font-family: 'Arizonia', cursive; Michael Stichauf - "As I understand it now...'til it changes": Hope Solo's Example

Monday, June 15, 2015

Hope Solo's Example

Like it or not Hope Solo, you are a role model. You are a role model for those little girls and young women who love the game of soccer and who watch every move you make on and off the field! Yes, yes, I know Sir Charles Barkley told everyone years ago that he's not a role model just because he's in the public spotlight as a premier basketball player and that kids and adults shouldn't expect him to be one. Unfortunately, it just doesn't work that way. 

Last year on June 21, 2014, Hope Solo, the goalie for America's women's soccer team was arrested on domestic violence charges. Reading the police report,  I'll try to piece together what happened that night from the statements of Solo's half-sister, Terresa Obert and the officers of the Kirkland Police Department who were on the scene. Also involved in this fiasco was the 17 year old son of Terresa Obert. After giving the side of the four police officers and Ms. Terresa Obert, I'll give Ms. Hope Solo's side of the story, along with a video of her being interviewed by Robin Roberts of "Good Morning America".

Hope Solo Bond Hearing

Apparently, Ms. Obert, her son and some other family members had been out to eat dinner earlier in the evening. When they arrived back at Ms. Obert's house, Hope Solo (real name- Hope Stevens) was sitting in her SUV in front of Obert's house, crying. Ms. Obert invited Hope into the house so she could calm down. Apparently, Solo's husband wouldn't take her to the airport to catch a flight because she had a game the next day. Consequently, she missed the flight and was mad and crying about him being a "jerk" for not taking her and because of this incident, he had left her for the night. According to the report, the other family members stayed around for a while and during this period, Ms. Solo calmed down. After a period of time, the other family members eventually departed, leaving only Ms. Obert, her son, Hope Solo and Ms. Obert's husband at the house. For some unexplained reason, Ms. Obert's husband wasn't around for the following incident. 

After the rest of the family left, Ms. Obert told officers that she had poured another glass of wine for Solo and then needed to use the bathroom. When she got out of the bathroom, she found Solo "was punching my son on his head". As Obert tried to pull Solo off of her son, she stated that, "my sister then punched me in the face several times". Just what was it that provoked this incident? For that information, we have to refer to the reports of a couple of the other officers who interviewed Ms. Obert and her son. Obert's son is not named and his name is redacted in the reports because he is a minor at the age of seventeen.

Officer Voss states in his report that after he arrived on the scene, he started to interview Ms. Obert's son who was initially talking with Officer Pierce. He told Voss that Hope Solo had "appeared to have been drinking when she arrived" and that when the other members of the family had left, "Hope and Terresa (his Mother) continued to drink". From Voss's report, Obert's son tells of his conversation with Solo beginning to become contentious as time went on. I'm sure the alcohol wasn't much help. This conversation seems to have begun while Ms. Obert was in the bathroom. According to other reports in the news, Obert's son is six foot nine and well over 200 pounds. As he and Solo were talking about plays that the young man had been performing in, he mentioned that he "believes in order to be a good actor, you have to have an 'athletic state of mind'." This apparently irritated Solo and her nephew said that she "told him he would never be athletic, that he was too fat and overweight and crazy to ever be an athlete" (according to Obert, her son has Bipolar disorder). As the young man became irritated with this attack on his physical looks and his anxiety disorder, he yelled at Solo to get out of the house and went into another room and called for his Mother to help him out. Well, that didn't help matters much because once he called for his Mother for help, Solo followed him into the room that he tried to escape to and called him a "pussy" because he asked his Mother for help. To instigate more, she again called him "crazy"! 

Wow Hope, you would think that with all the issues young women are struggling with in regards to "body image" and self-esteem, you would understand that "shaming" someone like that is destructive and abusive. Yes, I said, "abusive". We can no longer take the view that someone being told things such as these should just quit being a baby and suck it up! We now know just how much words like these damage young psychies whether they are males or females. If you want to be a soccer star and enjoy the fame and fortune which come along with that status, you need to understand that your every word and actions will be scrutinized and analysed by anyone and everyone who hears and sees them. I'm sure, considering the state that you were in, being drunk, you never expected that your words, spoken in what you assumed was a private setting, would ever become public but, lo and behold, they certainly did become public! They became public in a big way!  

