CUSD Cares

Domestic Violence

March 10, 2021 Brenda Vargas Season 2 Episode 6
CUSD Cares
Domestic Violence
Show Notes Transcript

Brenda Vargas, Director of Counseling and Social Services, speaks with Lizette Roeder and Samantha Hinchey from Arizona Domestic Violence Coalition regarding domestic violence.

Brenda Vargas:

Hello, parents. Welcome to another podcast of CUSD Cares. Thank you so much for joining us today. We appreciate the time that you're taking to educate yourself on such an important topic of domestic violence. I am just incredibly grateful to have two amazing speakers with us from the domestic violence community, they are response coordinators, and I'm an i ntroduced both of them. And they're each g oing t o take an opportunity just to say hello and share a little bit about who they are and what they do. Samantha H inchey welcome. And L izette Roeder. Thank you for being with us today.

Samantha Hinchey:

Thank you. We're so happy to be here.

Brenda Vargas:

Can you share with folks , um, a little bit about your organization and maybe the services that you provide before we get started? And of course, I think we'll mention it in another time, just in case people miss this.

Samantha Hinchey:

So , every state and territory in the United States has a domestic or sexual violence coalition. Here in the state of Arizona, ours is a dual coalition, which is really awesome. There's only about 25 dual coalitions across the country. And so we are able to work on not just domestic violence at our coalition and throughout the state, but also sexual violence as well because the movements are so linked. It's really a blessing that we're able to have this relationship with stakeholders in our communities and then Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (ACESDV) advocates for comprehensive responses for domestic and sexual survivors at the local, state and national levels. So we have someone that does policy work that basically lives at the legislature from January to April fighting for bills that are going to make it safer for survivors to live here in Arizona. And then they also go on to work on the budget for the state , with the folks that do that. And then during the downtime, they get updates on federal budget and then they start crafting what we might want the legislature to look like for next year, as far as bills coming out for survivors safety. And then we are the primary provider of training and technical assistance for domestic and sexual violence programs across the state. And that's basically what Lizette and I do. We are training and technical assistance providers, for basically anybody that wants to learn about domestic violence. We really like to focus on the programs doing direct services across the state with survivors and then branch out to school systems and any organization agency that wants to learn more for their employees or their students or anybody we'd like to take time and have conversations about the work that we do and talk about the things that are misconceptions or myths and bust those, and give people a really good i n d epth look at what domestic violence actually is as opposed to our preconceived n otions.

Brenda Vargas:

So it sounds like a lot of your education and training is actually free to anyone that really is willing to listen and has a group of people that are ready and willing to receive.

Samantha Hinchey:

Yes, for the most part, most of our trainings are free.

Brenda Vargas:

That's awesome. And we have so many parents that are connected in our community to so many different organizations and businesses. So it's important I think for them to know that you guys exist, that you're available and that we'll share at the very end of our podcast, how people can reach out, but let's start off with just a basic definition. I think there is a definite myth out there, and I'm going to start with that: is domestic violence just between a partner to partner ?

Samantha Hinchey:

No. So I'm going to give me two definitions today. So the first one is our advocates definition. And so that is a pattern of abusive or coercive behaviors in any intimate or familial relationship that are used to gain and maintain power and control over another person. So the real key words there is it's a pattern and that it's to maintain power and control because that's basically the crux of what domestic violence is. It's to have power and control and to abuse that power when in an intimate relationship and that intimate relationship is defined here in the state of Arizona. Now I'm going to give you the legal definition. And so we actually have a two part statute here in the state of Arizona and domestic violence actually is not a crime. It's a two-part statute . And so the first thing is ARS 13-3601. So if you want to look it up, you can go to azleg.gov and it'll have t he definition there, but just to give you a brief explanation, this was passed in 1980, that should just let you know how long domestic violence has been going on since the beginning of time; intimate relationships with family, friends, our partners, but the movement really came about in the second wave of feminism, which was in the late seventies, the early eighties. And so this bill was passed here in Arizona in 1980. S o it's only been 40 years that we've had domestic violence be part of our legal system. So it's called a t ag crime. So if you commit one of these 30 crimes on the A RS statute, and then it's proposed that you are part of a specific relationship, which I'm going to tell you in just a minute, then basically what happens is that domestic violence is attached to that crime. And that's how that person moves through the legal system. So in really basic terms, it's crime plus relationship equals domestic violence in the eyes of the law. So the relationship t est, so this is answering your question. So it has to be current or former spouse. They have to have a child or children in common, pregnant by the other, related by blood or marriage. So not an intimate partner, current or former cohabitants. So, if they they used to be, or if they right now are roommates and then current or former dating sexual partners. Now this one is a really interesting one because this law was actually made for teenagers specifically. So this is actually called Katie's Law. And if you want to know more about it, you can look up Katie's way, it's actually a no nprofit t hat works within the school system and Katie's Law came about because the Executive Director of Katie's Way's daughter was killed by her ex-boyfriend when she was a senior in high school, about 11 years ago. And so this is a really great law and what it does is it gives teenagers the ability to get an order of protection against their perpetrator, which Katie was not allowed to get because she was under age. So that's kind of what it is. So again, it's crime plus relationship equals domestic violence in t he eyes of the law here in Arizona.

