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Healing with community

Jessica entered DAP Advocate Makenzie’s office looking for healing after a long, exhausting journey. She was finally ready to ask for support from someone.

Thirty years was how long Jessica was abused by her partner. 

Thirty years trying for a few months at a time to leave, but ultimately having to go back. 

Financial control kept her from gaining stability on her own and for her children. Her partner would cut off access to her money.

Faced with overwhelming hurdles, Jessica didn’t know where to start: shelter, employment, childcare, safety, basic needs?

Staying seemed easier.

She could endure the abuse for the sake of her children.

Courtesy of Domestic Abuse Project

When things were good, her abuser would build her up, give her an allowance, and provide luxuries that would otherwise be impossible – but within two weeks, the relationship always shifted.

Drugs and alcohol started being used as a means for power and control over Jessica’s physical autonomy, and gaslighting was used to control her mind.

Jessica was stuck.

Years later, once all five adult-children moved out of their family home and at the time that was right, DAP’s Little Earth advocate and other on-site community resources were available to assist Jessica as she successfully exited her abusive relationship.

She left the relationship feeling broken and full of self-doubt.

When she met with Makenzie, she began her healing journey through strengths-based and holistic services. Makenzie went with her to court; helped her connect to DAP’s other programs; and supported her to regain the autonomy stolen from her.

After meeting for a few weeks Makenzie did an activity with Jessica called the “Marvelous Marble Activity,” where she hands a small stone to the client and asks them to name the things they love about themselves, and to name their strengths. Together they named attributes like: strong woman, strong mother, kind, courageous, patient, and forgiving. Till today Jessica keeps it as a symbol and reminder of her many strengths.

A few weeks later they checked in and talked about the stone; Jessica said that she made a rattle and included the rock in her rattle – so whenever she uses her rattle in ceremony she has that reminder.

Because of DAP, Jessica was able to find safety and stability. She could be her full authentic self. She could heal.

DAP OFFICE AT LITTLE EARTH

DAP’s Little Earth Advocacy Satellite Office serves residents of the Little Earth of United Tribes, a 212-unit HUD-subsidized housing complex, and the local surrounding community. DAP’s advocacy services are often requested on a walk-in basis and through community referrals.

Little Earth Advocacy Office, 2495 18th Ave S., Minneapolis; 612-590-7968; dap@mndap.org. 

ADVOCATE AFTER 911 CALL

When Ashley opened her door to see a Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) officer in uniform she felt her shoulders tense up, initially not noticing a DAP advocate standing opposite him. After Ashley glanced at the advocate longer, she remembered seeing the advocate in the community previously, and immediately breathed easier. 

The advocate and the MPD officer arrived at Ashley’s home simply in the hopes of offering her family more resources regarding domestic violence. 

A day earlier a domestic 911 call had been made from Ashley’s home and as part of the South Minneapolis Hot Spots program, the DAP advocate and the MPD officer were standing at Ashley’s door. Because of this simple follow-up, the advocate was able to inform Ashley of the domestic violence resources in her community and assist her in writing an Order for Protection against her ex-husband.

DAPS advocate splits a work-week between DAP headquarters, the Little Earth Community in South Minneapolis, and Hot Spots home visits. With an officer, a DAP advocate visits homes where 911 calls have been made but no police report has been filed, as in Ashley’s case.  The advocate hopes to act as a bridge between the Little Earth community and the MPD.

~ Information from Domestic Abuse Project

DEFINING ABUSE

Domestic violence (also called intimate partner violence (IPV), domestic abuse or relationship abuse) is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship.

Domestic violence does not discriminate. Anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender can be a victim – or perpetrator – of domestic violence. It can happen to people who are married, living together or who are dating. It affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.

Domestic violence includes behaviors that physically harm, arouse fear, prevent a partner from doing what they wish or force them to behave in ways they do not want. It includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation. Many of these different forms of domestic violence/abuse can be occurring at any one time within the same intimate relationship.

It’s not always easy to tell at the beginning of a relationship if it will become abusive.

In fact, many abusive partners may seem absolutely perfect in the early stages of a relationship. Possessive and controlling behaviors don’t always appear overnight, but rather emerge and intensify as the relationship grows.

Domestic violence doesn’t look the same in every relationship because every relationship is different. But one thing most abusive relationships have in common is that the abusive partner does many different kinds of things to have more power and control over their partner.

~ From www.thehotline.org

Gaslighting: A form of psychological manipulation in which a person seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual making them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Named after a movie called “Gaslight.”

Coercive Control: An act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten victims.

CALL FOR HELP

Day One MN Emergency Crisis HotLine: call or text 1.866.223.1111

LGBTQ Domestic Violence Hotline 612.824.8434

Teen Dating Violence Hotline

866-331-9474, LoveIsRespect.org

Native Domestic Violence Helpline 844-762-8483

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