Newsletter: May 2018

THE MYTH OF THE "CYCLE OF ABUSE"

This past week I came across a newly published article by a DV lecturer. I heaved a huge sigh of disappointment. It was all about "the cycle of abuse". I decided to post about the cycle on Facebook and hundreds of people responded. Most did not have correct information about current DV theory.  I am always concerned when those who train others in this vital topic are not themselves well trained, so I want to share a bit about that here.

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The "Cycle of Violence" is a psychological theory of how DV abuse occurs in a relationship. It was developed in the 1970's by Dr. Lenore Walker, who wrote the book "The Battered Woman" and coined that term. Although the theory is not scientific, is outdated and is no longer used by experts in this field, it is still widely taught and referenced. (NOTE: The cycle in question is not what is known as "the intergenerational cycle of abuse", which refers to how a batterer models violence in the home and passes his distorted beliefs about and mistreatment of women down to his children.)

The Cycle of Violence theory holds that DV is cyclical, moving through three distinct phases over and over. The three original phases were Tension Building, Explosion and Honeymoon; they have been adapted by various persons and programs over time, as in the example below.

The term "cycle of violence" has become ingrained in our culture and is now used to mean different things to different people. Often I hear it used in a victim-blaming way when someone says, "She really needs to break the cycle!" (Ridiculous. Even if there were a "cycle of violence", the victim is not the one who could break it. It's not HER behavior!) Also, if someone has been in more than one abusive relationship, she may be said to be in a cycle of "being attracted to abusers". Victims are not attracted to abusers. Abusers, however, are very attracted to survivors. They have been traumatized and may shut down emotionally and not assert themselves when threatened or harassed. If they were abused as a child, they may see the abuse as "normal" and expected. 

Most of the time, though, I believe the term is used by well-meaning folks who just don't know better. The term has crept so deeply into the lexicon and is tossed around so carelessly that no one usually questions it. As advocates, we need to proactively educate those who use this term, sharing that the cycle theory has long been abandoned by serious scholars.

There IS NO "cycle of abuse" in relationships with DV. Forty years of research and work have informed us and vastly increased our understanding of DV since the 1970's. Decades of listening to and learning from victims, and a great deal of excellent validated research, have changed our understanding dramatically.

When the "Power and Control Wheel" graphic was created by Ellen Pence, Michael Paymar and others at the Duluth DAIP organization, it was based on the input of many victims and survivors. (See Ellen explain the wheel development here.) This wheel essentially replaced the cycle. Why? Because we learned that there are no predictable, repeating phases in relationships where domestic violence is occurring. If only it were that simple.

Here's the reality. Abuse is constant; it does not happen in stages; it NEVER stops. It just occurs in many, many different forms. Most of it is not physical or even illegal. It is a systematic ongoing siege. The tactics may vary from moment to moment - abuse may be verbal one minute, physical the next, always financial, always emotional, sometimes sexual. However, there is ALWAYS VIOLENCE (power and control) being wielded by the abuser, there is ALWAYS TENSION although the levels may vary, and a HONEYMOON - a time of sweet, intimate, mutual caring and sharing based on trust and love - NEVER follows violence.

What used to be called the honeymoon phase of the cycle is actually just more abuse - a very purposeful, deceitful, manipulation by the abuser to prevent the victim from leaving him, reporting him to the police, or doing anything else that might make things hard result in consequences for him. It is not about his partner at all, and it is not about love. (Note: I use the terms him & her for simplicity, although that's not always the case.) The so-called Honeymoon phase is much more appropriately referred to as a period of "manipulative kindness". (A term learned in my own 1988 DV support group from facilitator and friend, Luana Trende Nery). The abuser may give gifts, make promises (at least in the early stages of the relationship) or "let" his victim do something or go somewhere for a change, but these are just subtle tactics of abuse, not random acts of kindness. He has no intention of giving up control or ending his domination & subjugation of his partner. Research tells us that until a victim begins to see through this charade, she is not likely to leave the abuser. This means it is VERY important that we educate victims to understand these behaviors.

If you want to understand more about the vast complexities of domestic violence, I highly recommend reading the brilliant book Coercive Control by Evan Stark, a forensic researcher and professor at Rutgers University. He analyzes and examines the dynamics of DV in tremendous depth. You will come away with a much more sophisticated, richer understanding. In the Resources section below, you will find a video lecture by Professor Stark.

Here's to always learning and growing in knowledge,

Julie


NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL OBSERVANCES IN MAY

  • National Mental Health Month Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. Many are survivors of abuse. Individuals with mental illness are more vulnerable to abuse. During May, the U.S. raises awareness of mental health. Click here for information about national mental health month, the national mental health crisis line, and more resources.
     
