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OneRouge Community Check-In - Week 178

There are a lot of scary things going on in October. Halloween. State elections. Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Jupiter, and Uranus are all in retrograde. Being at home with your partner should not be one of them.

In 2019, Louisiana ranked 5th in the nation for female victim/single male offender homicides.

  • The average age of female homicide victims was 41 years old.

  • 5% of the victims were younger than 18 years old.

  • 13% percent were 65 or older.

Then COVID happened and things got worse.

Reasons for domestic violence seem to cross race, creed, religion, and culture. But why though? That’s part of the conversation we will be having this Friday in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness month. Join us as we hear from our featured speakers:

  • Patti Joy Freeman - Executive Director Iris Domestic Violence Center

  • Kina Reed - Founder J Reed Consulting

Enlight, Unite, & Ignite!



Pepper Roussel: What we are doing on this fine Friday is Acknowledging Domestic Violence Awareness Month and part of that discussion that we were having when some of y'all were walking in is really understanding what it is what's going on and who's in these spaces to actually help out.

To that end, we are going to start with Patti Joy Freeman. Patti Joy, if you wouldn't mind letting us know who you are, what you do, and what we need to know, we'd appreciate it. Your five minutes for intro starts now.

Patti Joy Freeman: I'm Patti Joy Freeman with the IRIS Domestic Violence Center. I am the Executive Director of that organization, and what we do is provide victims of domestic violence and their children with wraparound services to include emergency shelter.

We have a new wing that provides a transition 6 to 12 months following a 45-day emergency sheltering. We clothe, feed, and provide for all of the basic needs of everyone who stays at our shelter. Meaning, anything you use in the course of your day, that is a need we provide, and some once. We also are able to assist victims with transitioning into a place of their own. By providing assistance with two months' rent and deposits, we are engaged with HUD and trained through them to also allow our victims who come in to apply for 12-month housing assistance. That pays 100 percent for the first three months of their rent and then declines over.

Every three months by 25 percent to help them graduate into being independent of the abuser, but sustaining their own home and they're, and providing for their children's needs. We are developing a children's program. This one's really important and a big goal for me. We want to dedicate one of the wings that are self shelter or organization to providing children with wraparound services as well. Those who are exposed to domestic violence, hoping that this will relieve some of the perpetuation of violence for those who are exposed to it by providing them with mentors and counselors safe space inside and outside the play plan and activities.

Hoping that those who are exposed to would later become abusers for the abuse. would see a different path by providing them with a caring and loving environment while they're with us. So we've got a lot going on right now. We help non-residential clients as well. Those who need to relocate, maybe they have no family or support system from where they come and their families across the country or out of the country, and We're going to assist and provide the financial assistance to get them there.

We don't require that anyone report to law enforcement. We encourage it, but never push it upon them. Many aren't ready or will never be ready to do such a thing. We serve eight parishes. That's a population of over 850,000 people. So when you compare that to the statistics of one in three women, one in four men, those numbers of potential clients are enormous.

And we mean to find a way to serve anyone, and we do. Everyone who comes to us and qualifies for assistance through us. So that's IRIS. We have an amazing staff and active engaged board. So we're very fortunate.

Pepper Roussel: Patti Joy, we've got a little bit of time left. So I've got a question or two that I want to ask fill in the rest of the five minutes. You'd mentioned that while people were coming on that you were on the board of iris beforehand, but you came from law enforcement. So help us understand or rather paint the picture of.

If you are not encouraging folks to go to law enforcement, what was your role in law enforcement that encouraged you to move into this space?

Patti Joy Freeman: So I had a 28-and-a-half-year career there and retired. The last almost decade of that career was developing and supervising a domestic violence investigatory unit.

I supervised all cases and gun orders that related to protective orders. I became acquainted with Iris and ultimately became a board member. So that's how I became acquainted with Iris specifically and personally. I know and understand clearly that victims often will not go to the police for various reasons, some out of fear.

In fact, we had a victim who was abused for more than 10 years, along with her children, and she never went to law enforcement because of the abuser's connection with law enforcement. Some just fear of law enforcement. Some fear the retaliation of going to law enforcement. I was a two-year-old little girl who saw her mother brutalized and understand and know that she never went to law enforcement, removed herself and my sister and I from that environment when we were very young.

