Domestic Violence Power & Control Wheel

It’s been awhile since this was originally posted so we thought we should bring it to the forefront of people’s awareness.

This wheel is used to understand the complicated dynamics of domestic violence and some of the forms it can take.  Domestic violence as you can see is not just physical.

To learn more about the Power and Control Wheel, visit the Home of the Duluth Model online.

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Human Trafficking

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We in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, live in small communities which we think of as fairly safe.  Most of us in no way think there is human trafficking going on in our communities.  We are wrong.  This is not a tragedy that’s happening in another country or state.  According to a 2015 quote by U.S. Senator Gary Peters, Human trafficking is “a growing problem in every county and community in Michigan”.  Michigan as a whole is one of the top five states in the country where trafficking is exploding.  Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world.

The first ever reported case of human trafficking in Michigan was in a tiny town in the Upper Peninsula, director of the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force Jane White said.  This past year saw a case of human trafficking prosecuted in Dickinson County.  Human traffickers are drawn to rural areas and small towns.  There is often a smaller police presence and isolated areas, and these criminals feel they have much less chance of getting caught.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery involving the illegal trade of people for exploitation or commercial gain. The most common form in the United States is commercial sex.

Indicators of Human Trafficking

Recognizing key indicators of human trafficking is the first step in identifying victims and can help save a life. Here are some common indicators to help recognize human trafficking:

  • Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations, or houses of worship?
  • Has a child stopped attending school?
  • Has the person had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior?
  • Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts?
  • Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
  • Is the person accompanied by someone who insists on telling a story all the time…they are a student, they are a tourist, they are here on a visa and there are a lot of inconsistencies.
  • Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?
  • Is the person fearful, timid, or submissive?
  • Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care?
  • Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers? Or someone who seems to be in control of the situation, e.g., where they go or who they talk to?
  • Does the person appear to be coached on what to say?
  • Is the person living in unsuitable conditions?
  • Does the person lack access to personal identification documents?
  • Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation?
  • Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Are there unreasonable security measures?

Not all indicators listed above are present in every human trafficking situation, and the presence or absence of any of the indicators is not necessarily proof of human trafficking.  For your safety and the safety of possible victims, do not confront someone you suspect may be a human trafficker or a victim, report the information you have to the police.

Traffickers look for vulnerable people.  People who are emotionally or psychologically at risk, people who are economically at risk, and people who are isolated.  Trafficking victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. Trafficking victims can be men or women, young or old, American or from abroad, with or without legal status. Sometimes these criminals have specific victim requests by their clients…example, blond haired, blue eyed boy around 12 years old.  They use threats, force and false promises to lure their victims in.

Human trafficking is usually a hidden crime.  The victims don’t come forward because they are afraid of their traffickers or even law enforcement.  The trauma caused by the traffickers can be so great that many may not identify themselves as victims or ask for help, even in highly public settings.

 

Domestic Violence and Pets

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Facts About Animal Abuse & Domestic Violence

The American Humane Society in association with the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports:

Why it Matters

  • 71% of pet-owning women entering women’s shelters reported that their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or to psychologically control victims; 32% reported their children had hurt or killed animals.
  • 68% of battered women reported violence towards their animals. 87% of these incidents occurred in the presence of the women, and 75% in the presence of the children, to psychologically control and coerce them.
  • 13% of intentional animal abuse cases involve domestic violence.
  • Between 25% and 40% of battered women are unable to escape abusive situations because they worry about what will happen to their pets or livestock should they leave.
  • Pets may suffer unexplained injuries, health problems, permanent disabilities at the hands of abusers, or disappear from home.
  • Abusers kill, harm, or threaten children’s pets to coerce them into sexual abuse or to force them to remain silent about abuse. Disturbed children kill or harm animals to emulate their parents’ conduct, to prevent the abuser from killing the pet, or to take out their aggressions on another victim.
  • In one study, 70% of animal abusers also had records for other crimes. Domestic violence victims whose animals were abused saw the animal cruelty as one more violent episode in a long history of indiscriminate violence aimed at them and their vulnerability.
  • Investigation of animal abuse is often the first point of social services intervention for a family in trouble.
  • For many battered women, pets are sources of comfort providing strong emotional support: 98% of Americans consider pets to be companions or members of the family.
  • Animal cruelty problems are people problems. When animals are abused, people are at risk.

Why do abusers batter pets?

  • To demonstrate power and control over the family
  • To isolate the victim and children
  • To enforce submission
  • To perpetuate an environment of fear
  • To prevent the victim from leaving or coerce her to return
  • To punish for leaving or showing independence

At this time some states have pet protective orders.  This is a step in the right direction in the effort to protect humans and pets from domestic violence.  The following is a chart of which states have those orders and which don’t at this current time.

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Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced the Pets and Women Safety (PAWS) Act of 2015, bipartisan legislation to help the estimated one-third of domestic violence victims who prolong their abusive relationships out of concern for the wellbeing of their pets.