  • MAY 10: National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day  The 2018 theme is “Partnering for Health and Hope Following Trauma”. See this link for trauma-informed care resources. 
     
  • MAY 17: International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia Annual day to draw the attention of decision makers, the media, the public and others to the discrimination faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, and all those who do not conform to majority sexual and gender norms.
     
  • MAY 18: National Older Adult Mental Health Awareness Day  This is the first ever awareness day for this issue. Join a free on-line event to raise awareness about the mental health of older Americans and spur actions to address their needs by promoting evidence-based approaches to mental health and substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery supports. 
     
  • Asian Pacific American Heritage Month  The history of North America is shaped by the stories of those from Asia, the Pacific and the native people of the Pacific Islands. Having lived in Hawaii for many years and traveled to Asia, Micronesia and Indonesia, Julie has a special affinity for the region and its people, and is committed to advancing awareness and support for victim-survivors there. 

ADVOCATE SPOTLIGHT & QUOTE OF THE MONTH

We salute former President Jimmy Carter who has publicly announced that the remainder of his remarkable life will focus on eliminating global gender-based violence.

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"The abuse of women and girls is the most pervasive and unaddressed human rights violation on earth."

- Former President Jimmy Carter


LEGISLATION NEWS

BEST PRACTICES

Understanding Coercive Control
An excellent lecture by Professor Evan Stark, Rutgers University, author of the seminal book Coercive Control (Oxford Press). 
WATCH VIDEO HERE → 

The DV Wheels Graphics
DV wheels were developed at the Duluth, MN Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (DAIP) with the input of victims and survivors. They reflect our best understanding of the various dimensions of domestic violence. Many versions exist for specific populations and concerns. The wheels may be adapted only with permission from DAIP. Study, download, or order poster sized versions to inform and educate your staff, clients and partners.

The Equality Wheel — One of the most important wheels, this graphic depicts a healthy relationship — the opposite of  the Power and Control wheel, which depicts one that features DV or Coercive Control.  

Federal funding for life-saving domestic violence and sexual violence services is imperative to meet the needs of millions of survivors, but the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) has been unauthorized for the last two years, putting this critical funding at risk. Funding ends in September 2018. Last month a bi-partisan re-authorization bill was introduced. The funds provide essential support to emergency shelters, crisis hotlines, counseling, and programs for underserved communities. Without this funding victims and survivors are at great risk. 

Since 2008 Washington State law has included a progressive, generous Domestic Violence Leave Act. No employer is exempt, and it is available for the victim/survivor and their family. It was implemented after an abuser killed his ex-girlfriend and himself in her workplace. The DV leave has has no time limit, and can be used to take extended leave or short-term leave for attending court appearances or counseling. Unlike FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act), the employer is required to continue paying its portion of the employee's health insurance. 


 

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES


+ Julie's Survivor Interview -The Pixel Project's 5th annual Survivor Stories Interview Project is available throughout May, in honor of Mother’s Day. The campaign features a new interview each day with a survivor of violence against women (VAW).  Read Julie's interview about her abuse, survival and life's work in VAW and trauma. 

+ "Why I believe the mistreatment of women is the number one human rights abuse"
Jimmy Carter TED Talk, delivered at TEDWomen 2015

+ What Doesn't Kill Me - A Film about Domestic Violence and Custody — An abuser who contests custody will win 70-80% of the time. This bold and provocative film explores why victimized mothers and children are not protected. 

+ Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence — The national resource center on DV, sexual violence, trafficking, and gender-based violence (GBV) in Asian and Pacific Islander communities. It provides training, technical assistance, and policy analysis; and has a clearinghouse of information on GBV, research, and culturally-specific models of engagement. Newsletter subscription available.

+ 6th Annual Technology Summit- July 30 - August 1, 2018   (Tech Advocates Day, August 2, 2018) San Francisco, CA - This conference by the Safety Net Project of National Network to End DV (NNEDV) explores how technology is used by abusers to find, stalk, monitor and otherwise abuse their current or former victims. 

+ 30 For 30 is an annual campaign in June featuring 30 fathers' mini-interviews (one a day) during the month of Father's Day. The focus is the joy of fatherhood and how men can help prevent and stop VAW. Fathers and other men apply here.  


+ SAFeR is an approach to decision making in Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) in family law matters such as custody. It involves screening and assessing for IPV and the effects of IPV; and responding to IPV in all recommendations, decisions, and interventions. Training and technical assistance is provided to courts, legal and dispute resolution professionals, advocates, and others about how to use SAFeR. A program of the Battered Women's Justice Project.

