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MOVING UPSTREAM: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PREVENTION INITIATIVES IN A COMMUNIY BASED ADVOCACY ORGANIZATION BY MYRANDA PIERCE A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Social Sciences New College of Florida In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology Under the sponsorship of Dr. Erin Dean Sarasota, FL May 2010
ii Acknowledgments Several individuals and groups are deserving of my thanks for their help with this project. I especially want to thank SPARCC advocates, educators, and other staff members as well as Community Action Team members who have taken time ou t of their work schedules and lives to provide learning opportunities for this project. Those individuals include Natalie Lewis, Michelle Gaines, Jessica Hays, Jeannette Ocasio, Tanjee Lane, Vicki Castro, Concetta Hollinger and Detective J. Delcos of Sar asota L aw Enforcement. I thank family and friends for teaching me the importance of healthy relationships and for their support. Thanks also to New College Council of Academic Affairs research grant for travel expenses for this project. Thanks to all of my classmates for reading over drafts and providing encouragement over my four years at New College. Thanks to Melanie Bauer for working with me during my initial internship with SPARCC, Elizabeth Hamman for walks to the Bay and discussions about life Kaitlyn Collins for continuous support and for letting me bounce ideas off of you, and Delaney Anderson for being inspirational to me and many others. A big "thank you" to all of the students who worked with me on SPARCC projects. Thanks especially t o professors Erin Dean, Uzi Baram and Maria Vesperi for providing academic support and guidance on this project and for the past four years. I wholly appreciate that you love teaching and that you take time for your students. None of my work, including t his project, would have been as rewarding to experience, nor would it be the same quality, without the instruction and care from all of my New College professors.
iii TABLE OF CONTENTS Acknowledgments .............................................................................. ii Table of Contents .............................................................................. iii Abstract ...................... .................................................................... iv Chapter One: Introduction .................................................................. 1 Chapter Two: Comprehensive Prevention Models ............................... 22 Chapter Three: Observations of Current SPARCC Programs ....... 39 Chapter Four: Analysis of Current SPARCC Programs ................... 56 Chapter Five: Conclusions .................................................................. 71 Notes .. .................................................................................................... 75 Works Cited .......................................................................................... 76
iv MOVING UPSTREAM: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PREVENTION INITIATIVES IN A COMMUNIY BASED ADVOCACY ORGANIZATION Myranda Pierce New College of Florida, 2010 Abstract The focus of this thesis is community education and engagement in the context of domestic and se xual violence prevention at SPARCC (Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center in Sarasota, Florida). This research takes the form of unstructured interviews and participant observation learning alongside educators and leaders in the Sarasota area who teach vario us groups in the community about domestic and sexual violence issues. Specifically, I discuss various strategies and goals of primary prevention and observe how projects and outreach events put on by the prevention team fit into these goals. I also look at the needs and limitations of the prevention team at SPARCC, as well as how collaboration shapes the programs. In order for these initiatives to reach their potential, programs for young males must be developed, and involvement from adult males is neede d to reframe domestic violence as a social issue that affects everyone rather than a "women's issue." Through this project, I ultimately discuss how SPARCC's collaborative efforts with the surrounding community fit into a spectrum of multi level preventio n. ______________________ Professor Erin Dean Division of Social Sciences
Prevention Pierce 1 Chapter I. Introduction One day, a fisherman was fishing from a river bank when he saw someone being swept downstream...and helped [the person] to shore. Soon he heard another cry for help and saw someone else being swept downstream. This scenario con tinued all afternoon. Finally the fisherman said to himself, "I can't go on like this. I'd better go upstream and find out what is happening" (CDC 2004: 7). This thesis is the result of ethnographic observations at SPARCC (the Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center in Sarasota, Florida). This project came about after a brief internship with this organization in the summer of 2008 as an advocate for victims of domestic violence. That experience made me interested in the direction the organization was m oving, which was toward increased efforts in the area of prevention. SPARCC has moved in the last several years from being focused solely on advocacy for victims who have already experienced abuse to staffing full time community educators focused on incre asing prevention measures. The title of this thesis, "Moving Upstream," signifies the struggles of continually adapting movements that address many social issues, including domestic and sexual violence. While this move upstream toward prevention measures is a major focus of SPARCC, the need to address current victims' needs has not decreased. In fact, victims' needs have increased substantially due to a variety of factors, including an increased level of general insecurity within the community that came with the recent economic recession. At the same time, more and more community members are accessing services at SPARCC due in part to a greater awareness within the community of services it provides. As a whole, anthropology is concerned with human liv es, collectively and
Prevention Pierce 2 individually. Anthropology is, out of necessity, an interdisciplinary field. It draws from other fields and incorporates various paradigms into its own specialized perspectives. For my research on domestic and sexual violence preven tion initiatives, I use ethnographic methods in combination with multiple theoretical perspectives, including models from the field of public heath. I also use feminist studies literature and scholarship in the social sciences to expand on these theoreti cal perspectives. For this research project, conducted over several months, I conducted participant observation research with two main educators and a team of about six other staff members, plus volunteers, in order to produce sound and culturally relev ant data. I attended monthly planning meetings and assisted with events and presentations. I also conducted interviews with several key participants who worked or volunteered at SPARCC. These included SPARCC educators and leaders from other organization s in the greater Sarasota area, who provided me with a range of knowledge and stories of their experiences in domestic violence advocacy and prevention programs. By using ethnographic methods in combination with a public health study of domestic violenc e, I was able to conduct a specific case study, which was useful to accomplish two goals: first, to examine the initiatives of a single organization within a specific frame of space, time, and experience. Ethnographic observations make it possible to draw connections that are often missed on a larger scale. The second goal it allowed me to pursue was to draw larger social implications, because this study is immersed within larger body of academic knowledge. In order to explore these larger social implica tions, structure from other disciplines in this case, the use of public health models is a necessary element to include in the study.
Prevention Pierce 3 Ethnography: a foundation of theory and application A central aim of current anthropology, which is also central to my methods, is for ethnographic observers to hold a critical eye to their own data and presentation. Anthropology has grown and expanded over many stages and is constantly changing due in part to the self reflective and self critiquing process of ethnograph y. In his book, Anthropology As Cultural Critique ( 1999 ), George Marcus discusses how anthropology as a science is affected by various trends in postmodern scholarship. The field of anthropology has been shaped time and again by shifting perspectives, an d a theme that is coming up more and more is the need for collaboration, situating anthropology essentially as an interdisciplinary field which has become unable to function without the aid of other perspectives. Without collaboration with other pers pecti ves, the question arises as to whether anthropology's reflexivity could eventually end up cornered into a postmodern theoretical stand still. Marcus states in an interview with Marcelo Pisarro from 2006 that, "It is too early to understand what it might b e becoming, despite occasional enthusiasms for one or another kind of interdisciplinary fusion. Interdisciplinarity seems visionary compared to disciplinary perspective, but most interdisciplinary perspectives have turned out to be just as myopic." He co ntinues, "The problem of how researchers relate to power, its concentrations, and structured inequalities remain in new projects, but this requires new thinking and perhaps a different ethical way of being in fieldwork" (Marcus 2008: 11; 12 13). Marcus argues that a good foundation in a specific theoretical perspective with referential self criticism works well for anthropology, which is growing and can grow without being dissolved into another field in order to be something. However, Marcus
Prevention Pierce 4 also writes that the center of anthropology has been "left intellectually weak relative to the vitality of its diverse interdisciplinary and even nonacademic engagements" (Marcus 2008: 14) from a shift in framework that has influenced anthropological methods. I a m not a believer that advocacy has no place within anthropology. However, it is important to consider what critiques have been made within the discipline, both for and against applied work in anthropology. Rylko Bauer, Merrill Singer and John Van Willige n in "Reclaiming Applied Anthropology: its past, present and future" (2006) discuss some of the critiques against applied anthropology, which include politicizing academia and allowing a transition away from theoretical perspectives. Rylko Bauer et al. ex amine and make a case against each of these claims. They argue that applied work in anthropology is more than justifiable. In the following paragraphs I will summarize their arguments, which I find compelling. The first issue examined is of critical r elevance to the discipline of anthropology: the potential problems of speaking on behalf of others. This has potential to make academic work highly political, creating opponents and possibly welcoming criticisms from opposing groups. Singer clarifies t hat advocacy within the contexts of academia takes place with rather than for communities, and makes a case in support of using academic work to advance advocacy on behalf of a group of people: ...advocacy of some sort is always present in anthropological work; even deciding against action in an arena of social contestation in and of itself constitutes a stance. Especially in settings of gross injustice and inequality, neutrality is, in fact, a kind of partisanship on behalf of the status quo (Rylko Bauer et al. 2006: 184). No doubt this type of research must be conducted very carefully, and scholars must
Prevention Pierce 5 work to ameliorate conflicts as they arise and also work to prevent them. Rylko Bauer et al. note strong disagreement with Kirsten Hastrup and Peter Elass, who wrote: "we should never forget that a commitment to improving the world is no substitute for understanding it" (Hastrup and Elass 1990: 307, in Rylko Bauer et al. 2006: 183 ). While various scholars have critiqued anthropological studies that i nvolve advocacy, this article makes the point that: It seems ironic, and more than a little self serving, to legitimize advocacy for the compendium of knowledge or promotion of anthropology while questioning its appropriateness for the very groups who give of their time, knowledge, and other resources so that we in our individual careers and as a discipline might benefit (2006: 184). This article argues, consequently: what is the point in understanding the world if not to improve it ? Probably the mai n critique of applied anthropology is that it is atheoretical. However, this piece argues that theory shapes and is also informed by application (Rylko Bauer et al. 2006: 184). Applied anthropologists use theoretical and conceptual frameworks from anthro pology as well as other disciplines to shape research questions and design methodology. They are also able to "link knowledge with policy, program development, or action. Theory commonly guides applied research, to one degree or another" (2006: 184). Applied anthropology has also helped to shape theory in the field, "by opening new fields of research and contributing to the revision of theories, especially in the areas of intercultural relations, social change, development, and organizational culture" (Rylko Bauer et al. 2006: 185; also citing Little 2000). The article by Rylko Bauer et
Prevention Pierce 6 al. also argues that application of anthropological methods, "can be viewed as a kind of ultimate test of theory through empirical research" (2006: 185; also citing Bab a 2000: 4, Schensul 1985). However, others such as Marcus have argued that links between theory, methods, and practice need to be made more explicit within the practices of applied anthropology. My research project aims to work within those tensions. It takes on paradigms within the field of public health while using anthropological methodology, upholding a holistic approach to the study of prevention within an advocacy organization. The reason for doing this type of study is not to look merely at fac ts; statistics can be drawn from countless sources, but people are more than what statistics show. It was important for this study for me to spend time with the SPARCC educators and members of the Community Action Team (CAT) in order to learn how they cam e to certain conclusions, to understand their individual views about their roles in the community, and to understand their growth and struggles better. In this thesis, I first present the importance of this study based on the prevalence of domestic vio lence in the United States and the known effects of this problem. I show how new models are being developed to address not only immediate concerns for victims, but overall social norms that promote violent and abusive relationships. I then present my ana lysis of the goals, efforts and struggles faced by this organization's team of prevention educators, as well as the prospects of and limitations imposed upon the future prevention initiatives. Statistics, Prevalence and Implications of Domestic Violence In the United States, the problem of domestic violence is dynamic and pervasive.
