News From Terre Haute, Indiana

February 15, 2013

The Woods joins call to prevent domestic abuse

Speakers, art, dance part of ‘One Billion Rising’ program

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Agencies such as the Council on Domestic Abuse are places were the abused — both women and men — can seek help.

Gwen Tucker, CODA’s executive director, addressed more than a dozen students Thursday at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College as part of a program for “One Billion Rising.”

It was a call to action Thursday for 1 billion women and men throughout the world to strike and dance to bring attention to a horrifying statistic — one in three women, one billion worldwide — will be beaten or raped during their lifetime.

Domestic abuse and control over a partner comes in many forms, Tucker said.

Economic abuse is the biggest. Most often a woman is prevented from getting or keeping a job and prevented from knowledge about the family income. An abuse victim is often given a small allowance. Tucker said that often prevents a victim from leaving an abusive home.

Other forms of abuse include using children for control, creating guilt about children and threatening to remove the children from the other spouse. There’s also fear, such as abusing pets, smashing or destroying things when something such as a dinner is not prepared; using emotional abuse by making victims feel bad about themselves; using coercion and threats, such as threatening to leave, to commit suicide or to report someone to welfare.

Abuse also includes threats of religion, using scripture to justify behavior, and using a “male privilege” were the male makes all big decisions, “acting like the master of the castle,” Tucker said.

Domestic violence also impacts children.

“In a national survey, 50 percent of men who frequently assaulted their wives,” Tucker said, “also frequently abused their children.”

 Tucker said 85 percent of batterers, when they were children, watched domestic violence in their home or experienced physical or sexual abuse themselves as children.

 “Of all the boys aged 11 to 20 who are arrested for murder, 63 percent have killed the man who was assaulting their mother,” Tucker said.

Children raised in violent homes are six times more likely to commit suicide, Tucker said, and as many as 10 million children may be exposed to domestic violence annually.

CODA serves people in Vigo, Clay, Parke, Sullivan and Vermillion counties. The agency has an emergency shelter for abused women, children and men. It also offers outreach and educational programs, and transitional housing — apartments where people can stay for up to two years as they try to regain their lives.

The organization also operates a 24-hour crisis line at 1-800-566-CODA (2632) or at 812-234-3441.

CODA is a nonprofit agency and is nonsectarian in nature; religious activities are not included in its services. With an annual budget of about $500,000, CODA is funded through the United Way of the Wabash Valley, the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com.