crime victims rights, domestic violence, Intimate Partner Violence, Non-Profit Agency, Stalking, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

Emotional Abuse: Bruises on the Heart & Mind

What is normal when you are dating?

Wanting to have sex with your dating partner? Yup.

Texting each other throughout the day? Totally.

Hanging out? Sure.

But at what point do these behaviors cross the line to become abusive?

Being pressured into having sex with your partner when you aren’t ready to take that step? Emotional abuse.

Constantly having to text your partner to “check in” or getting punished for not answering a text quickly enough? Emotional abuse.

Being forced to spend all your time with your partner, at the expense of your relationships with friends and family or activities you enjoy? Emotional abuse.

Emotional abuse is abuse.

It doesn’t leave outward scars, but that doesn’t mean it can’t cause serious damage to a survivor’s mental and emotional well-being. Often, it is one of the key warning signs of an unhealthy or abusive relationship. Emotional abuse can take on many forms, including jealousy or possessiveness, isolation from friends and family, stalking, threats of suicide or harm to someone you care about, name calling and put-downs, and digital abuse. What’s worse, is that when emotional abuses happen, they can take a toll on a survivor’s self esteem, mental health, and physical health. When an abuser keeps telling their partner that they are “ugly”, “worthless”, “dumb”, “untrustworthy”, and “crazy”, the partner may start to believe the abuser, making it that much harder to end the relationship. Because it comes in so many forms, it can be easy to miss, or dismiss as normal. But emotional abuse is not normal.

Emotional abuse is abuse.

Let’s run through some scenarios of emotional abuse in dating relationships.

Dave and Jessica have been dating for a while. More and more, Dave is pressuring Jessicadownload (1) into having sex with him and sending him nudes. Jessica doesn’t feel ready to have sex, but she does send Dave some pictures of herself in her underwear. Dave keeps saying, “If you love me, you will have sex with me.” Jessica decides she isn’t comfortable with the pressure Dave is putting her under and tries to break up with him. Dave threatens to kill himself if Jessica breaks up with him. Jessica apologizes and says she won’t break up with him. Eventually Dave breaks up with Jessica because she won’t have sex with him. After they break up, Dave posts the pictures Jessica sent him online, calling Jessica a slut and whore.

What types of emotional abuse happened in Dave and Jessica’s relationship? Dave was pressuring Jessica into doing something she wasn’t comfortable with and then tried to manipulate her into doing it to “prove” she loved him. When Jessica tried to end the relationship, Dave made threats of self-harm to control Jessica into staying with him. When Dave broke up with Jessica, he posted private pictures online and called her names. Dave’s abusive behaviors included emotional manipulation, threats, verbal abuse, sexual abuse and digital abuse.

Let’s look at another scenario.

downloadCally and Luis mostly communicate via text throughout the week. Luis tutors after school to earn some extra money, so he can go spend time with Cally on the weekends. Cally told Luis she has been cheated on before, so she has a hard time trusting her boyfriends. Cally tells Luis to give Cally his social media passwords to make sure he isn’t talking to other girls, saying “It shouldn’t be a problem if you don’t have anything to hide from me.” Luis knows he isn’t cheating on Cally, so he gives her his passwords so she will trust him. One day, Luis is tutoring a girl who tags him in a picture of them together on Facebook. Luis silences his phone while he is working, so when he does go to check his phone after work, Luis finds 37 missed calls and 107 texts from Cally that she sent during the hour Luis was tutoring. Many of the texts accuse Luis of sleeping with the other girl and says Luis is an “asshole just like all of my other exes”. When Luis gets a hold of Cally, she demands that Luis not tutor the other girl anymore. Eventually Cally starts telling Luis to quit his tutoring job, because Cally can’t trust him, even though Luis has repeatedly told Cally he hasn’t cheated on her and never will.

Cally made excuses for her behavior right from the start, blaming her behavior on her past relationships. Cally insisted she be allowed access to Luis’s social media accounts to prove Luis isn’t cheating. When Luis didn’t immediately respond to Cally’s calls and texts while he was working, she blew up his phone with excessive contacts in a short period of time. Cally called Luis names, accused him of cheating on her, and demanded he stop tutoring other girls, ultimately leading to her telling him to quit his job. Cally made false accusations, displayed extreme jealousy, and was digitally, verbally, and financially abusive to Luis.

Let’s look at one more scenario.