We may offer it and if they choose to, we will certainly facilitate it and be glad of it because we want consequences for abusers. We want consequences, but if we pushed it upon a victim and made them feel like it was a requirement, they may never reach out again. And so we don't want to put any obstacles in their path with regards to them receiving help, even in law enforcement.

Things such as sex crimes, a victim has the right to not report if they choose. Now, if law enforcement sees probable cause when they arrive on a scene, in other words, the victim is injured and there are other witness statements or evidence that would lead them to believe that a battery's occurred, they would arrest the abuser regardless of what the victim desires.

Because they have an obligation and a duty to do but they arrest them and make it very clear, especially at the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office, that the state of Louisiana is arresting the abuser and they make that clear to the abuser. So yeah, fear of retaliation is one of the biggest reasons that victims won't report because eventually that abuser is going to bond out of jail and they know this.

Pepper Roussel: Understood. And yeah, like I was saying earlier, I was shocked at the numbers of abused women that are in the state of Louisiana. I was even more surprised by the number of deaths that are the result of the abuse. And the racial break in the statistics was concerning on levels that I didn't even realize.

But we've got a couple of questions that have already popped up in the chat, and I want to make sure to get back to those. But before we do, I want to let Kina, who is our other featured speaker of the day to introduce herself. Kina, here we go. Yeah, let us know who you are, what you do, and what we need to know.

Your five minutes for intro starts now.

Kina Reed: Yeah, so my name is Joaquina Reed, but everyone calls me Kina. And I am so thankful to be a part of this community now, but also lifting up things to help amplify this conversation. Thank you, Patti, for sharing and doing the work that you're doing. That's important.

I am not a domestic violence service provider but I am a diversity equity inclusion consultant and practitioner, and I'm the founding steward of a consulting firm called Jamie Consulting here in Baton Rouge. And so I am a public educator I do coaching, those kinds of things, but I'm really committed to this committed to the idea of every day working in our community to create shared humanity. And I think we all on this call particularly know what it looks like when certain groups are demoralized, decriminalized. And so I think that part of how we, at least the service that I do to help create that. Shared humanities helping organizations and individuals discover things like their cultural income incompetence their biases helping companies create initiatives that help them really think about the community and how they impact the community that they exist in.

And so I came to Baton Rouge not too long ago, I actually came after the Great Flood in 2016. In a formal life I was a professor at LSU and communication studies. So it should be no surprise that one of the things that I offer as a facilitator is inclusive communication workshop. And so I actually think it is my personal, but also professional opinion that really digging into things like inclusive communication can actually help.

Not only does it help our organizations, our workspaces, how to be better colleagues, but how to be better community members, how to support programs like Patti and various different other service providers when it comes to things like intimate partner abuse and domestic violence. And so if we're trying to think about what are some of the soft skills, and I use that term loosely, necessary to really wrap our brain around this social harm.

I would say that being able to be an inclusive communicator is really important in that inclusive communication refers to the practice of ensuring that communication is designed and delivered and received in a manner that is accessible and welcoming to all individuals, right? Inclusive communicators really aim to create environments where everyone can participate, everyone can understand, and everyone can feel respected.

And in the trainings that I do around embracing inclusive communication practices, I really get people to think about value systems, cultural norms communication behaviors identity markers those kind of things and how all of those things can shape our capacity to communicate effectively.

And when I say communicate effectively, I'm asking the question, how do we achieve shared meaning with people? When I say communicate imaginatively, I'm offering up the question, “How do we communicate in a manner that expands our horizons and intentions for a future,” right? When I say communicate ethically, how do we prioritize honest, transparent, and respectful communication practices in both our interpersonal exchanges?

But interpersonal and yes, and then also culturally we're talking about cultural competency and when we think about something like domestic violence in particular like I'm always gonna well, not just domestic violence, but generally speaking, what are the most vulnerable populations? So I know that pepper mentioned the stats in Louisiana black women in particular are some of the biggest vulnerable populations when it comes to domestic violence.

40% of black women experience it across their lifetime compared to 30% of white women. Black women are three times more likely to die as a result of intimate partner violence. Current patriarchal ideologies within the black community often hinder black women's abilities to communicate within the community, let alone outside of the community.

So we just got all this data that points first of all, let's be clear, anyone experiencing domestic violence is too many people, right? But in a, when we're thinking about such a social harm. Again, looking at the most vulnerable populations and what are things that hinder them from being able to really connect with those service providers.

