Category Archives: battered women

New Hotline Available for Native American Survivors of Domestic and Dating Violence

A hotline is now available to specifically help Native American survivors of domestic and dating violence.

StrongHearts Native Helpline‘s initial service area is Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska.

“One of the problems in Indian Country is there’s a huge lack of services, and there really hasn’t been any efforts to create a database that pulls together all of the resources that are available,” said StrongHearts Assistant Director Lori Jump.

Jump said violence against women is an epidemic in Indian Country.

“Native American women are two times as likely as any other race to experience rape or sexual assault, two and a half times more likely to experience violent crime and five times more likely to be the victim of homicide,” Jump said. “So, we have an incredible need for services in our communities.”

The helpline will connect callers with confidential, culturally appropriate support services. Some of those services are meant to help sort out complicated matters of jurisdiction.

“The ability of Native governments to prosecute is pretty restricted in terms of who they can prosecute, especially when it comes to non-Native perpetrators,” Jump said.

The helpline is available at 1-844-7NATIVE Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Callers outside those hours can connect with the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

StrongHearts is offered by The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center and the National Domestic Violence Hotline. It receives some funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

 

 

Comments Off on New Hotline Available for Native American Survivors of Domestic and Dating Violence

Filed under battered women, domestic abuse, domestic violence, Domestic violence services

12 Facts That Show How Guns Make Domestic Violence Even Deadlier

A statistical guide to firearms, intimate partner abuse, and the children, parents, and police who become victims, too.

by Kerry Shaw August 22, 2016

The complete article with graphics

This is not just another “guns and domestic violence” article – it is full of statistical information that makes it crystal clear how guns make domestic violence lethal to intimate partners, children, family members, friends, law enforcement, and even bystanders. Please read. – S.H.A.R.E., Inc.

fb graphic 2

fb graphic 1

Comments Off on 12 Facts That Show How Guns Make Domestic Violence Even Deadlier

Filed under battered women, domestic violence, gun control, homicide, intimate partner violence, victims of crime, violence against women

The Importance of Using Accountable Language

The Importance of Using Accountable Language

by Phyllis B. Frank and Barry Goldstein

This article was conceived because of the frequency with which leaders of our movement and presenters at conferences use unaccountable language in our presentations and proposals, even as they deeply care about ending men’s violence against women and have devoted their lives to helping women partnered with abusive men.

Like all tools of oppression, unaccountable language is conditioned into our psyches, taught and learned as appropriate vocabulary and in socially acceptable sentence structure. Thus, unaccountable language is part of everyday parlance of people acting in complete good faith in trying to end men’s violence against women. We know this is true because as long as we have trained to avoid unaccountable language, we still sometimes make this error, as well. The movement to end domestic violence has not yet made the use of accountable language a priority. We hope this article will encourage all of us in the movement to do so. This is one program we can afford even in tight economic times.

Defining unaccountable language
Unaccountable language refers to the powerful messages embedded in all forms of speech and media that have all of us lapse into sentence structure that obscures perpetrators, minimizes their abuse, and supports blaming victims. One common example is the phrase “an abusive relationship.” The relationship did not hit the woman, but rather it was the abuser, typically a man who is husband or intimate partner, who was abusive. Such statements make the person who committed the offense, invisible. More specifically it is the use of passive language that results in making the perpetrator invisible. For example, a phrase like a woman was raped should be replaced by, “A man raped a woman.” The rape did not just happen, but rather the rapist committed a brutal act. The idea is to focus attention on the person responsible. Accountably speaking we might say a woman was in a relationship with an abuser or he is abusive to his intimate partner. Another example is exposed by the question, “How many women will be raped or assaulted in this year?” Do we ever hear, “How many men will rape or assault this year?”

Other examples of the language of accountability
Once, when discussing accountable language during a staff training, we looked up on the wall to see a bumper sticker that said, “Every 15 seconds a woman is assaulted.” Our objection at the time was not with the accuracy of the information but that the statement failed to focus on the cause of these assaults. “Every 15 seconds a man assaults a woman!” would be an accountable description.