James and Sarah started dating over summer break. When they go back to school in the fall, Sarah starts playing volleyball and isn’t seeing James as often. After school, Sarah usually spends time with her friends. When she does see James, he asks her to spend imagesmore time with him and accuses Sarah of not putting their relationship first. James tells Sarah to quit volleyball so they could be together more. James and Sarah start fighting a lot, and James always ends up yelling and calling Sarah selfish. After their fights James always says, “I hate when we fight, but you just make me so mad! That is why I yell at you.” Sarah agrees to quit volleyball, even though she really enjoys it. James starts showing up where Sarah is hanging out with her friends, even though she didn’t tell him where they would be or invite him. James also starts repeatedly calling Sarah’s house late at night and hanging up, and leaving little gifts in her car, which makes Sarah uncomfortable. Sarah breaks up with James, but he continues to show up at the places she is at and leaving little gifts in her car, even though she had asked him to stop.

James tried to insinuate that Sarah was selfish and not putting their relationship first, forcing her into quitting something she enjoys doing. James also blamed Sarah for him getting angry and yelling at her. James escalated to stalking Sarah, even after she broke up with him and told him to leave her alone. James was emotionally manipulative, put Sarah down, isolated her from activities she enjoyed, and was stalking her.

Emotional abuse is abuse.

It doesn’t leave outward scars. It makes you second guess yourself. It makes you feel bad, or that you are going crazy. Emotional abuse is controlling, without ever laying a hand on you. Emotional abuse can lead to physical abuse and sexual assault. It is important to try to set healthy boundaries early on in your relationship and recognize that you aren’t alone, even when your abuser may insist otherwise.

AVRC Staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you have any questions about emotional abuse, healthy boundaries and dating violence, or if you want to seek support and safety, help is only one 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, mental health status, substance use or economic condition.

 

crime victims rights, domestic violence, Intimate Partner Violence, Non-Profit Agency, Sexual Assualt, Stalking, Victim Service Agency, Victim Service Provider, Violent Crime

Teen Dating Violence: How much do you know?

Feburary is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (#TDVAM) and it is time to put your knowledge to the test! Let’s see how much you may know about healthy relationships and the facts about dating violence.
(Hint: Some of the answers can be found in AVRC’s 2018 #TDVAM Article,
 Go Orange this February!)

Multiple choice (can have more than one right answer)

1.) What percent of teens who experience dating violence attempt suicide?
     a) 44%
     b) 86%
     c) 50%
     d) 38%

2.) Abusive behaviors during dating violence include:
     a) Physical and sexual violence
     b) Mental and emotional violence
     c) Isolation and jealousy
     d) Stalking

3.) Among female victims of intimate partner violence, what percent were victimized by a current or former partner per age group?
     a) 52% of those aged between 12-22
     b) 94% of those aged between 16-19
     c) 66% of those aged between 16-24
     d) 70% of those aged between 20-24

4.) Why do people stay in abusive relationships?
     a) Fear or shame
     b) Pressure (social/peer, cultural/religious)
     c) Lack of support or resources
     d) Belief that abuse is normal

5.) How many teens who have experienced dating violence disclose their abuse?
     a) 50%
     b) 89%
     c) 33%
     d) 12%

6.) At what rate do high school students experience physical abuse from a dating partner:
     a) 2 million every year
     b) 1 million every 6 months
     c) 1.5 million every year
     d) 100,000 every month

7.) Long-term effects of teen dating violence can include:
     a) Eating disorders
     b) Drug and alcohol abuse
     c) Unhealthy sexual practices
     d) Risk of ongoing abuse in adult relationships

8.) Which of the following is a sign of a healthy relationship?
     a) Spending all your free time together.
     b) Maintaining interests, hobbies, and friendships outside of the relationship.
     c) Having sex every day, because it shows how much you love each other.
     d) Valuing each other’s opinions and boundaries.

True or False

1.) Over 80% of parents believe teen dating violence isn’t an issue, or admit they don’t know if it is an issue.  ___________
2.) Physical violence always leaves visible marks. ___________
3.) Dating violence is limited to in-person contacts.    ___________
4.) LGTBQIA+ teens and young adults experience dating violence less than heterosexuals. ___________
5.) People abuse their partners because of anger and substance abuse issues. ___________
6.) Your partner can’t rape you if you have had sex with them before. ___________
7.) Abuse always stops if you break up with your abuser. ___________

ANSWER KEY

Multiple choice (can have more than one right answer)

1.) What percent of teens who experience dating violence attempt suicide?
     c) 50%
Half of teens who have experienced dating violence attempt suicide, as opposed to 5.4% of young men and 12.5% of young women who have not been in an abusive dating relationship.