Prevention Pierce 7 Domestic Violence is defined by the National Coalition against Domestic Violence (NCADV) as: ...the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another. It is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, nationality or educational background. Violence against women is ofte n accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior, and thus is part of a systematic pattern of dominance and control. Domestic violence results in physical injury, psychological trauma, and sometimes death (NCADV 2007) I use the term domestic violence to signify not only a single act of abuse, but often a pattern of behavior that is used to gain or maintain power and control over another person such as intimate partner. Abuse can take on various forms, as the above definition used by the NCAD V shows. It can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological. Abuse can be both actions and threats of actions, including any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, humiliate, or injure another person ( 2007) D omestic violence can also be pre sent in many types of relationships. Amy Murphy, in her undergraduate thesis on intervention programs for men who batter their wives, discusses the use of language, explaining why she chose to use the term "wife beating," or interchangeably, "wife batteri ng" rather than using "non gendered, objective terms such as domestic violence family violence and conjugal violence She argues: "In this political arena ... domestic violence becomes a euphemistic term used to disguise the horrors it denotes" (Murphy 1999: 4) Murphy quotes Ann Jones, a women's rights activist and writer, who wrote: Domestic Violence" is one of those gray phrases, beloved
Prevention Pierce 8 of bureaucracy, designed to give people a way of talking about a topic without seeing what's really going on... it's a euphemistic abstraction that keeps us at a dispassionate distance, far removed from the repugnant spectacle of human beings in pain" (Jones 1994: 81) I want to be clear of my intent in that I do not choose to use the term "domestic abuse" or "domestic violence" in order to shy away from the harsh realities present in wife battering, but only because it is necessary to be inclusive in my terminology. To use the term "wife battering" would limit the scope of inclusion to marital relationships; although this terminology paints a more direct picture of the realities for battered wives, it also excludes abuses within other types of relationships, including same sex couples, child abuse, and dating violence. Those terms also suggest that domestic violence against men does not exist although less common, it still occurs or that is not necessary to address in the same way that violence against women is addressed. It is important to understand that prevention of violence against men is also a goal, a s well as prevention of all forms of interpersonal violence. I do, however, want to convey that it is important for scholars and activists to pay attention to the use and reception of language, and to frequently reflect on how use of language can alter perception of these issues. As scholarship in the field of public health moves toward the use of generalized and inclusive terms such as "domestic violence" rather than specific terms such as "wife battering," it is important to recognize that this termin ology also has its limitations. It is not wholly inclusive of abuse in less formal dating relationships, and only indirectly addresses the societal problem of violence against women by men. Unfortunately, the language does, by increasing
Prevention Pierce 9 inclusivity, tak e some focus away from the problem initially addressed. The need for inclusive language is important for scholarship, however, because it shows how intricately connected these issues of wife beating, child abuse, rape, dating abuse and all types of interp ersonal violence are. Below I give some estimates of the prevalence of domestic violence in the United States. In doing so, I also want to stress that seeing this as a social problem should not take away from these issues as personal stories of actual hu man beings, so along with the numbers I will explain the implications of these facts and their effects on society, families, and individuals. Each year, more than 32 million Americans are affected by domestic violence, whether they are being abused or a re secondary victims by being affected by the abuse of immediate family members. The majority of domestic violence victims are women. In a 1995 1996 study conducted in the United States based on a survey of 16,000 participants, nearly a quarter of women and 7.6% of men were raped and/or physically assaulted by a current or former spouse, cohabiting partner, dating partner or acquaintance at some point during their lifetime ( Tjaden 2000 ). While violence against women is often associated with perpetratio n by strangers, this is not the most common form. According to the US Department of Justice (1994), both fatal and nonfatal violent behavior directed toward women is usually committed by someone known to the victim. In fact, a t least two thirds of viole nt victimizations against women are committed by someone the women know. Approximately 28% of reported violent crimes against women were committed by their intimate partners, while 35% were acquaintances; 5% were other relatives. Only 31% of female vic tims
Prevention Pierce 10 reported that the offender was a stranger. In contrast, only 5% of all violent victimizations against men were perpetrated by intimates and other relatives Compared to males, females experienced in excess of ten times the number of incidents of vio lence by an intimate partner. On average per year, women experienced 572,032 violent victimizations at the hands of an intimate partner, which stands in comparison to 48,983 incidents committed against men. This is overwhelmingly a problem that occurs by men and against women. Abuse is just as common among adolescents in dating relationships. A Children Now/Kaiser Permanente "National Poll on Kids Health and Safety" (1995) found that f orty percent of teenage girls between the ages of 14 and 17 report k nowing someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend. One in every five female high school students reports being physically or sexually abused by a dating partner (Silverman 2001) In 1996, a survey of 232 high school girls was conducted, and 17.8% of the participants responded that they had been forced to engage in sexual activity against their will by a dating partner (Jezl 1996) Another survey conducted in 1997 showed that girls who have reported physical or sexual abuse are more than two times as likely to report smoking, drinking and using illegal drugs. They were also more likely to develop certain eating disorders (Schoen 1997). However, women in heterosexual relationships are not the only group who are victims of domestic abus e. The statistics are very scattered and inconsistent regarding violence in same sex relationships; perhaps these statistics are often inconsistent because of questioning and reporting styles. Factors which are to some degree different
Prevention Pierce 11 from those in oppo site sex relationships affect reporting, such as fear of judgment from people if they find out an individual is in a same sex relationship, or attempts to preserve good feelings toward LGBT groups at large. Personal feelings may also be involved. It is p ossible that in many circumstances, and especially for individuals in same sex relationships, individuals want family and friends to think highly of their partner, and thus refrain from making abuse known. While only 10.8% of males reported violence by a female partner, 15.4% of same sex cohabiting men reported being raped, physically assaulted and/or stalked by a male partner (Kathleen 1992) These statistics, while not entirely consistent, show that domestic violence occurs in many different types of re lationships. The Annual Fiscal Cost of Medical Treatment from Domestic Violence Family violence costs the nation from $5 to $10 billion annually in medical expenses, police and court costs, shelters and foster care, sick leave, absenteeism, and non prod uctivity. Each year, medical expenses alone due to domestic violence total at least $3 to $5 billion. Every year, domestic violence results in almost 100,000 days of hospitalizations, almost 30,000 emergency department visits, and almost 40,000 visits to a physician (US Dept. of Justice 1998). To date, battering is the leading cause of injury to women in the United States. Injuries that result from domestic violence are more common than automobile accidents, muggings, and cancer deaths combined. Batte red women seek medical attention from injuries from acts of d omestic violence significantly more often after separation from
Prevention Pierce 12 their partners than during cohabitation. Nearly three out of every four visits to emergency rooms by battered women occur after s eparation (US Dept. of Justice 1998). Records and Reporting In her 1997 ethnographic study of SPARCC's battered women's shelter, Jennifer Campbell wrote, "Current statistics show that the number of domestic violence reports have risen dramatically in the last 20 years, but this is probably the result of heightened social awareness rather than an actual increase in occurrences" (Campbell 1997: 2 3) It is important to maintain a critical eye to historical records. While records show different numbers extr emely high or low in comparison to today's statistics that does not mean that those who recorded those numbers have the same views in regard to similar social problems faced today. There are similarities, but how people react to these problems cannot be v iewed through the same analytical lens, and so a direct numerical comparison of statistics, nor a direct comparison of laws, can be made. Rates of reporting vary, of course, and comparisons across time and place are difficult to make because myriad factor s influence levels of reporting and documentation. Puritan influenced Massachusetts in the 1600s, for example, documented extremely low levels of domestic murder the lowest rate in the history of the United States. However, this was coupled with passing of laws which "reflected religious and humanitarian ideas about the treatment of women and children rather than an assessment of pressing [widespread social] problems" ( Pleck 1987:14 ) According to the US Department of Justice, about 60% of family violenc e victimizations were reported to police between 1998 and 2002, and this rose from about 50% between 1993 and 1998 (Durose 2005).
Prevention Pierce 13 While reported statistics show only a fraction of the actual number of incidents, and thus only paint a part of the picture of the impact of domestic violence on the lives of women and men in the United States, the numbers are still shocking to those who first see or notice them. Just as some victims choose not to report incidents to police, some victims choose to stay in abu sive relationships. In the next section I will expand on these reasons why it may be difficult for victims in abusive relationships to get out. Reasons for Staying, Complications with leaving One predominant reason why women stay in abusive relationship s is that they fear retaliation. Women who leave their batterers are at 75% greater risk of severe injury or death than those who stay. In 1994, women separated from their spouses had a victimization rate 1.5 times higher than separated men Batterers c ontrol victims both with physical aggression and emotional manipulation. Fear of retribution is a major factor in a victim's decision to stay with an abuser, and the longer a victim stays, the more difficult it becomes to leave (US Dept. of Justice 1998) Lack of resources or dependence upon a batterer for sustenance is another contributing factor. Domestic violence is not bound by socioeconomic status: violence is the reason stated for divorce in 22% of middle class marriages (US Dept. of Justice 19 98) However, the majority of welfare recipients have experienced domestic abuse in their adult lives and a high percentage are currently ab used (Jody 1997) When a victim of an abusive relationship must choose between having food and shelter or getting away from abuse, most choose to stay in an unhealthy relationship.
Prevention Pierce 14 Children are also affected by domestic violence on multiple levels. A primary concern is that child abuse occurs in many of the cases of domestic violence cases that involve families w ith children. A child exposed to the father abusing the mother is also at the strongest risk for transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next ( APA 1996 ). However, children are also often cited as one of the primary reasons a victim of do mestic violence stays in an abusive relationship. Olivia Thomas, executive director at SPARCC, who lived in a "luxurious South Carolina neighborhood" and "belonged to a country club," told Patty Allen Jones in an interview for an article in the Sarasota Herald Tribune in 2007 that her previous marriage was affected by domestic violence. She explained, "I felt I was staying for my children, then one day I realized I had to leave for my children." By allowing the abuse and "making excuses," Olivia Thomas recognized, "I was teaching my children bad patterns" (Allen Jones 2007) She explained that the decision to stay at the time was an attempt to hold her family together, as is the case for many victims of domestic violence with children. Emotional atta chment is also a factor that contributes to victims wanting to stay in abusive relationships. In many relationships, the abuse is not constant, but occurs in phases. There is often a "honeymoon phase" in these relationships when the abusers act in a compl etely different way in order to make up for times when they are violent. While working with advocates for survivors of domestic viole nce at SPARCC, they explained that most victims who seek help will in most cases return to their abusers. By the time s omeone is in an abusive relationship, there is already a pattern in place that is difficult to break. There are emotions involved, plus reasons to fear being homeless or
Prevention Pierce 15 not being able to provide for one's children if one were to leave an abuser. There a re real barriers to leaving a relationship, even when that relationship threatens one's physical and emotional well being. Instead of treating the symptoms of domestic violence, organizations are now working to prevent it. In the following pages I will w rite briefly about the history of SPARCC as an organization involved in this work, and explore how current prevention efforts came about. SPARCC History SPARCC is a community based, non profit advocacy organization for survivors of domestic and sexual violence and for women and men in abusive relationships throughout Sarasota and neighboring counties in Florida. Much of the work is done by volunteers, but SPARCC has a solid staff base, including administrative workers, prevention educators, and advocat es who work directly with clients. Only in the past several years have prevention initiatives come about. In the past, this organization's focus was solely on interventions after abuse had occurred. Jennifer Campbell's ethnography of the SPARCC shelte r for battered women is a useful comparison to my own ethnographic project. It is interesting to see how she situated her work and how SPARCC has evolved since her project in the late 1990s. Her research shows a different period for this organization. A t that time, the transition from an organization focused on intervention to an organization that holds both intervention and prevention measures as equally important had not yet taken place. Campbell writes in her ethnography that the 'next step' for this organization would be to incorporate prevention measures into its objective to alter social norms, whereas up to
Prevention Pierce 16 that point the main focus had been on providing therapy and resources for women who had experienced domestic or sexual violence. In her intro duction, Campbell writes: The shelter continues to feature many elements of a grassroots collective, including a shared decision making and the self help/peer support service model. Due to the pragmatic professional concern of expediency, however, it als o relies upon an individualistic, goal oriented approach in which women are moved through the system as quickly as possible. This approach is successful in helping clients solve their immediate problems, but it does nothing to address underlying need for societal change. In the future, shelters must go beyond serving individual battered women and join the political struggle to create a society in which these women's needs are met and domestic violence is ended altogether (Campbell 1997: vii). Today, th is is exactly the transformation that has occurred for this organization. Statistics from 2007 2008 show the number of individuals receiving services and the number of various types of programs completed, and these programs address both prevention and int ervention. These are the services based in the intervention side of the organization: Emergency Shelter SPARCC provided 5,005 shelter days to a total of 168 women and 120 children. Counseling 10,055 hours of individual and group counseling were provided to 2,970 victims through SPARCC shelter and outreach offices. Advocacy SPARCC advocates and trained volunteers helped 341 survivors file petitions for protection orders and accompanied 363 survivors to injunction hearings.
