Abuse in Focus, domestic violence, Elder Abuse, Sexual Assualt, Stalking, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

Abuse in Focus: Gaslighting

There are many types of abuse utilized to exert power over an individual in an effort to control them. These patterns can include physical, financial, emotional, and mental; gaslighting is a form of mental and emotional abuse.  

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This abusive behavior is one that has been used by family, friends, intimate partners, and in the workplace, and employs multiple tactics to achieve control. Some of these tactics are:

  1. Minimization: This is a downplaying of other abusive behaviors, to trivialize how the victim may feel or think. By the abuser claiming they were only joking, telling the victim they “take things too seriously”, or by calling the victim “overly sensitive”, the abuser can gain more power over their victim.
    i.e., “I am only joking, why are you taking this so seriously? Stop being so sensitive all the time.”
  2. Denial: An abuser may completely deny having said or done something, whether the victim has proof of the behavior or not. This is meant to make a victim question themselves on whether something did actually occur, and may lead the victim to think they are “going crazy”.
    i.e., “You are lying. I never said/did that. Quit making stuff up.”
  3. Discrediting: The abuser tells the victim, or other people, that the victim is crazy, irrational, unstable, or untrustworthy. This can isolate the victim, making it more difficult for them to leave an abusive situation.
  4. Countering: The abusive party repeatedly questions the victim’s memory, telling them they don’t remember things correctly. As with many other gaslighting patterns, this is designed to make the victim second guess themselves, to minimize past behaviors, or to outright deny something occurred.
    i.e., “That is not how that happened. You never remember anything right.”

Some indicators that you may be the victim of gaslighting can include:

  1. Second guessing your perceptions, thoughts, feelings, or memory.
  2. Feeling like you are overly sensitive, confused, or crazy.
  3. Frequently apologizing to your abuser.
  4. Feeling like you can’t do anything right.
  5. Struggling to make decisions.
  6. Having the sensation that something is wrong, or that you used to be a different person (more happy, confident, relaxed).

If you may believe that you or someone you know is a victim of gaslighting, or have further questions regarding this or other abusive behaviors, AVRC staff are available to assist!

415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
24 Hour Hotline: (719) 384-7764
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656

 

Facts provided by the National Domestic Violence Hotline
http://www.thehotline.org/what-is-gaslighting/

AVRC is non-discriminatory agency regarding race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation or economic condition.
domestic violence, Non-Profit Agency, Services Spotlight, Victim Service Agency

AVRC Services Spotlight: Children’s Counseling Program

     The Staff at the Arkansas Valley Resource Center (AVRC) strive to provide the best services for all victims of violent crime. Navigating one’s thoughts and emotions in the wake of violent crime can be difficult, and for a child, it may be that much more of a challenge to understand what they are experiencing. With that in mind, AVRC offers a counseling program for children that focuses on various elements to help a child survivor potentially move forward in their recovery from their victimization.
      The AVRC Children’s Counseling Program is based on set curriculum that is divided in to age groups, starting at 5 years old. The curriculum focuses on various topics, including self esteem, choices, and anger, to help children better understand their situation. Counseling can be completed with an individual child, with a sibling group, or with groups of children from multiple families, depending on the circumstances and needs of each case. As with AVRC’s Peer and Group Counseling, or any other services AVRC offers, there is no charge for the Children’s Counseling Program. If the needs of an individual in counseling with AVRC are not being met, or if it is identified that there are mental health issues that may need to be addressed, AVRC Staff can provide appropriate referrals to potentially meet these needs.

If you, or someone you may know, is seeking more information on AVRC’s services, including the Children’s Counseling Program, feel free to contact AVRC Staff!

415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
24-hour Hotline: (719) 384-7764
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656

 

AVRC is non-discriminatory agency regarding race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation or economic condition.
crime victims rights, domestic violence, Non-Profit Agency, Sexual Assualt, Stalking, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

Stalking: Get the Facts

     Stalking is often depicted in popular media by a hooded stranger creeping in the shadows, following their victims at a distance, always watching them. In reality, stalking takes on many forms, and sometimes occurs without the offender ever having to leave their home. With the rise in social media, methods of stalking have become even more advanced, and it is that much more important to understand the elements of stalking, and the potential lethality of the overall behavior.

Stalking Laws

  • Stalking is considered a felony upon first offense in the state of Colorado.
  • Colorado Law, or “Vonnie’s Law,” defines stalking as:
    1) a credible threat, and/or 
    2) repeated behavior, that reasonably causes someone to be afraid or suffer serious emotional distress.
  • “Vonnie’s Law” further states that stalking behaviors are identified as following, approaching, putting under surveillance, communicating with or making threats to or regarding the individual, friends or immediate family of the individual, and other repeated patterns or contacts that would cause a reasonable person to suffer serious emotional distress and does cause that person to suffer serious emotional distress.
  • All 50 states have laws against stalking, but less than 1/3 of the states classify stalking as a felony at first offense .
    stalker-stats-1-223x300

