LMU Belles Support DVA Month

This October the Loyola Marymount University, Belles Service Organization hosted a variety of events on campus for Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVA). The LMU Belles is a group of 50 women, committed to making themselves available for on-campus service opportunities as well as on-going commitments to serve at specific non-profit agencies in Southern California, including Good Shepherd Shelter. Their primary social justice cause is domestic violence awareness.     

VP of Spirituality, Adela Gallegos, explains that the Belles are “a service organization whose main goal is to help educate the LMU community about domestic violence, so they may then be able to become advocates for others. With 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men being affected by domestic violence, this is not an issue we can overlook or consider solely a "woman's issue". We need to stand together and show that we are here to help and support those who have survived and those who are still fighting for their lives within their own homes.”

LMU’s DVA month opened and closed with Silent Protests, where students wore tape over their mouths and held up statistics about domestic violence. The protest is not only meant to educate but it is also a way to stand in solidarity with those who have been silenced from domestic violence. 

For the first year ever, the Belles hosted a 24-hour protest outside of their university library. In order to provide more information to curious peers, they had a table set up near the protest, where they also sold t-shirts as a way to fundraise for Good Shepherd Shelter. Several students asked to participate in the protest, which included individuals from Greek life, Athletics, Service Organizations along with faculty and staff.

Other events included a film screening of the documentary “Sin by Silence,” which tells the stories of women who are in prison for defending themselves against abusive partners. One of the women in the documentary, Glenda Virgil, came and spoke with the students about her story. Belles also hosted Self Defense Classes to help students learn to defend themselves and use the power of their voice.

On Tuesday October 27th, the LMU community was invited to a candlelight vigil to remember the many victims who have lost their lives and the many survivors who are still fighting. At the vigil, 5 anonymous stories of domestic violence victims were shared. To close the service, all were called to join in and pledge to be an advocate for others suffering from domestic violence.

A senior Belle member, Nina Lepp, explains how she has been “volunteering at Good Shepherd Shelter for three years now. Good Shepherd Shelter was reason that she joined the Belles Service Organization and the reason she feels so compelled to make sure LMU is aware of the patterns abuse and the solution to ending the generational cycle.” 

October Domestic Violence Hero of the Month: Eric Garcetti

The current mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti is October’s Domestic Violence Hero of the month due to his legislative push against domestic violence. The first day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2015, Garcetti issued an Executive Directive, which established the mayors Working Group Against Domestic Violence. This group is comprised of representatives from each city department of Los Angeles. These individuals are in charge of organizing supports for victims, raising awareness of prevention and the services available to the public. 

    The Executive Directive has also made a commitment to expanding the number of Family Justice Centers. These centers will be located in each geographic bureau in the Los Angeles Police Department, allowing more individuals to have access to services. These four centers are meant to help victims reestablish their lives with the help of law enforcement, mental health, social, legal, and medical services.  

    The Working Group Against Domestic Violence will also examine how existing city resources can be expanded. In order to make sure this is executed, each General Manager or Head of Department for the City of Los Angeles must submit an Action Plan Against Domestic Violence to implement prevention strategies and victims supports by March 1, 2016 to Mayor Garcetti.  

    Garcetti’s efforts to help end the cycle of domestic violence are already seen with his expansion of the city’s Domestic Abuse Response Teams (DART). These teams are comprised of trained volunteers who work with law enforcement on the first responder team to assist victims of domestic violence.  There are now 21 teams in each of the LAPD’s geographic division, more than doubling the original number of trained volunteer teams—providing emergency shelter, transportation assistance, safety plans and other supports. 

    On October 5, 2015, Garcetti explained in a news conference held to highlight DVA month that, “When City Hall, law enforcement, advocates and donors stand together, it sends a powerful message on behalf of the people of Los Angeles: We will not tolerate domestic violence, and we will step up our efforts to help victims become survivors.” Good Shepherd Shelter stands by Garcetti’s message of unity and will continue to strive with the city of Los Angeles to end the cycle of domestic violence.

 Mayor Eric Garcetti and First Lady Amy Elaine Wakeland meet with volunteers, law enforcement, and philanthropic partners to bring awareness to domestic violence and discuss the efforts being made to support victims.

Mayor Eric Garcetti and First Lady Amy Elaine Wakeland meet with volunteers, law enforcement, and philanthropic partners to bring awareness to domestic violence and discuss the efforts being made to support victims.

