advocate intervention



I work as a children's advocate in a shelter that serves women & children who have experienced domestic violence & sexual assault in Juneau, AK. Last Tuesday when I was giving a woman and her toddler a ride home from one of our groups, I stepped out of the car and into a domestic violence assault. Ten feet from me was a man, holding a woman by the wrists, pushing her backwards, while the woman cried, "this is not love! You don't love me!". I yelled "HEY! STOP! I AM CALLING THE POLICE!" the man turned towards me without making eye contact and said, "fine!", then proceeded to leave the parking lot. He hopped a fence, and hiked up towards the woods. 

What happened to me during this time was: my muscles tensed, I felt slightly shaky from adrenaline, I had a hard time speaking to the 911 operator and giving her clear information. Afterwards, I was hyper-vigilant of loud noises. I felt the physical effects of this incident for several hours afterwards.

Some things that struck me about the fight were that the man was significantly bigger than the girl. He was probably 6'3 and built solid. She was probably 5', 110 pounds. I checked on her after the man had left and offered to bring her to AWARE. She declined, but I gave her our phone number and my name. Also, there were kids scattered across the parking lot and playground nearby witnessing. I saw people looking out their windows, but nobody saying or doing anything. 

This experience of watching not just one woman, but an entire neighborhood in fear gave me some frustrating first-hand perspective. It makes me believe, even more, that what we need to be doing is speaking out about this. I am happy to know that is exactly what we do at AWARE. And that is exactly what YOU do, NSVRC, thank you.