And I think inclusive communication helps us get to some of that.

Pepper Roussel: Thank you, Kina. And so for just to level set we are talking and hearing from Paddy joy about the, what services that IRIS provides domestic violence, DV, in particular, and from Kina to share with y'all as supporters of folks in the community, as providers for services in the community, what is it and how we should be showing up in order to ensure that there is, I won't say a wraparound service because that's not what we do, but to ensure that there is some element of proper communication to support folks in a way that makes sense.

All right, so we are starting at the top. We got questions. We got questions. We got questions. So for Patti Joy, what does it mean to qualify for services at IRIS?

Patti Joy Freeman: So that's a very basic process and it happens very quickly to ensure the safety of the victim. It means calling in on our hotline and we do a basic assessment for need.

Meaning, do you need, I guess qualify is not a great word for that. Do you need residential services shelter? In need of assistance in relocating to safety. That means family or a trusted friend with whom you want to stay versus shelter. Do you need to relocate across the country to your mother? Are you making a safety plan to remove yourself from the abuser?

And does that mean that we need to step in and What's termed as non residential client help you with the first two months rent and the deposit to Allow you the opportunity to remove yourself to a safer place to live away from the abuser there is A known national kind of recognized assessment that's done to determine emergency needs or, not emergency needs, meaning non residential, or are you seeking out legal services versus any of that?

Are you trying to obtain a protective order because we have a legal department that will provide an attorney and an advocate free of charge to represent you during that process? Are you homeless, but not as a result of domestic violence? Because even those calls where you're not necessarily a domestic violence victim we will find and refer you to those services that you need.

That is more of an assessing program process than qualify process.

Pepper Roussel: Thank you. And the next thing is how often are abusers prosecuted? Do we know because I see that there's a note in the chat from Reverend Anderson that a third to half of all arrests that are coming through the 19th J.D C.R. D.V. So arrests

Patti Joy Freeman: Arrests are not the same thing as being prosecuted. So, I will tell you this because I have personal insight from an investigator standpoint, while we develop that domestic violence unit at the sheriff's office side by side with the district attorney, we work to develop Stop the Loss program within that program.

Every case that comes into the Sheriff's Office and now also within the city who's partnered in that program. They assess every case from argument to violence. And those offenders are tiered, much we know now sex offenders are tiered. It is a private database, but they are tiered based on the violence or the reoccurrence of violence.

And they are prosecuted based on that leveling, a level A offender would be the most violent. A level D means there's been an argument between intimate partners, family or household members, which is what defines domestic violence. Those categories and they are tracked for escalation. A level A offender is prosecuted without pleas or deals, and the district attorney goes after maximum sentencing on anything that's open criminally against them.

Yes, I would say we're very more translucent now with regards to prosecution. And I didn't know him well before I started engaging with them during that program. Hillar Moore prosecutes anything and everything regarding domestic violence and reads every single one of them. Even those victims who come forward for various reasons to drop charges against their abusers.

He reviews every one of those. He sends every single one of them through that domestic violence group that's formed between the agencies within this parish. And reaches out to the deputies involved. And what we tried to do more of is glean that evidence that would make that case prosecutable without the victim's cooperation because they often step back for many reasons.

Fear is one of the largest. So that's the best answer I can give you. Statistically, I don't know which are not, but often it hinges upon a victim's cooperation in cases where only the abuser and the victim were present and the only evidence is that statement, that witness statement or victim statement.

Those are very difficult to prosecute.

Pepper Roussel: So what's popping up in the chat as a prevalent thread is around ideas of communication and interaction and how does this, How do we work with our young people, right? Zero to five fighting toddlers in order to get them on the right track.

How do we educate our boys, but also our girls? Because there are some that are abused. To understand and know that, that lashing out and hitting is not the way to go, is not the way to effectively communicate. Kina, can you jump in and share a little bit about... What are we seeing when we see folks who are who are lashing out?

And how can we, as folks who provide services, better help to, I don't know, educate, inform?

Kina Reed: I think in general, people feel like there's a one size approach to both the solutions around something like intimate partner violence, but also prevention. And so one of the things you have to recognize is that different groups, different communities have different social cues around these issues.

So being able to recognize difference is important. I think about something that is both a component of growing up in black culture, but is also exists outside of black culture is this idea of, snitches get stitches. And so silence is a big factor in impacting if someone's going to speak out and talk about these things.