The harm in the question: Why does she stay?

“Why does she stay? Why doesn’t she just leave?” This question is often times asked of victims of domestic violence. While it may be intended as a genuine question for understanding, it tends to place the blame on the victim—implying that it’s not that hard to leave or its her fault for staying.

In the video above Leslie Morgan Steiner, a domestic violence survivor explains the reality of why women stay. Steiner explains that she thought of herself as the “last person on Earth who would stay with a man who beats (her), but in fact (she) was a very typical victim because of her age.” When Steiner was 22 she had fallen into what she describes as a “psychological trap disguised as love.” Women between the ages of 16 to 24 are three times more likely to be domestic violence victims. Despite the guns to her head, emotional abuse and isolation from her peers, Steiner describes that one of the reasons she stayed was because she never realized or considered herself as a victim of domestic violence.

 

Unaware of the signs and the patterns, she endured the abuse with hopes of helping “Connor face his demons.” Steiner’s story sheds light on a secret that many women all over the world live with—no mater what social class, education, race or sexual orientation. Her story of abuse ends when her denial was broken and she realized that the man she loved was going to kill her if she stayed.   

When asking the question “why does she stay,” it is vital to understand that there are many reasons why people choose to stay, and often times the threat of leaving may be death.  According to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence, the presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%.

If you are a friend or family member of someone who is in an abusive relationship, be supportive and listen. He or she doesn’t need your judgment; they need your support and prayers. 

Domestic Violence Awareness

With the start of Domestic Violence Awareness month, we want take some time to make ourselves more aware of the facts surrounding this topic. 

What is domestic violence?

According to the United States Department of Justice, Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used to establish control and power over another person. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. 

This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone. 

Who does it happen to?

Domestic violence can happen to anyone—female and male—regardless of ones race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, education, income or religion. It not only affects those who are being abused, but also the family and friends of the individual. 

What are the statistics? [see our infographic]

9 Seconds

Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten. (1)

3 per Day

Everyday in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends. (1)

8 Million Days

Domestic violence victims lose nearly 8 million days of paid work per year in the US alone—the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs. (1)

1 in 5

Further, over 1 in 5 women (22.3%) have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime, translating to nearly 29 million U.S. women. (2)

1 in 5

Nearly 1 in 5 women (19.3%) has been raped in her lifetime.(3) Nearly 1 in 11 women (8.8%) have been raped by a current or former intimate partner at some point in their lives. (2)

1 in 6

One in 6 women (15.2%) have been stalked during their lifetime.(3) Two-thirds (66.2%) of female victims of stalking were stalked by a current or former intimate partner.(4)

92%

Ninety-two percent of women surveyed listed reducing domestic violence and sexual assault as their top concern. (1)

48%

Nearly half of all women in the United States have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime.(4)

69%

Most female victims of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner experienced intimate partner violence for the first time before 25 years of age.(4)

In Los Angeles alone:

On a typical day, 131 people call the City of Los Angeles' 911 number for help because of domestic violence. In the course of a year, the City receives about 48,000 such calls. More than 14,000 crime reports were categorized by the Los Angeles Police Department as domestic violence in 2014. (5)

It is important to remember that each of these numbers represents a real person. It is easy to glance at statistics and become desensitized towards the numbers, however these numbers represent daughters, sons, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, friends, mentors, teachers, bosses, and students. These numbers represent individuals that have dignity and worth

Individual’s who experience or witness domestic violence often times have their dignity and worth questioned, however, let us remember that no person, no circumstance and no opinion, can ever remove one’s dignity and worth.  As Domestic Violence Awareness month continues, let’s share this knowledge with our peers and take action. 

Is there a solution to domestic violence?

Yes. Domestic Violence is a generational cycle, that is learned and later acted upon. However, children can UN-learn behaviors they may have witnessed—which is the SOLUTION to ending the domestic violence. Good Shepherd Shelter believes that through reestablishing the women and children’s dignity and confidence, the cycle of domestic violence can end.

(1)    Source: http://domesticviolencestatistics.org/domestic-violence-statistics/

(2)   Source: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/intimatepartnerviolence.pdf  2015

(3)   Source: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/nisvs-fact-sheet-2014.pdf 

(4)   Source: http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_Report2010-a.pdf  

(5)   Source & Interactive Map: http://lacontroller.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=b246d90a43574e728e1f8725f00b3c63 

Partnership Makes the Difference!