Brenda Vargas:

No, that's good to know. And it sounds complex, right? But I thank you for breaking it up into those digestible chunks for people to really understand and really to make sense. I think sometimes people sometimes may have found themselves in experiences in situations where they didn't even realize they were being a victim of domestic violence. You know, I know in this last year, there have been many challenges for folks all over the world. I think that because of a lot of the uncertainty, a lot of the stress and, you know, people being home a majority of the time or having to stay home in order to be safe, has certainly resulted in us having at least specifically to Arizona, an increase in seeing issues and concerns around domestic violence. Can you share with us a little bit of those statistics? I don't know if you have anything recent Sam, but I know that law enforcement has shared what they're seeing and what they're having to respond to. What can you share with us about those statistics so that people can really have some context and wrap their mind around what does this really look like in my state or in my community?

Samantha Hinchey:

So on a national level, we're looking at one in four women and one in 10 men that were victims of contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner with a negative impact, such as injury, fear, concern for safety and needing of services. So that's 25% of our female population. Like that's an epidemic. And then the really interesting piece of this statistic here is that, and this comes from the CDC, the really interesting piece of it is the one in 10 for men, because when we think about men being victims of domestic violence, we think maybe one in a hundred, one in 1,000, 1 in a million, or we don't think about it at all.

Brenda Vargas:

Think most people probably don't.

Samantha Hinchey:

Yeah . And so to see it, as small as one in 10 men is so staggering and it's one of those things where we need to make sure that we have enough resources for men in our communities.

Brenda Vargas:

I'm glad you bring that up and correct me if I'm wrong, you guys are the experts, I believe there's incredible amount of stigma around that one in 10 and, and is there even a platform for them to really have their voice collectively heard and do it without that shaming?

Samantha Hinchey:

Yeah. And we have a whole presentation and training about men and violence and sexual violence and domestic violence. And so if you're interested in that, let us know, but for sure it is definitely stigmatized. It definitely becomes from the way we socialize our young men, a really great resource if you're really interested on how young men are socialized is The Mask You Live In, it's a documentary on Netflix. It's amazing. Even just the trailer makes you feel something, because it makes you feel sad for these young men that cannot show their emotion, because they've been told that they can't. And then that comes out and violence later on.

Brenda Vargas:

Well, I'm glad you share with our listeners about where to find a documentary like that Netflix we know is pretty popular and hopefully people have access to it. I've heard of it, but I have not seen it. So I'll have to look that up. But 25% of women-that's mind blowing- is that statistic pretty recent Sam, do you think that in the last year due to COVID and people having to be more home right, than anything else? Have you seen an increase or what are you hearing from law enforcement and seeing in regards to what's coming up and what's showing up at your doorstep of situations that folks are dealing with?