“Sadly, domestic violence is something one in every four women will experience at some point in their lives,” said Congresswoman Clark. “This isolating experience is made even worse for those who fear for the safety of their pet. Most pet lovers, including me, consider their beloved dog or cat a part of their family. No one should have to make the choice between leaving an abusive situation and ensuring their pet’s safety. ”

“Many states allow pets to be included in restraining orders, but what happens when a domestic violence victim must go live with family in another state where pets are not covered?” said Michael Markarian, chief program and policy officer of The Humane Society of the United States. “We must have a national policy that safeguards the pets of abuse victims, and recognizes that domestic violence impacts all members of the family—including the four-legged.”

Economic Cost of Domestic Violence

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When we think of domestic violence we often think of it in terms of the physical and emotional impact it has.  We often don’t think of the financial consequences.

Those not involved in domestic violence situations usually think they are not impacted by it.  Here are examples of ways you are:  you have to take up the slack at work because someone can’t do their job as well as they should because of the domestic violence;  your taxes go to pay for food stamps, housing, etc. for families with domestic violence because often income earning potential decreases because of injury or an abused person is forbid to work by the abuser; your hospital bills are higher when these same families can’t pay their medical bills.

Domestic violence affects our communities in terms of increased health costs, legal costs, social services costs, lost wages, decreased productivity and payment of sick days resulting from injury or emotional distress.

In an article written for Forbes by Robert Pearl, M.D., it is stated.

“In the U.S., 24 percent of adult women and 14 percent of adult men have been physically assaulted by a partner at some point in their lives. It is the most common cause of injury for women ages 18 to 44. And it leads to an increased incidence of chronic disease: Abused women are 70 percent more likely to have heart disease, 80 percent more likely to experience a stroke and 60 percent more likely to develop asthma.

Nearly a quarter of employed women report that domestic violence has affected their work performance at some point in their lives. Each year, an estimated 8 million days of paid work is lost in the U.S. because of domestic violence.

Domestic violence costs $8.3 billion in expenses annually: a combination of higher medical costs ($5.8 billion) and lost productivity ($2.5 billion).”

The above types of costs can be borne by victims and family members, businesses, government, and by society in general.

There is no simple answer to the problem of domestic violence.  The answer involves each of us.  Medical personnel can refer victims to domestic violence agencies.  Employers can also refer employees to appropriate agencies. Legally, more abusers could be arrested and prosecuted.   You can report abuse if you see or hear it happening. It takes a whole community to save that community and it’s inhabitants.

 

A Big Thank You

At times being a non-profit agency is a little scary.  Will we be able to find the funding to provide services or won’t we?  But, thanks to our wonderful community, we are making it so far.  Therefore, at this time of the year when we remember the greatest gift we all have been given, we would also like to remember and thank all of you who have worked so hard for Caring House and given so much.  You are all truly amazing.

We also wanted to show you a picture of one of our youngest groups of donors, Girl Scout Troop 5190.

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Have a Very, Merry Christmas!!!!

CELEBRITY WAITERS SPAGHETTI DINNER 10/30/14

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That’s right…it’s that time again.  It’s time to eat great food, laugh until your stomach hurts, and win some awesome prizes.

Silent auction, 50/50 drawings, raffle prizes and door prizes

This year’s event will be held Thursday October 30, 2014

At the First Presbyterian Church in Kingsford

5PM to 8PM

$6 Each/ Children 5 & Under FREE!

Please join us for this annual event.  You won’t be sorry.  Our attendees love it and come back year after year.

On a serious note, by attending, you help to bring awareness to this tragedy in our community.

STOP THE SILENCE —10/14/2014

Have you taken a ride past the First Covenant Church on H Street in Iron Mountain, MI?  Each cross you see displayed out in front represents one person from the Upper Peninsula who was killed in a Domestic Violence situation.  Who will the next cross represent?  Will it be your sister or brother?  Your neighbor?  A favorite teacher at the school?  Your doctor’s wife?  It could be anyone!  You can’t tell if someone is a victim by looking at them.  They look like me or you.  Wounds aren’t always visible.  Victims are very, very good at pretending everything is ok.

Are you aware of the Domestic Violence in this world?  Do you care?  Every football fan in the United States should know…watch the video of Ray Rice hitting his wife.  Listen to sports personnel talk about how hundreds of cases of Domestic Violence have been covered up.  We all think that good old guy we know couldn’t do such a thing,  why he’s a great guy and fun to be around  (unless he comes home to you each night).  Each and every one of us should be more aware.  Abusers get away with it because they can.  Nobody wants to get involved.  If you see something or hear something that you think may be abuse call the police, that’s the only way this will end.  Don’t keep SILENT!!!  We need everyone to make abusers accountable for their actions.

One way you can help is to come out to our annual  “Break the Silence, Stop the Violence” procession, if you are able.  We will meet at The Dickinson County Sheriff’s Department between noon & 12:15 on Tuesday October 14th.  This year we will be joined by the MI Bikers Helping Veterans Motorcycle group, followed by area law enforcement with sirens blaring, followed by cars honking their horns.  If you can drive or ride in a car and honk a horn you can join us.  The procession will proceed to Caring House where refreshments will be served.  We need YOU!!

Let’s make some changes and shake up this county, so we can shake up this state, so we can shake up our country and shake up the world.  Let’s make this world a safer place.