And if you are gender as a black woman, as a black girl, often The ways in which you've learned silence in the community could impact the conversations you have when your boundaries are being crossed, when consensus is not given to you. Get what I'm saying? So really recognize what are those different cultural cues that people learn in childhood that may impact how they relate to each other.

I think specifically in relationship to the gender component of it, I'm glad you said that all types of people across the gender spectrum experience intimate partner violence. We just have the data that speaks more to how people who identify as women are experiencing it. But I do think that there are.

There's there are the ways in which people who are masculine or conditioned are different than people who identify as feminine or conditioned. So even understanding there's a gender component in terms of how people who grow up as, who are girls who experience the world versus boys who experience the world and what are the things that we have to give those communities that are specific to them, right?

One of the things that I didn't share in my intro is that I am an aunt of eight children. And so being an aunt is a big, important thing to me. And having conversations with my nephews about boundaries and consent since they were three, right? Because I know that the patriarchy, as it currently stands, make it very easy for people who grow up to be boys to not be respectful of bodies, people, and spaces. Again, really honing in on the fact that there is nuance in all those groups, whether it's gender nuance, cultural nuance, but the language that we use to talk to people around these things have to be specific to the groups that they're a part of.

Pepper Roussel: Thank you. Agreed. And one of the conversations that Kina and I had actually had yesterday, I want to say, Is it they're culturally speaking there has been I guess an understanding that in some spaces hitting and you've beaten somebody is acceptable whether you are a child or an adult. Personal thoughts on that not respective. The question that I have next is really like how do I know how to culturally and appropriately? Speak with somebody, how do I get to a place that I had any sort of clarity or understanding around what that even looks like? What does that mean?

Kina Reed: Pepper, I just want to say, one, you start with the idea that you shouldn't assume that you, I don't want to say it, you shouldn't assume that you know that, like there is a certain amount of intellectual humility, right?

I think for those of us who do good, rather we do good as teachers, as educators, as social workers, as therapists. Insert whatever social enterprise there, right? We often assume that we can, because we do good work, that we can speak the language of all the people, right? And so having a certain amount of intellectual humility means “Hey, I may be someone who can really recognizing that there may be gaps in our communication practices”, right?

Recognizing that. This group this particular community needs a certain type of messaging that differs than another community. So I think it starts with having that humility that just because I'm a good person or I do good things, that doesn't necessarily mean that I know how to be intuitive when it comes to certain populations I'm trying to serve.

Pepper Roussel: Speaking of language, it looks Iris has IRIS DV center is doing a really good job of helping Hispanic victims. And Hispanic victims being those who speak Spanish. And so my question really is around language, right? So certainly not everyone who experiences domestic violence, even if they are black speaks English as a native language, right?

So what's. What sort of things do we have in place in order to support non native English speakers? And how do we get to the place that we can expand upon those?

Patti Joy Freeman: From our organization, we actually have a few bilingual employees. In fact, we seek them out as often as possible based on their qualifications as well, of course. But we also provide language line services. It's something that's required of us actually from, and that means any language because we've had a caller flying into Baton Rouge from another country, fleeing an abuser.

And although we serve eight parishes, we serve really anywhere that comes into our area or is in one of our areas. And that required someone understanding and be able to. communicate in Mandarin. Obviously, the Hispanic clients are the most prevalent outside of English-speaking clients, but we provide services for all. So we do engage those and seek out persons who can interpret for them so that we can effectively see to their needs.

Pepper Roussel: Thank you for asking it Bestie. How are we defining domestic violence for those of you who may have joined a little bit after that question where that answer was given earlier, Patti Joy?

Patti Joy Freeman: So there's a few different levels here within law enforcement. Domestic violence is that violent act against a family member, household member or intimate partner, meaning it could be parent against child against parents. Obviously intimate partners, dating partners who are sexually involved.

That's how it's defined by law. But so obviously the legal definition doesn't fit within what Iris serves. That we expand upon that. So we will provide services for those who are experiencing violence from a sibling, whereas law doesn't equate that as, or define that as domestic violence. And obviously that would be adults because who in this room didn't fight with their sibling as a child.

So yeah, there's an expansion upon that within hours, shelter services or organization services. But that is how it's defined. Intimate partners means that they were sexually involved or had a child together, even if it was just a, a single sexual encounter or a number of them.

