The V Word

Advocating to end sexual and domestic violence


sexual and domestic violence

The V Word: Violence Against Native American: Historical Violence (Part II)

Today Carol continues her show on sexual and domestic violence in the Native American communities.

You can listen to the show here:


WRIR 97.3 FM

Futures without Violence

Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance

Statewide Hotline:

phone: 1-800-838-8238        Chat      Text: 804-793-9999

The V Word: Violence Against Native American Women, Part I

Today’s show is in honor of Amy Goodman and in support of journalistic integrity and freedom of speech.

Today Carol talks about sexual and domestic violence against Native American and Native Alaskan women. You can listen to part 1 here:


WRIR 97.3 FM 

Futures Without Violence

Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance 

Statewide Hotline:

Phone: 1-800-838-8238    Chat   Text: 804-793-9999

Virginia and National Training Opportunities

Basic and Continuing Advocacy Training through the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence  Action Alliance
Basic and Continuing Advocacy Training offers advocates and staff of Sexual and Domestic Violence Agencies as well as allied professionals and community members a foundation to learn and practice many of the skills necessary to provide effective, trauma-informed responses to survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence. The Basic Advocacy Training (BAT) are scheduled to be held in Richmond, VA, while the Continuing Advocacy Training (CAT) will be held at locations around the Commonwealth of Virginia. If you would like to bring a BAT or CAT to your region, please visit our website and make a request.
All BATs and CATs are $45 and the fee includes materials and lunch.
Don’t forget to use your member discount code when registering.
Not a member?  Become one here. The 2015 codes will be provided when memberships are renewed at the beginning of the year. If you have questions about how to receive your member discount, please contact us at or get in touch with your staff liaison as assigned.
Upcoming training include:
Technical Assistance Calls & Webinars
These TA calls are free for member agencies of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance. The calls will be from 10:00 a.m. -11:00 a.m. (unless otherwise noted). Click on the title to register and receive call-in information.


Training from End Violence Against Women International 

One of the most common requests we receive is for resources associated with the neurobiology of trauma, and the implications for trauma-informed interviews, investigations, and prosecutions. We would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the training and technical assistance resources we offer in this area.
Webinar on Neurobiology
We are delighted to offer a 90-minute webinar given by Dr. Rebecca Campbell on The Neurobiology of Sexual Assault. It is available for free in our webinar archives, so it can be accessed at any time.

Participants will learn about the neurobiology of trauma and its application to victims of sexual assault. By exploring how trauma affects victims’ emotions and behavior, special attention will be given to examining how the brain processes and recalls traumatic events. This will help law enforcement personnel and other professionals recognize how these concepts can be applied to sexual assault investigations and prosecutions – with the goal of improving both victim well-being and case success.
Along with the audiorecording of the webinar, we provide the slides in PDF format, with either 3 slides per page or 1 slide per page. A transcript of the webinar is also available, along with the responses to chat questions submitted by webinar participants. These questions were adapted for a general audience, and responses were co-authored by Sgt. Archambault along with EVAWI’s Research Director, Dr. Kim Lonsway.

Webinars on Victim Interviewing

 Also available is an archived webinar by Russell Strand, entitled A Paradigm Shift: The Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview (FETI). This webinar provides information on the neurobiology of trauma and the implications for successfully interviewing sexual assault victims.

We also have an archived webinar on Effective Victim Interviewing, presented by Roger Canaff and Joanne Archambault. While it does not specifically address the neurobiology of trauma and its implications, valuable guidance is provided for successfully interviewing victims of sexual assault with an eye toward criminal prosecution.

Published Articles
Another helpful resource is a short article written by Dr. James W. Hopper entitled, “Why Many Rape Victims Don’t Fight or Yell.” It appeared in the Washington Post on June 23, 2015, and provides an excellent and accessible summary of the neurobiology of trauma and the implications for victim behavior during a sexual assault.

Dr. Hopper also co-authored an article with Dr. David Lisak, entitled: “Why Rape and Trauma Survivors Have Fragmented and Incomplete Memories.” This article was posted on, and it also provides a detailed yet accessible explanation of how trauma can impact behavior and memory. The article draws helpful parallels to the scenario where a police officer is “suddenly staring at the wrong end of a gun.”

