Holidays and long weekends can be a great time to relax and enjoy others away from work or school, but for some people it becomes aggressive, violent or deadly.
About a year ago, the 7-11 convenience store corporation partnered with the YWCA to provide informational cards on dealing with personal emergencies. These cards are typically at the TransFund fee free automatic teller. The cards and flyers provide a brief set of information about various abuses: domestic violence, sexual assault and relational violence. Many people do know they are uncomfortable or unhappy in a situation, but once they learn about terms and patterns.... and that there is preventative help or the possibility of intervention.... they have more personal power to make a choice. In that moment, the person moves from a victim/helpless status to a survivor status.... Most persons struggling with these issues are under the age of 30, with clusters as young as 12 showing up regularly. Abuse can be male on female, female on male or same sex on same sex and it transcends all walks of life. This can happen to anyone.
On the card, are listed local crisis lines, the address of the YWCA and the spectrum of services they offer.There are a limited number of specialty service providers still in Oklahoma City who are involved in the care of persons who are abused or sexually assaulted as adults.
Oklahoma City YWCA assault programming still does not provide legal advocacy via a professionally degreed, trained and licensed casemanager ( this is usually an LCSW licensed clinical social worker) though other programs throughout the US do offer this as a core service.
Also, there are no obvious YWCA legal professionals, pro-bono lawyers who aid in addressing accountablity for courts or investigations, and just about any review of current events nationally would explain why both of these core functions absent put the survivor at risk.
I am a professional therapist in OKC. I have training and experience at advanced levels in dealing with abuse and trauma. At 5 am this morning, I received a call from a young woman seeking assistance.... citing a request for legal and medical care regarding an assault. I did direct her to the Gaylord YWCA. http://www.ywca.org/site/pp.asp?c=djIMI0POKvG&b=256910 and noted that they would have supportive services, some free and some with a fee. Also, that they would be in a better position to make a referral for additional services in the private sector that would be exacting.
Sometimes people get frustrated with me because I send them on. I do hope that the public understands that referrals like this have to do with making sure the person gets as close to a direct hit for comprehensive help as possible. I do see people for issues related to these issues, but if it looks like the person needs this other help that will be the first stop, not me.
For anyone who has been sexually assaulted or abused in a domestic circumstance, it is pretty important to get to specialized continuums of care soon. These groups have have access to a variety of supports, which the person may or may not need. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to be a consumer looking at this in a crisis, because it feels a lot like a business deal. Dealing directly with this supportive group provides
As a mental health counselor for 25 years, I continue to struggle with the absence of information that the community has about the presence of abuse and dealing with it. With school age kids, anyone from gradeschool to grad school, Dating Violence is an issue. It has really nothing to do with dating, so don't get derailed by that term. It has to do with interactions that are very similar to bullying, but it becomes difficult for the young person or even the family to explain what the problem is.
Parents come to my office often with kids who are depressed, anxious and fearful or really angry... and this dating violence has been the issue.
Earlier this year, I wrote a series of educational articles that I have recapped here, trying to divide them into sections. Some information is appropriate for parents of anyone from grade schoolers on up.
Other information is about more advanced choices and involvement.
If you don't understand how dating violence works, it is impossible teach yourself or family member what to watch for and what to do when you find it. It isn't impossible, but it is elusive. In Oklahoma, the culture of conservatism and refusal to discuss relationships, human development, human sexuality, sexual interactions blocks awareness of this risk and other risks.
The minute parents and young people lay their hands on this information they become increasingly empowered as to what the problem is and what may be done to prevent it.
Starter articles on relational violence and teen dating violence
Mid-level articles on relational violence and dating violence
http://www.examiner.com/article/happy-valentine-s-day-tdvpm-part-6-like-... http://www.examiner.com/article/february-is-teen-dating-violence-prevent... http://www.examiner.com/article/teen-dating-violence-prevention-month-pa...
Advanced articles on relational violence and dating violence ( contains some graphic information)