Samantha Hinchey:

Lizette, jump in at any time with this because we hear from a lot of different organizations. So what we're seeing, because one of the issues that happened during COVID is that it's hard for survivors to leave the house, to call for help or meet with their advocate or leave in general. And so we did see a little bit of an increase. So as far as the statistics for the domestic violence deaths that happened in 2020, on average, we're over a hundred here in Arizona. So on a 10 year span, we're over a hundred deaths and this doesn't just mean intimate partners. This means anyone that had to do with a domestic violence situation. There are children on this list. There are law enforcement officers that were killed in the line of duty on this list. There were friends and family that were killed , grandparents that were killed due to domestic violence relationships. We keep track of all of that at the coalition. So that is something that we do and you can find it online at our website, acesdb.com or acesdb .org . Last year, we had 102. So, and that went up from 95 from the year before. But what we're really seeing, what we're really seeing besides the death toll changing, is the way violence is being used. So what I've heard the majority , talking to law enforcement advocates , nurses, is that they're seeing an increase in the type of violence. So a lot more s trangulations, a lot more use of weapons with their with their partner. Just the violence has escalated tremendously during this time. And that's really what we're seeing an increase of.

Brenda Vargas:

And let's go, I'm sorry, go ahead, Liz.

Lizette Roeder:

Oh, no, not a problem. So I was going to say I think Sam brought up an excellent point and that is to remember that the domestic violence is going to effect the family unit, that it's going to not just be the people in the relationship, but also parents and really anybody that is going to be within that household. You said earlier, it's like an epidemic and I really think of it as like endemic pandemic, only because the domestic violence does occur all over the world and in every community. We, as long as I can remember, think it's important that we focus on the fact, it's not just going to be the two people in that romantic relationship that it does occur in other types of relationships.

Brenda Vargas:

Thank you. And you know, you both bring up just so much to think about when we talk about how for those families that are impacting are impacted by a loss due to domestic violence, but let's back it up a little bit and let's talk about tactics that offenders use. What does it look like? I want people to be very cognizant, whether they're supporting a loved one, that's having a difficulty in their relationship and they're not quite sure is this domestic violence, right? What are some things that you're seeing and hearing that are being used as tactics by offenders?

Samantha Hinchey:

Yeah. So , um, one of the things that our movement has done really well is to showcase what domestic violence looks like. And you know, we're watching SVU (Special Victims Unit) and we see people that have turtlenecks on and sunglasses and they "fell down the stairs." But we need to remember, and this is the part that we always forget as a society, is that domestic violence is not always physical. There are so many different nuances to that physicality, and you will hear survivors talk about that t heir harm doer never did any, never did anything physical with them. It was just a lot of verbal and emotional abuse. And that's what we need to remember. And so some of those things, we even have a chart on our website that you can look at, it's called the power and control wheel. So, so the things that are on here are economic abuse, isolation, misusing their privilege, using threats, minimizing, denying, and blaming, intimate intimidation, technology misuse, sexual coercion, and harassment and emotional abuse. And when you look at it and the thing that we really like to point out with people, because this goes back to your point, Brenda, that survivors don't always know or victims don't always know that they're in a domestic violence situation. And so to point to this power and control wheel is really important because you can ask somebody did any of these things ever h appen to you and they'll be like, Oh y ep. This and this and this. And it's something that w e've never thought about being a tactic of power and control before.

Brenda Vargas:

Sam, will you repeat those in the power and control wheel one more time for folks, if they didn't have a chance to jot it down, I know just reiterate what those were.

Samantha Hinchey:

Yeah. So economic abuse, isolation, misusing privilege, using threats, minimizing denying, or blaming, intimidation, technology misuse, sexual coercion and harassment and emotional abuse. So I just wanted to take a moment and just talk about a couple of these just because they might be kind of confusing or just to kind of talk about what they might look like. So the first thing I'm going to talk about is technology misuse. So technology misuse affects about 97% of the folks that are coming into shelters. So 97% and Lizette can talk more about economic abuse. But economic abuse affects 99% of the people that are in domestic violence relationships. So these are very high statistics. People are really using economic and technology misuse to really control their partner. And so technology misuse can be anything. I can go on forever about technology. That's one of my things that I love to talk about, but it can be from cat fishing to putting stalkerware on someone's computer or phone to spoofing them, and spoofing is basically using a fake phone number to call somebody and terrorize them. There are apps, there are hundreds of apps and it can be just stalking someone on their social media. There's so many different things that people can do to misuse technology . One of the things that we really see with teenagers and Lizette you can jump in if you feel is that we see constant text messages. So like a hundred a n hour. One of the things that Bobby says from Katie's Way is that her daughter Katie would get, she would turn her phone off. And in two hours she would have hundreds of messages from her abusive partner. And they would escalate from "where are you?" to "you're a lying, cheating B word" and stuff. And so they escalate on and on.

