Photo: Nicholas Nelson/EyeEm/Getty Images
As told to Irin Carmon
Crystal is 27 years old and one of the many people globally for whom staying at home during the pandemic didn’t automatically mean safety. She considers herself lucky, though, that she escaped her abusive partner and the father of her three children just a few weeks before the coronavirus shutdowns, and has been living in shelters ever since. Since the beginning of the pandemic, advocates have worried about a drop-off in reports to hotlines and to the police, which could mean those in abusive situations don’t feel safe to even call for help — or that they think a shelter could be worse, given the risk of the virus. Meanwhile, people like Crystal, who did get out in time to rebuild their lives, face a devastated job market, closed government agencies, and homeschooling without access to their prior support networks.
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Over the past two months, The Legal Project has been offering our Legal Clinic Program virtually, through ZOOM video conferencing – with much success.
By offering our Legal Clinic Program virtually, we can reach more of the community, especially those living in rural areas and our disabled and senior population. As a result of offering legal clinics virtually, participation has increased 20%, which means that there have been less no shows. This is due to the flexibility that our Zoom video conferencing account offers: these clinics are available to those who have the technology (computer/laptop, iPad, smart phone) and internet as well as those who prefer to participate by telephone conferencing using the traditional land line telephone.
Though, we are uncertain how long we would be offering the legal clinics virtually before we are able to safely return to our clinic sites, i.e.: Albany Housing Authority, Albany, Castleton, Troy, and East Greenbush Public Libraries, Ballston Spa and Mechanicville Community Centers, HATAS, Stratton VA, YWCA of NENY, and various law firms; The Legal Project is committed to offer pro-bono legal advice to our community.
I would like to ask for your help in getting the word out that we have launched our Virtual Legal Clinic Program and to please refer those who need our assistance to The Legal Project. If it makes it easier, I have attached our program flyer, and this can be posted to your social media site (if you have one). At the very least, the attached flyer provides information on how you can refer someone to this program.
Thank you for helping to spread the word, your assistance and support are very much appreciated!
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DEAR ABBY: Is my daughter headed into an abusive, controlling relationship, or am I imagining the signs because of my own experience with domestic abuse for many years? She is 18 and, of course, parents are "idiots" who don't understand anything. The young man tries to control where she is, won't let her go anywhere without him, and suspiciously questions her if he thinks she spent too much of her own money.
To me, these are signs of the beginning of years of hell, but to her, they're cute because he "cares," or I don't understand him. Am I being unfair because of my own past?
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Domestic Violence Calls during social-distancing are increasing, according to local law enforcement officers.
With Isolation, abuse activists fear an ‘explosive cocktail’
“Safer at Home.” It’s a slogan of choice for the mandatory confinement measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. But it’s not true for everyone. s the world’s families hunker down, there’s another danger, less obvious but just as insidious, that worries advocates and officials: a potential spike in domestic violence as victims spend day and night trapped at home with their abusers, with tensions rising, nowhere to escape, limited or no access to friends or relatives — and no idea when it will end… n cities and towns everywhere, concern is high, and meaningful numbers are hard to come by. In some cases, officials worry about a spike in calls, and in others, about a drop in calls, which might indicate that victims cannot find a safe way to reach out for help.
On a normal day, 1,800 to 2,000 people will call that national hotline. That number hasn’t changed, but that doesn’t surprise organizers. After natural disasters like earthquakes, Justice says, it’s only when schools and workplaces reopen that people are finally able to reach out.
More significant, she says, is that more than 700 people who called the hotline between last Wednesday and Sunday cited the coronavirus as “a condition of their experience.” Some of the out-of-the-ordinary anecdotes staffers are hearing include abusers preventing their partners from going to their jobs in health care, or blocking them from needed health care services or from accessing safety tools like gloves or sanitizer.
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If you need help, see our resources page for local and national hotline numbers. Check out the helpful links here
Become aware of your breath.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.
Bring your breathing under control. It’s hard. We’re in uncertain times, uncharted waters. Our breaths might be short, panicked. We may have forgotten to breathe all together.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.
Slowly, read Psalm 46:11: “Be still and know that I am God!” God is speaking to you. How do you respond?
Be still and know that I am God.
God of all people, my faith is tested during this time of pandemic. Your houses of prayer and worship stand empty: Can we gather together without contracting disease? Can the most vulnerable members of our human family — the elderly, the sick — come to pray without fear?
The answer to these questions, it seems, is no.
Be still and know that I am.
God, I know that you are here, even if I sit alone in my home. Just as you appeared to Moses in the burning bush, you appear to us now, in surprising, unsettling ways.
I may not find you where I expect you — my community, the Mass, the Eucharist — but give me eyes to find you in new places: livestreams, Facetime and quiet solitude.
Be still and know.
God of the sick, God of the vulnerable, give me clarity to see through the noise and clutter. Grant me serenity that I may have a level head with which to weigh the information I am given. Sustain me with fortitude that I may have the courage to learn all I need to know about this disease that plagues our world.
I do not want to give in to fear, panic, hysteria. But I do want to make good decisions, for myself, my community and my world. Help me to do so.
I know that I have to change my daily life, my daily routine. I know that I can no longer come and go as I wish. In this Lenten season, remind me of the spiritual significance of fasting: setting things aside to make room for you, God, and for the common good. Give me a spirit of fasting as I confront this disease.
May I see these moments of stillness — moments that I am not out at bars, restaurants, events and activities — as opportunities to encounter you. And as my small yet important contribution to the common good of our world.