It doesn't matter at that point. They're prosecuted under domestic violence. Outside of that definition, it would say siblings fighting violently, especially those who are adults that would be prosecuted as a battery simply, and the penalty would be a bit less.

Pepper Roussel: And when we say violent act, is that hitting? Is that threatening is that running somebody over with your car? What is a violent act?

Patti Joy Freeman: Violent act is the battery by law enforcement standard, but we know within Iris that we would rather intercept those victims before the violent act. So during that assessment, which is very important in asking those important questions and those key questions, gleaning whether there is emotional abuse, financial abuse going on withholding funds, which means the ability to leave.

Controlling, when we look at the power and control wheel, controlling their actions. Are they able to leave the home without the abuser or the controller monitoring or, having to be with them? There are different levels of abuse. IRIS will see to all of those and try to make that plan with a victim to get them to safety. Law enforcement is a little more restrictive because they're held to those domestic violence laws before they can act.

Pepper Roussel: You'd also mentioned intimate partner and there's a question. Is there a way for a woman who's about to date somebody to be able to check her potential partner's history and possibly understand what their risk would be?

Patti Joy Freeman: Wouldn't that be wonderful? And it's, it was one of the things I really looked at in law enforcement while developing that unit is We have the ability to go online and look up a person's name and see if they're a sex offender. Wouldn't it be wonderful as parents or as a person who's potentially dating either a man or a woman to see if they've been convicted of a violent act and have that in a database for those who are, especially those who are repeat offenders in domestic violence.

But, and I asked and spoke to different people about the potential for there to be a public database for those who are convicted, not charged because that would be unfair. They have not had their day in court. And I truly believe in that. But just to have that database in one place that shows convictions for violent acts against dating partners or family members, in the domestic violence scope of laws.

But I was told that it's been tried and there were issues with that. But that is why the law enforcement locally is database with regards to offenders because they're they are listed in that database before conviction. It is a private database where they're watching any escalation and tearing them appropriately.

Kina Reed: Pepper. I wanted to amplify something I saw in the child. And also just name what I think a couple of people are saying, which is like the nuance of things recognizing like the punitive systems that exist that again, popularize most like mostly vulnerable populations even in a world where let's say someone gets their day in court, but if they don't have access to sound legal support there could be again, a really complicated oh gosh I'm not losing the word with a judgment, you know what I'm saying?

So all of those things are impactful. I think why this conversation is important for the one brooch community in particular is when we think about the work around the nine drivers of poverty, right? Like how can those things related to someone experiencing intimate partner violence? So, how are those things related to people experiencing domestic violence?

I think about like how having black, being. Someone who doesn't lack secure secure housing, right? Someone who is experiencing poverty, right? All of those things are going to most they will potentially connect someone to be in a relationship that is outside of consent boundaries.

A lot of the time, I think about some of the I've volunteered at shelters in the past and. So many times people are staying in relationships that aren't safe because this is how they get to keep a home. This is how they get to stay in the United States. This is how they get to take care of their kids.

And I do want to really be explicit in the sense that poverty and all the things that are touching it often also create the perfect, storm in a certain way to make intimate partner violence more prevalent in our state, in our city.

Pepper Roussel: Thank you for that, Kina, because that's exactly where I was at it.

And thank you Patti Joy, for for you bringing us in that direction. It really is about, for me, understanding not just the folks who are Victims or Survivors, which is also another thread that's popped up in the chat. And since I'm not an expert, I will leave it to Patti Joy to give us some direction on which language we use.

Because where I draw the line may not be where the line should be. But also understanding clearly that there are nuances that need to be considered. And as we are... working through to ask his point, essentially a carceral system, what can be done for those of us who provide support in order to ensure that we do indeed have all of the tools that we are not inflicting more harm.

But I also want to make space for Marcella. Where's Marcella?

Marcela Hernandez: Hi. Good morning. How are you today? I'm doing great. I absolutely love this topic. Because I think domestic violence is such a broad topic. And I just want to start with this. I think that even highly educated people are also victims or abusers of domestic violence.

And that's something that we all need to have in mind. I've known people that are extremely educated, strong willed woman, and they are victims of domestic violence. So that's definitely not about education or cultural level or, any social economic status that can really happen to anyone.

And now with the culture and language aspect of it. So I think there's, in terms of immigration, we have to be very careful because there. There's two sides of the coin, right? I remember one time I was a case manager, and I remember once upon a time, I had a client who was in a horrible relationship.

