Today, while I was out running errands, I ran into a convenience store that we have in my area called “Wawa.” If you are not from the Delaware Valley, you may not have Wawa in your area. I know it sounds like a crazy name, but it is actually an Indian phrase that means “Wild Goose,” and was adopted as the name of a dairy farm in the early 1900’s. In the ‘60’s, a convenience store chain was opened with the same name. Now Wawa not only sells typical convenience store fare, they also sell gasoline as well as possibly the best hoagies (submarine sandwiches, for those of you not from the area) EVER. Subway has nothin’ on Wawa.
While I was at the register, I noticed a sign, advertising a fund for the children of a woman who had died and apparently had been a Wawa employee. The bottom of the ad mentioned the local women’s shelter, so it got my attention, and I went home and looked her up.
Kim Hvizda was an employee of a Wawa store, supporting four children on her own. She was estranged from her husband, a former minor league ball player, who also struggled with a myriad of issues, and against whom she had filed a restraining order. Apparently the police had responded to several domestic incidents at their home, but it wasn’t until nearly six months after she filed for divorce that she placed a restraining order against him. According to several reports, he had some “boundary issues,” which included spying on her and walking into her home, uninvited.
Jim Hvizda planned to kill her for some time, purchased a hunting knife, met her at her store, and killed her. He then went to the police station and turned himself in. When the policeman met him, he didn’t try to hide anything, but started with “I just killed my wife.”
All of this information is available online, because it’s in police records that are public. And yes, the story is disturbing. However, what got to me was some commentary that blamed HER for her death.
You see, Jim convinced Kim to meet him at her work by requesting some letters. Kim could have mailed him the letters, but instead she agreed to meet him at her Wawa store and to give him to them there. When they walked to her car, he stabbed her multiple times.
The commentary blamed Kim for not mailing the letters, for violating her own restraining order, and thereby essentially inviting her killer into her personal space.
The fact that these people blame Kim for her own death horrifies me. And it also tells me that these individuals have little understanding of how domestic abuse works.
You see, women don’t stay in an abusive relationship because the abuser physically keeps them there. They stay because they don’t feel they can leave. And even when the abused gets away physically, the abuser knows exactly which buttons to push, and it’s not uncommon for the abused to return.
There are some issues in how domestic violence (against women AND men) is handled, and it’s clear there are no obvious answers. Anyone who has been in an emergency room has probably been asked if they are in an abusive situation as part of the triage, however, I have to wonder how many people actually say “yes, I’m being abused. Help!” The “direct and obvious answer” doesn’t work!
In the meantime, a woman is dead, and four children have lost their mother. If you, yourself, are in an abusive situation, please read these articles, Domestic Violence/Abuse: Does It Affect You, and Domestic Violence/Abuse: Part 2 and please, PLEASE, seek help. If you would like to help Kim Hvizda’s children, a fund has been set up in their name: the Hvizda children, c/o TD Bank, 2200 Garrett Road, Drexel Hill, PA 19026.