2.) Abusive behaviors include:
     a) Physical and sexual violence
     b) Mental and emotional violence
     c) Isolation and jealousy
     d) Stalking
Abusive behaviors include all of those listed above, as well as digital abuse and financial abuse.

3.) Among female victims of intimate partner violence, what percent were victimized by a current or former partner per age group?
    b) 94% of those aged between 16-19
d) 70% of those aged between 20-24
Girls and young women between the ages of 16 to 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence.

4.) Why do people stay in abusive relationships?
     a) Fear or shame
     b) Pressure (social/peer, cultural/religious)
     c) Lack of support or resources
     d) Belief that abuse is normal
There is no one reason why someone may stay in an abusive relationship, but the above are just some of many of these reasons. Other reasons can include fear of being outed, if the abused party is LGBTQIA+ and has not come out yet. Other reasons can include distrust of authorities, such as believing that adults or law enforcement won’t listen or help if abuse is disclosed.

5.) How many teens who have experienced dating violence disclose their abuse?
     c) 33%
Only 1/3 of teens disclose abuse to their friends or family.

6.) At what rate do high school students experience physical abuse from a dating partner:
     c) 1.5 million every year
Physical abuse can include pushing, shoving, hitting, and strangulation.

7.) Long-term effects of teen dating violence can include:
     a) Eating disorders
     b) Drug and alcohol abuse
c) Unhealthy sexual practices
d) Risk of ongoing abuse in adult relationship
Further risks include teen girls being sexually abused are six times more likely to become pregnant and twice as likely to get a Sexual Transmitted Infection (STI).

8.) Which of the following is a sign of a healthy relationship?
     b) Maintaining interests, hobbies, and friendships outside of the relationship.
     d) Valuing each other’s opinions and boundaries.
Healthy relationships are based on respect, trust, and consent.

True or False

1.) True. 81% of parents don’t realize that teen dating violence is an issue.

2.) False. Physical violence can cause internal, unseen injury, including broken bones and internal swelling, bruising, or bleeding.

3.) False. Dating violence can also include digital violence, such as cyber-bullying.

4.) False. LGBTQIA+ teens experience dating violence at the same rates as their heterosexual peers, which is an average of 1 in 3 teens and young adults.

5.) False. While anger and substance abuse can be an escalating factor in the cycle of violence, abuse is caused by control issues in the batterer.

6.) False. Regardless of whether or not you have had sex with a partner before, consent is required every single time.

7.) False. Violence doesn’t always stop after you break up with your abuser, and may actually escalate, which is why it is so important to seek support.

So, how did you do? If you have any questions about Teen Dating Violence (#TDVAM), or if you or someone you know needs safety and support options to deal with dating violence, AVRC Staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. One of the best steps anyone can take is to reach out for support!

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 a non-discriminatory agency regarding race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation, mental health status, substance use or economic condition.

 

Statistics and data on dating violence provided by https://www.loveisrespect.org/.

crime victims rights, domestic violence, Non-Profit Agency, Services Spotlight, Sexual Assualt, Stalking, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

AVRC Services Spotlight: Criminal Justice System Advocacy

Recovery from violent crime and/or ongoing abuse can potentially feel overwhelming, especially when trying to juggle one’s daily life on top of navigating the ins and outs of  the criminal justice system.

Who am I supposed to talk to about my concerns regarding my case?

What do I do if I am struggling to make contact with someone?

What are my rights as a victim of violent crime?

What does ‘Arraignment’ mean? 

Sometimes, we just need a helping hand to let us know where to go or what to expect next. As a community based agency, the Arkansas Valley Resource Center (AVRC) stands alongside our local criminal justice system agencies (law enforcement, district attorney, courts, probation, etc,), but also apart from them, allowing AVRC Staff to potentially address the overall needs of the survivor in tandem with their criminal justice case(s) needs.

AVRC can, at the survivor’s request, refer to, arrange contact with, and/or attend contacts with criminal justice agencies, such as meeting with the District Attorney or reporting new and/or ongoing crime to law enforcement. Also, AVRC staff may be available to go with the victim to hearings and trials regarding their victimization, for emotional support. AVRC staff can assist the survivor in completing a victim impact statement or seeking victim compensation to possibly meet financial needs that arise from their victimization. AVRC will educate clients on the Colorado Victim Rights Act (VRA), and can assist when a victim feels their Victims Rights may have been violated, including making a VRA complaint.