Brenda Vargas:

Yeah. I was going to say the escalation of the trajectory of that conversation, even if they're not responding goes from A to Z like super fast and it just is mind blowing . Right? Because they make assumptions that are all seems like quite negative in nature about that person's behavior and/or what they might be doing.

Samantha Hinchey:

Yeah. One of the things about technology and I told you a lot of like the bigger, scary things, but really what it comes down to, and this is something I've had to learn over the past few years is that passwords, it just comes down to like really using strong passwords and changing them. And if you feel like there's anything sort of hinky going on, if you are talking to a survivor or a family member or somebody in your community that has a gut feeling that they're being watched, there's a good chance that they could be stalked online or through their technology. And so it's one of those things that it's extremely prevalent; what's happened is that technology harm doers and abusive partners have become an omnipresence in our lives through technology, because we have a computer with us all the time. Our phone is a computer, we're sitting at a computer and they can be with us all the time and in our space all the time, 24 hours a day. And that's the scary thing about technology. And that's why it affects so many people all the time.

Brenda Vargas:

And seeing that first for some folks, depending on their literacy, when it comes to certain software or pieces that they're using in order to use power and control to manipulate that other person , sometimes that possible victim may not even be aware of some of the technology uses that is being placed upon them to track them and/or anything else, because there's so much out there and someone else can certainly be tracking your every step. And you're not even aware of that.

Samantha Hinchey:

Absolutely. if I can just talk for a minute, just so that we're not just talking about technology, but isolation, this one to me, I think is an oldie but goodie and extremely effective, and this one can be used with technology abuse. And that's the thing is that when you're looking at the wheel, the power control wheel, all of them could be used together. But isolation is really interesting because it can be really big, a really big gesture, or it can be really just slow burn and ends up where it's a manipulation that goes across time. Otherwise sometimes we see it going like moving across the country to be with family and to make sure that that partner has no resources or family and friends that can ask questions that know what's going on. So like let's isolate someone that way. And in other ways, it's just getting them away from their friends and family because their perpetrator is telling them. And this is where we really see it with teens is getting them away from their friends and family. "Oh, I don't trust that person." They did this and getting them away from their friends and family so that they can be the center of the universe for that victim. Lizette?

Lizette Roeder:

So along those lines, it's really framing. It is either me or your friend . Right. And you think about, this might be the first time that they're in a romantic situation where they have various feelings and it's mutual. And so you're being asked, do I want this relationship, or do I want my friends? And it's a very difficult decision for the teen, right? especially because they're still not experts at coming to solutions, let's be h onest, t here's a conflict r esolution, but for them, this is the first time seeing opposing viewpoints, seeing different w orldviews. And that's going to have an influence t oo. Especially if they are getting isolated from their friends. I f they're getting isolated, it's really going to feel like, well, the decision is I want to be in this relationship, even if it has extreme highs and extreme lows.

Brenda Vargas:

Thank you for highlighting that specific as it pertains to teens, right? For a lot of them, this is a new territory for them relationships, but that isolation piece is now if someone is the wrongdoer or offender, right, that works in their favor, we've all had to isolate in some capacity due to COVID and the pandemic in the last year. So they have more ammunition to be able to keep that person from others which I think is why it has become so incredibly difficult for people that are victims today to, you know, seek help and/or not to have that stigma attached that, you know, I want help, I just don't know how to get it also. And I don't know if you want to talk about any of the others briefly, but one piece that I want to make sure that we mention, and I think we could go on and on about this, but people that are victims of situations like this in a circumstance of domestic violence, why don't they leave? I know for some people that aren't in that experience or don't understand it, ask that question often with, and sometimes just to seek understanding, and sometimes with a lot of judgment, can you shed some light on that?

