Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Portrayal of Domestic Violence in the Media

There was a time when domestic violence was not sought-after in the media as much as it is today. It was not a thing to report on a daily basis. It wasn’t until relationships with high-profile status seemed to crumble because of domestic violence that the world took note.  It was generally on television on movies and not on news. www.domesticviolence.pbworks.com sums it up when it says:

The representation of domestic violence in the visual media is no longer a thing seen only on so-called “women’s channels” such as Lifetime network or subjected to daytime talk shows. The topic of domestic violence has been showcased on the small screen through reality shows such as Cops, made-for-television movies such as The Burning Bed, and even primetime television shows such as the popular ER, NYPD Blue, and Six Feet Under. DV has also been the main topic focused on the big screen with Hollywood movies such as Sleeping with the Enemy (Julia Roberts), What’s Love Got To Do With It (Angela Bassett) and Enough (Jennifer Lopez). Although many critics focus on the never ending public outrage over the amount and content of media violence stating that there is too much and it is too graphic, many believe that if used effectively, the media could responsibly enlighten and educate the public about societal issues.

Technology and social media has helped led this cause into the mainstream media. People are now able to set the tone for what is trending through the use of Facebook and Twitter. With the ability to record and take pictures instantly on cellular devices and then upload those to social media, news of this violence has a higher chance of getting noticed.

Consequently, it seems that the public has become more outraged over hearing domestic violence abuse cases or stories. An example recently is that of former Olympian Oscar Pistorius and girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Can you think of any other domestic violence stories that have broken through the media recently? 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Resources Around SLC

 When it comes to resources, where is a good place to start? What types of categories are there? To narrow it down a little, one of the most important categories are state and local programs.

State and local programs can come in many different sizes and follow an array of services offered. These types of centers offer much-needed help to those who seek it. According to uwsl.bowmansystems.com (which will list centers geographically is the Salt Lake Area is not what you are looking for) CLD3 Counseling located at 352 South Denver Street (440 E) in Salt Lake City provides counseling for a variety of services that include domestic violence and women’s domestic violence. The number for this center is (801) 521-4227.

The Domestic Violence Information Line provides a 24-hour telephone information and referral line specifically designed for domestic violence issues. This service also “maintains a database of shelters and safe-houses, licensed domestic violence treatment programs, victim advocate programs and local domestic violence coalitions throughout Utah.” The number for this line is (800) 897-5465. This is a great resource and should be used efficiently.

Changes Counseling in Sandy is one that is not to be overlooked. Located at 8221 South 700 East in Sandy, it “provides treatment for court-ordered clients and others seeking drug and alcohol counseling or mental health treatment. Provides individual and group counseling and educational workshops for children, adolescents, adults and seniors.” The number for this counseling center is (801) 542-7060.

One last center is the YWCA Women in Jeopardy located on 322 East 300 South in Salt Lake City. The hotline is (801) 537-8600 and the regular phone number is (801) 355-2804. This should be utilized by women who are needing that extra help on any of the issues previously mentioned.

I have highlighted these four centers and help-lines, but in reality there are innumerable options. I could not have touched base on all of them, but they are out there. Every major and semi-major city in Utah has shelters and resources for all victims of domestic violence to take advantage of. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Defining Different Types of Violence

How many different types of violence is there? Are they all dealing with domestic violence? According to www.womenshealth.gov, the different types of violence against women are as follows:

            -Dating violence
            -Domestic and intimate partner violence (also referred to as relationship violence) 
            -Emotional abuse
            -Violence against immigrant and refugee women
            -Violence against women at work or women with disabilities
            -Sexual assault
            -Human trafficking

Oftentimes when women (and in some instances men) are the victims of violence it is not from a stranger. “Most often they are hurt by people who are close to them, such as a husband or partner. Whether you are attacked by a stranger or mistreated by a partner, violence and abuse can have terrible effects. You can get help from any physical and emotional problems.”

We can be more specific when it comes to domestic violence. Outlined below are the three main types of domestic violence:

            -Physical abuse. Examples include hitting, shoving, biting or kicking
            -Emotional abuse. Examples include yelling, controlling or threatening.
-Sexual abuse. Examples include forcing something sexually that the other person does not want to do

Abuse often starts as emotional and then becomes physical later. Sometimes it is hard to know if you are being abused, in situation such as this it is then hard to know when to get help. Seeking nearby shelters and coalitions can decrease the stress and hardships that this type of violence can create. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Myths Continued

There are too many myths about domestic violence to focus in on them all. I will start again by covering a few more and continuing from the last blog. These are only the more common ones, but by understanding these, you can more effectively understand what domestic violence truly is and how to prevent it. 
Myth #1 – Drugs and alcohol cause domestic violence.

Reasoning: According to www.casadeesperanza.org, drugs and alcohol may increase the danger level and have been present in cases, but it DOES NOT cause this violence. “Many alcoholics or drug users do not batter, and many batterers do not use drugs and alcohol. Stopping the abusers drinking or drug use will not end the violence. Batters who are alcoholics or use drugs have separate issues to confront if they want help-their addiction and their abusive behavior. Each problem must be addressed independently.”  

