domestic violence

MCCA Plans Domestic Violence Awareness Month Events

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Bloomington's Mid Central Community Action Inc. (MCCA) plans a variety of activities and events around the them “Stand Up With Me!,” which speaks to the call those who experience domestic violence issue to those around them. 

Throughout October, MCCA will be working to connect with individuals in our community and increasing their awareness of this issue.

Coming up:

Sept. 28 - Oct. 25: Allstate Foundation Purple Purse Challenge. This fundraiser begins before the “official” launch of the campaign.

Oct. 3 - 6-7:30 p.m. - Private candlelight vigil for survivors and their families.

Oct. 87:30 a.m.-noon - Domestic Violence Awareness event at Downtown Bloomington Farmers Market, promoting awareness events and the Purple Purse Challenge.

Oct. 21 – 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. - “Stuff The Shelter,” at the rear parking lot of MCCA, 1301 West Washington Street. This event is focused on collecting in-kind donations of items needed for Neville House. A forthcoming flyer will outline items needed.

Oct. 23 – “Stand Up in Victory” - Asking faith communities to take a moment to recognize the issue of domestic violence during their Sunday morning service to raise awareness.

Oct. 26 – An Evening of Experience, Reflection and Action - An open event where members of the inter-faith community are invited to participate in the “In Her Shoes” Domestic violence simulation. After the simulation, there will be a time of reflection and a call to action with the signing of the Stand Up With Me Pledge. Location and time will be announced later.

League of Women Voters to Explore 'Hidden McLean County'

The League of Women Voters of McLean County will attempt to uncover the facts regarding two critical segments of "hidden McLean County" -- very low-income families that need early childhood services, and victims of domestic violence -- during a Tuesday, January 26 program at the Normal Public Library Community Room.

Members of the 7 p.m. panel discussion will include Jaylene Taubert, Parent Family and Community Engagement Manager for Heartland Head Start; and Senna Adjabeng, director of MCCA's Countering Domestic Violence and Mayors Manor programs.

The program is free to the public. 


Gender and Needs Part 2: Police Working to Understand LGBT Issues

Physical abuse is not the domain merely of heterosexual men -- male victims and partners in gay or lesbian relationships face special challenges when they call 911, seek court relief, or attempt to deal with the abuse at hand, Bloomington counselor Cheryl Strong advises.

Strong notes how the system has adapted -- or sometimes has failed to -- in seemingly unorthodox domestic abuse cases. She argues a male partner in a relationship who has been assaulted by or fears escalation to violence or a violation of orders of protection by his female partner should call 9-1-1 as readily as would a female abuse victim. It's not a matter of a partner's ability to physically defend himself, but a matter of being able to legally protect himself in the event a physical episode occurs.

"If you're at risk, and you're a male, you need to let the police know what happened," Strong maintains.

Same-sex couples can experience "very similar dynamics" as regards domestic abuse, but Strong rejects the "myth" that two male partners or two female partners are an equal physical or emotional match in a conflict. That myth may cause some law enforcement officers to respond differently to a domestic incident involving an LGBT couple, potentially underestimating the threat to a victim.

"It's not really about strength -- it's about who is being the abuser and is taking the liberties of power and control in a relationship," Strong relates.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline offers this overview of the dynamics of power and control in various relationships and gender orientations.

Further, reporting same-sex partner violence or abuse may require victims to "out" themselves before they are willing or ready, and even today, Strong warns some LGBT couples may feel isolated within the community and thus reluctant to seek official assistance or highlight abuse. Most domestic abuse shelters aren't designed to meet the needs of same-sex partners, further limiting options for victims or potential victims.

The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, conducted in 2010 and published in 2013, interviewed 9,086 women and 7,421 men who self-identified as heterosexual, gay, lesbian, or bisexual. The survey focused on sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence in the 12 months before the survey and over the respondents' lifetime. The federal Centers for Disease Control measured intimate partner violence across five categories: psychological aggression and coercive control, control of reproductive or sexual health, physical violence, and stalking.

The CDC determined a lifetime prevalence of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner was 43.8 percent for lesbians, 61.1 percent for bisexual women, and 35 percent for heterosexual women, while it was 26 percent for gay men, 37.3 percent for bisexual men, and 29 percent for heterosexual men.

The good news is, the local law enforcement community is responding to the special issues of LGBT citizens. Illinois State University Police Chief Aaron Woodruff recently helped local police and correctional officers gain greater insight into issues facing the transgender community. Woodruff was one of the main presenters at police training sessions sponsored and moderated by the U.S. Department of Justice. Other presenters at the sessions included members of the transgender community from Champaign, Peoria and Chicago.

“The training sessions gave officers and staff members a greater understanding of the transgender community and issues surrounding gender identity and expression,” said Woodruff. “Greater awareness of those issues helps to build trust and foster better communication between police officers and members of the transgender community.”

All University Police officers and dispatchers took part in the training, along with police officers from Bloomington and Normal, McLean County Sheriff’s deputies and McLean County Jail correctional officers.

In addition to general cultural competency, the training sessions addressed specific situations involving interactions with law enforcement, such as victim interviews, searches and even jail placements.

For more information, check out the National Domestic Violence Hotline at