They were, she was having an argument, she had just delivered a baby. And she was having an argument with her partner. And they end up calling the police, someone called the police, and they end up arresting this lady who had just delivered the baby. And the reason why they arrested her and they put her in jail for three days was because her husband was able to speak English to the officer, and my former client didn't speak any language any English, so the report that the officer took was from this side of the partner and she end up in jail for three days. So, we also have to be very careful with that and especially law enforcement agents to be just and fair in terms of like when they're getting into a call with someone that doesn't speak the language.

Now, the second thing that I wanted to bring out your attention is that a lot of our woman and even man, sometimes they stayed in those violent and abusing relationships because they're being threatened out of a lack of immigration status. And we, I just learned that this sometimes.

Woman stay in this relationship because their spouse or their the partner are promising that they're gonna fix their immigration status if they stay with them. Or maybe they're telling them if maybe next week or maybe next year we can go in and fix your immigration status. So that's a way to keep women there, in, in that abusive relationship and people from the outside don't understand those things. They don't understand. That's the reason why women stay. And last but not least, I was having a conversation with Dauda last week and it was very funny because he explained to me in some cultures the woman must be beat in order for the husband to show love to this woman. And he was actually telling me there is, there's a specific culture in Sudan where husbands have to hit their wives in order to show love. So once again, everything has to be evaluated through the lenses of culture and in language and definitely.

Domestic violence is such a big and broad complex issue, but we also have to take in consideration other things.

Pepper Roussel: Speak of the devil, Dauda is gonna live a long time. Just as you mentioned his name, he entered the room, and so doubt I'm not gonna put you on the hot seat, but if you could at some if you feel comfortable sharing information about those sorts of relationships, I'd appreciate it.

But before we get there, Mariana, you mentioned in the chat. that you do work through Golden Change, but also very complimentary of the work that IRIS is doing and Patti Joy is doing. Can you help us as we move the conversation back into language? What does this mean? Communicating in English across, different types of, not English.

Help me understand what can we do as folks who are supporting to make sure that we are not only providing the services, but also doing it in a culturally responsible way.

Mariana Montero: Good morning. Yes, I am the executive director and founder of Golden Change, Inc. We just empower the ethnically diverse community, providing tools to prevent violence. My heart was in the community. Being a Hispanic, I knew there's so many barriers the victims have. To find all these help or services available.

Yes, Golden Change has a program creating a process of change for men who batter women, which is a Duluth curriculum. And also we have, in my best interest, for women. Yes, definitely. The culture has a lot of impact here. Because the Latino culture came with the power of control from men. What they think the man was before the one who provide everything at home.

But now, more and more womens are educated that the power of control is more than the really, a witness and men who present that power that right now we are working very hard to empower women's first with their self-esteem. Helping them to recognize the how value as a human being the woman is and not allow anybody to abuse them.

We, that is one of the problems that we have for women. Because most of the time when these couples are in domestic violence. I had a perpetrators and I had a victims. But sometimes, it's some cases that the police and the first moment because like you were mentioned sometimes you know men go first to the police and report that they are in abusive situation.

I have right now a case. They are, thank God, the police took action because I called the Chief of Police, and I say “You know we have to check that closely,” because he went first. And the woman was in jail and everything was in the process. And finally, she was with the bruise and everything, the, the affective for the violence.

We had to do second report, but unfortunately, when you go with the first one as a perpetrator, they don't listen to the woman because they are already perpetrator. They are not victims. So that is, is very important. Really pay attention to this because right now I was involved and I say you have to check because it's a report for a domestic violence case and they check it was pictures was videos was everything that proof that was abusing from the man to the woman.

Finally, they arrested the guy and she has a protection. Also the the, all the health from the police department. But this is so hard for the Latino women to go and face this, especially if they don't have documentation. They feel that they are not listened. They feel they cannot communicate with the language.

It's so many ways that they, this woman keep quiet. That is where we are fighting for the Latino women to really. start speaking, talking about this violence. And many people are scared about the police situation for immigration issues. They don't want to get involved in any relation with police because they think that it's going to affect their status here.

And that is another thing. Another way, the people are keeping quiet, but we are still fighting for that. That in my heart is a domestic violence. I have never been in a relationship for domestic violence, but I came from a culture with men has a lot of power. And I had a father who was very powerful.