Prevention Pierce 17 Hotline 7,543 hotline callers wer e provided with crisis counseling and needs assessments. 9,512 referrals were made. Hospital Team Volunteers and staff responded to 85 emergency calls from area hospitals to meet with sexual and domestic violence victims in order to provide support and inf ormation regarding SPARCC services. The children and youth programs and services are a combination of intervention and prevention measures: Children & Youth Program 275 children were provided with individual and group counseling, and more than 11,000 sch ool children received violence prevention education. Community education programs are preventative: Community Education 453 presentations were provided in the community to more than 12,000 people Some of SPARCC's current services, based on empowe ring individuals to shape their own future, work as interventions that can also be seen as preventing future abuse. SPARCC provides various types of resources to victims of domestic violence and helps them discover their own potential so that they can ma ke their own choices. One of the victim advocates at SPARCC is famous for reminding volunteers constantly that, The last thing you, as an advocate, want to do is to become this person's abuser. Most of the women who come into this office have been told w hat they do, when they do it, and how they do it by their abusers. We are here to let these women know that they have options.
Prevention Pierce 18 As a part of these intervention services, SPARCC offers 24 hour e mergency shelter for victims of domestic violence and their dependents, a 24 hour crisis hotline, crisis intervention services and counseling by telephone and face to face in the shelter and outreach offices. SPARCC offers The Children's Program for children who have witnessed or experienced domestic violence. SPARCC also provides transitional housing in order to assist those fleeing violent homes. Transitional housing is a step toward securing permanent housing and integration into the community. Participants of SPARCC's transitional housing program are elig ible to receive financial assistance and referral services and are assisted with developing and pursuing educational and vocational goals that would enable them to become financially self sufficient. SPARCC offers support for survivors during hospital e xaminations after sexual assault, and can provide court advocacy during legal proceedings and guide survivors through the protective order process. These can be traumatic procedures for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Hospital advocacy i s available to recent sexual assault survivors through the crisis team at hospital emergency rooms. Trained staff and volunteer advocates meet with survivors at the emergency room to offer support, discuss procedures, answer any questions the survivor may have about SPARCC or about medical or legal options. These advocates also provide information about other community resources available to sexual assault survivors. Olivia Thomas wrote in SPARCC's 2008 Spring/Summer newsletter that while these types of secondary and tertiary interventions 1 are still SPARCC's primary services
Prevention Pierce 19 because there is a great immediate need for therapeutic and rehabilitative services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, SPARCC is moving toward increasing collaborative pr evention initiatives: We have recently completed a 5 year primary prevention plan that seeks to reach our community on many levels. While SPARCC's mission is focused on treatment and prevention of domestic and sexual violence, it takes an entire community to create the social changes needed to one day realize a violence free society. SPARCC works closely with law enforcement, the court system, the medical community, the schools and other social services agencies to bring programs to the community focused o n primary prevention of violence. As SPARCC increases its efforts and services in the area of prevention, staff and volunteers will need to work even more with community members and leaders. This transition toward addressing this problem of domestic vi olence holistically by using prevention measures comes full circle to achieve what activists sought to do from the start: put an end to abuse. The programs SPARCC provides to the community are based on a public health approach to address domestic violen ce. These programs, in addition to providing treatment and resources for survivors of domestic violence, include prevention measures to address the social norms that promote violence. Jessica Hays, SPARCC's volunteer coordinator, wrote in the SPARCC News letter for the Spring/Summer of 2008 about community members' roles in preventing domestic violence: We must examine the knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that make up society's norms that support intimate partner violence. Social change on every level is required to change the attitudes and
Prevention Pierce 20 beliefs that lead to domestic violence. Where do people get mixed messages about relationships, violence, and power? How do economic factors play in? What role do media and entertainment have? What about schoo ls, families, and faith based organizations. In taking an approach that considers the social causes of domestic abuse, SPARCC was influenced greatly by the Battered Women's Movement (BWM), a movement that began in the late 1960s and worked to address this widespread social problem. A quick turn in public consciousness thereafter led to rapid growth of interest in and scholarship on the subject. A movement away from social activism (associated with radicalism) to social work (which came to be known fo r professionalism rather than radicalism) has occurred in regard to addressing domestic violence as a social problem Because of this, a depoliticization or perhaps, rather, a shift in politics regarding domestic violence advocacy has occurred, which mean s domestic violence advocacy has become more mainstream; more conservative groups now feel they can be involved in the work because it is no longer seen as a radical movement (Campbell 1997). Since understanding domestic violence has increasingly become o f academic interest to the public health profession, prevention measures have been developed. However, prevention measures are still in the process of development. Recent scholarship points toward holistic approaches to eliminating domestic violence as a public health problem. Olivia Thomas, executive director at SPARCC, explained in a SPARCC newsletter: "With all healthcare epidemics, you must provide treatment for the current victims who are suffering, while also working to immunize society against f uture outbreaks. At SPARCC, we are addressing both treatment and
Prevention Pierce 21 prevention issues." In the next chapter I discuss some recent models used as bases for prevention initiatives such as the ones that are being used at SPARCC.
Prevention Pierce 22 Chapter II. Prevention Models Linus: Oh oh! Lucy's got her mad face on! No matter what I do or say today I'm going to get slugged. I might as well get it over with. (He walks to Lucy. And gets slugged.) Now I have the rest of the day to myse lf! 2 Literature presented in this chapter reflects in part the educational resources used by the prevention team at SPARCC as well as additional materials to help define some of the core concepts used by scholars in the field of public health for prevent ion studies. Prevention measures branched out from risk reduction intervention measures to address domestic violence within the past few decades, during which feminist perspectives 3 on domestic violence have posed this as a social issue. Previously, dome stic violence was addressed almost exclusively by means of intervention only after violence had taken place, with a heavy focus on individual actions and behaviors (Berrios 1991). When social workers began to understand it as a social issue rather than a series of personal misfortunes, domestic violence began to be addressed as such, which meant that scholars joined activists in looking for solutions at a larger, social level. In a speech by Angela Davis (2000), a prominent feminist activist, author, an d African American woman, she said : The early feminist argument that violence against women is not inherently a private matter, but has been privatized by the sexist structures of the state, the economy, and the family has had a powerful impact on public consciousness". Davis sets up her speech by stating firmly that it is necessary that we "pay tribute to the activists and scholars whose ideological critiques made it
Prevention Pierce 23 possible to apply the category of domestic violence to those concealed layers of aggress ion systematically directed at women. These acts were for so long relegated to secrecy or, worse, [were] considered normal" (Davis 2000). Now, having been debated openly by scholars and activists over the past few decades, issues of domestic and gender vi olence and oppression now seem less radical to discuss openly. I discuss in the following pages some of the current models used to address the widespread problem of domestic and gender violence by advocacy organizations. I first define and explain prim ary, secondary, and tertiary prevention efforts and other definitions and core concepts used by advocacy organizations and promoted by the Center for Disease Control. I explain the "Spectrum of Prevention" developed by Larry Cohen as an effort to address social issues in a collaborative, holistic manner. Next, the public health approach and the ecological model, both population based approaches used for prevention, are explained in detail. At the end of this chapter I explain some potential difficulties that can arise with these models if they are used without various considerations, especially concerns for minority groups, and discuss prevention strategies as significant efforts to address social inequalities. Intervention and Prevention SPARCC, like many advocacy organizations, focuses on both intervention and prevention to address domestic violence as holistically as possible. Employees at SPARCC stress this type of holistic approach, making clear at presentations and trainings they hold at the cen ter and at various facilities in the community that addressing issues of domestic violence only after it has occurred does nothing to stop the cycle from continuing.
Prevention Pierce 24 Intervention methods implemented after violence has taken place often primarily address symptoms, while the route of prevention aims to address causes rather than symptoms. In the Peanuts quote at the beginning of the chapter, Linus addresses the symptoms of the issue. If not very well, he did address them by acknowledging the problem and acting on it. The problem, clearly, is that though he used a proactive approach, his goal was rather passive. Most often, addressing the symptoms does not stop recurrences of the problem. Certainly, no different outcome is expected in this case with Luc y's temper either. To be effective, intervention needs to be coupled with prevention strategies. Because causes of domestic violence are rooted in gender roles and social instability, prevention strategies must address them as such; but what is preven tion, exactly? From a public health model, domestic violence can be prevented by establishing challenges to social norms that promote violence and unhealthy behaviors. A public health model invokes the "moving upstream" analogy as mentioned in the previo us chapter from the Center for Disease Control as a way to prevent tragedies from occurring. The attributes of this model as stated by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention are: [Programs that are] population based and/or environmental and syst em level strategies, policies, and actions that prevent sexual violence from initially occurring. Such prevention efforts work to modify and/or entirely eliminate the events, conditions, situations, or exposure to influences (risk factors) that result in the initiation of sexual violence and associated injuries, disabilities, and deaths. Additionally, sexual violence prevention efforts address perpetration, victimization, and bystander attitudes and behaviors, and seek to identify and enhance protective f actors that impede the initiation
Prevention Pierce 25 of sexual violence in at risk populations and in the community (2004: 7). Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Prevention In order to clarify what is meant by "prevention," it is necessary to examine the differences between primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention strategies. I define each separately below, and I give examples to help illustrate these different strategies. Each are necessary measures of prevention to address domestic violence holistically because they ta rget three groups of people: those who have no experience with domestic abuse, those who are at risk of experiencing abuse at some point, and those who have already experienced abuse by an intimate partner. Primary prevention specifically targets member s of the community who have not been affected directly by domestic violence or other types of unhealthy relationships. Thus, this works best with young audiences. The focus of primary prevention is to emphasize healthy relationships and empathy. Classroo ms of students in elementary, middle and high schools and through youth organizations can be educated using primary prevention measures. "True primary prevention is population based using environmental and system level strategies, policies, and actions th at prevent...violence from initially occurring" (Carr 2008: 5). The prevention team at SPARCC uses primary prevention frequently, mostly in educational programs and activities for children in elementary schools; elementary schools are ideal for primary prevention presentations because younger children who have not reached adolescence are less likely to have experienced violent relationships than youth in middle schools and high schools. SPARCC educators sometimes use
Prevention Pierce 26 primary prevention in middle school s, although the older students are, the more likely they have encountered or experienced abuse of some type; dating violence often occurs in its first stages for students in middle schools, and more frequently among high school students. Secondary prev ention is a selective strategy that targets audiences who are likely to experience unhealthy relationships. While no group of people is immune from having unhealthy relationships, combinations of risk factors such as drug abuse, childhood abuse, and histo ry of violent behaviors increase the likelihood of occurrences of domestic violence. Tertiary prevention is a selective strategy that targets those who have already been exposed to domestic violence or unhealthy relationships. Scholars are now writing th at intervention must be dealt with as a type of tertiary prevention, which prevents those who have experienced domestic abuse to be revictimized, and not simply as a band aid solution or therapy for survivors of domestic violence. This practice of prevent ing recurrences of domestic violence is done by using empowerment strategies in community based advocacy organizations. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that: While the major purpose of interventions that take place after violence has occurred is to reduce or ameliorate the negative effects of the violence, some of these approaches may have the advantageous effect of preventing the [recurrence] of violence. Categorizing prevention by when an intervention occurs is a less than perfect fi t when looking at violence, and therefore we often simplify this discussion by talking about interventions to prevent violence before it ever occurs and those that take place after violence has already occurred (CDC 2004: 4).