Online Resources
In the Best Practices section of our website, there are a variety of Resources as well as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the neurobiology of trauma and trauma-informed approaches.  For example, FAQs include the following:

  • Is there any kind of test to determine whether there is an increase in certain neurochemicals as a result of experiencing trauma?
  • Are the processes involved in the neurobiology of trauma affected by mental illness or other mental health issues? Are they affected by drugs or alcohol?
  • Are there studies about the neurobiology of trauma resulting from domestic violence? Is it similar to the effects of sexual assault? Are the implications the same for conducting interviews with victims of intimate partner violence?
  • Are there any experts who can testify about the neurobiology of trauma and the implications for victims of sexual assault?
OLTI Module on Victim Interviewing
We offer an OnLine Training Institute (OLTI) module onInterviewing the Victim: Techniques Based on the Realistic Dynamics of Sexual Assault. This module was written in 2007, and although we made updates in 2013 we have not yet incorporated information on the neurobiology of sexual assault and trauma-informed approaches. Nonetheless, we recommend this training module, because it offers hundreds of pages with detailed information on topics such as:
  • Strategizing an interview approach based on case facts
  • Preparing for heightened effectiveness and avoiding common pitfalls
  • Establishing rapport and building a relationship of trust with the victim
  • Gathering information to support a successful investigation and prosecution
  • Closing the interview and following up with the victim

For victims who have a disability, even more detailed guidance is provided in the OLTI module on Successfully Investigating Sexual Assault Against Victims with Disabilities.

The only section of the Victim Interviewing module that requires caution at this point is the topic of Cognitive Interviewing. There are certainly some valuable lessons to be learned from that approach, and there is a body of research supporting its use for certain purposes, but we caution that it should not be adopted wholesale for use with sexual assault victims. When we update that module and incorporate information on trauma-informed approaches we will reduce that content and frame its utility in somewhat narrower terms (e.g., recalling specific facts, events, details).


Other State and National Training Opportunities

National Children’s Advocacy Center – Virtual Training Center. Various free online training opportunities.

Enhancing the Campus & Community Response to Adult Sexual Assault: A Team Approach. Free. Hosted by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. Monday, August 31, 2015 – Tuesday, September 1, 2015 — Hampden-Sydney, VA Wednesday, September 2, 2015 – Thursday, September 3, 2015 — Williamsburg, VA

National Sexual Assault Conference. September 2-4, Los Angeles, CA, $475 and up (transportation, lodging, and most meals not included), Hosted by CALCASA, NSVRC, and PCAR {Scholarships available}

reposted from the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance  and End Violence Against Women International 

Transgender Day of Remembrance

This month holds the Transgender Day of Remembrance. On this day show support for those among us who are targeted for violence due to their differences from the masses. Transgender individuals are one of the most vulnerable groups to interpersonal violence. Transgender individuals also have many barriers to accessing services for recourse when victimized. Transgender individuals are at a high risk of being assaulted and killed.

On Tuesday, November 20th is Transgender Day of Remembrance to share grief over loss of friends, partners and family members who have been lost due to violence against them. The Day of Remembrance is also a day to make a commitment to pursue equality for all, display awareness and inclusiveness in your everyday life and to be a model of non-violence.

Check out your area for events. For those in the Richmond, Virginia area, below are some upcoming events:

Monday, November 12 at 6 pm – Alliance for Progressive Values Salon with Dr. Lisa Griffin, Speaker. Helen’s Restaurant, 2527 W. Main Street. (corner of Main and Robinson)

Sunday, November 18 at 7 pm – Queer Action – VCU Candlelight Vigil held at the VCU Amphitheater

Tuesday, November 20 at Noon – Transgender Day of Remembrance Flash Mob, Queer Action – VCU held at The Compass, VCU Campus

Tuesday, November 20 at Noon – Equality in the Workplace Panel, Brown Bag Lunch by University of Richmond Common Ground held at the Downtown Campus, 626 E. Broad Street, Suite 100

Tuesday, NOvember 20 at 7 pm – Transgender Day of Remembrance – Candlelight Memorial with reception to follow held at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond, 1000 Blanton Avenue.

For Richmond events check out their social network sites:


Twitter: @RVATDOR

“Some Kind of Love, Some Say” Maya’s poem on violence suffered by women.

