

Lori in the hospital.

So you can imagine what I and obviously thousands of others of you felt when we saw the Facebook photo of Lori, a wonderful woman who served in the Air Force, has two children, is going to school with the GI Bill, and is also a Derby girl, with a battered face beyond recognition in a hospital bed, courtesy of her “boyfriend” who sits in jail and should consider himself lucky for not being available to those who love her.

Spousal or any kind of abuse is one of the worst crimes that can be committed.  To be with someone you love and trust and then have that happen is unimaginable, but is way too frequent.

Too often the authorities won’t respond to spousal abuse as they consider that “domestic”.  And also too often, the women (and occasionally men) who are the victims despite the obvious physical signs of abuse deny it, as they are afraid of what will happen to themselves if they don’t.

In the last decade Roller Derby has become a leading outlet for women who want to be empowered and work hard at it;  contrary to popular belief, there is no legal fighting or purposely harming another in Derby.  The women generally support and help each other.

I know a number of the leagues support women’s shelters, but I would like to propose a further step, whether through the WFTDA, the other organizations, the leagues, whomever:  each league should bring in a psychologist to discuss abuse and how anyone can fall victim to it….it doesn’t happen in one day, generally one person so lowers the self-esteem of the other, that when they are beat up they feel they deserve it.  You should look for signs in your skating mates, ask them if they feel OK about it, about their relationships, whatever, to try and stop this horrible practice before it is too late.  I know this is difficult because of the fear of prying;  but if you can open up with each other, it can avoid a tragedy.

I have posted the photo of Lori on this site;  yesterday there were several hundred people who “liked” it (seems an inappropriate use of the word) on Facebook;  as I write this it is approaching 3000.  See how you can aid, financially if possible.  And let Derby as an organization take on the task of trying to recognize and eliminate this awful disease.

I honestly feel that this step is a true expression of love for each other.  And I am sure Lori would like you to contact her on her facebook page with any thoughts you have.

Update:  Lori is recovering, but it is a long and painful process.  She had reconstruction on her face and wiring of her jaw, which only allowed her to eat liquid food through a straw.  The wiring has been removed, but she now has to have more surgery.  She can’t work or go back to school and it is very hard for her, but the indominable  Lori is going forward.  And to see how she looked most recently, go to Lori Aid 2011 on facebook, and look at the photos at the top of the site.  Please leave a message and help if you can.  And also, the best thing we can all do is to work together on recognizing and helping the victims and stopping abuse!

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