+ Various upcoming Trainings, Webinars, Conferences and Events

 

MAY 22: FREE WEBINAR
Uncovering the Roots of Violence:
New Perspectives on Domestic Violence, Social Justice, and Faith

 

Join Dr. Riane Eisler, internationally known for her bestseller The Chalice and The Blade: Our History, Our Future, Julie Owens, and author Rev. Ron Clark as they discuss the need for an ethic of human relationships grounded in mutuality and caring, confront beliefs and traditions that justify and normalize violence, and discuss traditions embedded in religious doctrine. Click below to register and please share with friends who might be interested.

Newsletter: April 2018


NEW BOOK READY FOR PREORDER

The Wonder Years: 40 Women Over 40 on Aging, Faith, Beauty and Strength

Julie's essay, "Leaving the Night Behind", is in The Wonder Years: 40 Women Over 40 on Aging, Faith, Beauty and Strength, set for release on April 24th. The book is available for pre-order on Amazon.  Edited by Leslie Leyland Fields, winner of Christianity Today's 2017 Book Award for Christian Living/Discipleship, other essayists include Brene' Brown, Madeleine L'Engle, Anne Lamott, Joni Eareckson Tada, Beth Moore, Ann Voskamp, Lauren Winner, Elisa Morgan and Kay Warren.  Here's a description on Amazon.com: "It's time to stop dreading and start embracing the wonder of life after 40. Here, well-known women of faith from 40 to 85 tackle these anxieties head-on and upend them with humor, sass, and spiritual wisdom. These compelling and poignant first-person stories are from amazing and respected authors. These women provide much-needed role models--not for aging gracefully but for doing so honestly, faithfully, and with eyes open to wonder and deep theology along the way. Each essay provides insight into God's perspective on these later years, reminding readers that it's possible to serve the kingdom of God and His people even better with a little extra life experience to guide you. The Wonder Years is an inspiring and unforgettable guide to making these years the most fruitful and abundant of your life."


RESOURCES

  • EXPERT Q&A RECORDING: What You Need To Know From Survivors About Trauma-Informed Programming
    The latest Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime, Training and Technical Assistance Center (OVC TTAC) monthly recording of answers to questions by national experts about best practices in victim services. 
  • AGENCYFREEFROM 
    FreeFrom is a groundbreaking agency that financially empowers survivors by promoting economic justice and financial independence. Offerings include an on-line COMPENSATION tool to determine survivors' compensation options, a CREDIT Program to help them build/repair their credit, and an ENTREPRENEURSHIP Program to help them start small businesses. Victims in California are being served now and FREEFROM will be available in every state soon.    

IMPORTANT LEGISLATION

  • On March 21, 2018 the US Senate passed the FOSTA-SESTA bill, which is expected to be signed into law. (House bill is FOSTA "Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act"; Senate bill is SESTA "Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act") Many see this as a huge success that will help put a stop the on-line sale of sex. The legislation has been hotly contested, however, by those arguing that by shutting down the sex ads on Backpage, Craigslist and similar websites (which are monitored to catch traffickers) it will drive traffickers further underground, endanger victims and hamper investigations. Craigslist just removed its Personals section when the bill passed. (Backpage closed its adults section in 2017 prior to a senate hearing, but ads are now in the "dating" section.) Victims are already being advertised on websites housed outside the U.S., where federal prosecutors have no subpoena power. The bill has also been criticized for failing to address the immediate needs of victims. 
     
  • Congress's Omnibus funding package increases funding for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the Family Violence Prevention Services Act (FVPSA) and the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). These fund many services for DV & sexual assault victims, as well as victims of other crimes.  A 3% VOCA tribal funding stream is included. FVPSA funding is increased and $5 million is designated for Native victim/survivors, and invests in housing for victims and survivors. Also included are provisions to strengthen laws requiring DV offender information inclusion in the national firearms background check system. READ MORE→ 
     
  • out of every 3 females worldwide will be abused. Gender based violence (GBV) is a barrier to solving many global challenges. The International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA) calls for a comprehensive U.S. response. Passage would show the U.S.'s commitment to making gender equality a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy. READ MORE→  

 


 
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ADVOCATE SPOTLIGHT

Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune, the primary pioneer of addressing DV and sexual assault in the church, recently retired after a stellar career as a pastor, educator, author, theologian, Founder and forty year director of the groundbreaking FaithTrust Institute. In 1988, after her assault, Julie read Rev. Fortune's now classic book, "Keeping the Faith: Guidance for Christian Women Facing Abuse" and invited her to provide a workshop for faith leaders in Hawaii. Later, Julie, her father and their church's DV ministry were featured in Rev. Fortune's Emmy-nominated documentary, "Broken Vows: Religious Perspectives on Domestic violence". As a longtime member of Faithtrust's National Training Team, Julie has provided many trainings for faith leaders across the U.S. Marie Fortune recently retired; click here for a video of her brief talk at the event honoring her life's work.

