May 24, 2016

Just how many people has ATVP helped?

Q: How many people has ATVP helped?

AskAnAdvocate: Since our founding in 1980, ATVP has stayed incredibly busy.  Thanks to the advent of affordable personal computing power (and grants for technology), we've kept pretty good records for the last decade or so.  From 2005 to 2015, ATVP was able to work with over 3,600 individuals and their families on an on-going basis, in addition to fielding over 30,000 calls on our hotlines.  

Once you factor in our prevention and presentation work - and we did over 560 presentations and outreaches last year alone - the straight forward answer is somewhere between "a lot" and "a whole lot."  

Despite all of our continued efforts, we always need more volunteers and more community allies to help hold the people causing harm accountable.  

For ideas of how to help out, click here.  We'd love to have you aboard!  
Take Back the Night 2013

Do Conflicts really occur in all relationships?

Q: Do Conflicts really occur in all relationships?

AskAnAdvocate: Every relationship does have some friction in it, because we all are individuals with our personal desires, dreams, and opinions.  The real key to any healthy relationship (not just a dating or romantic one) is not that it be conflict-free, but that you all can speak honestly and respectfully without fear of being punished for having some disagreements.  (Remember that respect has to be mutual).  

Some great tools for healthy communication can be found here.  Basically learn to listen actively and thoughtfully.  

If you feel fear of  the other person(s) in any relationship, that's a big warning sign.  Trust your instincts; they've kept you alive this long.  

For some tools to evaluate if your relationship is healthy or perhaps has some warning flags, check out these tools:

Warning Signs of Abuse

Interactive Power and Control Wheel

The Spectra of Relationships 

Image result for Maybe he doesn't hit you

Remember that abuse isn't just physical.  You can read more about other people's experiences with emotional and financial abuse through the #MaybeHeDoesn'tHitYou tag and other social media awareness programs.  

May 12, 2016

What does ATVP DO?

Q: What are the majority of problems that you deal with?

AskAnAdvocate: We work with many different issues around violence and personal safety, including victimization of general crimes like identity theft, stalking, and harassment.  However, by far the most common issues we work with are domestic violence and sexual assault.  

In an average year we work with around 360 unique individuals and their children, with about 340 of those being people who have experienced gender- and power-based violence (SA/DV).  

Our work gives us a broad set of skills, so we can perform legal advocacy for those who want to file for protection orders (aka "restraining orders"), divorce, custody, and other legal issues.  We can also be with a person when they meet with police or prosecutors to report a crime - in fact it's your right as a victim of crime to have an advocate with you.  

If you need to seek medical attention due to any crime-related situation, we can also meet you at the hospital to advocate for your rights as a patient and as a survivor of violence or abuse.

The realities of abuse and assault are complex and impact many facets of people's lives.  We're here to try and make survivors' lives easier.  
Think of us as the Samwise Gamgee to your Frodo
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or the Batgirl to your Batwoman

You get the idea.  We don't live someone else's life for them, but we do whatever we can to make life less complicated and the path to empowerment less dangerous.  

Thanks for your questions! 

Helping People who Abuse

Q: How can we help abusers?

AskanAdvocate: Excellent question! And a bit tricky as well.  The number one most important thing you can do for someone who uses abusive or controlling behaviors is to hold them accountable for them.  Here are a couple things that you can do - but make your own safety a priority!  Also keep in mind the safety of the person(s) being harmed - if the abusive person might punish the victims for you standing up to him (statistically it's usually a him), then consider some other options.  

  • Call out racist, sexist, and homophobic jokes or comments - ideas that one type of person is better than another forms the backbone of beliefs that abusive behavior is justified. 
  • Speaking of that, let people know that abusive behavior is NEVER justifiable.  Everybody has a bad day now and again - not everyone uses that as an excuse to abuse someone else.  
  • Remember that no one else "makes" us act in certain ways.  We are in control of ourselves and our own actions. Don't let the abusive person blame someone or something else for their bad behaviors. 
Therapy is also an excellent resource, but there is really only one type of therapy that works for people who use abusive or controlling tactics, and that's Batterer Treatment (also called "Domestic Violence Offender Intervention").  You can read about these sorts of programs here and here.
To find a local US program near you, google "Domestic Violence Offender Treatment near [your town]," and you should be well on your way.

For the Latah and Whitman County areas, the main provider is Loren Caudle's Phoenix House