I came across an old post I wrote for the rape crisis center I work at, where I did a poetry review on Sunday’s. I decided to review poetry written about and in response to the pain and suffering of violence. How do people write about rape, sexual abuse, violence? How does one use poetry to write about the unbearable, the unthinkable, the unimaginable? I’m starting with Maya Angelou’s poem: “Some Kind of Love, Some Say”

“is it true the ribs can tell

The kick of a beast from a

Lover’s fist? The bruised

Bones recorded well

The sudden shock, the

Hard impact. Then swollen lids,

Sorry eyes, spoke not

Of lost romance, but hurt.

Hate often is confused. Its

Limits are in zones beyond itself. And

Sadists will not learn that

Love, by nature, exacts a pain

Unequalled on the rack.”

What do you think about this poem, how does Maya use poetry to write about intimate partner abuse? What does her title mean? So often such abuse, violence and rape is couched as love, described as caring to try to lessen the harsh reality of power and control dynamics. How does language get used to try and change the perception of abuse as necessary action, as love, as teaching? How did this dynamic of needing to control others through pain start?

Do you have poems you would like to share? Do any of my readers write about their experiences through prose or poetry? I would love to read them, please feel free to share here either in the comments or I am happy to have you guest post.

Ways to Support DV Awareness #12 – attend a candlelight vigil

Host or attend a candlelight vigil in honor of domestic violence survivors around the country

In Fredericksburg/King George Area

October 12 – Stop by Rappahannock Council on Domestic Violence’s candlelight vigil at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in King George County and support DV awareness.  Visit RCASA’s table and see what services for survivors we have.

Located at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at:  5486 St. Paul’s Road, King George, VA 22485

In Raleigh, North Carolina:

InterAct’s Annual Domestic Violence Awareness Month Candlelight Vigil will honor domestic violence victims and celebrate the courage and strength of survivors. This event will also highlight the 50 women, men and children who have lost their lives due to domestic violence in North Carolina so far this year. Victim Impact statements will be given followed by a candlelight vigil at the Crime Victims Memorial Garden located downtown Raleigh.

WHAT: InterAct’s 25th Annual Candlelight Vigil for Domestic Violence Awareness Month
WHEN: Tuesday, October 19th, 2010 7PM
WHERE: Crime Victim Memorial Garden at the corner of Lane and Wilminton streets behind NC State Legislative Building

In Anderson, South Caroline and Northeast Georgia:

Safe Harbor Candlelight Vigils Many vigils, including those by Safe Harbor, will be held in the Upstate and northeast Georgia in celebration of survivors and in remembrance those killed during an act of violence.  Click the link to find the various locations.

In Elizabethtown, Kentucky:

The Phoenix Club at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College is hosting a Domestic Violence Awareness Candlelight Vigil at 6 p.m. today in Room 303 A/B in the Occupational Technical Building on campus.  For more information about the event or the club, contact Berry at (270) 706-8436.

In Matagorda and Wharton, Texas:

The Crisis Center will host a candlelight vigil for domestic violence victims and survivors at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14, on the Matagorda County Courthouse steps.  For more information about the Crisis Center or if you feel that you are in an abusive relationship, call 979-245-9109 (Bay City) 979-531-1300 (Wharton) or 800-451-9235 anytime. Help is only a phone call away.

Positive Results of Advocacy in Virginia!!!

Thanks and Congratulations to all who helped our advocacy to protect domestic violence funding.

Members of the General Assembly of Virginia passed a budget yesterday that restored funding for domestic violence services, homeless shelters (including domestic violence shelters), and child advocacy centers to the levels proposed in former Governor Kaine’s budget.
Your message was persistent, it was clear, and it was effective!   It is a direct result of everyone’s efforts that victims of domestic violence will still have access to safe shelter and life-saving services.
Thank you to the Members of the General Assembly, especially the Budget conferees, for protecting these programs!

Now, we await Governor McDonnell’s signature!
So, here’s what it all means in dollars and cents!
We started this session with a budget proposed by former Governor Kaine that included a 7.5% cut for domestic violence services through the Department of Social Services (VDSS), a 5% cut for Sexual Assault Crisis Centers through the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), an 8% cut for homeless intervention services through the Department of Housing and Community Development (DCHD), and a 10% cut to Child Advocacy Centers.
The Budget passed by the General Assembly includes these original cuts to funding, but no more!  The statewide reductions to domestic and sexual violence services will be:
  • DV Funding at VDSS:  $138,750 cut in 2011 & 2012;
  • SV Funding at DCJS:  $67,500 cut in 2011 & 2012;
  • Homeless Funding at DCHD:  $400,000 in 2011 & 2012;
  • Child Advocacy Centers: $100,000 in 2011 & 2012.
We also spent time advocating for a raise in marriage license fees.  What Happened to the Budget Amendment?

