Workshop raises awareness for dealing with domestic violence

June 1, 2005

The first call may be the fifth assault.

That lesson, and others, about dealing with the crisis of domestic violence, was presented last week in a Hood River workshop sponsored by Helping Hands Against Violence.

Mark Wynn of Nashville, Tenn., gave the daylong workshop on “Domestic Violence as a Community Issue,” at Columbia Gorge Hotel. Wynn is a nationally known consultant and lecturer and a 20-year member of the Nashville’s Metropolitan Police Department.

Susan Frost, executive director of Helping Hands, said there was a great turnout for the workshop, representing every type of agency involved in domestic violence including law enforcement, advocacy, child protection, social work, teachers, medical and nursing.

“I believe at the end of the day it just raised awareness of domestic violence and how we can coordinate our response as a community,” Frost said. She said the feedback forms were “overwhelmingly positive,” and that many of the people said they wished it had lasted longer, “which is pretty unusual for an all-day meeting like that.”

Wynn started his presentation with “Domestic Violence 101,” which explained dynamics such as power and control, the cycle of violence and myths surrounding the issue of domestic violence. He stressed that domestic violence needs to be addressed early, because crime victims on average call a crisis line after the fifth assault, and by that time things are already serious.

The victim of domestic violence is a “different kind of crime victim,” he said, in that they are usually being controlled and manipulated by the abuser, while both fearing and loving him (or her). The victim may “minimize” the incident by the time the law enforcement officer gets there, so that the abuser won’t go to jail. The abuser is often a master of manipulation; not only of the victim, but also the law enforcer and the whole system.

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