During a dinner conversation, Barry, and his partner, Sharon, were discussing a series of disastrous calamities in their home caused by the builder who seemed to have deliberately sabotaged their house. After hearing about one emergency repair after another, Phyllis said it was the first time she actually understood the true meaning of an “abusive home“, since too often the phrase “abusive home” is misused to invisiblize a man who repeatedly abuses his partner in their home.

The police and media often refer to incidents in which a man brutalizes his wife or girl friend as a “domestic dispute.” This describes a man’s criminal assault as if it were some kind of mutual problem, even-sided engagement, or tame dispute, rather than an act of brutality. When a mugger assaults and robs a cab driver, it is not described as a “fare dispute.”

Unaccountable language hides responsibility
The use of accountable language is not a technicality or merely a play on words, but rather an issue with profound social consequences. The systemic use of unaccountable language minimizes men’s abuse of women, fails to take his abuse seriously, and hides his responsibility for his actions. If we say “a woman was hurt” it seems like it just happened, as if on its own accord, or by accident, and there is nothing to be done about it. If instead we refer to the man who is hurting the woman, this requires assigning responsibility and taking action to stop him from hurting her again and provide consequences for the harm he caused.

Domestic violence is comprised of a wide range of tactics used by men to maintain power and to control their intimate partners The tactics are part of a pattern of coercive actions designed to maintain, what he believes (consciously or not), are his male privileges, to control his significant other. Historically, men were assigned, by social and legal norms, control over wives and families. Today, even though that is no longer legally, and for so many, morally, the case, an “abusive relationship” or “domestic dispute” makes it seem like a communications or relationship problem between the parties. It suggests counseling or therapy as a remedy instead of consequences to hold abusers accountable for abusive, controlling, and/or violent tactics.

Social Consequences of unaccountable language
As a society our constant use of unaccountable language gives still another advantage to abusers. Unaccountable language, embedded in all dominant institutions, including the judicial system, leads police, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges in domestic violence custody cases to confidently assume that both parties share equal blame for not getting along. They often tell the parties they are equally responsible for the problems in the relationship and they must start to cooperate, get therapy, or anger management classes. When a mother attempts to protect her children or limit contact with an abusive father, she is routinely blamed for not getting along rather than recognized for what is a normal reaction to a partner’s abuse.

If we are going to end or at least reduce the use of unaccountable language in this society, those of us working in the battered women’s movement must take the lead and must set an example to use accountable language. Politicians often use phrases like “mistakes were made” Instead of saying, “I made a mistake.” We want society to be clear that men ,who abuse and mistreat the women they are partnered with, are responsible for their actions. We are asking presenters and others working to end domestic violence to join us in striving to use accountable language.

Source

Comments Off on The Importance of Using Accountable Language

Filed under battered women, domestic abuse, domestic violence, men ending violence against women

Judicial shortcomings for domestic violence victims

The number of domestic violence-related deaths in Pima County increased by 50 percent between 2014 and 2015, according to the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence.

Ed Mercurio-Sakwa, the CEO of the local Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse, says that his organization’s hotline typically receives calls from about 5,500 individuals in Tucson each year.

Last year 5,900 called Emerge’s hotline, and Mercurio-Sakwa predicts that “this year we’re on pace for about 7,300 different calls,” an increase of more than 30 percent of the typical hotline traffic. “And the scary part of that is that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” Mercurio-Sakwa says.

“A lot of research shows that only about one in 10 incidents get reported,” Mercurio-Sakwa says, “The Tucson Police Department and Pima County Sheriff’s Department alone get almost 13,000 calls each year to 911 for domestic violence and again it’s probably about one-tenth of what’s really going on.”

Emerge! works with the Pima County Attorney’s office to provide victims with support and emergency resources through the Domestic Violence Court, established in 2007, but Mercurio-Sakwa admits that the Pima County legal system cannot provide justice for all victims.

