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Tips for recognizing abuse taught at training session

By Staff | Oct 19, 2016

CAROL SHETLER/The Luminary A cart loaded with shampoos and body washes destined for Wise Options, a shelter for domestic violence abuse victims, is accepted by Karen Barroco, Heather Shnyder and Heather Williams. The items were donated by those attending a session October 11 hosted by the women of Muncy Methodist Church.

MUNCY – Statistics show that domestic violence is on the rise. During 2015 in Pennsylvania, 113 deaths were attributed to domestic violence of which 68 were women with 45 being men. It is also questionable as to whether another 33 murders should be added to the total.

“People of faith should take the lead,” said Karen Barroco, president of Methodist Women in Muncy, where a training session was scheduled Tuesday evening, October 9 at the Muncy Methodist Church, 602 S. Market Street.

Barroco thanked attendees who made donations of body washes and shampoos that will be taken then to the Lycoming County domestic violence shelter through the YWCA in Williamsport.

Experts at the session were Kimberlee Williams from Wise Options in Williamsport and Heather Shnyder from Transitions in Pennsylvania in Lewisburg.

A display arranged by Shnyder represented ‘Transitions of Pennsylvania,’ where abuse victims can obtain safe housing in Union, Snyder and Northumberland Counties.

Williams, with 20 plus years experience as a medical advocate for domestic violence, is currently at Wise Options. Williams shared a power point program.

Proving that abuse costs everyone, Williams said, “The loss of revenue costs the U.S. economy $8.3 billion dollars annually.”

Williams revealed a statement made by a women now incarcerated for life due to murdering her abusive spouse. The woman said, “I’d rather be in this prison, than in the one I left.”

Having worked in other states, Williams was able to say, ” Unlike others, Pennsylvania has no child abuse laws to convict perpetrators who commit acts of violence in front of children. Unfortunately, this results in children thinking abuse is okay and therefore its perpetuated.

Such acts as a murder in Centre County of a young mother causes those entrenched in stopping these criminal acts to question, “What could we have done to prevent that?”

In the Penn State area crime to which she referred, the parents drove their daughter and small grandchildren to the young woman’s home to gather items the children would need for a few days at the grandparent’s house.

Putting the vehicle out of sight in the garage made arrivers think the perp wasn’t home. After several minutes the man came out of the house, telling the murdered woman’s parents to call 911, he’d just killed her. The young mother was shot at close range in the top of the head.

Acquaintances in this true life scenario suspected abuse. The perp drove her to and from work, phoned incessantly, and accompanied her wherever she went. Williams said that, “At first glance, it appeared his attention was because he loved her. It turns out he was controlling her every move.”

Williams continued, “Abuse usually comes in seven cycles. After an abuser punches or pushes the victim, they will be sorry. Their apologies only last a few minutes, and when the victim has had enough, the threat of leaving accelerates, for now they must keep their victim from leaving.”

Abuse is often overlooked, explained away or denied. In one situation, a victim told Williams that no one asked. Williams’ advice is to “Believe individuals when they say they’re being abused. A victim’s greatest fear is not to be believed; only two-percent have been fake. Don’t tell them what to do, give suggestions and support them whatever decision is made.”