Myth #2 – Batters, or abusers, “lose control” of their temper.

Reasoning: According to the same source as outlined above, battering is not a loss of control; it is the exertion of power and control of one partner over the other. Many times, an abuser is only violent toward their children or partners and make sure that others are unaware of the situation. They indulge force and fear behind closed doors into making sure that no one talks about it. 

Myth #3 – Not everyone knows a victim of domestic violence

Reasoning: According to www.umn.edu, we all know victims. “Worldwide, between one quarter and one half of all women experience violence in an intimate relationship. Victims of domestic violence may not disclose the abuse because of embarrassment or humiliation, fear that they will be blamed for the abuse, or the danger of retaliation from the abuser. 

I hope that these myths bring some light into the stereotype of domestic violence. I hope that you realize that it is more common than is often portrayed. There is no one set income group, gender, or any other group that is omitted from this type of violence.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Myths about Domestic Violence

Domestic violence propaganda is full of myths and facts. But how do you decipher what is truly myth and what is truly fact? As a general rule of thumb, if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is. According to www.stoptheviolence.org, let us go over a few myths that have been around for a while:

Myth #1- Domestic violence happens in low-income families, or people with substance abuse problems or only to people who grew up in a violent family

Reasoning: Upper and middle-income families suffer as well, however, many times their secrets are better kept. The shame and embarrassment is so great that it often times silences the victim(s) from going forward with information. To quote: “If the general belief is that this thing only happens to poor victims, minority people, substance abusers, how can a wealthier person admit this is happening in their own families, or those they know? The stakes are high and the risks are great for people with public profiles and economic resources.”

Myth #2- Only women are helped

Reasoning: Domestic violence shelters and hotlines are  ready and willing to help all victims, regardless of gender. They help anyone that has been assessed as the victim in an intimate partner relationship. The reason for the stereotype is because the overwhelming majority of cases are of women being abused by men.

Myth #3- “It couldn’t be that bad, if the couple stays together or the victims returns to the abusive partner.”

Reasoning: An abused person does not act, report the abuse or leave in many situations because of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of retaliation, all kinds of fear. Statistically speaking, physically leaving is actually the time of greatest danger. Shame also comes into play. “The shame of admitting we are not the capable, talented people who we want people to think we are. The shame of not being happy in our own families and homes.” 

These are only three of the main myths that are often asked. This list does not even begin to ponder about what other myths are wrongly out there, and more importantly, what can be done to omit these myths from the general public thinking. What other myths can you think of?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

How to Get Involved

Many people know what domestic violence is and know how it impacts society. They want to help but do not know where to start. If you were in this situation, where would you start? Are you in this situation?

According to the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition (UDVC), there are plenty of things that you can do to get involved. For starters, attending the UDVC and/or SLADVC monthly meetings will provide you with information for further participation. If this option does not work with your schedule, making a donation will have positive impact. 

Donations come in all shapes and sizes. A donation does not necessarily have to be in the form of money, but may also be items. The SLADVC is hosting a yard sale on May 17, 2014 and is looking for new or gently used items to sell. If you fit into this category, do not hesitate to donate items! Contact April at AEnsign@cottonwoodheights.utah.gov in order to do that. 

When donating, many people may think that they are not able to “give enough money” or that they have to give huge sums. Please do not think this. The SLADVC, UDVC, other coalitions and shelters will accept any money donation or contribution. That money goes a long way in enabling these places and groups to continue to provide domestic violence awareness and relief. Every little bit counts.

Another of the biggest things to do in order to get involved is to be aware when this is happening to someone you know. If someone around you has been affected by this issue, do not simply turn your head the other way. Get involved with that person and become a positive beacon in their life and the lives of their children if applicable. Every little bit counts!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Reasons Why People Stay

Imagine being in a relationship with history behind it and feeling like you want to leave because abuse has become an increasing threat. You do not have money to leave, you have loved this person for years and consequently your emotions are pulling you up and down. You fear what would happen to your children. This is a situation many find themselves in.

People who are not in abusive relationships may find it hard to understand why those who are choose to stay. In today’s society, victims are often blamed as being “incompetent” or “needy and weak.” This is not true. Ending a relationship – especially if there are years behind it – can be hard.

According to WebMD, people stay for many reasons, which include:

-Shame and embarrassment. Victims often feel these two emotions and may cope with abuse through denial. Another possibility is that they are the only member in their family faced with this issue. 

-Lack of resources. Money is a resource that if sometimes tightly controlled. If a woman is in a situation of leaving, she may question how she will be able to support herself and her children. Elderly or those with disabilities may not feel that they have any options than to stay with their partner.

-Custody worries. A parent, especially women, may worry about losing custody of the children if they leave.

-Deportation. If a person is an immigrant who is not a citizen, this fear can be very strong to hold a person in place. It may be that their partners have threatened to speak of this issue to local authorities. Also, if a person is not fluent in English, this could present a challenge.

It is important to understand that someone why stays in an abusive relationship is not incompetent or weak. This may be the toughest thing they have ever had to do in their lives, and that can demand a lot of strength. No one can make these decisions for them, but we all must be that support system that is needed. 

Do you know of any situations in which a person has left the relationship and created a better life because of it?