One issue for victims, about 85 percent of whom are women, “is that the vast majority of domestic violence is emotional abuse, verbal abuse and economic abuse, which are not illegal, generally speaking,” Mercurio-Sakwa says.

The Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project (DV LEAP), an organization out of Washington, D.C., that works to advance legal protections for victims and provide assistance during appeals processes nationwide, recognizes the shortcomings of protections against nonphysical forms of abuse.

“Even though there has been extensive training efforts to educate judges on the broader spectrum of behavior that encompasses domestic violence, judges rarely recognize or grant protection for controlling behavior that is the core of domestic violence,” says Sasha Drobnick, the legal director of DV LEAP.
These behaviors can include threats, intimidation, degradation, social isolation and financial manipulation, all with the goal of total control over the victim.

However, just because an abuser has not resorted to physical violence yet does not mean it won’t happen in the future.

“Somebody who is looking to control someone else will use whatever tactic necessary to gain that control,” Mercurio-Sakwa says, “That means that they will keep raising the level of abuse until they don’t have to anymore. So, abusers who feel like they can differentiate themselves from men who hit their wives are wrong. The truth is you’re not physical because you haven’t had to be, not because you wouldn’t be willing to.”

One of the overarching goals for DV LEAP is to develop “broader and more accurate definitions of domestic violence with domestic violence statutes that capture and provide protection against coercive control,” Drobnick says.

Even victims who suffer prosecutable forms of abuse face judicial shortcomings, an example of which is order of protection enforcement.

One option for victims of illegal abuse is an order of protection, which bars the perpetrator from any contact with the victim in person or any other way for one year.

Violations of orders of protection in Arizona are supposed to result in immediate arrest, possible jail time and fines.

Despite the order’s name, Mercurio-Sakwa says “it may just serve to piss (the abuser) off more, and at the end of the day it’s a piece of paper.”

One victim, who was granted her fourth order of protection against her husband and father of her children on March 4 in the Pima County Superior Court, asked presiding Judge Geoffrey Ferlan what she could do to keep her abuser from continuously violating the order of protection.

“Is there anything else I can do if I’ve already told the police and he’s still violating it?” she asked, sitting alone in front of the judge.

The victim said she reported all of the violations to the Tucson Police Department, but no actions were taken.

Ferlan could only respond with, “Legally, I can’t give you advice.”

The abuser, who previously served prison time for domestic violence, did not show up to a hearing that he requested to dispute the order of protection.
Court records describe incidents of stalking, choking, pushing and threatening the victim and their two children under the age of 10.

In one report, the victim wrote, “(the abuser) sent me a picture of a gun to his head saying he was going to kill myself, the kids, then himself.”

At the end of the brief hearing, after Ferlan recommended that the victim “continue to report the violations to the police and use resources like Emerge! to keep yourself safe,” she was escorted to her car by two court officers.

Unlike the legal system, which uniformly issues orders of protection and prosecutes domestic abusers, Emerge! focuses on individualized safety response plans.

“We feel like every situation is totally unique, and requires a customized response plan that may or may not involve the court,” Mercurio-Sakwa says.

Mercurio-Sakwa’s experience with victims taught him that not all victims want to prosecute or leave their abusers, whether for financial or familial reasons, and those that do want legal justice can face threats and intimidation in the process.

“Sometimes there is tremendous fear. The abuser will say, ‘I’m going to get out, they might arrest me but I’ll be out in a day or so,’” he says. “That’s real. That is a real safety risk for victims.”

Although victims can contact law enforcement if they feel threatened, a survey conducted by The National Domestic Violence Hotline in 2015 found that only one in five women nationwide who contacted the police about their abuse felt safer.

Intimidation outside of court can cause victims to recant or drop charges for their own safety.

One appeals case that DV LEAP is working on involves a domestic violence survivor who was denied a protective order because she previously dropped criminal charges against her abuser because of fear.

Recanting a statement or dropping charges can make a victim look unreliable, and make pressing subsequent charges or seeking protection more difficult.