The General Assembly did not include the marriage license fee increase in the final budget.
  • This is GOOD news in that our requested fee increase which was intended to expand services was not used to restore a funding cut. Therefore the Action Alliance can still ask for an increase in the fee in the future to provide expanded services, such as those for children and youth.
  • The downside is that we don’t have dedicated funding for children and youth services.  It also means that domestic violence funding was not completely restored to its 2009 levels.

Holding the domestic violence and shelter funding cuts to below 10% is a significant feat in a budget year like this. Everyone of you who made a call, wrote a letter, had a visit, spread the news, or got media attention is a part of this success!  So thank you to everyone who responded to the action alerts put out by the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance and spoke up on behalf of Virginia’s domestic violence programs and the persons they serve.

Domestic violence services are important to everyone.  A special thank you to the following who engaged in grassroots organizing to spread the news of the domestic violence cuts and rally support for restoring funds:
  • NOW-Virginia
  • Virginia Interfaith Center
  • The Farm Team
  • Voices for Virginia’s Children
  • Virginia Organizing Project, which held a Bake Sale for the Budget.
Heartfelt thanks to Senator Mary Margaret Whipple and Delegate John O’Bannon for serving as our budget amendment patrons (and Delegate Kirk Cox for co-patroning) and to all of the Budget Conferees who supported restoring our funds.
Finally, a big thank you to the lobbyists, Gena Boyle and Claire Guthrie Gastañaga who worked tirelessly to get these funds restored (and Chris Spanos who helped explain the complicated and veiled budget process).
Now for the Next Steps and what you can do to help:

Governor: Now the budget is in the Governor’s hands – he can sign it or amend it.  Please call (804-786-2211) or e-mail via and ask him to approve the budget as it includes no additional cuts to domestic violence and sexual assault programs.
Thanks again to all of our Local allies – your efforts were critical in getting this funding restored.
Re-posted (revised) from the The Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance.

Press Release – VSDVAA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 18, 2010

Contact:  Kristi VanAudenhove,, 804/377-0335

 (Richmond, Virginia) On Wednesday,  Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, proposed severe cuts to state domestic violence programs that will end services to thousands of Virginians whose  lives depend on the shelter and services these programs provide.   Governor McDonnell asked the General Assembly to cut more than $3.5 million in funding[1] that supports domestic violence shelters and services to victims and their children across the Commonwealth.  These cuts would be in addition to across the board cuts of 10% proposed in the Governor Kaine’s introduced budget.  If adopted, Governor McDonnell’s recommendations will bring the total cuts to 50% of state funding  – which translates to an average cut of $100,000 for each community Domestic Violence Program across the Commonwealth.

Kristi VanAudenhove and Jeanine Beiber, co-directors of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance released the following statement in response to the Governor’s proposed cuts:

At a time when the need for domestic violence shelter and services is expanding, in part because of added economic stress on families, these programs should rank higher than rest stop convenience or overseas offices for state economic development bureaucrats. Domestic violence programs are a public safety issue and a “jobs” issue and they should be prioritized as such.

Speaking to members of the General Assembly just one month ago, Candy Phillips, Executive Director of the First Step domestic violence program in Harrisonburg said:  I implore you: please do not cut funding any further to domestic violence shelters in Virginia.  In the 15 years that I have worked at First Step I have never seen things this bad. Calls are increasing, our emergency shelter is staying full and we’re witnessing more severe acts of violence.

Individuals who cannot access shelter from violence or related services aren’t merely inconvenienced.  When asked “What would you have done if the shelter had not existed?” 22% of service recipients surveyed[2] indicated that they would have been homeless, 21% reported that they would have been compelled to return to their abusers and 10% believed that they would be dead at the hands of their abuser.

                Survey respondents said: 

 I would have been living in my car with an 18-month old worrying about my life.