And then, we had to show that we as a woman, we are not weak. We have also our opinion. We have also our expression and we are human being. Women are men. That is why I am in this field, I love it.

Pepper Roussel: Understood. Thank you, Mariana. So something that you, a few things that you said, but I'm gonna hook onto and bring Kina back into the conversation.

The the power that men exert at home. And this is certainly not exclusive to men, but it's just, again, piggybacking and tying that into some of the things that I've seen in the chat around poverty and stress being a cause, right? Something that came out and giving context for folks who don't live in my brain there are some articles that came out, especially when we hit covid about folks who are not respected outside of the home.

That they demand respect even without earning it with inside of the home and that's how we get to some instances of domestic violence because anything can be seen as disrespectful. Since both of y'all are nodding your heads, we'll start with Keena. Please give us some understanding as to how it is that we, right?

Inclusive communication is great, but how do we also respect? cultural differences as we are doing these things. And what does this look like? Tell me the things, all of the things.

Kina Reed: Oh my gosh, there's not enough time for all the things. What I will say is in the context of the United States, I want to be really specific.

Continental US at that because there are US territories all the time because US is an empire. I'm gonna say less about that but in the continental US, right? We do have caste systems here, right? We do have racial caste. We have economic tasks and so the way that we are informed in our social imagination about what it means to matter is based off of hierarchies.

So to your point, Pepper, if people are learning in the larger society they live in, if they're conditioned to believe that someone has to be at the bottom, right? That is something that is taught in almost every facet of our social lives, right? And if I can't be. Humanized outside of the home because of anti blackness because of xenophobia, et cetera, et cetera.

Then I want to find places where I can be higher in the hierarchy. I want to find places where I can be the top dog. And again, this is why masculinity specifically has to be critiqued. This is why whiteness has to be critiqued. All of these things where people find social license to disempower other people by empowering themselves.

I think it's really important we recognize that mostly all oppressors, and I want to be really careful how I'm framing this, mostly all oppressors are also people who have experienced oppression. All right, like that, there's a link there, right? Those things are not divided from one another. And in places where people are de constantly demoralized, constantly dehumanized, constantly stripped of their rights, their agencies, boundaries, and contends as human if they're not the proper things to reset them, they just recreate those things.

And again, I think people in the chat really talked about, like, how this kind of intergenerational violence and trauma shows up, right? I also want to be clear when I say inclusive communication, I'm not just talking about language. Communication is both verbal, right? And nonverbal, right? So touch is communication, right?

Tone of voice is communication. So I just want to be clear. And I want to just reiterate that. Before we can provide services of support, we have to have a really strong understanding of what are the cultural nuances that shape what's happening in immigrant communities, what's happening in Hispanic communities, what's happening in Black communities, like all of these different things.

We can't have a one size fits approach. And I think Mariana has spoken to that. I think Marcella has spoken to that. Every community that we want to serve and provide support is going to need different types of touchstones. I think that's the larger basis. Because if not, if somebody's already feeling disempowered because of what they're experiencing in their relationship, we don't want to come in as an outsider and add to that disempowerment and that isolation.

Pepper Roussel: Agreed. Patti, you were also, Patti Joy, you were also nodding your head.

Patti Joy Freeman: Yeah, there's so many different topics that just went through and I being culturally diverse, being able to present and communicate effectively is key understanding. And if you don't understand the culture, then let's get some material in here and understand it.

He touched on bias as well. I taught classes with the sheriff's office. obviously, DV and with the state police and with the city police taught cadets and always key in on classes on bias of any kind. We take in most obviously 85% of the clients is what we call them, not yet survivor, no longer victim because they're in our care.

Predominantly or 85% statistically of the women that we serve are between the ages of 18 and 35 and our young black women. We bring in Hispanic women as well, whether documented or undocumented, we don't care. That's not our concern. Obviously it's helpful that we are constrained by confidentiality.

So that's not a factor for us. being able to speak with and communicate effectively to be able to glean what their needs are is key. And that's why we use obviously a language line and actually have some persons who can interpret and other services. Gosh, there's so much there that you guys have just discussed.

I was trained as a forensic interviewer of children, and that kind of opens a window of being able to communicate effectively, even with those children who are affected and involved, and not present ideas to them, but glean their ideas or, receive their idea of what's going on and be able to understand what their words mean to them.