Prevention Pierce 27 Tertiary prevention he lps survivors build a plan for safety and well being. Their own choices and agency are emphasized in this process. With a combination of intervention and prevention measures, domestic violence advocates can work toward the reduction of domestic violence occurrences and prevent recurrences (Carr 2008). The Center for Disease Control and Prevention discussion of violence prevention strategies asks: Where are current resources being focused and where are the gaps?" This is the answer given in that discu ssion: Resources for all levels of prevention are limited within the field of sexual violence prevention. Analyzing how federal, state, and local funds are allocated and used can show where the largest gaps exist within the matrix. At this time, the majo rity of federal and state funds are designated for indicated approaches after the sexual violence has occurred. Funds that allow for universal and selected ("before") approaches can provide a unique opportunity to develop a more comprehensive strategy and to focus on the problem "upstream." ... At the current program level, priority is often given to secondary and tertiary approaches to violence prevention to provide much needed services to victims and to hold perpetrators accountable. While this focus is understandable because the human need is so great, it can leave a gap in primary/universal and selected approaches to prevention (CDC 2004:11). The need is great, then, for new holistic measures of prevention on multiple levels in order to change socia l norms. Spectrum of Prevention In a "Spectrum of Prevention" developed by Larry Cohen, he lists six levels of prevention: 1. strengthening individual knowledge and skills, 2. promoting community education, 3. educating providers, 4. fostering coalitions and networks, 5. changing organizational practices, and 6. influencing policies and legislation ( orig Cohen and
Prevention Pierce 28 Swift 1999; Davis 2006). This model for multi level prevention was originally created as a response to a call for injury prevention measures, but has since been adopted into a model for various uses, including prevention of interpersonal violence. The chart below gives examples at each level of prevention.
Prevention Pierce 29 Level of Spectrum Definition of Level DV Example 1. Strengthening I ndividual Knowledge and Skills Enhancing an individual's capacity to prevent a problem and promote safety Integrate information on media violence into parenting curricula, including strategies for reducing children's exposure to violence against women in t he media and skills to talk to children about violence against women in the media 2. Promoting Community Education Reaching groups of people with information and resources to promote health and safety Develop mass media campaigns on the documented effects of media violence on children Develop a peer to peer teen program for kids to talk about violence in the media 3. Educating Providers Informing providers who will transmit skills and knowledge to others Training for day care providers and preschool tea chers on reducing childhood exposure to violent media and how to talk to parents about this 4. Fostering Coalitions and Networks Bringing together groups and individuals for broader goals and greater impact Network with researchers conducting studies on e xposure to violent media to evaluate how violence against women in the media affects children's attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors Form coalitions with medical associations that have issued statements on media violence to specifically address violence aga inst women in the media in their recommendations 5. Changing Organizational Practices Adopting regulations and shaping norms to improve health and safety Work with schools to evaluate all media available in the classroom and remove media that is violent a nd denigrating to women 6. Influencing Policy and Legislation Developing strategies to change laws and policies to influence outcomes Lobby for regulation of violence against women in advertising and the media. Strengthen policies on media ratings so that violence against women is not rated as acceptable content Figure 1 adapted from Cohen et al. 2003
Prevention Pierce 30 Collaborative efforts of domestic violence agencies with their surrounding communities fits into this spectrum of multi level prevention as a method to alter social norms. Rachel Davis writes in Sexual Violence and the Spectrum of Prevention: towards a community solution" (Davis 2006) : The inter relatedness between levels of the Spectrum, or synergy, enables advocates and practitioners to maximize t he result of any one prevention activity. For example, efforts to influence policy (Level 6) will have a better chance of being enacted when public awareness and support are garnered through education (Level 1,2) and a variety of partners in different sec tors are working to effect the desired change (Level 3, 4, 5) (2006: 6). Although the majority of people are not perpetrators of domestic violence, and it is therefore not perceived as a normal behavior, there are general social norms of acceptance and complacency regarding instances of sexual violence. These attitudes "promulgate a toxic environment in which sexual violence can take place and inhibit appropriate action while condoning in appropriate in action" (2006: 4). There are ways, however, to cha nge these norms that encourage perpetration and stop bystanders from intervening in some way. Chamberlain explains that this Spectrum of Prevention allows practitioners to adapt it or modify it as a tool, which is necessary because it does not necessari ly address all issues that may need consideration for prevention initiatives. "For example, issues on cultural sensitivity may need to be a separate action step to ensure that domestic violence is systematically addressed in a comprehensive prevention ini tiative" (Chamberlain 2008: 7). In designing prevention models or evaluation of strategies, this spectrum can be used to "explore opportunities at each action level and add other levels
Prevention Pierce 31 as needed to develop a culturally relevant, comprehensive approach" ( 2008: 7). The Spectrum of Prevention is situated within population based models such as a public health model and the ecological model. In the next section, I explain population based models for prevention strategies. Comprehensive Models Strateg ies for addressing domestic, gendered, and sexual violence using prevention methods come in various forms. Regarding violence prevention, "A universal strategy is one that targets an entire population without regard to their exposure to sexual violence, a selective strategy targets those who have a heightened risk of becoming a victim or perpetrator of sexual violence, and an indicated strategy targets those who are victims or perpetrators" (Lee, et al. 2004; also citing CDC 2004: 15 16). P ublic health ap proaches offer two strategies to address social problems: to see them as population based, and to focus primarily on and move toward prevention measures rather than individualistic therapies. Public Health Approach As a holistic approach, the public hea lth approach to domestic violence prevention combines population based strategies with data informed, evidence based approaches. In short, the public health approach, like the Spectrum of Prevention, determines social problems to have social causes, and t hus social solutions. These population based approaches adhere to four principles: 1. Define the Problem Data sources available to define the problem answer the questions of how much sexual violence is occurring, where it is taking place, and who the v ictims and the perpetrators are. Data can be drawn from various places, including
Prevention Pierce 32 but not limited to the criminal justice system, emergency rooms and medical facilities, rape crisis centers and domestic violence agencies, and surveys sent to a general pub lic, among other sources. Once the problem is better defined (once the what where and who are determined), it is then possible to identify those risk factors and protective factors. 2. Identify Risk and Protective Factors Data gathered from academi c research can be useful to identify factors that increase risk for both perpetration of sexual violence and victimization. This data can also inform those who develop prevention programs of the factors that contribute to the protection against victimizat ion and factors that contribute to the protection from perpetration as well. Violence prevention programs that address these risk and protective factors can be implemented once designed to work within specific populations (CDC 2004: 3). 3. Develop and Test Prevention Strategies Before distributed and implemented widely, strategies should be tested. Data can be gathered from "experiences of practitioners working with various groups and through community assessments, stakeholder interviews, and focus groups" (CDC 2004: 3). These may be useful in the development of prevention programs in order to make the programs more useful to specific populations. These are useful in finding what needs to be improved upon in order to reach goals of eliminating risk s and increasing protective factors (CDC 2004: 3). 4. Ensure Widespread Adoption Once data supports an effective prevention strategy, the goal is to establish the prevention strategy as a standard in the field of sexual violence prevention" (CDC 2004: 3). Those strategies shown to be effective
Prevention Pierce 33 should be adopted and implemented in a variety of settings. The effective strategies should replace those strategies deemed ineffective. Techniques of dissemination to promote widespread adoption and implementa tion of the new standards include "training, networking, technical assistance, and process evaluation to assure fidelity" (CDC 2004: 3). This process also needs to include evaluation of outcomes in order to assess effectiveness of strategies within existi ng and new populations (CDC 2004: 3). An excerpt from a Center for Disease Control discussion regarding sexual violence prevention reads: A key principle that cuts across all areas of the public health approach is cultural competency. It is essential t hat core activities such as collecting and analyzing data, designing and implementing programs, and determining what works be conducted within the context of the unique aspects of various populations and communities. Guidance from the population is key in the design, implementation, and evaluation of a prevention program. Also, simply translating the materials for a given intervention into a different language does not constitute a culturally appropriate or relevant strategy as it does not address the diffe rent ways communities talk and think about sexual violence (CDC 2004: 3). Public health strategies, then, aim to address not only symptoms of unhealthy relationships, but also widespread perceptions that lead to these negative behaviors. Ecological Mo del Another comprehensive model is the four level ecological model, which is the main approach that is used by the CDC. This approach allows for inclusion of multiple models, from biological, psychological, cultural, grassroots to feminist models. An e cological model, while not the only cohesive model, is in essence interdisciplinary and builds a framework to understand the "complex interplay of individual, relationship,
Prevention Pierce 34 social, political, cultural, and environmental factors that influence sexual viole nce" (CDC 2004: 4). Below is a chart that explains the integration of when interventions are used and at what level they are used. It shows the interventions that might take place prior to an act of sexual violence and t ypes of interventions that might t ake place after an act of sexual violence has occurred On each level, interventions described in previous paragraphs are mentioned. These intervention methods range from primary prevention to secondary and tertiary levels of prevention. These models ar e used in universal, selective, and indicated strategies, as explained above. Figure 2 from CDC 2004: 4 As seen in the above depictions, the individual level addresses attitudes and beliefs known to support sexual violence, which include impulsive a nd antisocial behaviors, history of primary or secondary victimization, and substance abuse. Individual level influences are often based heavily on biological and psychological observations. They
Prevention Pierce 35 include personal history factors that increase the likelih ood that someone will become a perpetrator or victim of sexual violence. Interventions at this level of influence are designed to target individuals' social and cognitive skills and behavior. These types of interventions may include educational training or counseling or other forms of therapy (CDC 2004: 4). The next level addresses relationships with family and peers that are emotionally taxing, sexually aggressive, violent, or "strongly patriarchal". At the interpersonal relationship level, risk fact ors that are influenced by relationships especially those relationships with peers, family members, and intimate relationships are addressed. Interventions at this level might include individual, family, or group counseling or therapy, educational trainin g for development of bystander intervention skills, or parenting education. Individual and relationship levels are shaped by and help to shape community level influences, which consist of general tolerance of sexual assault and attitudes that lead to pe rpetration. These influences are increased in areas within communities that are weakly supported by the judicial system and where there are passive responses by police officers and law enforcement to matters of domestic and sexual violence. The community level also consists of weak social infrastructure in employment and economic security. Interventions at the community level are generally designed to influence systemic changes, especially through policies. Beyond the immediate community, the societal level influences are associated with many types of inequalities and culturally held beliefs about these issues. Influences at this level are macro level factors that contribute to sustained acceptance
Prevention Pierce 36 of practices and policies that increase sexual violen ce occurrences, such as "gender inequality, religious or cultural belief systems, societal norms, and economic or social policies that create or sustain gaps and tensions between groups of people. For example, rape is more common in cultures that promote male sexual entitlement and support an ideology of male superiority" (CDC 2004: 5). Interventions at this level incorporate collaboration among various parties that aim to address changes in social norms by changing laws and policies on sexual violence or gender inequality and by identifying strategies to change social norms that support gender inequality and promote sexual violence. Critique of Population based Models As population based approaches, the public health and ecological models address the h ealth of a population rather than an individual (whereas medicine, for example, focuses on the individual). These approaches, "[demonstrate] benefits for the largest group of people possible, because the problem is widespread and typically affects the ent ire population in some way, either directly or indirectly" (CDC 2004: 2). Through such population based strategies, in theory, some populations can potentially be underserved because resources are limited, and in order to effectively reach the largest num ber of people possible, non minority populations may receive preferences, leaving a gap where minorities are concerned. This is a problem because minorities are often marginalized, and marginalized groups are often at high risk for experiencing unhealthy or violent relationships. Thus, when prevention efforts fail to reach these populations, tertiary level intervention methods will continue to be the predominant way these issues are addressed. Without strong primary prevention efforts within these
Prevention Pierce 37 popula tions, a cycle of violence is more likely to continue, promoting further marginalization and greater disparities. When a population based approach is used, there is a need to focus on long term resilience of entire areas, which includes minority groups as a part indiscriminate from the whole population. This can be difficult to accomplish. Advocacy organizations need to assess needs of minority populations and culturally appropriate ways of meeting them to accomplish this. Studies regarding the long t erm resilience of communities in relation to population based prevention strategies need to be developed in order to accommodate groups that are potentially not being met by current strategies. Ethnographic research would be particularly useful in this ar ea as communities, and thus needs, evolve. Conclusion In this chapter, I discussed various models used by advocacy organizations to address domestic violence. Population based models are useful to find macro level solutions to social problems, but may result in minority groups being left out of prevention measures due to lack of resources for advocacy organizations to reach all groups. To make sure this does not happen, the needs of minority groups must be considered and further, researched along with the rest of the population. SPARCC uses these models as a reference point for their programs. In doing volunteer work and ethnographic research at SPARCC during multiple periods over the past two years, I have learned a great deal about collaborative efforts that have worked in the past, those that are currently in place, and plans to increase networking in the
Prevention Pierce 38 larger community in order to achieve these goals of changing social norms. In the next chapters of this thesis, I lay out observations and ana lyses of these efforts.