Stalking Statistics

  • 1 in every 6 women and 1 out of every 19 men in the United states have been stalked in their lifetime.
  • 3 out of 4 stalking victims know their stalkers, including family, current or former intimate partners, and acquaintances.
  • 66% of female stalking victims were stalked by a current or former intimate partner.
  • 76% of female homicide victims killed by a current of former intimate partner were stalked by their murderer prior to their death.
  • Of male stalking victims, 48% reported they were stalked by another male, and 45% by a female.
  • People aged 18-24 have the highest rates of stalking victimization.Privacy-Infographic-20151125-featured-image

Cyber-Stalking

  • Cyber-stalking is a form of stalking that utilizes technology to harass, threaten, or follow a person.
  • Cyber-stalking includes tracking or monitoring a victim’s whereabouts and actions using GPS on their phone or vehicle, and/or through social media; sending threatening messages and images by email, social media, or text; hacking a victim’s personal accounts (including email, social media, and phone) to monitor, harass, or discredit the victim; and posting personal information, such as date of birth, social security number, and phone number on the internet.

The Impact

  • Stalking victims suffer much higher rates of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and social dysfunction than the general population.
  • 1 in 4 stalking victims contemplated suicide.
  • 37% of stalking victims fulfill the diagnostic criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
  • 86% of stalking victims surveyed reported that their personalities had changed as a result of being stalked.

If you, a friend, or loved one, are the victim of stalking, or would like to know more about the facts of stalking, please know that you aren’t alone, and that help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
24 Hour Hotline: (719) 384-7764
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656

 

Statistics provided by:
The Office for Victims of Crime
https://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ncvrw2017/images/en_artwork/Fact_Sheets/2017NCVRW_Stalking_508.pdf
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

https://ncadvvoices.org/2017/01/30/quick-guide-to-stalking-16-important-statistics-and-what-you-can-do-about-it/

AVRC is non-discriminatory agency regarding race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation or economic condition.
domestic violence, Non-Profit Agency, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Violent Crime: The Lasting Impact

     It seems that Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is most generally discussed in association with the subject of sports injuries, particularly football. Having been repeatedly struck, innumerable times a year, it isn’t surprising that football players, either at the high school, college, or pro level experience more brain injuries than most other athletes. However, these athletes aren’t the only individuals who are at risk from TBI, though they may be the most commonly discussed.

     According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 10% of the brain injuries that are reported are the result of assault. At 17 million TBI’s reported annually in the US alone, this totals to approximately 8,500,000 brain injuries that were a result of violent crime within a 5-year period.  The CDC also cites that in 2013, assault was the most common cause of TBI-related deaths for children between 0-4 years old. It is also estimated that as many as 20 million survivors of domestic violence (DV), 6% of the US population, may be affected by TBI.

10% of reported TBI are a result of violent crime.

     TBI is the result of external physical force, which may cause a varying degree of injury to the brain. Such external force can include penetration of the skull by a foreign object, including stab wounds or gun shots to the head, closed head injuries due to strikes to the head or rigorous shaking, and cutting off oxygen to the brain such as can be caused by strangulation. For survivors of DV, they may have experienced multiple incidents wherein they were strangled, hit in the head, or slammed up against a wall, all of which could result in repeated cases of what is referred to as “mild brain injury”. In cases of Shaken Baby Syndrome, infants are injured due to violent and forceful shaking, with as many as 250-750 deaths annually as a result. For those who survive the preceding assault, they can face a veritable maze of immediate and/or potentially long term aftermath from their resulting TBI.

brain-injury-symptoms

     The side-effects of TBI can have a long-lasting and sometimes severe impact on the survivor, including physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and sensory problems. These symptoms can include, but aren’t limited to; headaches, dizziness, reduced memory and concentration capabilities, and changes in personality and sleeping patterns. Worse still, enduring symptoms can make any ongoing or future abuses that much more dangerous for a victim, as  it may be more difficult to leave an abusive situation.

     Identifying and addressing the symptoms of, or providing support for survivors with TBI is imperative. Depending upon the severity of the injury, it is potentially possible to recover from these far-reaching symptoms. The first step to recovery is seeking the right resources to help reach that goal. Arkansas Valley Resource Center (AVRC) is available to connect survivors with the appropriate resources to meet their needs, and assist in addressing new or ongoing abuses. Don’t hesitate to reach out and move forward!

Support through AVRC is available 24 hours a day!
415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
24 Hour Hotline: (719) 384-7764
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656

Statistics and symptom chart provided by the Center for Disease Control. Additional information provided by Domestic Abuse and Brain Injury in Women, via the National Women’s Health Network (https://www.nwhn.org/domestic-abuse-brain-injury-women/).

AVRC is non-discriminatory agency regarding race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation or economic condition.

domestic violence, Non-Profit Agency, Sexual Assualt, Victim Service Agency

AVRC Services Spotlight: Peer & Group Counseling

The Arkansas Valley Resource Center (AVRC) recognizes that road to recovery for survivors of violent crime can be a long and trying one, and believes that one of the best tools for potentially reaching the end of that road may be counseling. AVRC offers peer and group counseling for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuses in Bent, Crowley, and Otero County. There is no charge for counseling, or any other service provided by AVRC, and it is not required for a victimization to be reported to Law Enforcement in order for a survivor to access counseling support.