Samantha Hinchey:

Yes, first I just want to say that we really don't want to ask somebody, why don't you just leave? Or why do you stay? It's a really inappropriate question, because there are a lot of different extenuating factors as to why someone might stay. First of all, it's a process to leave an abusive relationship is a process. It's not something it's not an event. It's not something like, Oh, I'm going to wake up this morning and I'm going to just pack my bags and leave. That's not how it works, because there are many different reasons; some of those reasons might be money or housing. Housing is the number one reason why people don't leave. It is the number one thing that is asked for on hotlines, on domestic violence hotlines across the country. And housing is just hard to find whether you are in a domestic violence relationship or not. You know, we're just losing affordable housing across the country everywhere. And the pandemic has not helped that. So , having children or being employed or not being employed , lack of resources or social support somebody if has a disability. You know, imagine if that person's caregiver is their perpetrator. How do you leave? How do you ask for help? What do you do? So I'm go nna s ay that pets are no t a b arrier, but the lack of resources that we have for survivors an d p ets is a huge barrier that we have, not just in Arizona, but across the country. And I will say that A rizona right now is doing a lot to work on this initiative on bringing more resources for survivors and their pets because pets are family. And we wa nt t o m ake sure that we honor that for people. Someone's legal status, if I am an undocumented person and my partner, my abusive partner, and my children are United States citizens, how easy is it right now to threaten calling ICE or calling law enforcement on that person to make them stay or do what I want, o r telling them that they'll lose their ch ildren. You know, that's a really horrific thing, right th ere. Complicated systems are reasons why people don't leave. The legal system is c omplicated. Getting shelter is complicated. Housing is c omplicated DES or D epartment of Economic Services, child support, g etting TANF( Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) These are all very complicated systems that sometimes it's just hard for people to do.

Brenda Vargas:

Which can be very overwhelming for a victim.

Lizette Roeder:

I would like to add that for teens also, the barriers is that think of how many decisions they get to make in life. Do they get to choose what school they're going to go to? Do they get to choose, you know, the radius of miles that they can get a job on. Do they get to say when they get picked up for school or what afterschool activities they partake in? So in a lot of the services are also going to be closed by the time that they could potentially go and receive services. So for teens there are an extra set of barriers, it's not a friendly system, so that is also something to take into consideration.

Samantha Hinchey:

Yeah. Thanks Lizette. The last thing that I wanted to say about why people don't leave is that leaving an abusive relationship, whether you're a teen or an adult, is often the most dangerous time for the victim of domestic violence. Escalation just goes up during that time.

Brenda Vargas:

Fear then goes up and that fight or flight, right. What do I do? What's the best decision right now? Right? Even being able to decipher the options might be a great challenge for a lot of victims. I feel like we can talk on and on and on about this, because th ere a r e s o many different factors that impact im pact v ictims in this, in domestic violence situations. But I know we're going to have a fo llow-up i f we have a caregiver or parent or family member or neighbor that is concerned about someone, what is the best way for them either to get questions answered or how should people connect them to you? What's the best information, c onnector for us to give out.

Samantha Hinchey:

Yeah. So one of the things that I didn't talk about so that you would ask me this question is that we are able at the coalition, we have the state help line . And so we have the Arizona sexual and domestic violence helpline, and you're more than welcome to call. We've got amazing advocates on our helpline. Most of them are bilingual and they're able to answer. They have so many resources for people and their hours are normal business hours. It's not a hotline. Hotlines are 24 hours a day, but it's a help lane . So it's during like eight to five. You can chat, you can email the phone number is (602) 279-2900. Please give them a call. If you want to have a chat, if you have questions , we get calls from all kinds of people; from survivors to people doing this work to DCS Department of Child Safety, case workers, even sometimes perpetrators call.

Brenda Vargas:

Well in case you didn't get that number it's helpline for domestic violence is (602) 279-2900. Please reach out to them. They are incredible wealth of information and resources for our great citizens in the state of Arizona. Even if you just don't know, and you want to ask questions, please reach out. And we appreciate you listening today. We'll have a followup with Sam and Lizette joining us for another podcast of CUSD Cares. Thanks, parents.