Prevention Pierce 39 Chapter III. Observations of Current SPARCC Prevention Programs Experience over time Relationships that develop over the course of an ethnographic project become more complex as the p roject progresses, and the anthropologist may be asked to take on even more responsibility, especially if the relationships built are viewed as positive and trusting. This has been my experience over the course of this project with SPARCC, whose staff mem bers are constantly trying to recruit new volunteers and build strong networks of caring, able individuals in the community. When I first began my work with the prevention team several months ago in September of 2009, I conducted informal interviews, both in person and in writing, started a training course on sexual violence advocacy, reviewed curriculum used in educational prevention programs, and shadowed presentations; none of these things required much knowledge or experience. Over time I began to ass ist with presentations, and later I began to present a few myself. Now I assist with and develop larger projects, and I help direct people who have become involved with this organization and projects more recently than myself. It is an interesting progr ession to experience as a researcher. As many ethnographic projects begin, I went into this one without a full picture of what the study would become, or even if the methods I sought to use would be wholly feasible or useful. Ethnographic projects can be adventurous in that way, sort of tossing your academic life to the winds of fate. I will admit, though, as I had hoped would happen, that I have obtained much more information and a greater understanding because I used a less prescribed method than I w ould have had I taken a single model
Prevention Pierce 40 and tried to analyze some part of the organization from a less hands on perspective. This project, also like other ethnographic projects, is never really finished. This is a brief glimpse of what I observed over limit ed span of time. In the following pages I write in detail about my experiences working with SPARCC over two periods. The first was in 2008 when I interned as a domestic violence advocate during the summer, and the second was from the fall of 2009 until n ow, when I worked with SPARCC prevention educators. Initial Introduction to SPARCC I heard about SPARCC through a classmate who did a small research project with this organization in the spring of 2008. I became interested and deeply moved by stories about SPARCC as I learned more about this organization, and I looked for ways to get involved. I had wanted to volunteer with SPARCC, but at the time I did not have a car, so transportation was an issue. A friend of mine was going to start volunteering at the SPARCC outreach services center in July of 2008, so I took up her offer to drive me there if I would work there with her. Once the transportation problem was solved, I was able to pursue my interest in volunteering there. I first began work at SPA RCC that summer with a brief internship as a domestic violence advocate. During m y initial training at SPARCC, I was able to learn some things about the organization as a whole; although I became most familiar with the intervention side of the organizatio n, I was also able to learn some about the prevention side as well, which spurred my interest to study primary prevention efforts at SPARCC further for my senior thesis. Upon my initial introduction to SPARCC as an intern, I received core competency dom estic violence advocate certification as well as training beyond the core
Prevention Pierce 41 requirements, including training on dating violence and human trafficking advocacy. Core competency training requires 30 hours of classroom instruction at the facility in addition t o a minimum of six hours on site training before one is legally able to offer services to survivors and be awarded confidentiality status. Once that initial training was completed, most of my work at SPARCC during the summer of 2008 was done on the emer gency hotline, directing phone calls and addressing victims' concerns. I learned the ins and outs of working directly with clients as well, at times attending court hearings, and at other times helping clients build a plan for safety and well being, empha sizing their own choices and agency in the process. As a strategy of empowerment, SPARCC advocates encourage survivors to make their own choices to prevent further harm from unhealthy relationships or life circumstances. I also worked with a few of my ow n clients, women who were survivors of intimate partner violence and abuse. While there were male survivors receiving services through SPARCC during the time of my initial internship, none of them were my individual clients. I finished this short interns hip with hopes to begin another round of volunteering with and learning about SPARCC in the near future. Return to SPARCC in 2009 I returned after a little more than a year of having no transportation with a brand new (to me) '89 Lincoln, ready to star t my research. In September of 2009, I conducted a few initial interviews with SPARCC employees about plans for my project. I had participants sign consent forms and was able to get to know everyone personally so that they were comfortable answering deep er questions. I chose not to use names when quoting individuals in my thesis because I wanted to keep each individual anonymous
Prevention Pierce 42 and because I want to focus on their roles as workers of this organization. In addition to conducting interviews, I also worke d alongside SPARCC employees during this time. In the following pages, I will describe some of the activities in which I participated to gain further insight into SPARCC's prevention initiatives. Presentations As a portion of my project, I conducted participant observation research as I completed training sessions and shadowed presentations at local elementary, middle, and high schools, and presentations to groups of at risk youth residents at a temporary youth shelter. The majority of educational pr esentations given to youth in elementary schools are done as primary prevention measures, while those given at middle schools and high schools focus more on addressing relationship norms that are likely to already permeate the lives of the students. The majority of prevention efforts at SPARCC focus on primary prevention as a principal method. For this type of prevention, which is usually carried out as educational presentations, the two main educators at SPARCC, both females, travel to elementary, midd le, and high schools in Sarasota County, and they sometimes venture to DeSoto County as well. These are the only two paid educators at SPARCC, and they give all of the primary prevention presentations at elementary schools and all of the presentations to middle and high school groups. Their jobs go beyond these endeavors, but this is where they spend most days on the job between the months of November and May. During the months of August, September and October, the SPARCC educators begin to schedule t heir primary prevention presentations. Most presentations for the fall
Prevention Pierce 43 semester are scheduled for the months of November and December. They try not to schedule presentations before November because they are not able to apply for grant funding until Octob er. There are two paid educators at SPARCC who present these programs to elementary, middle and high schools in the greater Sarasota area. I will first describe these initiatives, and then I will write about a separate set of programs aimed to reach othe r groups in the community. Primary Prevention SPARCC's primary prevention initiatives focus on youth. Not only do these initiatives aim to prevent youth from becoming perpetrators or victims of domestic violence, but they also aim to change the social environments in which they live currently, environments which promote and perpetuate violence and unhealthy relationships. They help youth to examine their current relationships and think about how bullying, harassment, and sexual and dating violence affe ct the world. SPARCC educators use outreach and education in order to stop the cycle of violence for future generations. The goals of SPARCC's primary prevention programs, which can be found on curriculum for schools and on the organization's website, ar e: Teach skills for healthy relationships Promote positive self esteem and respect Change social norms about dating relationships in the school, community and peer groups Create a positive and respectful school environment Develop teen leadership Provide support for at risk students
Prevention Pierce 44 These goals are best accomplished with younger students; primary prevention is in general not possible with students beyond elementary school and possibly some groups in middle school because they have already established v iews on dating abuse and have likely been affected by it in some way, whether directly or indirectly. Prevention Education in Elementary School My favorite aspect of my job is interacting with the youth and feeling as though I've made a positive impact [ on] their lives. Even though this work is challenging, it is extremely rewarding as well. SPARCC elementary educator In elementary schools, the program normally runs one day per week for six weeks. The six week programs include a combination lecture a nd discussion of healthy relationships, positive communication, feelings and emotions, conflict resolution, and empathy. I went to several presentations for fifth grade classes in November and December and was eventually able to start leading parts of the m. The first four or five presentations with each group are generally done by one of the SPARCC educators to one classroom with 20 30 students. Power Point presentations with pictures and interactive games are used to generate discussions and illustrate concepts for these students. On the fifth or sixth week whichever day works best for volunteers dogs are brought to the schools by a group of volunteers who have trained their animals to be used in "pet therapy" programs. This day, what I have heard some students refer to as "dog day," is everyone's favorite day of the program. The teachers love it, the students cannot get enough of it, and the educator loves doing this part of the program. The educator who runs the programs for elementary schools expla ined that this was her favorite day of the program because the "kids can be restless in class, inattentive, and
Prevention Pierce 45 often rude to one another, but when we bring the dogs in, all of the students seem to have instant respect for the volunteers, their teachers, a nd one another. Sometimes it is a sudden and remarkable change." Primary prevention presentations in elementary schools start at grades four and five because the grant that covers costs of these presentations cannot be used for students under eight years old. The educator who runs the elementary school programs explained that the presentations would not be very useful to younger students because the concepts addressed in them, such as empathy, healthy relationships, and positive communication, work best for groups between the ages of eight and fourteen. Younger students have had difficulty understanding the presentations in the past. The curriculum is developed ahead of time and is used in all of the elementary school locations. To determine how well the presentations work what the students learn from them and how they respond to them the students are given pre tests and post tests to see what they know and believe about the subject material before and after the presentations. This is a new system be ing implemented, and the educators are hopeful that it will help them evaluate the program in a way they have not done previously. Since these primary prevention presentations are relatively new they have only been doing them regularly for a few years the y have yet to be fully evaluated for their effectiveness. However, one SPARCC educator explained that, "The students respond well to our presentation in high schools when they have seen presentations previously while in middle school." The students in hi gh schools where SPARCC educators had not previously given presentations to the same group of students while they were younger do not respond as positively to the presentations. The educators
Prevention Pierce 46 explained during one interview session that the younger student s are when they first see a SPARCC presentation, the better the chance of the information becoming a part of their way of thinking, and the more likely it is to influence their behavior. Prevention Education in Middle and High Schools SPARCC gives simi lar presentations at middle and high schools. The major difference from the presentations done at the elementary schools is that the content varies because of the age differences. There is a greater focus on dating abuse with the older groups rather than a focus on primary prevention. These presentations are done over a period of four days within the same week, in contrast to the elementary school presentations which are done once per week for six weeks. The educator responsible for this age group works with the schools to schedule the presentations during weeks when they will compliment the mandatory curriculum taught in health classes. The curriculum in the middle and high school presentations' four day programs consist of these topics: gender roles conflict resolution, setting boundaries, and unhealthy and healthy behaviors. The students take a pre test and a post test for these programs as well. The presentations involve multiple forms of interactions with the students; Power Point media slides, videos, and group games and other activities help the students engage in the topics and draw their own conclusions about the material presented. The first day focuses on gender roles. The students are often energetic, especially in classes with larger numbers of students. This day is rather laid back and involves fun activities to capture the students' initial interest in the program. Teaching the students to think critically about how gender roles affect treatment and expectations