I feel as though there is so little I can do to bring about an end to this crisis. Grant me the wisdom to simply be, to sit, to rest, to watch and to trust that your hand is at work, guiding and protecting medical professionals, scientists, first responders and government officials, as well as my neighbors, particularly those who are most vulnerable.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.
Posted from Eric ClaytonEric Clayton is a senior communications manager at the Jesuit Conference.
A Message from Healing a Woman’s Soul:
In light of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic and following the CDC call for Social Distancing over the critical next few weeks, we have determined that the best option as of today is to cancel the Finding Our Lost Loved Self workshop. This theme will be used for our Fall Retreat event (Sept. 11-12), for which we will have registration details available very soon.
Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you safe and healthy very soon.
Just because a person (man or woman) doesn’t grab you nor hit you doesn’t mean they aren’t abusive. Abuse is also:
– When they put you down or humiliate you in front of others.
– When they call you a bitch, whore, or cunt.
– When they accuse you of being “too sensitive” or “too emotional.”
– When they insist on checking your phone to see who texts and calls you.
– When they decide where you can and can’t go, who you can and can’t see.
– When they try to isolate you from family and friends.
– When they don’t believe you and accuse you of wrongdoing.
– When they blame you for their problems or life difficulties.
– When they don’t even care whether you cry yourself to sleep because of something they did.
Don’t tolerate emotional abuse thinking it’s OK because it’s not physical. Don’t be the person who loves them enough to stay. Be the person who loves themselves enough to leave.
Written by Arthur Ruiz. See more by visiting his blog.
1 Peter 3 is a tricky passage. It’s often been twisted to pressure abused women to stay with their husbands as a sign of submission. But this passage is not meant to subject women to fear or violence. Rather, the passage is supposed to encourage primary loyalty to Christ, not to husbands.
So, what should you say when someone tries to use 1 Peter 3 to suggest that wives should endure abuse to win over husbands?
The Purpose of 1 Peter
The situation of 1 Peter is a crisis—the persecution of the church (1 Pet 4:12). Slander and suffering are major themes in this letter. 1 Peter also teaches that Jesus is in authority over all things. Suffering can have dignity because the all-powerful Christ suffered on the cross and rose. However, human suffering doesn’t accomplish redemption. Only Jesus’ suffering can do that.
In the same way, submit yourselves to your own husbands (3:1)
Reading passages about women in isolation often leads to confusion. Verbal clues like “in the same way” point us back to another part of the argument. This helps to understand the reasoning and context.
1 Peter 2 is a long discussion of suffering and submission in persecution. The author tells these persecuted Christians to submit to human authorities to “silence ignorant talk” (2:15). In Greek, the verb “to submit” in 2:13 is then referred to by three participial phrases: “slaves submitting to your masters” (2:18), “likewise wives submitting to your own husbands” (3:1), and “likewise husbands living with your wives…assigning honor to them as a weaker vessel” (3:7). These are instructions to persecuted Christians to keep them safe and make the gospel look good. The goals are the same for all three groups, tailored to their social position.
So that if any do not believe (3:1)
The reason for the command to submit is so unbelievers can be “won over” to the faith. This is consistent with the rest of the letter. These Christians are to live with normal, proper social behavior, and submit to human authorities (2:13). This will attract people to the gospel and silence those who slander them. This isn’t because all authority is just. It’s for the sake of the persecuted church. Being able to identify with Christ’s suffering is a comfort but suffering itself isn’t inherently good.
Thank you to all who attended our annual fundraising event. This year we honored Mother Anne Curtin for her ten years of dedicated service as Executive Director and celebrated her transition into her new role as Chaplain.
By Michael Gormley
ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law Thursday three measures that will make “economic abuse” an element of the crime of domestic violence, give survivors the right to vote by mail, and allow victims to report abuse to any police agency regardless where the crime happened.
One law will include identity theft, grand larceny and coercion as illegal acts under the crime of domestic violence. To be prosecuted as an act of domestic violence, the actions must have “resulted in actual physical or emotional injury or have created a substantial risk of physical or emotional harm to such person or such person’s child,” according to the law’s text.
“Abusers often use economic coercion to keep victims from leaving,” said the bill’s co-sponsor, Assemb. Helene Weinstein (D-Brooklyn).
Another new law will allow victims of domestic violence to apply in person or by mail for an absentee ballot, which traditionally is provided to voters away from their home community on election day. The victim must affirm in the application that “he or she is the victim of domestic violence, that he or she has left his or her residence because of such violence and. … [faces] the threat of physical or emotional harm to himself or herself or to family or household members.”
The law will allow victims to avoid an encounter with their abusers, said another co-sponsor, Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island).
“There are times when it is just not safe for a survivor to vote in person in the same county where her abuser resides, but that should not diminish her voice or her vote,” said co-sponsor Assemb. Amy Paulin (D-Scarsdale).
The third law, overwhelmingly supported in the legislature, seeks to avoid cases in which victims flee their community and report abuse to police away from their homes, only to have police say they don’t have jurisdiction to take action.
The law requires that any police agency take a police report, prepare a domestic violence incident report, and provide the victim a free copy of the report. A copy of the police report and domestic violence report would then be sent to the police agency in the victim’s community to investigate and take action. The victim would have to show that it would be a hardship or a danger to return to his or her home community in order to file a police report.
“Individuals will be provided with the ability to report crimes without fear or intimidation by their abuser,” said that bill’s co-sponsor, Assemb. Ken Zebrowski (D-Clarkstown). “This legislation will hopefully lead to an increase in the reporting of domestic violence incidents and will allow victims to promptly leave the area where their abuser is located and get to safety.”
Domestic violence can be prosecuted under several felony laws, which carry penalties of up to 25 years in prison.