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Holy Trinity hosts program: ‘Stop the Wheel of abuse’

Modified: Monday, Feb 15th, 2010

Holy Trinity Catholic Parish will offer a comprehensive look at domestic abuse to help raise awareness of present and past personal abuse, contributing factors, and where to go for healing, safety and support.

“Stop the Wheel of Abuse” will be presented from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Holy Trinity Catholic Church.

Guest speakers will be Katy Bendewald, a therapist at Community Counseling Services, who will speak on the Power and Control Wheel and discuss what constitutes abuse; and Beth Kelsey, also a counselor at CCS, will talk about contributing factors to the cycle of abuse.

Jan Manolis of the Family Safe Center and Melanie Timm from the YWCA will talk about help offered to victims of domestic violence. Deb Bozentko with Beadle County Welfare Services will talk about short and long term assistance that is available; and Father Terry Anderson will talk about God, forgiveness, theology and church policy.

Ann Puterbaugh, parish nurse, said the Holy Trinity Catholic Parish Health Cabinet has talked about hosting an informative program on domestic abuse for the past couple of years.

“It just keeps coming back; this year we decided to work it up,” Puterbaugh said. “I’m excited about it. I hope we can have a crowd.

“Seventy percent of families are affected by abuse,” she said. “It’s a pretty important thing to talk about and try to deal with. That makes it even more difficult for people experiencing it — they don’t think they can even find a way out.”

Bendewald said the Power and Control Wheel (shown below right), was developed as part of a Domestic Abuse Intervention Project in Duluth, Minn.

“They had focus groups of battered women,” Bendewald said. “From interactions with them, they figured out the most common tactics that batterers will use to gain power and control.

“It’s neat to have that visual,” she added. “Many victims say the emotional abuse is more devastating than the physical. They wish they had bruises, that would show. In power and control — playing mind games — she loses herself, her decision making ability.”

The Power and Control Wheel has been effective because it focuses on women as the victims and men as the perpetrators of intimate partner violence. This treatment model takes the approach of empowering women by providing them information, resources, and support.

“Information is important, and it’s validating for them, because it’s not OK,” Bendewald added.

Since the Power and Control Wheel was developed, a separate “Equality Wheel” was developed to help the abuser recognize changes he or she can make in the relationship.

“I’m surprised more people don’t know about them, but the history of domestic violence is don’t talk about it,” Bendewald said.

The first shelter for battered women was established in 1974, a move that spread across the nation with the establishment of hundreds of shelters and domestic violence programs.

These programs provide emotional, financial and vocational assistance to domestic violence survivors and their children. Legal assistance may also be provided.

Warning signs for individuals to consider if they suspect they are the victim of intimate partner violence include feeling demeaned, assaulted, or excessively controlled by their partner.

Warning signs friends, family members, and coworkers can look for if they wonder whether the person they care about is the victim of domestic abuse include frequent absences from school or work, numerous injuries the victim tries to explain, low self-esteem, a change in their personality, fear of conflicts, passive-aggressive behavior, blaming him- or herself, isolation from others, or stress-related physical symptoms.

Health professionals unfortunately only screen for intimate partner abuse in about 20 percent of the patients seen.

Between 25 to 50 percent of homeless families have lost their homes as a result of intimate partner abuse. Such victimization is also associated with nearly $6 billion in health-care costs and lost work productivity per year.

Although psychological abuse can be harder to define than overt physical abuse, it has been found to cause at least as much damage.

Everyone is invited to attend the program Saturday at Holy Trinity Catholic Church to learn more.

For the complete article see the 02-14-2010 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 02-14-2010 paper.

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