Prevention Pierce 47 of individuals and society sets the stage for the next few days' topics. The educator discusses issues such as sexism in media with students in these classes. From my observation, this usually elicits little or no positive response; it is more likely that the students s tate their approval of the music in spite of its sexist lyrics. They also do another activity in most of the classes in which the boys are separated from the girls and are asked to write on a board the advantages and disadvantages of being female, while t he girls are asked to write the advantages and disadvantages of being male. The girls' list is usually full on the advantages side, and the boys' list is usually full on the disadvantages side. If the groups participate well in this activity, they may be asked to write down actions they take to protect themselves on a daily basis. When the groups complete this activity, the boys have little or nothing, but the girls have a full board. The next few days build upon the first day's foundation. On the se cond day, the focus is conflict resolution. For this presentation, the students are encouraged to find their own ability and agency in difficult situations. On the third day, students learn to set boundaries and learn the importance of consent as a legal term. In the presentations I attended, the SPARCC educator showed a video to help illustrate a few key issues that she wanted to emphasize: first, that the only form of consent to engage in sexual activity with another person is verbal affirmation, and s econd, that an individual is not legally able to give consent if s/he is intoxicated. On this day, the students are asked to discuss how they can communicate to others that they hold certain expectations of respect in all relationships, whether with frien ds, family, or in dating relationships. The last day of the program wraps up the topics from the previous days. The students are involved in
Prevention Pierce 48 discussions about what healthy versus unhealthy behaviors in relationships. A large part of this topic involves a discussion on the use of technology and communication devices such as texting or social networking internet sites such as Myspace and Facebook as tools to aid abuse in relationships among teenagers, which is increasingly becoming more of a problem with t his age group. One of the educators noted in an interview that youth are using these communication devices at younger and younger ages without receiving practical instruction and supervision, which leads ultimately to these being used as tools to aid abus e and harassment. She explained a rapid increase in these behaviors over the past few years: I've been working in the field for about three years and have seen a slight change in the awareness of dating violence. Even though the expansion of technolog y has many wonderful benefits, it also can negatively impact victims. Dating violence now could include behaviors such as continuous text messaging, and invasion of someone's privacy by monitoring the computer/e mail/social network sites, etc. The stude nts gain knowledge from these presentations, but they also frequently have a difficult time with parts of the program. The educator explained that, "A lot of the difficulty they have with these concepts is that they idea of respect is so foreign to them. In order to really be effective in reaching them, we have to convince them that respect is necessary and useful. To them, respect just allows people to walk all over you." The educator who works with these older groups of students deals with completely different issues than the educator who works mostly with elementary school students. For her, it is difficult to build rapport with the students in such a short period of time. "Sometimes the classes are very responsive, but other times, they seem to
Prevention Pierce 49 res ist what I'm saying." From my observations of these presentations, students are responsive to the programs over all, and even if all of the students are not as responsive as the educators would hope, there are always a good number of students who are enga ged in the material. Secondary Prevention Presentations to Temporary Residents at a Youth Shelter There are only a few locations where SPARCC puts on presentations to youth for secondary level prevention. These target at risk youth who have probably already seen at least some of the unhealthy or abusive relationships that primary prevention education aims to address before it happens. The only regular presentations of this type are given at one a local youth shelter twice each month. They do not, ho wever, reach the same students because this is a transitional housing situation for these youths; the residents do not usually stay there for more than one or two weeks. These presentations seemed to present the most stress for the educator responsible fo r them, but they were the most enjoyable for me. It is always a lively, yet somewhat stressful atmosphere of energetic middle schoolers, most of them with behavioral problems. There are at minimum two staff workers present during these presentations, and often more. They encourage participation, rebuke offensive language, and make sure behaviors do not become violent. Ac cording to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence (NCADV 2007), the strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next is witnessing violence between one's parents or caretakers. As a survivor of physical abuse in her childhood and later of intimate partner violence herself, bell hooks, a
Prevention Pierce 50 feminist scholar and activist, understands this cycl e all too well. "Growing up I had always thought that I would never allow any man to hit me and live." She had seen her father hit her mother once, and "wanted to kill him." She writes: "In my case, I was hit by my companion at a time in life when a numbe r of other forces in the world outside our home had already "hit" me, so to speak, made me painfully aware of my powerlessness, my marginality" (hooks 1989: 85). The residents of the shelter are likely to have similar experiences, but SPARCC does regular presentations at this location in hopes of helping these youth recognize healthy and unhealthy behaviors, as well as empower them to make positive choices. The curriculum varies from week to week, and repeats on a semi regular basis because new resident s enter the shelter every week. Most of the presentations consist of games in which the youth take turns answering questions that pertain to the subject matter for the evening, whether it is on healthy relationships, positive communication, bullying, dati ng abuse or conflict resolution the topics of presentations I attended or taught. While the entire group is not always receptive, the majority are much more engaged in the material than students normally are in presentations done in school settings. As a much different atmosphere from the comparatively rigid environment of the schools, they are more energetic, and often feel more freedom to state opinions and ask questions they may not ask during school presentations. The subjects presented by SPARCC e ducators are especially relevant to these groups. I had to miss one of the presentations after a few months of observing them, and the educator who was giving these presentations wrote me a text message that is how I first knew we were becoming friends wh ich read: "Last night u missed out on a
Prevention Pierce 51 boy punching another boy in the face! What would you like to do on Wed? So I can get an idea of a time frame :)" (yes, she even used "u" to abbreviate an already short word and an emoticon; we were definitely moving toward a stage of friendship beyond professional formalities). The students were not necessarily always well behaved in the same way the rigid school environments required, but they were usually receptive of the material and interested in it. While this is not technically a primary prevention program, as a secondary prevention program, it aims to prevent any of these youth from perpetrating or becoming victims of violence in future relationships, and to provide support for those already involved in unheal thy behaviors and relationships. Community Action Team The Community Action Team (CAT) is a panel of community leaders who began meeting at the SPARCC office on a monthly basis in 2009 as a collaborative effort to find ways to prevent domestic and sexu al violence in Sarasota County. The CAT began as a panel of employees from SPARCC and Sarasota County Law Enforcement. More than 30 community members attended the first meeting. On several occasions, one of the original panel members commented that almo st all of these people who attended the first CAT meeting brought many concerns and ideas, which the community expected the panel to carry out. They were not able to achieve their original goal of recruiting a team of people from the community to work wit h them in their efforts. In other words, all of the attendees at the first meeting presented ideas, but without intention of working on these projects themselves. The panel was, sadly, disheartened after the first meeting because they were not able to es tablish any long term volunteers who were concerned with creating and carrying out prevention programs.
Prevention Pierce 52 A main concern for attendees at this first CAT meetin g was the need to address policies and legislation; their insistence on this aspect of violence prevention revealed their somewhat narrow perception of prevention measures and also made the panel feel "overwhelmed" when presented with "a long list of things to do," which they did not have the resources to carry out. The panel was most concerned that they would not be able to fulfill the attendees' expectations after putting this initial collaborative initiative together, but the rest of the CAT meetings that followed were "much smaller and more productive," according to the original members. However fewer attendees also meant less regular involvement from community members, which was the original purpose of establishing the team. Since the initial meeting, the group has met once during the first or second week of each month to discuss issues and plan outreach programs and events. The CAT meetings are held at the SPARCC outreach office; an easily accessible downtown location, the office has conference rooms and is a central meeting location for CAT members. The consistent attendees are employees of SPARCC as well as representatives from other organizations, such as Girls, Inc. a girls' empowerment organization, the Florida Department of Children and Families, Gulfcoast South Area Health Education Center (GSAHEC), and representatives from law enfo rcement, including the head detective who oversees high profile domestic violence cases in Sarasota Other individuals and representatives of organizations attend less frequently, sometimes only once or twice. I was able to get to know the majority of r egularly attending CAT members effortlessly because we have a lot in common, we are all fairly outgoing, and we all respect one another deeply as individuals who work toward a
Prevention Pierce 53 greater good of community health and stability. Since meetings are held only o nce a month, the members always look forward to meeting and never get tired of one another, like they might if meetings were held more frequently. These meetings were a great way to learn new perspectives from leaders in the Sarasota area who were only in volved with SPARCC indirectly. To date, over a span of six monthly CAT meetings, only one male has attended, in comparison to 5 10 females who attend each meeting. This is typical for this type of work, and one area that everyone hopes will change in t he near future. However, none of the women involved in this work actually expect such changes to take place, at least not for some time. Multiple responses to why they believe this occurs and will continue to occur are similar to one I received from a me mber of the prevention team: "It is difficult and unfortunate. We want more males to help, but it hasn't really caught on. Men aren't affected by [domestic violence] as much, so they aren't as involved." This is one area in which women in this group fee l rather powerless. For all that they do and are capable of doing, some of them also feel that their work would be much more powerful if males did not frame it as a "woman's issue". Although women are making an effective appeal, if men do not follow and participate eagerly, efforts are stifled, leaving female workers in this group to feel at times as if their work produces less than its potential. After one of the Community Action Team meetings, one of the SPARCC educators remarked: "Can you imagine, if we had one man show up at these meetings just one how much of a difference that would make to our team?" And the others followed that comment with glances that showed they did not expect this to happen any time soon.
Prevention Pierce 54 However, CAT members have, from wha t I experienced as a part of that group, a great amount trust and confidence in one another, and this results in a close bond among members of the team. Although they have a lot of work to accomplish with little help from the community especially men they are still able to put together programs to reach out to the community to raise awareness about domestic violence and techniques to prevent it. Some of the ways the CAT reaches out to the community are to put on community events. SPARCC also does trainin gs on domestic violence prevalence and prevention to professionals such as area law enforcement and health care personnel, among others community leaders. Health care professionals are first responders to families who experience domestic violence, whether reported or observed, and they require some mandatory training in this area, which SPARCC provides. These are not grant funded, and require businesses and individuals to cover the cost of the presentations. One of the initiatives of the CAT is to educ ate providers, community leaders and first responders 4 SPARCC provides education to area law enforcement, health care personnel and other professionals regarding domestic and sexual violence as social problems and on advocacy work to address them. They provide mandatory training for healthcare workers and social workers who were continuing their education in these fields, and the cost is covered either by their workplace or by individual participants. An other aspect of the CAT is to develop community education presentations at various organizations by staff and trained volunteers. The topics of these presentations, which are found on the website as well as on information provided to organizations on promotional flyers are:
Prevention Pierce 55 Domestic Violence 101 Sexual Violence/Rape Domestic Violence for Healthcare Professionals Workplace Violence Prevention Sexual Harassment SPARCC Services In addition to providing educational opportunities for specific organizations, SPARCC also puts on community events to raise awa reness, provide information on SPARCC services to community members who may not be aware of them, and to raise funds for the organization, which runs many of its programs funding from private donors. Some examples of these events include walks, banquets, and community yard sales. The Community Action Team works to bring about specific outcomes in the Sarasota area through these types of programs. In the next chapter I provide a more in depth discussion of SPARCC's goals, accomplishments, and struggles, and I will write about how I came to see how the organization fits together. I will expand upon some conflicts and struggles that one encounters in this type of work, and how many who work at SPARCC form strategic relationships in order to accomplish bot h short term and long term goals as they work out how to address various norms that promote violence and abuse.