I was close to ending my own life.  I felt safe here.

 Sarah Meacham, Executive Director of Avalon:  A Center for Women and Children, serving the greater Williamsburg area shared her response to these cuts:  A significant decrease in funding, like the one proposed by Governor McDonnell, will not only result in a loss of agency jobs and reduction in services available to victims who need it the most, it will force women and children to have nowhere to turn during the most difficult period in their lives.  We are experiencing a tremendous increase in demand for emergency shelter and supportive services—a 76% increase over last year alone. Our clients are real women with real children, not just budget items to be dropped.

In addition to compelling evidence that cuts to domestic violence jeopardize public safety, cuts to these programs are also a “jobs” issue.  There is a direct impact on Virginia’s economy when domestic violence services are unavailable; the inability to access services affects employee productivity, results in increased absenteeism and health care costs, and can impact the safety of workplaces.

Virginia’s long-term commitment to funding these programs is an important part of the Commonwealth’s commitment to public safety, an area the Governor protected from significant reductions.  Without the availability of shelter programs and other services, Virginia families and children face the prospect of lives in which they have no safe haven from violence, and law enforcement has no way to intervene to prevent violence before it results in injury or death. 

We urge member agencies of the Action Alliance and concerned citizens to contact their legislators as well as the Governor’s office to share their concern about this change of direction in Virginia’s commitment to public safety. 

We look forward to the opportunity to work with the Governor, with whom we have worked closely in the past as Attorney General and member of the House of Delegates, to find ways to continue to fund domestic violence programs in a manner that will alleviate the devastating  consequences that will result with the acceptance of this week’s proposals and accord these programs the budget priority they deserve.

The Virginia Sexual and Domestic Action Alliance is a not-for-profit agency representing 53 community domestic violence programs across the Commonwealth that annually provide services to more than 12,000 adults and 4,000 children.  For more information, visit the Action Alliance web-site:

[1] McDonnell proposes to eliminate funding that was first appropriated by the General Assembly in response to the fact that 1 out of 2 victims calling and requesting safe shelter could not be sheltered by Domestic Violence Programs because the agencies did not have space available.  The Assembly initially used federal funds to support a substantial increase in bed space—along with the crisis and support services necessary for victims and their children filling those beds.   Governor Kaine proposed replacing these federal funds with state funds – funds McDonnell now proposes to cut completely along with the needed services they provide.


[2] Virginia’s Domestic Violence Programs provide safety and support to thousands of victims of domestic violence each year.  In an effort to ensure quality services, in 2009 the Domestic Violence Programs implemented a statewide outcome evaluation effort supported by the Family Violence Prevention and Services office of the US Department of Health and Human Services.  697 individuals who have received shelter and services from Domestic Violence Programs have completed anonymous surveys evaluating those services.  It is a testament to the value of these services that 85% reported that as a result of the services they could live more safely.   In response to the question, “What would you have done if the shelter had not existed?” 22% indicated that they would have been homeless, 21% reported that they would have been compelled to return to their abusers and 10% believed that they would be dead at the hands of their abuser.

How you can help

There is still time to ACT to influence the outcome of the final budget.  Following are some steps that you can take:

  • Contact  Governor McDonnell and request that he restore $3.8 million to Virginia’s domestic violence programs as a public safety priority and to continue the commitment that he made to domestic violence programs as Attorney General and as a candidate for governor.  You can reach the Governor @ 804-786-2211.
  • Contact your state Senator and Delegate and request that they restore $3.8 million in the state’s budget to Virginia’s domestic violence programs.  If you do not know who your state Senator or Delegate is, go to:  For Senator Capitol office phone numbers:$$Viewtemplate+for+WMembershipHome?OpenForm

For Delegate Capitol office phone numbers:

  • Contact anyone you know who is concerned about the safety of domestic violence survivors and their children, and ask them to also contact Governor McDonnell, their Senators, and their Delegates.
  • Spread the word:  write a letter to the editor of your local paper or the Richmond Times Dispatch; post your concerns as well as these action steps on facebook, twitter, or your personal blog.
  • Contact your local domestic violence program and ask how you can support their action steps in your community.

If you have any questions or concerns about this information, please free to contact the Action Alliance Co-Directors, Jeanine Beiber or Kristi VanAudenhove at or 804-377-0335. Thank you for your support! 

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