The Dangers of Domestic Violence: A Bereaved Mother’s Perspective
Tammy Seaburn, Katrina’s mother, spoke to exploreClarion.com recently about her experience and the dangers of domestic violence in our communities.
Katrina Seaburn, a 2013 Curwensville High School graduate, was murdered by her boyfriend, Damien Ditz, on March 1, 2017, in Clarion County just weeks before she was to graduate from Clarion University.
Tammy Seaburn has become a voice for victims following the loss of her daughter – speaking at events from the Take Back the Night rally in Clarion to addressing students at assemblies at Curwensville High School where her daughter graduated in 2013.
She will also be speaking at Clarion County SAFE’s Annual Awareness Event at Trinity Point Church of God on Tuesday, October 22.
“I’m hoping that I can further speak on issues of domestic violence and get the word out there, especially to our students and young kids,” Tammy said.
“It’s been tolerated in our communities for way too long. It’s time to get the word out there that you just don’t tolerate this.”
Along with her speaking engagements and efforts to spread the word about the dangers of domestic violence, Tammy has also set up two $500.00 scholarships in Katrina’s honor and hopes to someday have a foundation set up in Katrina’s name.
“Always remember Katrina. She was a shining light in this world that was snuffed out in seconds,” Tammy added.
According to Tammy, in Katrina’s case, there were red flags there. She suspected possible emotional and mental abuse but wasn’t aware of the extent of the situation until after Katrina’s death.
“She wouldn’t tell me. She was a very strong and determined young lady, and she thought she could handle things on her own a lot.”
Tammy noted that Katrina did confide in some of her friends who tried to convince her to break off her relationship with Ditz.
“She just had such a good heart, she didn’t want anyone hurt. She wanted to somehow make things okay.”
Tammy found out later that the domestic violence had started at the very beginning of her daughter’s relationship with Ditz.
“She dated him while in Clarion, in the fall semester and part of the spring, then the fighting would escalate, and they’d break up. She’d come home single in May, but then as soon as she returned in September, he’d start to pursue her and manipulate her again.”
The manipulation estranged Katrina from many of her friends, according to Tammy. Tammy added that Ditz even tried to keep Katrina from returning home on breaks, but that was when she put her foot down.
“I refused to allow that.”
Tammy noted the manipulation extended into financial control, with Ditz using Katrina’s car and constantly needing money and gifts from her to appease him.
“There was almost $2,000.00 removed from her account in February,” Tammy noted.
“He said she gave him $1,000.00 for a car because she was tired of him using her car, but she didn’t have the money for that.”
Tammy found out later that there was far more than she knew going on, with Katrina’s acquaintances in Clarion noticing marks and signs of physical abuse, and roommates hearing Ditz making threats to kill her friends.
“He was a master manipulator.”
That kind of manipulation, Tammy noted, is abuse in and of itself, even without the physical aspect added in.
“That’s one thing I want people to understand: domestic violence doesn’t have to be physical. It comes in many forms – financial, sexual, emotional, mental. Domestic violence is just the willful intent to cause pain on someone that you are supposed to care about, and nobody has the right to do that to you. Nobody.”
The problem is larger than many people realize and will take more than just a few people speaking out to change, according to Tammy.
“As a society, we must strive harder for zero tolerance of domestic abuse.
“Don’t ostricate friends and family when you witness abuse, offer help, assistance, a shoulder, an ear. Be there. There are so many resources out there that can help you. You don’t need to endure any kind of abuse.
“Finally, speak out, speak up, don’t hide it anymore. It’s not something that should be hidden in the closet. It needs to be brought forward and people need to recognize it for what it is: it is a killer.”
(This is the second article in a series of stories in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.)
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