Prevention Pierce 56 Chapter IV. Analysis of Programs and Future Prospects This is about educating the whole society. There's been progress. But I have always said that once we got to the White House we would step it up even more... Together we're going to change this system once and for all. To free [women] from the oppressive cultural norm that causes them in any way to feel they're responsible for or contributed to their own abuse. Joe Biden 5 N ational efforts to address domestic violence are growing. This year (2010), Vice President Joe Biden pledged a budget increase to address domestic violence, an area for which programs ar e often cut when funds are limited, and groups from all ends of the political spectrum recognize this as a major problem. However, things cannot really change without work being done within communities. Prevention efforts at SPARCC are growing as the com munity's needs evolve and as the organization's resources and knowledge change depending upon changes in scholarship, funding, and in personnel both paid staff and volunteers. In this chapter, I present the central goals that are currently held by SPARCC prevention educators and the CAT for the growth of existing programs and development of new prevention initiatives. I also provide a discussion of some of the needs and limitations in achieving these goals. Some of the goals involve expanding prevention programs and require increased involvement from various groups within the community. These groups include organizations that are already established and well connected institutions that have the ability to reach out to and educate larger groups of youth and adults effectively. Because the task of empowering all men and women, young and old, to build healthy relationships and to
Prevention Pierce 57 avoid becoming victims and perpetrators of abuse is a daunting rather, an impossible task for the two paid educators at SPARCC t o do on their own, these efforts require collaboration from other community leaders. Not only is the number of total people in the greater Sarasota area impossible for these two educators to reach and even if they recruited several volunteers, this numb er would still be too large but neither can they reach all groups of people, who hold diverse ideologies and speak various languages. Jessica Hays wrote about a move toward prevention initiatives in the 2008 Spring/Summer SPARCC newsletter, explaining tha t this development requires collaborative efforts from community members and leaders: Many people are needed to play different roles in the multiple strategies necessary for effective prevention. SPARCC is constantly seeking new partners, who bring new inf ormation, new influence, new experience, and new insight and new potential for solutions to end the violence. Collaboration is the key to changing attitudes and strengthening the resolve of individuals to end all abuse of women, youth and men (Hays 2008). A main goal, then, is to continue to establish professional connections and build relationships with leaders of other organizations so that these leaders can empower community members, especially youth, to engage in healthy relationships and behaviors, a nd over all to change social norms that lead to domestic and sexual violence. In this chapter, I also discuss the need for SPARCC and the CAT to be inclusive in order to achieve such extensive goals. First I expand on their need for more males to be in volved with this organization's various programs. Most men do not think about
Prevention Pierce 58 getting involved with this organization because they believe that there is no place for them to work; both men and women often believe it is a women's organization and domesti c violence is thought of as a women's issue SPARCC and the CAT will have to work to reverse this pattern of thinking in the community, on top of their other challenges to continue to "win people over" to their cause. SPARCC has had a history of learning how to avoid offending people: as a budding women's organization in its early days, SPARCC director Stephanie Woods, who sadly passed away a few years before I began working with SPARCC, had to keep a tame tongue when talking with diverse groups about SPA RCC, according to Jennifer Campbell's ethnographic project in the late 1990s. She was an avid feminist, but she was a feminist in a world where feminism was not acceptable (Campbell 1997: 14) Since feminism is, perhaps surprisingly, not overarchingly mo re acceptable to the population at large today, SPARCC educators face similar opposing views, with which they must reach a compromise in order to be effective as an agent of change. I will expand upon the discursive strategies SPARCC employees use to reac h as many community members as possible. Full Collaboration Requires Greater Participation on Behalf of Males [One] area where our society still has a very long way to go is in preventing perpetration. We continue to produce in the United States hundre ds of thousands of physically and emotionally abusive and sexually dangerous boys and men each year. Millions more men participate in sexist behaviors on a continuum that ranges from mildly objectifying women to literally enslaving them in human traffickin g syndicates. We can provide services to the female victims of these men until the cows come home. We can toughen enforcement of rape, domestic violence,
Prevention Pierce 59 and stalking laws, arrest and incarcerate even more men than we do currently. But this is all reactive and after the fact. It is essentially an admission of failure (Katz 2006: 7). The lack of involvement from specific groups correlates to the belief that either there is not a significant enough problem that they should get involved or that it is not t heir problem. Many people are ignorant of the realities or the extent to which domestic violence permeates the fabric of society, but the attitudes that invite the most criticism are of those who ignore these known realities because they believe they are 'women's issues.' Davis et al. argue that, "[while] most people do not commit sexual violence, and therefore it is not normal behavior, these kinds of norms imply a level of acceptance and a sense of complacency about sexual violence" (Davis et al. 2006: 4). This contributes to a widespread belief that males have little or no part to play in addressing domestic and sexual violence. Jackson Katz, a critic of the lack of male involvement in these issues, writes in one of his multiple books on this subje ct, The Macho Paradox: why some men hurt women and how all men can help his understanding of why such a pervasive social problem can exist without more involvement on the part of males: Americans like to boast that we're "the freest country on earth," an d yet half the population doesn't even feel free enough to go for a walk at night. Unlike the status of women in Afghanistan under the ghastly Taliban, women in the United States are allowed to go out. Fanatic men in government don't issue edicts to preven t them from exercising their basic freedom of movement. Instead, the widespread fear of men's violence does the trick... And men? A substantial number of us simply have no idea how profoundly some men's violence affects the
Prevention Pierce 60 lives of all the women we care about: our mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and girlfriends. I had no idea, either, until the light bulb first went on when I was a nineteen year old college student (Katz 2006: 1). Katz argues that men are not involved because they are blind to the extent and pervasiveness of domestic violence. What he proposes in this book is that as a society women and men must adopt a much more proactive and "ambitious" approach to stopping domestic and sexual violence. If we are going to bring down dramaticall y the rates of violence against women not just at the margins we will need a far reaching cultural revolution. At its heart this revolution must be about changing the sexist social norms in male culture, from the elementary school playground to the com mon room in retirement communities and every locker room, pool hall and board room in between.... It almost goes without saying that we will need the help of a lot more men at all levels of power and influence than are currently involved. ... As a measur e of just how far we have to go, consider that in spite of the misogyny and sexist brutality all around us, millions of non violent men today fail to see gender violence as their issue. "I'm a good guy," they will say. "This isn't my problem" (Katz 2006: 8 ). SPARCC and the members of the CAT continually attempt to recruit males to join in their prevention efforts, but first they face the challenge of convincing males that it is a problem that pertains to them. The CAT often seems disillusioned by the lack of prospective male volunteers, but the members press on in their almost always male free meetings. From September, 2009 until March, 2010 there were a total of two males at these monthly meetings. One was a fiance of a colleague of mine who wanted to learn more about the organization and was genuinely interested in helping by volunteering
Prevention Pierce 61 his time doing whatever they needed him to do. He is a rare case, and made the CAT members more giddy at this novelty than they had been over the fifteen to twent y females who attended meetings over the past seven months. One CAT member half jokingly commented that males refused to come back to a second meeting because all of the members got too excited and quickly assigned them all jobs right away because of the great shortage of male advocates. While this was untrue only one other male had come to a CAT meeting in the past several months, and he did not continue to attend regularly because he lives too far away this still pointed to a significant fear that they would not be able to retain any male volunteers even if they did start to come to the meetings. One particular need that is not currently being met, which all CAT member and many other people with whom I have spoken expressed, is for adult males to act as mentors for younger males. At a November panel training session put on by the CAT for community members and healthcare workers, the director of Girls, Inc., a girls' empowerment organization, was on the panel. She said: I would love nothing more than for someone to start a "Boys, Inc." While I do not personally have the intellectual and financial resources to carry out such a large project, I hope that somebody does very soon. One of the biggest problems we face as a girls' empowerment organization is that we can only reach half of the population, and the other half isn't learning social skills that will make them respectful and responsible; they are learning that it is okay to abuse women, and they are taught that 'being tough' is the only way they will survive. We need men to teach them how to survive without being violent or aggressive, and we need to do this soon.
Prevention Pierce 62 One of the SPARCC educators explained after this training session that all of the members of the CAT also feel strongly there there is a great need for boys' empowerment programs: We have great programs for girls, and they are doing amazing things, really empowering girls to feel that they can change the world, but there aren't such programs for boys. Frankly, we can teach girls to r espect themselves, but how can they really claim that respect fully when they find themselves in relationships with boys who haven't been taught the same thing, who still think it's okay to abuse their girlfriends? Until we change social norms for boys, t oo, there will be even more pressure on girls. Right now, [the girls] see what they want, they have hopes for equality, but boys don't get it and in their world they don't have to because they think, 'hey, it doesn't hurt me; why should I care?' [That is ] if they think about it at all. This cannot happen effectively, however, until men start to take part in preventing domestic violence and work with women to change social norms. To increase male involvement, domestic violence and sexual violence canno t continue to be seen as a "women's issues." It will be difficult for organizations such as SPARCC to recruit male volunteers until this attitude is no longer the norm. One of the challenges organizations such as SPARCC will face over the next few years will be to find ways to get males involved. SPARCC has yet to put together programs to address the lack of male involvement, but the educators and members of the CAT recognize this as an important factor of prevention that needs to change in order to meet long term goals. They hope that these primary prevention initiatives can help young males redefine gender roles and start thinking differently, and that collaboration with other organizations in the community will help to recruit adult males to work with the CAT.
Prevention Pierce 63 Politics of Language: a costly compromise? Left less than fully defined, it is easy to see how the term "feminism" becomes a woman's word. One of the educators, responding to a series of questions I gave her to answer, wrote: At times, com munity members will have a negative attitude about the word "feminist." I tend not to use it because it is an emotionally charged word. Instead, I talk about social norms such as attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that lead to the acceptance of violence. SPARCC focuses on the unequal balance of power and control as the root of all violence. I continued to wrestle with the question: What does this imply, to avoid talking about feminism? I also continued to talk about it with educators at SPARCC, quest ioning them about their own understanding of feminism and the way they talk about domestic and sexual violence with community members without mentioning feminism. This means something about and for the community when the actions taken to avoid controversy affect the presentation of domestic violence. The choice to alter words based on the group being educated is not a new concept, nor an infrequent method, but it does give further insight into the difficulties of the organization within the larger communi ty. These difficulties are, foremost, that they cannot address the problem from its "root" scholarship, which began within the feminist movement, and recognized domestic violence as a social issue rather than a private matter. Breaking away from this d oes not necessarily weaken the structure, nor eliminate the roots entirely, but it does change nearly every aspect of explanatory language used in educational programs to the general public. SPARCC educators feel that since the public is not accustomed
Prevention Pierce 64 to hearing about "feminism" unless spoken of in a derogatory manner, this word alarms many people for that reason. The educators see the feminist movements as positive, but they decide to meet people where they are. One CAT member exclaimed, If we were to use the language we want to use, they would all run away!" Yet, they are not deterred by this. One of the educators explained during one of the monthly CAT meetings: We do not work for SPARCC to convert people to our view of feminism, but to change per spectives on gender roles. If that requires me to put that language aside and meet people where they are comfortable, that is what I have to do. There is constant compromise, but it works, for the most part Upon beginning to attend presentations and m eetings, I realized that this compromise was just as difficult for SPARCC educators as I had imagined, but they were used to avoiding controversial language. Feminism has not become a word used in everyday conversations, especially among youth, for whom t he majority of presentations are given. The term feminism ," already very misunderstood due to a variety of uses and interpretations of the subject, would take a very long time to explain, and even then is likely to be discredited as less than fully accep table by the majority of the audience or participants. I began to understand their reasoning as to why it was so quickly decided by the educators, who in my mind were giving up an important part of the movement against domestic and sexual violence, to avo id talking about feminism; the reason they would "give up" on the term was simply that using it would be impractical. At the second CAT meeting I attended, the group of women present were surprisingly talkative and energetic that day, perhaps because the meetings, originally held at 9:00 am, were
