Greetings from CV Alliance!
Last Thursday, the Safe Family Task Force, of which we are members, hosted a panel discussion, “Demystifying Domestic Violence,” at Glendale Adventist Hospital. Nearly 50 people came out to hear the discussion including Mayor Zareh Sinanyan. The overarching message was domestic violence (DV) can happen to anyone. There are two forms: physical and psychological. Available statistics teach us that 1.3 women are physically assaulted by intimate partners annually; 30% of women visit the ER to treat ongoing partner abuse; 85% of victims are female; 15% are men; 50% of teens report knowing someone who is in, or was in, an abusive relationship.
Lt. Lola Abrahamian, Glendale PD, and Armineh Gourgian, MFT who worked at the Glendale YWCA, brought the issue home. Abusers “groom” their victims. “Don’t wear that dress.” “Don’t cook that food.” “That friend/family member isn’t a good influence on you.” It starts small, but steadily grows until the victim is isolated. Eventually, professional women are handing their paychecks over to their husbands so they can control access to money, or a wife doesn’t have a key to her own home, or a wife is banned from sleeping on a bed. A woman’s eye socket was broken for using her husband’s hand towel.
They said because DV happens in all subcultures, we should not judge victims. They also reported that many women don’t report abuse or return to the abuser numerous times before taking steps to leave because they fear losing their children. Also, cultural norms encourage women to stay in violent relationships. Undocumented immigrants don’t report because they fear deportation. What we learned was that victims of crimes who cooperate with the police are eligible for a U visa, “an immigration benefit that can be sought by victims of certain crimes who are currently assisting or have previously assisted law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of a crime, or who are likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity,” according to the Dept. of Homeland Security.
Help is available from Neighborhood Legal Services and the YWCA of Glendale.
What can we do to break the cycle? Sharon Townsend of Glendale Healthy Kids encouraged counseling for young boys who witness domestic violence. And Rosanna Cacace from Planned Parenthood said that since an estimated 30% of teens experience dating violence and linked control issues with substance use and unprotected sex, we need to teach young people about healthy relationships.
Suzy Jacobs, Executive Director,
3131 Foothill Blvd. Suite D
La Crescenta, CA 91214
(818) 646-7867 http://cv-alliance.org/