“These behaviors are common among survivors and have many possible explanations, but the court chose to find that the abuse didn’t occur,” Drobnick says.

Although police departments nationwide are trained to protect victims from their abusers, in 2015 two-thirds of women suffering from domestic violence “were afraid the police would not believe them or do nothing,” according to The National Domestic Violence Hotline.

The Tucson Police Department did not respond to repeated requests for an interview about its experience with domestic violence incidents.

Although there were about 4,000 domestic violence-related deaths nationwide in 2015, the rate of domestic violence deaths in Pima County was 44 percent higher than the national rate.

Mercurio-Sakwa, a man working in a position traditionally occupied by women, feels that the next step in domestic violence prevention is “shifting the community conversation to the unhealthy aspects of masculinity.”

“We have for so long seen this as a women’s issue. It was left on their shoulders to somehow take care of it,” he says. “I find it really important that men hold each other accountable.”

Mercurio-Sakwa’s goals for the organization, while under his guidance, are to expand on prevention programs directed at men.

Although Emerge! is a positive place for victims to seek out the help they need, Mercurio-Sakwa was reluctant to admit, “unfortunately, we will never go out of business.”

Source

Comments Off on Judicial shortcomings for domestic violence victims

Filed under battered women, domestic violence, domestic violence law, Domestic violence services, men ending violence against women, violence against women

Lawmakers Think Abuse Victims Need Easier Access to Guns. This Survivor Believes They’re Dead Wrong.

Lawmakers and gun-rights advocates have called for arming abuse victims, but few battered women are mentally and emotionally prepared to pull the trigger.

The Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill that would allow anyone 21 or older who is protected by a restraining order to carry a concealed handgun without a license for 45 days. The measure represents the latest effort by legislators and law enforcement officers around the country to encourage victims of domestic abuse to arm themselves. In June, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie directed his attorney general to fast-track concealed handgun permit applications for individuals “living under a direct or material threat.” And in August, a Louisiana sheriff urged domestic abuse victims in his parish to deal with their estranged partners by “shoot[ing] him in your backyard before he gets in your house. Drop him.”

A more effective way to reduce domestic violence deaths, gun violence prevention advocates argue, is to force abusers subject to restraining orders and domestic violence convictions to surrender their guns. When either the abuser or the victim is armed, things can turn deadly: Domestic assaults involving guns are 12 times more likely to result in death than assaults without them.

Ruth Glenn knows firsthand how dangerous it is to introduce firearms into a domestic violence situation. In 1992, months after she left an abusive marriage, Glenn’s estranged husband pulled her over on the side of the road. He shot her three times, twice in the head. After leaving her to die, he spent four months on the run from law enforcement before taking his own life.

Glenn, who now serves as the executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, spoke to The Trace about why some victims may not be emotionally or mentally prepared to use decisive force against an abuser.

Read the full story

Comments Off on Lawmakers Think Abuse Victims Need Easier Access to Guns. This Survivor Believes They’re Dead Wrong.

Filed under battered women, domestic violence, gun control, violence against women

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Anti-sexual assault work is a part of domestic violence work because domestic violence often includes sexual abuse.

View the slideshow for more information.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Comments Off on Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Filed under battered women, domestic violence, gender-based violence, intimate partner violence, sexual assault, violence against women

Training begins March 19 for volunteer advocates

Become a volunteer domestic violence advocate

    • The latest training will be conducted on Saturdays, beginning March 19, 2016.
    • 24 hours of interactive training and shadowing will qualify you as a confidential domestic violence advocate in the State of Colorado.
    • Free of charge.
    • Must attend all sessions and be available for evening and/or weekend crisis call duty or other volunteer responsibilities.
    • LGBTQ advocates welcome.
    • Bilingual (Spanish) skills helpful.

Contact 970-867-4444 ext. 26 or 23 for an application.

 

Comments Off on Training begins March 19 for volunteer advocates

Filed under battered women, domestic abuse, domestic violence, Domestic violence services