Prevention Pierce 65 moved to 3:30pm. That afternoon, one woman half jested that reclaiming feminism" would be like trying to reclaim the term bitch" as a positive word at meetings with potential monetary donors to SPARCC that is, it would not go over very well. As the term bitch" is offensive to many people, so is the term feminism" often controversial and potentially offensive or misinterpreted. SPARCC educators avoid the term precisely for the reason that it hinders actual r esults. As a much faster approach to explaining concepts such as gender roles and healthy relationships, SPARCC educators focus on addressing social norms, which is a less controversial concept, though it has similar implications. O ne thing to come out of organizations such as SPARCC not using feminist terminology is that diverse groups feel that they can participate in the movement against domestic violence. Groups across the political spectrum now participate in these initiatives: conservatives, liber als, and non mainstream groups can all unite to work against domestic violence because advocacy for victims of domestic violence has become depoliticized to a certain extent (Davis 2000). SPARCC's non use of feminist terminology is illustrated by the dire ctor's impact regarding this organization's role in and relationship with the community. Scholars such as Louise Bruderle, current member of SPARCC Board of Directors and former author and publisher of West Coast Woman a women's newspaper in Sarasota, Fl orida, note that younger women who did not witness changes brought about by previous feminist movements directly have a tendency to shy away from anything labeled 'feminist.' In 1992, Bruderle met with college students in the Sarasota area from Ringling S chool of Art and Design and from New College, which at the time was a part of the University of
Prevention Pierce 66 South Florida, and discussed feminism and the Women's Movement with these students. She notes from her conversations with them that although these young women had diverse views regarding feminism and their perceptions of how the Women's Movement has affected their lives were also diverse, and that it seemed, for most of them, easy to take for granted the countless contributions of feminist scholars and activists in this movement. Young people today have not experienced many things firsthand that their mothers and grandmothers experienced, Bruderle explains, and this can explain a general apathy toward the great changes brought about by the feminist movement. I t may even render the movement's philosophies and efforts obsolete to today's struggles of gender oppression, which for these students involved issues such as sexual exploitation of women in advertising, equal pay, sexual harassment, and the right to have an abortion. Most of the women she interviewed "were too young to remember marches or protest demonstrations," but rather "viewed the change through their mother's lives", rather than having experienced them firsthand (Bruderle 1992). Regarding the gro up of young women from Ringling School of Art and Design, Bruderle wrote: "Mention the word 'feminist' to this group, and noses scrunch up in displeasure" (Bruderle 1992: 2E). This does not seem any different today, but in fact it is perhaps less of a con troversial issue among groups of young people; this is not because feminism is more widely accepted, but because it is not mentioned. This does something to the context in which domestic violence is presented: it changes it from a radical approach to some thing less radical, but also less immediately crucial. This compromise is necessary in order to communicate effectively with various groups, but this also depletes the movements against domestic violence of having a history because
Prevention Pierce 67 no one mentions it. In the Core Competency training sessions I completed upon my initial internship with SPARCC, the history of the Battered Women's Movement was covered briefly, but never do SPARCC educators mention the history of the Battered Women's Movement in classrooms t o youth, and so they may never learn about it. To groups of older people, it is as if this part of history must be a secret for the current programs to be valid. They must be removed from 'radical' feminism in order to be effective. And for the most par t, SPARCC staff and members of the CAT accept this compromise, because not compromising in this aspect would be even more costly. Moving Upstream: balancing prevention with secondary and tertiary interventions Efforts of the SPARCC prevention educator s have come a long way from where they began several years ago as an organization with a focus solely on intervention. SPARCC programs have been shaped by the need to attract contacts in the community. For example, the need to involve diverse groups in t his movement to curb abusive behaviors and attitudes requires educators and advocates to adopt language that is inclusive of those who perceive "feminism" as radical or offensive. The members of the CAT and staff members at SPARCC express the need to pick their battles carefully in order to maintain strong relationships with community members and leaders. Current prevention programs work to change social norms, and thus set out to accomplish the same goals of equality and ultimately to end abuse, and are inclusive to diverse groups. Limited availability of financial resources also affect prevention programs. While conducting an interview with one of the SPARCC educators, I asked the question: "If money was not an issue, what could be done to improve pr evention of gendered and domestic violence? Without a limit of funds or resources, would accomplishing set
Prevention Pierce 68 goals be easier/could goals be expanded?" She responded: The lack of funding does impact SPARCC's potential to spread awareness about [domestic an d sexual violence]. We are limited during awareness events and rely heavily on volunteers and members of the community to help spread the message. Having more money would allow SPARCC to expand prevention programs. At one CAT meeting, one of the members expressed the tension experienced by those who work on prevention efforts, whether that is to prevent domestic violence or any social problem: When working to prevent all of these violent behaviors on a large scale, you have to remember that there are stil l people on the other end. We need more hands to work on prevention, but we can't justify taking away volunteers from the advocates working directly with survivors either. Basically, we just need to find a good balance. We have to really work toward get ting more people involved here in general, both to work with victims and to work with us teaching the community to think differently. And the people we need on both sides have to be able to deal with pressure; it is difficult to find volunteers willing to put a lot of energy into long term projects who have qualifications [such as public speaking abilities and the ability to work well in stressful situations as well as a compassionate outlook] necessary to do these things, and to do them well. The resou rces available for SPARCC programs, like many grassroots organizations, is limited. The directors stretch this limited budget over both intervention and prevention programs, and because the intervention programs are immediate needs, prevention initiatives tend to shrink or, at least, cease to grow as much as they need to when funding is limited. The goals set by SPARCC and the CAT show that their vision reaches beyond
Prevention Pierce 69 what they are currently able to achieve because resources, both financial resources an d supply of volunteers, are limited. Members of the CAT have said, upon occasion, that they must "get creative" and figure out new ways to draw volunteers in, and they are now in the early stages of developing new ways to recruit partners and volunteers f or the CAT. However, one of the problems with this, as I mentioned, is that because there is a shortage of qualified, engaging volunteers, they are often asked to volunteer their time where the organization has a more immediate need: the crisis center, th e victim hotline, and the shelter where abused women stay for a short period of time frequently lack available and consistent volunteers. The only way to be able to functionally expand prevention programs is to recruit even more volunteers. That is one o f the major goals for this group over the next year. The CAT members plan to reach out more to religious organizations and to local universities and colleges more over the next year in order to expand their professional connections in the community. Th e religious organizations are established, trusted elements that connect families, peer groups, and have the ability to reach youth at a much deeper level than short term programs SPARCC currently offers at educational facilities. College students who att ended CAT meetings over the course of my research have encouraged SPARCC and consistent CAT members to establish connections with academic programs in the local colleges and universities, from which they would be able to recruit students to work on long te rm projects for academic credit. This is one way they hope to be able to monitor legislation, which was a suggestion brought up at the original CAT meeting in 2009. The CAT members cannot otherwise work on this
Prevention Pierce 70 aspect of prevention because they have too many other projects on their hands to be able to keep up with this additional need but they are hopeful that they would be able to use law students and students of social work and other various disciplines to work on these types of programs, which will al low prevention efforts to take on a more holistic form. The future of the prevention programs run by SPARCC and the CAT depend upon both resources and creative energies from staff and volunteers. Continued collaboration to increase networks with communi ty groups and individuals is necessary in order to effectively carry out many prevention initiatives. Further awareness about the problem of domestic violence is needed as a starting point to alter social norms. It is also necessary to recruit volunteers especially males, to fulfill functions of changing attitudes of peers and acting as role models and mentors to prevent young males from becoming abusive in the future. Boys' empowerment programs must be developed to the same extent that girls' programs are currently established so that young males are capable of exhibiting the respect young females are learning to expect.
Prevention Pierce 71 Chapter V. Conclusions The goal of SPARCC's prevention educators and the CAT is to change commonly held beliefs that lead to abusive behaviors. In order to do this, SPARCC needed to establish trust within the community, which they have done. The trust they have established is due in large part to their relationships within the community.. Their careful use of language and app roach to politicized topics, including discussions regarding "feminism," which would alienate community members and donors who perceive feminism as radical or offensive, are toned down so that they are able to accomplish goals of being inclusive to communi ty members. The organization has become more mainstream, more inclusive, and in doing so has managed to grow in size and has become well known and trusted within the community. The future of these prevention programs requires additional plans to become e ven more inclusive in order to recruit more volunteers. It is important to emphasize that adequate funding and enough volunteers are needed in for these programs to be established. Lee states in an article on sexual violence prevention: Sexual violenc e prevention efforts are in the midst of a transition from creating awareness of sexual violence to advancing comprehensive primary prevention strategies for community change. Through the collaborative efforts of public health, grassroots anti rape organi zations, and researchers, key questions will need to be addressed in the coming years. Adequate funding for services after sexual violence takes place must be maintained while moving forward with primary prevention (Lee 2007: 19 20).
Prevention Pierce 72 Lack of funding produces additional limitations. For SPARCC, the budget for prevention programs was cut substantially over the past two years due to the economic recession and subsequent combination of greater needs on the intervention side of the organization and the d ecrease in funding in general from private donors. Lee also states: Both women and men must be engaged in this effort to create the day when sexual violence no longer exists so that we can, "...begin the real practice of equality, and then, instead o f rape we will for the first time in our lives both men and women begin to experience freedom" (2007: 20; also citing Dworkin 1983). The next step to moving forward with new prevention programs, according to CAT members, is to find ways to include men i n research, advocacy, and prevention programs such as education. Men are unintentionally excluded for various reasons, and SPARCC and many domestic violence advocacy organizations must seek these reasons out; it is necessary to find what these are and to work with them or find ways to eliminate them in order to recruit more male volunteers. Although there are not currently solid plans for how to recruit males, community education and awareness programs have the potential to increase male involvement over time. In order to achieve this, however, more specific plans to recruit must be made. Current primary prevention initiatives target youth. These programs have yet to be fully evaluated, but the SPARCC educators are hopeful that these initiatives will bring about change on a social level. In an article that speaks to the future of sexual violence prevention, Lee makes several points that align with what I learned from my own observations from this research project. One of the points in this article r egarding
Prevention Pierce 73 the level of domestic violence there will be in the future argues that there is a need for effective programs for youth: Whether or not we see a future decrease in the prevalence of sexual violence will hinge on how effective today's efforts are with adolescents. By engaging young people to be a part of the solution, a new generation of leaders will be empowered to further prevention efforts (Lee et al. 2007: 19). Expanding prevention programs that target youth are one of the major goals for S PARCC as well. SPARCC and the CAT hope especially to generate more extensive programs for boys. They have begun to establish connections with a few youth programs that work with young males, but there have not yet been definite plans developed for speci fic programs targeting boys. All of these things mentioned in this segment of the article are goals of SPARCC's prevention team and the CAT. They have many obstacles to overcome in order to accomplish these goals, but have persevered through similarly trying periods already. They face monstrous statistics, but are determined to change them by changing the attitudes and worldviews of the whole population, and they will continue to work tirelessly to do so. At times during my research I felt as if the se staff members and volunteers were not human, as if they were super human with powers beyond that of the average person. I am still convinced that this is true on many levels, but I also realize that I have to acknowledge the humanity, and thus the vuln erability, of these workers who gave of their time to help me understand all of these issues at a deeper level. The educator who works mostly with elementary school children explained that for her,
Prevention Pierce 74 Working at SPARCC has educated me on the subjects of DV and SV tremendously. Domestic violence and sexual violence happen at a rate that seems to impact more individuals than I ever imagined possible before working at SPARCC. This work can easily cause burn out due to the emotionally exhausting stories and de tails. At times, this work seems overwhelming since there is still so much that needs to be done before victims of violence are safe and have justice. As women, these issues are often personal to these educators and volunteers. Many of these women have been affected personally by domestic violence. One commented: One of the main goals at SPARCC is to help victims of [domestic violence] or [sexual violence] feel empowered. This organization is very grass roots and encourages survivors to get involved with prevention and intervention help other in need. Survivors have such wonderful insights and personal experience that relate well to others in similar situations. Many volunteers have a personal experience with [domestic or sexual violence] and make terrific advocates. Although at times it seems as if these workers are something more than human, this project has helped me to see more accurately that these individuals are just that human with ideals, dreams, broken parts, and pasts which often supply a lifetime of hurtful memories for those who have experienced abuse. These individuals, merely human, have come so far in their efforts to change patterns of abuse for so many people. They are advocates, educators and volunteers whose efforts may not be remembered or credited to them specifically, but they will be seen in the differences they make for countless lives through these prevention programs.
Prevention Pierce 75 Notes Chapter One: Introduction 1. See pages 23 27 Chapter Two: Comprehensive Prevention Models 2. Char les M. Shultz. 1999. I Told You So, You Blockhead: Peanuts treasury. Harper Perennial. NY 3. I use the term "feminist perspectives" in the plural form rather than a singular form to note that feminism consists of diverse voices and outlooks. Chapter T hree: Observations of Current SPARCC Prevention Programs 4. First responders include healthcare professionals, teachers, social workers, and others who would notice signs of abuse. First responders are trained, sometimes a requirement for licensure, to lo ok for signs and be able to respond appropriately ( i.e. notify law enforcement, etc.). Chapter Four: Analysis of Programs and Future Prospects 5. Speech in Peoria, IL by US Vice President Joe Biden on March 31, 2010
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