MeatHead Movers is making a difference with #MoveToEndDV. They have partnered with Good Shepherd shelter to move people who are trying to flee abusive relationships for free. Here is the story from ABC7: 

Read the full story from ABC7 at abc7.com, LA Weekly at laweekly.com, LAist at laist.com or Huffington Post at huffingtonpost.com

Our most humble gratitude goes out to all of our donors, partners and volunteers who are helping survivors of domestic violence and to the many who have helped us shed light on this issue. We cannot do it alone. #MoveToEndDV Take the MeatHead Movers Challenge

September’s Hero of DV: NFL Star, Troy Vincent

This past year, media attention about domestic violence increased with NFL players taking center stage. This situation forced the NFL to directly confront the issue of Domestic Violence and begin to take an active role in advocating against Domestic Violence. No longer is the topic of domestic violence pushed into the shadows of the media.   

With hopes of preventing and ending the cycle of domestic violence, Troy Vincent, currently the NFL executive vice president of Football Operations, spoke to the U.S Senate Committee on the NFL’s policies addressing players and violence against women. Vincent’s speech not only was honest and emotionally driven, but was effective in actively taking steps towards correcting the NFL’s polices on violence:

Domestic violence was a way of life in my home growing up. As young boys, my brother and I watched helplessly numerous times as our mother was beaten, and we called 911 while she lay unconscious. We saw how she struggled to seek help, and find the voice and courage to say “no more.” The sense of fear, powerlessness, and all the complexities that accompany this violence remain very real for me today.  I have worked for over 20 years as an advocate against domestic violence to try to help keep others from experiencing this pain. So I very much relate to the more than 12 million victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in every community in this   nation, amongst every economic class and racial and ethnic group. This is not an issue limited to the NFL, or to professional sports.”

Troy Vincent is Good Shepherd Shelter’s September’s Hero of Domestic Violence, due to his words turning into actions.  The NFL has begun several programs and resources to help further educate, heal, and care for the players and family members associated with the issue of domestic violence. These programs include:

·      Mandatory domestic violence and sexual assault education to help identify what may lead to violence and how to prevent it.

·      NFL Life Line—a confidential, secure and independent resource for any personal or emotional crisis

·      Personal Conduct Policy—establishes clear expectations and standards for all personnel in the NFL

Vincent encourages not only individuals in the NFL, but all of society to take action and “speak boldly to end domestic violence.” Vincent has set an example not only to his teammates and the NFL, but also the general public. He openly shares his story as a means to remove the shame and stigma from the topic of domestic violence, and to help encourage individuals to seek help. Good Shepherd Shelter agrees with Vincent, that we “all have a role to play” in helping end the cycle of domestic violence, and it starts with dialogue!

Watch Troy Vincent’s full testimony below: 

Troy Vincent and the National Domestic Violence Hotline:

http://www.thehotline.org/2015/06/i-seedv-as-something-we-can-all-work-to-end/

 

Elonis v. United States Ruling CAn Put Domestic Violence Victims at Risk

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Anthony Douglas Elonis in a case that greatly affects domestic violence victims that experience cyberstalking and online abuse. Elonis was convicted of cyberstalking after, while using a pseudonym, posting self-styled rap lyrics threatening his ex-wife, his co-workers, law enforcement agents and a kindergarten class.

Although Elonis’ ex-wife testified and expressed concern for her safety, the ruling of 8-1 agreed with Elonis’ claim that prosecutors should prove that the posts were “true threats.” It did not reflect on the First Amendment issue.

According to the Report to Congress on Stalking and Domestic Violence, released in May 2001, cyberstalking is a new concern. With the Internet being so accessible and low in cost, it is very appealing to utilize this tool as another means of control over domestic violence victims.

According to National Violence Against Women Survey, which defines stalking as involving instances where the victim felt a high level of fear: 

  •  Women are far more likely than men to be victims of stalking—nearly 80 percent of stalking victims are women.

  • Women are twice as likely as men to be victims of stalking by strangers and eight times as likely to be victims of stalking by intimate partners.

