The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Faces of Domestic Violence

October 23, 2012

Domestic violence prevention is possible, expert says

Forum panelists discuss ways to make community safer

ANDERSON, Ind. — A picture of a pretty woman with her arm around her young son flashed across the screen followed by the image of a bruised, crying woman huddled in a corner.

“What does a woman look like?” Todd Cawthorn asked the gathered audience at Tuesday’s domestic violence forum at Anderson High School.

Next a picture of a handsome man posing with his wife and child is replaced by an angry, screaming man gesturing wildly.

“What does a man look like?” said Cawthorn, prevention specialist at Alternatives Inc.

Gender stereotypes are just one thing that he and the other speakers, during the 90-minute panel discussion, talked about that create an environment where domestic violence is accepted.

Saying things like, “quit crying like a little girl,” or “take it like a man” enforce those strict gender stereotypes.

Education about these social norms needs to start young, not after someone is already involved in a violent or controlling relationship, Cawthorn said.

“What are we teaching our toddlers?” he asked. “What are they picking up on? Monkey see monkey do — we lead by example. Dating and domestic violence is learned behavior. Just like walking. Eight-two percent of children in an abusive household grow up to be a victim or an abuser.”

Those statistics were sobering for Heather Chandler-Robleto. She came to the forum because a close friend was killed in a domestic violence situation. She wanted to learn more about how she could help someone else in that situation as a way to honor her loved one.

During the forum, Chandler-Robleto spoke up asking what more she could have done as a friend of someone she knew was in an abusive relationship.

“I could have saved her,” she said, crying. “I didn’t know where to go.”

Kandi Floyd, a victim’s advocate with Alternatives, told her that no matter what state the victim is in, a family member or friend should reach out to a victim’s advocate for assistance.

Colleen Yeakle, coordinator of the Indiana Coalition of Domestic Violence’s prevention initiative, was the featured speaker at the forum. She focused on arming the community with the tools to make preventing domestic violence a reality.

“Domestic violence is preventable,” she said, tasking the audience of about 25 with identifying their power and place to be a part of the solution. “It will take all of us, but we can do this.”

She said prevention lessons in years past were focused on teaching people what the red flags or warning signs were about abuse. That’s not working; it’s not enough, she said. Those red flags instead need to be eliminated.

“We need to continue to change our culture to create one where domestic violence won’t work, where abusive behavior no longer makes sense,” Yeakle said. “Are we all on board?”

The event was sponsored by The Herald Bulletin and Anderson Community Schools. Superintendent Felix Chow said it was important to get behind the event because violence of any kind  — bullying, domestic violence, verbal abuse, etc. — should not be tolerated. He said he took away several lessons from the discussion.

The five social norms that enable domestic violence was especially powerful, specifically culture’s tolerance of violence, Chow said.

“If we can change attitude and culture we are on the right path to true prevention,” he said.

Evelyn Bertram said attending the event opened her eyes to ways to help prevent domestic violence and to what resources are available in this community.

“It’s amazing how much support we have in this community,” she said.

Vaughn Walker, supervisor of S.O.S. Counseling’s Batterer’s Intervention Program, like Cawthorn and Yeakle said socialization and gender stereotypes enable domestic violence. He said even traditions like a father “giving his daughter away” on her wedding day encourages the norm that women are property.

He stressed that there is help out there for batterers.

Also speaking about their departments’ handling of domestic violence cases were Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings and Elwood Assistant Police Chief Scott Bertram.

Find Abbey Doyle on Facebook and @heraldbulletin on Twitter, or call 640-4805.

Text Only
Faces of Domestic Violence
  • 1028 news Domestic Violence illustration06 - Copy.JPG Who can stop domestic violence? You

    The elimination of abuse in relationships — with time, cooperation and commitment — is possible, said Colleen Yeakle, coordinator of the Indiana Coalition of Domestic Violence’s (ICADV) prevention initiative.

    October 27, 2012 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • Legislation comes a long way, but more change needed

    Each year the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence sets its legislative priorities based on year-round discussions with its members and legislators to see what needs are out there and what is going on in the field.

    October 27, 2012

  • 1028 news Empty Table Settings 18a.jpg Children affected by abuse too

    While some may think the atmosphere at Alternatives, the Anderson domestic violence shelter, would be a somber one, instead it is a building filled with laughter and joy.

    October 27, 2012 1 Photo

  • Gissendanner, Kristy.jpg Kristy Gissendanner: 'Vivacious and sweet'

    Six-day-old Gabrielle Gissendanner and her 18-month-old brother Michael weren’t far from their mom when Harry Gissendanner shot and killed Kristy in their Anderson home in 2004.

    October 27, 2012 1 Photo

  • John Davis: ‘Defined by your actions and inactions’

    John Davis wants his pain to make a difference. He’s hopeful sharing what he experienced and witnessed growing up will empower someone else to leave a dangerous situation or avoid it altogether.

    October 27, 2012

  • ‘It was life-altering’

    Casey Huffman should have taken her son Camdon to his first day of kindergarten this year. She should be picking out a Halloween costume for him. She should be thinking about how to help him achieve his hopes and dreams. Instead, Casey mourns over his all-too-early death.

    October 27, 2012

  • Tomlinson, Tina.tif Tina Tomlinson: 'She was a hoot'

    Tina Tomlinson was just “plain fun,” her family recalled. The mother of two and dedicated grandmother was someone family could look to for a good time.

    October 27, 2012 1 Photo

  • 1024 news Domestic violence forum 108a.jpg Domestic violence prevention is possible, expert says

    Gender stereotypes are just one thing that Todd Cawthorn and five other speakers, during a 90-minute panel discussion Tuesday night, talked about that create an environment where domestic violence is accepted.

    October 23, 2012 3 Photos

  • 1023 news Dating violence talk 33a.jpg Teens can be victims of domestic violence, too

    Dating violence has been seen locally in relationships as young as sixth grade, Alternatives Inc. prevention specialist Todd Cawthorn said.

    October 22, 2012 2 Photos

  • 1021 news pendleton town court 020.jpg Justice for victims

    While a protective order is an important piece of the legal puzzle that domestic violence victims have to solve, Judge Stephen Clase stresses to each that it is, after all, “just a piece of paper.” “They won’t stop a knife or a bullet,” he said. “I tell them they need to be on guard at all times.”

    October 20, 2012 1 Photo

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Online Extras
  • Where to find help

    Alternatives Inc., 24-hour crisis line
    (765) 643-0200 or (866) 593-9999
    Kandi Floyd, Christy Clark, Dara Tracy -- victim’s advocates
    Victims Assistance Program, Madison County Sheriff’s Department
    (765) 646-4078 or (765) 646-4079
    Gay Doss, Jaime Wilhoite -- victim assistance providers
    Victim Assistance Program, Madison County Prosecutor‘s Office
    (765) 641-9673
    Melinda Padgett, Karla Montgomery, Alison Lutz, Gracie Roman, Laura Evans -- victim assistance providers
    Victim Assistance Unit, Anderson Police Department
    (765) 648-6773, Lessa Johnson, Christy Jones -- victim assistance specialists
    Sowers of Seeds Counseling, Batters’ Intervention Program
    (765) 649-3452
    Vaughn Walker -- supervisor

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