Peer counseling, by definition, is counseling, support, and guidance provided by a trained peer professional. AVRC’s peer counseling is survivor-driven, with the goal of working toward recovery from past and/or potentially ongoing abuses. While in peer counseling, AVRC staff assist victims with resources, tools, and techniques to recognize unhealthy and abusive patterns, build self-esteem, and develop healthy coping skills.

Group counseling for sexual violence and domestic violence victims is conducted with the hope that survivors can build a support system within the group, and recognize that they are not alone in their experiences. As with individual peer counseling, AVRC staff can work with the group on recognizing the cycle of violence, establishing assertive communication skills, and setting healthy boundaries in their relationships.

Should it be determined that a survivor’s needs are not being met by peer or group counseling, or that they have concerns regarding their mental health, AVRC can provide appropriate referrals and resources to best meet those needs.

If you are interested in seeking peer or group counseling, or would like more information, AVRC is just a call away!

415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
24-hour Hotline: (719) 384-7764
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656

AVRC is non-discriminatory agency regarding race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation or economic condition.

domestic violence, Non-Profit Agency, Victim Service Agency

Go Orange this February!

 

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM) and in 2018, everyone is wearing orange! The #Orange4Love challenge, or Wear Orange Day, is on Tuesday, February 13th, 2018, and is part of the TDVAM campaign to raise awareness regarding an issue that 1 in 3 teens and young adults face. But what is teen dating violence? Do you know what the warning signs of dating violence can look like?

81% of parents believe teen dating violence isn’t an issue or admit they don’t know if it’s an issue.

According to loveisrespect.org, teen dating violence occurs on a spectrum of healthy relationships, unhealthy relationships, and abusive relationships. Unhealthy relationships are characterized as being “based on attempts to control another person”, whereas abusive relationships are “based on an imbalance of power and control”. As with any abusive situation, abusive behavior is a means for the perpetrator to gain control over another person. These controling behaviors can be emotional, mental, financial, physical, or sexual, and include other patterns such as stalking, intimidation, and isolation. Most commonly, teens who had experienced dating violence reported physical, sexual, emotional, and verbal abuses. Put downs, jealousy, isolation from friends and family, and pressure over having sex are all abusive behaviors commonly associated with teen dating violence.

1.5 Million high school students admit to being hit or intentionally harmed by someone they are in a romantic relationship with.

Dating violence can have a serious impact on a survivor. Young adults who have experienced dating violence are at higher risk for eating disorders, unsafe or unhealthy sexual practices, substance abuse, and ongoing abuse in their adult relationships. On top of that, half (50%) of teens who experience dating violence attempt suicide, in comparison to young men (5.4%) and young women (12.5%) who have not been in an abusive dating relationship.

Education may be one of  the best tools to combat dating violence. When students, teachers, and parents are able to identify unhealthy and abusive patterns, better support can be given to those who are experiencing or have experienced dating violence. Agencies such as the Arkansas Valley Resource Center (AVRC) are available for students, teachers, parents, and community members alike who may have concerns for themselves or someone they know, as well as for group education regarding these issues.

If you are interested about learning more, or are in need of support for yourself, a friend or family member due to teen dating violence, reach out, speak up, and don’t forget to wear #Orange4Love!

Support through AVRC is available 24 hours a day!
415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
24 Hour Hotline: (719) 384-7764
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656

AVRC is non-discriminatory agency regarding race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation or economic condition.

Teen Dating Violence statistics and banner provided by loveisrespect.org.

domestic violence, Non-Profit Agency, Sexual Assualt, Victim Service Agency

AVRC Services Spotlight: Crisis Intervention

The Arkansas Valley Resource Center (AVRC) offers many different services to assist the victims of violent crime in Bent, Crowley, and Otero Counties. Among these many invaluable services, AVRC offers 24-Hour Crisis Intervention support. Crisis Intervention is available to any survivors of violent crime, whether a crime has been reported to law enforcement or not; AVRC does not require that a client report their victimization to law enforcement in order for services to be received. Crisis Intervention support can be accessed in many ways, including calling AVRC’s 24-hour hotline number at (719) 384-7764, by walking in to the AVRC office, at 415 Colorado Ave., La Junta, during office hours, or by referral from a 3rd party agency, including, but not limited to, mental/physical health professionals, court staff, legal aid, and other local support agencies. While working with AVRC staff, safety is a top priority; AVRC will work with the client to meet the immediate needs they may have that puts their safety at risk.

All of AVRC’s services are voluntary. AVRC Staff will not force a victim to take any steps that they are not ready to take or feel are not in their best interest. AVRC Staff will do their best to provide the survivor with the resources and options that may best meet their needs, in order for them to make an informed decision about their next steps toward safety, self-sufficiency, and recovery.

If you, or someone you know, may be in need of Crisis Intervention support, or have any questions about AVRC’s services, please do not hesitate to come in to the AVRC Office, or to call AVRC’s 24-Hour Hotline #.

415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
(719) 384-7764
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656