As part of the Domestic Violence Awareness Month, The Family Place held a Facebook Live on October 22nd called “DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: A Pandemic in the Shadows". The conversation was hosted in Spanish by Dr. Claudia Campos, psychologist of The Family Place’s Circulo de Mujeres Latinas group. It also featured guests: Natalia Otero, Co-founder and Executive Director of DC SAFE, and Sylvia Arreaza, Domestic Violence Advocate of Mary's Center, both organizations who also work supporting domestic violence survivors in the DC area.
The discussion addressed the exacerbation of domestic violence during the Covid-19 pandemic and additional barriers Latina women are experiencing preventing them from breaking violent cycles. Including the entrenched machismo in Latinx Culture and the relevance of conservative Catholic mandates that place women in a subordinate position. The panellists agreed domestic violence needs to be treated as a political issue in order to create public policies that contribute effectively to its prevention.
Identifying violent relationships.
During this live dialogue, prevention and the need for public policies supporting the elimination of domestic violence were the main topics. In discussing prevention, the experts shared experiences and alerted viewers of red flags all women should be aware of to identify if they are in a violent and abusive relationship:
The partner controls every decision about the relationship: where to go, what to eat, how to spend the money, etcetera.
The partner controls every aspect of her personal life and body: how to dress and use makeup, whom to talk to, when and where to go out, whether or not contraceptive methods are used, etcetera.
The partner resorts to threats.
A violent relationship is characterized by the abuse of POWER of one partner over the other, generally men over women, ISOLATION, MANIPULATION (coercion), and INEQUALITY.
During the interventions we were reminded the escalation of intimate partner violence can result in major risks for women. In fact, 1 in 3 female murder victims are killed by current or former intimate partners. The experts suggested prevention should focus on identifying the signs of escalation, ensuring adequate support systems for victims, community education to promote understanding over judgement, and victim safety.
We thank Natalia, Sylvia and Claudia for sharing their knowledge and experiences and for partnering with us and other organizations in supporting survivors and their families in the DC area. As Dr. Claudia Campos said, “WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER!"
*To access the full conversation, click here.
*If you or someone you know needs help, call:
- DC Victim Hotline: 1-844-443-5732.
- Mary's Center Direct line: 202-748-2611.