Stalking is a very serious and dangerous crime that can impact victims physically, psychologically and financially. Being that cyberstalking is a relatively new concept, it is clear in this most recent Supreme Court decision that the law, in its vague and broad nature, is not able to protect victims of domestic violence.

Becoming informed is essential to the conversation. Although Elonis sets things behind with a lack of recognition of this growing problem, only additional voices will put cyberstalking at the forefront.

 

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Families Complete the Program

This month has been a significant time for Good Shepherd Shelter and the families. Two families have moved out after spending about a year in the program. Mothers attended classes, workshops and group sessions in the Adult Learning Center while their young children went to school right next door. This is a big transition for the families to leave the place they have called home for the past year. 

For the staff at Good Shepherd Shelter, this can be a sad time seeing the families leave but it is also a joyous time. We have watched our families transform and work through their trauma to achieve their goals. Our proudest moments are when our families feel safe and ready to move on. It’s what makes all of us here continue working with the families, to watch them grow and heal. 

A recent family shared with us their gratitude. “We leave with a memory in our heart from myself and my three daughters - we want to thank you for all the gifts you gave us for the year that we were with you. I am very grateful to you. I have no words to express how special Good Shepherd Shelter is to me. I pray that you receive many blessings in your lives always and forever. We love you.”

We’re so happy to see our families flourish! We are looking forward for other families to make this huge step toward their success and future. There are quite a few that are in the final stages of the program and it is exciting to support them along the way. 

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Child Survivor Achieves His Dream

Senior year of high school is very stressful – applying to colleges, deciding which one to attend, maintaining grades, saying by to friends, and makes a major transition. For high school student, Brian Quintero, he was also pursuing his dream. This week, Quintero has signed a National Letter of Intent to compete with the UC Aggies in 2015.

Quintero fell in love with soccer at a very young age. His family resided at Good Shepherd Shelter when he was a young child. Everyone at Good Shepherd Shelter knew his love for two things – soccer and animals. Even at a very young age, Quintero knew he wanted to be a soccer player and go to college to become a veterinarian.

At Good Shepherd Shelter, we emphasize the importance of giving every child the opportunity to dream big. They visit college campuses, spend time with college volunteers and are exposed to as many different opportunities to let their imaginations run wild. There is no limit to what children who have witnessed domestic violence can achieve.  With love, support and healing for the whole family, they are able to break the cycle of violence and have success wherever they go.

We are so happy for him and his family for this great accomplishment and wish him the best of luck in all his endeavors. Go Aggies! 

Aggies add Quintero to 2015 signing class

 

His Second Home: A Volunteer Thanks Good Shepherd Shelter

Good Shepherd Shelter is very grateful for the Loyola Marymount University students that have volunteered at our school over the years. The service organizations that have chosen Good Shepherd Shelter as their service site have always brought joy, care and love to the children that we serve. We are especially grateful for Brian Infante, a MAGIS man who truly has embodied the Jesuit value, Men For Others. We are especially proud of him for receiving the Riordan Community Service Award from the Riordan Foundation this week.

During the ceremony, Brian recounts what he has learned during his time at Good Shepherd Shelter. He describes moments in the Early Childhood Development Center where the toddlers have taught him language and science with their interactions. Mr. Brian, or Mr. Bian as many call him, has a gentle and free spirited demeanor that has given the children the opportunity to explore and grow. 

Good Shepherd has given me a 2nd home. I’ve fallen in love with the families, staff, and sisters of Good Shepherd Shelter, and I have fallen in love with its mission to end the generational cycle of domestic violence. As Father Pedro Arrupe put it, ‘What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy.’ Thank you Good Shepherd Shelter for allowing me to fall in love, stay in love, and deciding everything that I do based on that unconditional love.
— Brian Infante

What is so incredible about what volunteers are able to witness is the transformation within each child. Each family has different traumas and experience but in the end the change and healing is always the greatest thing to be a part of. The love and joy that is felt at Good Shepherd Shelter gives anyone who enters the property a sense of home, the way it should be- peaceful, safe and loving. 

Thank you Mr. Brian for your service and dedication to the children at Good Shepherd Shelter. 

 From Left to Right: Sr. Anne Kelley, Mandy Gibson, Brian Infante and his parents at the award ceremony.

From Left to Right: Sr. Anne Kelley, Mandy Gibson, Brian Infante and his parents at the award ceremony.