Solo's actions are classic actions seen in all domestic violence perpetrators. Before the physical violence begins, the perpetrators start with emotional and mental abuse to stoke the fire. As many people familiar with these situations will tell you, the victims are told to extricate themselves from the situation as soon as possible. The preferred action is to leave the house to de-escalate the whole thing but many victims don't have that ability, as seen in this situation. Many times, victims don't have a way to get away from a situation but more times than not, the perpetrator won't allow the victim to leave!  According to one of the officers, as the nephew tried to get away from the abuse, Solo followed him into another room that he chose as his getaway in order to call him a "pussy" and "crazy". Domestic violence perpetrators are controlling, manipulative individuals and not allowing their victims to leave is paramount to their plan. Let's continue with the rest of the incident.

The police report mentions that Solo was punching her seventeen year old nephew, as well as her half-sister Terresa. At some point, her nephew decided that he needed to defend himself and his Mother and hit Solo over the head with a broom handle or some kind of stick-like object that was referred to as a handle of something, in other reports. He also threatened Solo with the butt end of, what was described as, a broken BB gun. That's how out of hand this situation got. 

Talking with police officers, in domestic violence situations, they are told to arrest the individual who happens to have marks or bruises on their hands and/or knuckles- obviously indicating that they were the aggressors. The individual or individuals who have marks or bruises are, in most cases, the victims. This situation was no different! In pictures taken by the police and included in the police report, Terresa Obert has bruises and scratches on her neck and left cheekbone. In officer Voss' report, he states that Solo's seventeen year old nephew's "t-shirt was ripped and that his face had red marks on it." Further on in his report, Voss noted that the nephew's "nose and left jawbone area were red. His t-shirt was torn on the left side from underarm area to the bottom seam. He had a bleeding cut on the bottom of his left ear, just above the earlobe. His arms were bright red and had scratch marks on it." Need I go further? Well, yes, I do. 

I don't need to give you anymore of the physical damage that was done to these two individuals. Yet, I do want to talk about the emotional and mental stress that followed. In Voss' report, he states that the nephew "was crying and stated that 'we just let her back into our lives'." Voss also stated that Terresa "was highly emotional throughout our contact with her and kept hugging her (son) and asking him if he was o.k. She also apologized to (her son) for letting Hope back into their lives..." What a shame! The fact that this woman has to apologize to her own son because she feels guilty for what her own sister has done to her son is a trajedy! Yet, these are all the effects of domestic abuse. This poor woman, Terresa, has had to exclude her sister, Solo, from their lives because of her ridiculous domestic abuse. Yet, this is an all too familiar scene in many, many homes today.

Okay, okay Hope! Don't worry, I'm giving your side right now! 

Unfortunately, there isn't much that the officers wrote (in their reports) about what Solo said in her defense.In fact, Solo was standoffish and argumentative. One report states that Sgt. Goguen had spoken with Solo and he said the Solo said "that she did not assault or touch anyone, but had been struck in the head with a broomstick by (her nephew) after she had called him fat and unathletic." The Sgt. stated that he observed no visible marks on Solo and she refused to let him inspect her head. Goguen also stated that when he was talking with her, her speech was slurred and he could smell alcohol. But, here comes the manipulative nature of an individual who is a bully and a domestic abuser; Goguen states that Solo started to cry and "pulled her legs up to her chest..." as she grabbed the top of her head and said that her head hurt. It's the act of curling up into a fetal position to try and make people feel sorry for her. He asked her again what had happened to her head and she said "(her nephew) had struck her with a stick." He then states that she "told me that (her nephew) was a scary person and she was protecting herself." Yet, when Goguen asks again if he can see her injuries he says "Stevens (Solo) adamantly declined." He ends the paragraph with the statement, "I did not observe any other obvious signs of injuries to Stevens." 

