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Coalition fights domestic violence

 

March 15, 2017

Jess Macinko

Sunday Sutton chairs a meeting of the Coalition for Preventing Abuse in Klickitat County (CPAKC). The organization meets monthly to discuss education and prevention of all forms of abuse in the county.

Teresa Clyne had just begun to address her audience when an irate man stormed into the room, swearing loudly and waving an empty whiskey bottle. He grabbed one of the seated women by the arm, hauled her to the front of the room and began interrogating her.

"What the - did you do with my whiskey?" he yelled into the woman's face. He proceeded to threaten her with the bottle, insinuate that she had been unfaithful and demand to know why she had changed the password on her cell-phone. Though she denied his accusations and pled for him to calm down, the situation only escalated. Finally, the woman said, "Stop!" and the scene dissolved.

It turned out the aggressor was Chief Criminal Deputy Mike Kalio of the Klickitat County Sherriff's Office, participating in a role-playing exercise at the request of the woman, Deputy Prosecutor Sarah Freedman. At least three audience members thought the outburst was real. A man in the front row had taken off his coat, preparing to intervene. When Freedman asked the audience, "What just happened?" one woman replied, "My life."

The role-play was one segment of last Tuesday's Domestic Violence Victim Impact Panel (DV VIP), a recurring event put on by the Coalition for Preventing Abuse in Klickitat County (CPAKC). For five audience members in the front row, attendance was court-ordered. The two-hour class is a part of the sentence for charges with a "domestic violence" (DV) designation.

CPAKC Vice-Chair Tracy Hoctor said the role-play helps abusers gain perspective on their own behavior. "They say, 'I'm I this way? Is this really what I did?'"

After the role-play, Freedman talked about the potential outcomes of the scenario, and the actions both individuals, aggressor and victim, could have taken toward de-escalation. She added that domestic violence usually happens in the home, where the victim is isolated from potential witnesses. She also explained the way a record of multiple domestic violence charges can increase sentence length for subsequent crimes.

Clyne, a program director and crime victims' advocate for Programs for Peaceful Living, spoke about the detrimental impacts on children living with domestic violence in the home. She then presented the "Cycle of Abuse," a diagram charting the repetitive relationship dynamics between abuser and victim.

Each panel also includes testimony from a victim of domestic violence. In their own words, victims describe their experiences and the devastating long-term impacts of abuse on their lives, including drug use, suicide and separation from family members.

DV VIPs are held three to four times per year, so far just in Goldendale. Down the road, Hoctor would like to be able to offer two of the classes in White Salmon.

CPAKC

A version of CPAKC, the Goldendale Domestic Violence Task Force, began in 2003. The non-profit has been through several incarnations since then. Most recently, the Relationship Abuse Prevention Program (RAPP) merged with the Drug Awareness Team (DAT, formerly the Klickitat County Meth Action Team), forming CPAKC. The merger is a natural fit- Hoctor says nine times out of 10, drugs and alcohol play a part in domestic violence.

Members of the group hail from several agencies: the Klickitat County Prosecutor's and Adult Probation departments, Comprehensive Mental Health, Programs for Peaceful Living and others. The represented agencies share a common vision of prevention and education for Klickitat County on subjects ranging from domestic violence to drug abuse. In the future, they hope to partner with the police department for school assemblies. They also want to create a "county-wide abuse resource network"-the end goal being to prevent or eliminate all forms of abuse. For the time being, though, it's a war of inches.

"If we can save a life, if we can transform one person's life, we've done what we set out to do," Hoctor says.

Upcoming

This Saturday, PFPL will host a "Love and Logic" parenting and family skills workshop from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. The workshop will take place at Father's House Fellowship, 207 S. Klickitat Ave. Lunch and babysitting services will be provided. The next meeting of CPAKC, held at noon at Pete's Pizza, is scheduled for April 13; the next DV VIP, May 20. The group also plans to host a training session for law enforcement on Oct. 20.

 

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