As the Executive Director/Client Advocate for Our Sister’s Place, I would like to introduce this page to everyone as a discussion forum. I will post information and points of discussion and would urge everyone to become involved with our work to assist survivors of family violence. Please let me know of any topics you would like to discuss and please voice your opinions on our efforts. We will soon be starting a radio program on Blog Talk Radio and will let you know all about that very soon.
Together we can work to help, heal, educate and prevent domestic violence in our community!
ME TOO MOVEMENT
More than six months ago, the Me Too movement exploded with a near daily accusation against high-powered men. Intimate partner violence which 1 in 3 women have experienced, has largely been absent from the Me Too media coverage. “The way the Me Too movement has gotten some traction has, in many cases, been around workplace violence, and I think that is a little bit less stigmatizing than intimate partner violence”, said Sherry Hamby, a psychology professor and founding editor of the American Psychological Association journal Psychology of Violence.
Me Too’s hashtag was meant for anyone who experienced harassment or assault—a broad range of abuses that could be committed by any type of abuser. Many who shared their experiences on social media did not identify their perpetrators as intimate partners. Doing so may have brought retaliation which is always a fear for victims of domestic violence.
We still have a culture in our society where the victim is scorned for not leaving sooner or asked what she did to provoke him. That stigma is why many victims do not come forward – they are already suffering from a lack of confidence and to be judged by others outside the relationship can be crushing.
“Unless you have been a prisoner of war, you don’t understand”, said Ruth Glenn, Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
The practicality is victims often can’t leave. They are afraid he’s going to kill them if they walk out the door. They are afraid he will take the children. They are afraid he will close the bank account. They are afraid he will find them if they leave and harm them.
In 1992, months after Ruth Glenn left her abusive husband after 23 years of marriage, he tracked her down and shot her three times, once in the arm and twice in the head. The most dangerous time for a victim is after she leaves her abuser, yet the public, law enforcement and the justice system do not seem to understand that.
Me Too was bolstered by celebrities. In contrast, few high-profile women have spoken publicly about their experiences with domestic violence. A Me Too style movement could help debunk common myths about domestic abuse as well as pressure the criminal and legal systems to make things easier for the victims.
Every time a victim goes to court, she is taking time off from work, is having to find child-care for her children, missing opportunities, losing money and having to go through the trauma of retelling her story once again. The abuser may bring friends and family to court which intimidates the victim even more than having to face him in a courtroom.
As an advocate, I believe survivors need:
· Law Enforcement to believe them and take them seriously. A National Domestic Violence Hotline survey in 2015 found 2/3rds of survivors said police would not believe them or would do nothing.
· Attorneys who specialize in abuse cases.
· Protections to ensure employers won’t penalize survivors for taking time to go to court---or to receive counseling.
· Prosecutors who do not drop cases and judges who are holding abusers accountable.
Survivors of domestic violence need their voices heard, their stories told and support from their communities. The Me Too Movement can be a vital part in helping with that by encouraging and including more survivors of domestic abuse in their platform.
What do you think?