 

RECENT ARTICLES & INTERVIEWS

+ Abuse, Harassment and Their Effects: Julie and Taylor Armstrong of Beverly Hills Housewives were guests of Dr. Charles Sophy, a Beverly Hills psychiatrist and frequent Dr. Phil Show guest. Taylor authored a memoir about her DV and her abuser's subsequent suicide. In this podcast they discuss complexities of DV including myths about its cause, violent escalation when victims leave, abusers' use of manipulative charm, the impact of abuse and how to support a victim.

+ The Myth of False Allegations: How Disbelieving Victims Helps Sex Offenders

+ Advocates Work to End the Scourge of Domestic Violence in Charlotte: Stop the cycle


ON JULIE'S CALENDAR

WORKSHOP: Domestic Violence and the Church: Beyond 'Pray, Stay, Obey'
April 14, 2018 — Guilford College United Methodist Church, Greensboro, NC

Julie will offer a workshop at the "Critical Issues Seminar:Women of Wisdom" event offered by the N.C. Council of Churches. Hear about the scope of the problem and how scriptures have been used to control rather than comfort & assist victims. Learn how to support victims and encourage churches to take action. REGISTRATION INFO →

WEBINAR: Julie will be the webinar guest of Dr. Riane Eisler, internationally known for her bestseller The Chalice and The Blade: Our History, Our Future. Tentatively set for May 22, 2018 11:00AM PST, the global webinar will focus on ending violence against women by embracing gender equality and shifting world societies from a domination to a partnership model. Dr. Eisler is President of the Center for Partnership Studies and is internationally known as a systems scientist, attorney working for the human rights of women and children. She has received many honors, including honorary PhDs, peace and human rights awards. She lectures worldwide, with venues including the United Nations General Assembly, the U.S. Department of State, Congressional briefings, universities, corporations, conferences and events hosted by heads of State. The webinar will be offered by the Center for Partnership Studies; see webinar details on their website


 

SPREAD THE WORD

Julie seeks a deeper understanding of what survivors of human trafficking want and expect from DV agencies. Please share this link with survivors of human trafficking who have sought services in DV agencies or shelters who may be willing to provide feedback that will inform best practice responses. Thank you!

 

SPECIAL DEDICATION

This newsletter is dedicated to the memory of Julie's late friend Joye E. Frost. Joye made the world a better place and was a ray of light for victims in the dark world of crime. She was the Director of the Dept. of Justice Office for Victims of Crime (DOJ OVC), appointed by President Obama, and a passionate victim advocate.  Joye and Julie bonded while touring and speaking throughout Kosovo in 2011 when Julie trained and consulted for the Dept of State, and Joye represented DOJ OVC during Crime Victims Week. Joye urged Julie to become an Expert Consultant for the DOJ OCV Training and Technical Assistance Center (TTAC), where she has since often provided services. Joye's contributions to crime victim advocacy were enormous, and her legacy will live on in the substantial innovative improvements she brought to crime victim services. 

Newsletter: March 2018

 

CALL FOR SURVIVOR STORIES

Julie is collecting survivor stories for a book she has wanted to write for years regarding what happens when domestic violence victims reach out for help to their churches or pastors. Julie's retired pastor father and fellow domestic violence survivor, Rev. Bob Owens, Pastor Emeritus of First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu, will co-write the book, adding a pastoral and biblical perspective. Julie hopes to tell the stories of survivors who represent a wide variety of Christian denominations and sects. Christian survivors will share their experiences seeking support in their faith communities, and how their faith impacted their victimization and recovery. Julie's hope is that the book will help victim/survivors see themselves in the stories of other women and know that they are not alone. She also seeks to help pastors and church leaders understand that domestic violence happens in every sect and denomination and consider ways they can respond ito support and empower victims.

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If you know of domestic violence (intimate partner abuse) survivors who may be interested in being interviewed by Julie for this book, please have them contact her via the website contact form. She will reply and provide an explanation about how the project will proceed. Thanks for sharing this information! 


IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Bresha Meadows, the Ohio teenager who killed her father after he allegedly terrorized and abused her family for years, is finally home. Bresha, who is now 16, was released from the residential mental health facility where she spent the last six months. Her case attracted national media attention and opened up a conversation about how black women and girls are treated by the criminal justice system when they claim self-defense. 
READ MORE→

Porn, Violence Against Women, Sex Trafficking: Undeniably Linked
"While porn has always centralized the objectification of women above all else, it is only since it took on a digital format that abuse has moved from being an 'occupational hazard' to the very GOAL of its contents. Physical violence is rife — choking, forceful penetration, slapping and hitting — but the violence can also be symbolic. Violence is a tool that oppresses and subjugates, and porn is littered with this 'symbolic' subjugation... Often, pornography is defended as being a place where people can explore fantasy without real world consequences. Now this is all well and good in theory, but as Andrea Dworkin said, “Pornography happens to women”. Not even taking into account that whatever happens on screen is happening to a real woman, you would have to be intentionally ignorant to believe that these depictions exist in a vacuum and don’t have an influence on real world attitudes towards sex and women." READ MORE→ 

IMPORTANT LEGISLATION

  • On March 21, 2018 the US Senate passed the Fosta-Sesta bill, which is expected to be signed into law. (House bill is FOSTA "Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act"; Senate bill is SESTA "Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act") Many see this as a huge success that will help put a stop the on-line sale of sex. The legislation has been hotly contested, however, by those arguing that by shutting down the sex ads on Backpage, Craigslist and similar websites (which are monitored to catch traffickers) it will drive traffickers further underground, endanger victims and hamper investigations. Craigslist just removed its Personals section when the bill passed. (Backpage closed its adults section in 2017 prior to a senate hearing, but ads are now in the "dating" section.) Victims are already being advertised on websites housed outside the U.S., where federal prosecutors have no subpoena power. The bill has also been criticized for failing to address the immediate needs of victims. 
     
  • Congress's Omnibus funding package increases funding for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the Family Violence Prevention Services Act (FVPSA) and the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). These fund many services for DV & sexual assault victims, as well as victims of other crimes.  A 3% VOCA tribal funding stream is included. FVPSA funding is increased and $5 million is designated for Native victim/survivors, and invests in housing for victims and survivors. Also included are provisions to strengthen laws requiring DV offender information inclusion in the national firearms background check system. READ MORE→   
     
  • 1 out of every 3 females worldwide will be abused. Gender based violence (GBV) is a barrier to solving many global challenges. The International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA) calls for a comprehensive U.S. response. Passage would show the U.S.'s commitment to making gender equality a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy. READ MORE→  

 


 
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ADVOCATE SPOTLIGHT

We need more incredible advocate attorneys like California's Tia Katrina Taruc Canlas, who helps victims sue their abusers to help give them a chance to attain their independence.  READ MORE→

 

TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND THE CHURCH
MARCH 27, 2018 | 9AM - 4 PM
J.E. BROYHILL CIVIC CENTER, LENOIR, NC

RSVP by March 10 to: breanna.mckay@shelterhomecc.org
Julie will be the training provider at a free, all-day conference for pastors, church leaders and others interested in addressing domestic violence in Christian homes. Julie and a number of other survivors will share their stories.  

ADVOCACY LEARNING CENTER COURSE
DEADLINE TO APPLY: MARCH 19, 2018

Praxis Intl. (developed by Dr Ellen Pence, co-developer of the Power and Control Wheel) is accepting applications for its 18-month course for advocacy teams.The course gives advocates, advocacy program managers and coalition staff a rare chance to come together for self-reflection, inspiration and an opportunity to re-think approaches to individual, institutional and community advocacy. READ MORE→


JULIE'S CURRENT PROJECTS

  • Training the Bank of America domestic violence violence employee advocacy team. Since 2016, when this unique corporate team of Life Events Specialists was created, Julie has been the primary trainer. Team members help bank employees directly affected by domestic violence, providing one-on-one support, connection to relevant resources including confidential counseling and legal services, as well as safety planning and security support at work.
  • Testifying as an expert witness for a domestic violence victim in a custody trial.
  • On-Call Expert Consultant regarding intimate partner violence, violence against women and human trafficking for News Rising, the morning news show on WCCB-TV, the CW affiliate in Charlotte, NC. Julie will begin providing in-person interviews responding to breaking news stories when she is in Charlotte, and Skype interviews when she is away
  • Consulting with the Board of Directors of "Pathways to Safety International", the victim assistance agency for Americans who have been assaulted overseas. Learn about the work of this great one-of-a-kind organization here.