If you or someone you know has needs relating to their victimization and the criminal justice system, and is need of support, AVRC staff is available 24/7 to answer your questions!

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

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

crime victims rights, domestic violence, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Intimate Partner Violence, Victim Rights Act, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

Domestic Violence in Colorado: Top Facts to Know

Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2018 (#DVAM2018) is in full swing, and the theme for the year is:
AWARENESS + ACTION = SOCIAL CHANGE
With this in mind, here are some facts regarding Domestic Violence in the state of Colorado, to spread awareness about this serious issue and how close to home it may actually be.

  1. Domestic Violence (DV), under the Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS Title 18 Criminal Code § 18-6-8003), is defined as an act or threatened act of violence upon a person whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship. It further defines “intimate relationship” as a relationship between spouses, former spouses, past or present unmarried couples, or persons who are both the parents of the same child, regardless of whether the persons have been married or have lived together at any time.
  2. DV, per Colorado Law, is a criminal sentence enhancement. This means that if a DV perpetrator is charged and convicted, the sentence of the crime(s) committed (harassment, assault, etc.) increase, due to the potential lethality of the situation.
  3. In Colorado DV cases, if law enforcement has probable cause to believe that DV has occurred, the perpetrator is to be automatically arrested. Additionally, the perpetrator is to be held without bond until he goes before a Judge for advisement, and a mandatory (criminal) no-contact protection order is issued.
  4. Colorado DV cases cannot be dropped by the victim in the case. It is at the discretion of the State, specifically the prosecuting District Attorney’s Office, to “drop charges”.
  5. Per the Colorado Victim Rights Act (VRA), Domestic Violence is considered a violent crime. As such, victims of DV are to be protected throughout duration of the criminal justice process under the Colorado VRA.
  6. As a VRA protected crime, the victim of a DV case that has been reported and charged may be able to access Victims Compensation to pay for expenses that may have been a result of their victimization.
  7. Of the crimes against persons reported to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2017, 18,239 were committed by a current or previous intimate partner of the victim; in 2016, these reports totaled 17,423.
  8. From 2013 to 2017, CBI has reported a total of 129 murders committed by former or current intimate partners of the victim. Of these, 2 were reported within the 16th Judicial District (Bent, Crowley, and Otero counties).
  9. The Arkansas Valley Resource Center was created, in 1987, in response to a DV murder that occurred in the 16th Judicial District (Bent, Otero, and Crowley Counties).


If you, a friend, or a family member are a victim of Domestic Violence, and you are in need of support, AVRC Staff are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your contacts are confidential/privileged and at no cost to you. Reach out today!

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, mental health status, substance use or economic condition.

domestic violence, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Intimate Partner Violence, Non-Profit Agency, Victim Rights Act, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children

Did you know that being witness to Domestic Violence (DV) as a child can alter your DNA? Or that if a pregnant woman experiences DV during her pregnancy, her unborn child is more likely to develop anxiety or depression? A study conducted in 2014 out of New Orleans showed that being exposed to violence in their home resulted in children having shortened chromosome tips (telomeres). The degradation of these telomeres results in cellular aging, and for children in homes where DV is occurring, it can cost them as much as 7 to 10 years. This damage to the child’s DNA also means they are at increased risk for several mental and physical issues, including diabetes, heart disease, mental illness, and obesity.

On September 13, 2017, there were a total of 25,022 children receiving DV-related services, including 12,926 children that were in emergency shelter.

Every year, for the past 13 years, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) has completed a census to determine, on one given day, how many individuals are seeking and receiving services in relation to DV, with the intent of raising awareness for the issue. NNEDV’s 12th Annual Census Report documented that on September 13, 2017, there were a total of 25,022 children receiving DV-related services, including 12,926 children that were in emergency shelter across the United States (US). That was just on that one day! What if 12,000 was the average figure for this circumstance? That means that over 4 million children may have had to enter emergency shelter, with their abused parent, in 2017.

Over 15 million (1 in 15) children in the US live in homes where DV has occurred at least 1 time within the past 12 months; 90% of those children are witness to this violence. So what exactly does “witness” mean in all of this? It doesn’t just mean being in the room as an altercation takes place. The child may not even be in the home when the actual incident occurs, but can feel the tension building up before, and see the aftermath.