Just with this statement from Goguen, you can see Solo starting to try to shape the narrative. She begins to make it seem as if she was the one who should be considered the victim- the crying, pulling her legs up to simulate a fetal position and the statement, "(her nephew) is a scary person" are all attempts to start to swing things in her favor. Abusers will always try to blame the victim(s) for everything they do. It's classic. 

Very quickly, though, Solo becomes agitated and when they tell her she is under arrest she gets very upset. From this point on things go downhill for Solo. Because she isn't getting her way and people aren't giving her a break, she became combative and argumentative. This behaviour continued, even after she was in the police station.

This isn't the end of the "Hope Solo Show", though. No, soon enough, she is interviewed on T.V. where she continues the "poor me" act and the "I'm the victim" act. Watch this video and I'll continue;

Right off the bat she starts with the act. After Robin Roberts asks her, with some kind of ridiculous compassion, how she's doing, Solo gives us the old, "It's still very hard to talk about it" line. Her attitude, of course, is one of, "I just can't believe those people did that to me!" Again, she's playing the victim here. Just like any good abuser. BUT, here comes the kicker- her next line is just outrageous! She says,"I was a victim of domestic violence at the hands of my nephew". WHAT?!?! Just ending my commentary on this video and Solo's side of the story at that comment is enough for me and hopefully my readers. This woman is clearly in denial about her problem and with her soccer career on the line, she's doing everything she can to blame the victims and take no responsibility herself! 

Now, in fairness to Solo, her case has been dropped but it was dropped on procedural problems. The case didn't go to trial. Apparently, the prosecutors are looking into trying to bring the case back again but, let's face it, no matter the outcome of the case, this woman needs to address this issue before she continues to hurt others! 

The other issue here is the fact that Solo is a woman in the public eye and whether she likes it or not, she is a role model for scores of young girls and women and they deserve to see better out of their idols. U.S. Soccer didn't suspend Solo and I/we should be asking the question, "WHY?" Is it because she is a woman and that domestic violence really isn't domestic violence if it's perpetrated by a woman? What's any different than what Solo did compared to Ray Rice or any other man. There shouldn't be any double standard here. This woman should be suspended by U.S. Soccer for a period of time and she needs to be in some kind of treatment. Apparently, this isn't the first time this has happened. Terresa Obert said to the police that they just started to let Solo back into their lives. Why was she out of their lives? Obviously because she has been a problem before! 

America has a huge problem with this issue. As the years go on and issues such as this start to become less of a "dirty family secret" we understand just how destructive it is. Abusers are manipulative and controlling. They change the people who they abuse and if they have children who they abuse, they shape the kind of individual that that child will become. That child will be someone with no self-esteem who is afraid of life. I know each of my readers have seen those people who go around life with their heads down and their eyes averted. They don't look others in the eyes and they rarely say anything. Hundred to one odds are those individuals had an abusive parent or are in an abusive relationship. Unfortunately, this issue goes further than just an abuser who bullies their victim. Every week we see stories on the news or in the papers about an abuser who has just killed their victim because that victim finally tried to get out! 

Yes folks, every week we see these stories. This is a huge problem in America and we need to address it. It doesn't matter whether the abuser is a man or a woman. The effects are the same. Ruined, miserable victims and ruined miserable abusers! Yet, Hope Solo could help make a start in the right direction. Being a celebrity she could help others who might be impressed with her position in life. She might be that one person who some woman sees talking about domestic violence and the fact that it's wrong and that she can get help if she is a victim or an abuser herself. Unfortunately, Hope Solo has chosen NOT to be that person who helps. No, she's going to continue the lie. She's going to continue to insist that she is the victim of domestic violence, not the perpetrator. She's going to be the one to set that WRONG example... and continue the lie! 

Way to go Hope Solo... way to go!