The child can be in the backyard and hear yelling and verbal abuses.
The child can be in their room and hear someone being hit.
The child can be sitting in the kitchen immediately after the fight is over and see broken dishes on the floor.
The child can be getting ready to go to school the day after and see bruises on the abused parent.

The stress and tension from the cycle of DV has a lasting impact on these 15 million+ children. Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), such as nightmares, flashbacks, and hyper-vigilance, have been found in 100% of children in DV homes. They are more likely to attempt suicide, be sexually abused, abuse drugs and alcohol, and participate in criminal activity. These children are also 3 times as likely to be victims and/or perpetrators of DV, as opposed to their peers. Unless taught otherwise, children in DV homes will continue the cycle of domestic violence.

With help, the cycle of violence may be stopped, and the child can move forward to have a healthy future. As a parent, professional, friend, or family member, if you have any questions on how this may be achieved, do not hesitate to give the Staff at the Arkansas Valley Resource Center a call. AVRC Staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!

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, mental health status, substance use or economic condition.

 

Statistics provided by www.domesticshelters.org & www.nnedv.org

 

 

domestic violence, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Non-Profit Agency, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

October is Domest Violence Awareness Month (#DVAM)

Starting October 1st, Domestic Violence Awareness Month started across the country. Beginning in 1987, #DVAM has celebrated over 30 years of hope, education, and advocacy. This year, the Domestic Violence Awareness Project has started a campaign geared toward the overall goal of social change. 

Awareness_Action_Social_Change

 

Awareness is the key to understanding how we can take Action against Domestic Violence, so that Change can truly take hold! All it takes is #1thing to start making a difference today!

Stay tuned for more #DVAM topics throughout the month of October!

 

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, mental health status, substance use or economic condition.

 

Abuse in Focus, crime victims rights, domestic violence, Elder Abuse, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

Abuse in Focus: Financial Abuse

Financial abuse, also known as economic abuse, is a pattern of abuse that can be very common, but seems to be infrequently discussed or publicized. Most typically, financial abuse appears to be associated with elder abuse, but has also been found to occur in domestically violent relationships, as well as with at-risk adults. With domestic violence (DV), 99% of cases identified some form of financial abuse. When examining elder abuse, financial abuse occurred in upwards of 16% of cases, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse.

So what is financial abuse? In general terms, it is financial-based control and/or exploitation of a victim. This is a control over finances and other assets, whether the money is a joint fund or the victim’s own income. In the context of  elder abuse, the National Council on Aging defines financial abuse (financial exploitation) as “the misuse or withholding of an older adult’s resource by another, which can be identified by a sudden change in the victim’s financial situation. Financial exploitation can also occur with at-risk adults who aren’t necessarily elderly. In some instances, the victim may request that a 3rd party manage their income for them, and that 3rd party either takes that income for themselves, or won’t allow the victim to access their assets, as a means to control the victim. Other types of financial exploitation of elders and at-risk adults can be the perpetrator naming themselves as a benefactor or changing other legal financial documents without consent from the victim. These behaviors can also occur with DV, as well.

SchroederUSNews_600

In DV cases, financial/economic abuse can take on many forms, committed with the goal of limiting a victim’s access to economic resources. Financial abuse can make it potentially more difficult to leave the abusive relationship, as the victim may not have the resources to seek legal aid, obtain their own home away from their abuser, or maintain the bills in their current home.

Financial+Abuse

 As with every abusive behavior, control is the overall goal. These patterns may limit the victim’s ability to meet their basic needs, and can make them less confident about reporting or leaving the abusive situation. With support, a victim may access the resources and tools to regain control over their life. Should you, a friend, or family member be a victim of financial abuse, don’t hesitate to reach out, because support is available. If you would like to know more about financial abuse, or are seeking resources to potentially stop or recover from financial abuse, AVRC staff 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

 

DV financial abuse information provided by:
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
https://ncadv.org/blog/posts/quick-guide-economic-and-financial-abuse
&
The National Network to End Domestic Violence
https://nnedv.org/content/about-financial-abuse/

Elder financial abuse/exploitation information provided by:
The National Center on Elder Abuse
https://ncea.acl.gov/
&
The National Council on Aging
https://www.ncoa.org/public-policy-action/elder-justice/elder-abuse-facts/

 

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