And I think if we apply that to adults, what did their words mean to them? me saying it's sunny outside might mean that it's a great day to me. You saying it's sunny outside might mean it's hot. Being able to interpret the idea behind the words and doing that effectively regardless of who you're speaking with.

Understanding also that there was and still is a lot of bias toward male victims. We, as for I'm no longer, because I'm a retired police officer, historically show up on a scene and make an assumption when they arrive or even before. So they arrived that the woman is the victim because men won't report, socially, it's unacceptable. They're seen as the head of the household and couldn't possibly be the victim. So we have to be very careful about being biased in that as well. Can you imagine a law enforcement officer showing up on a scene where both parties are injured and both are alleging that the other is the abuser?

And placing yourself in that position to make that determination. So that's very difficult at times. There's good and bad in law enforcement, just like there is in every other field. So I would hope that, with training and educating our officers as well as what evidence and what, information to try to take from that scene would make that determination.

But it's very difficult. Hispanic women touching on that because I'm all over the place. You guys, I'm sorry. There were so many different aspects during that conversation. I've seen that they come in almost feeling as if they don't deserve the service and don't know what to do are very scared, more so than most.

And I'm sure other cultures as well that have come through the door. But Hispanic women and black women are our predominant clients. So I'm gonna speak to that. The Hispanic women come in with the fear that we're going to for some reason, send them away to their country or call, the authorities because they don't have documentation when in fact, what we're going to try to do is find an attorney to help them with that aspect and move forward.

We had a young woman come in who had three children and was undocumented and my God, I came to love her and her kids so much and was so terrified when she wasn't going to have a family in another state, but she, although undocumented, acquired employment. We paid for daycare for our Children. One of her sons was in school, got him enrolled by whatever means we needed to.

And she walked to bring them to daycare every morning, walked to work, walked back to daycare, came back to shelter, didn't want transportation because we provide for that too. She at least let her, let us get her a stroller and she still communicates with us to this day. She moved we helped her relocate to where her family lives because the abuser learned where she was working and was trying to contact her there and for her safety, we relocated her.

But most of us, I would assume are in the Baton Rouge area. I can't stress enough that if your clients, whether they speak English, Spanish or Mandarin, because that's here of late with, a young woman who maybe was brought into the country by an abuser and believed that he was in full control of her and some really horrific things happened in that situation.

We are going to help them at Iris. I just, communication is important to me. I worked for 28 years in law enforcement and understand clearly that we don't often interpret someone's words as they're meant. And we need to be very careful about active listening and using the resources that we can find to help us understand what they mean with their words.

I don't know what else we were addressing. It was just a lot.

Pepper Roussel: It is a deal, and it's a heavy topic. Thank you for all who could come off mute and share. And Patti Joy, I just want to, I want to take a second to honor and respect how deeply you are feeling this moment of the service that y'all are providing over at IRIS.

And so I thank you for that. We are at 9:32. Are there any questions that I have not asked that are either in the chat or something that you are thinking that you absolutely want to hear about? There is there's one that I would be remiss if I didn't ask. It's a question about DV, middle school, high school, and college populations.

I don't know if y'all know anything about that, but I am going to ask it. And please raise your hand, drop it in the chat. Anything that you want to talk about before we

Patti Joy Freeman: With regards to children, can I say something?

Pepper Roussel: please.

Yes, please. Patti Joy with specific to children and also can you drop your information, your contact info in the chat.

Patti Joy Freeman: Of course. With regards to Children, we're developing a Children's unit and we talked about this before the main zoom began. I really do. I worked with children in sex crimes and abuse for years.

So it's very It's very important to me. I was a two-year-old who watched their mother who was being brutalized by their father at two-years-old, and it was my first memory. And my older sister endured that for much longer than me, obviously, because she was a couple of years older than me.

Children are extremely important to me, so when I took on the position at IRIS as executive director, I had some main goals, one of which I'm actively... working on now and that's about to develop a Children's program specific to their needs because they're being exposed to violence and later often perpetuated or become a victim of it because it's their normal.

It's what they've been taught. It's the environment within which they live. And so I think that's gonna be a key factor. in reducing numbers of cases in the future is by capturing and providing services for Children that wrap them around with those services, much like we do for victims in dating violence in cases that I've worked myself.

They are reflective of the environment within which they've come very often. And so in dating and developing those interpersonal skills and those relationships throughout high school and even in middle school and younger. They're gonna reflect the behavior that they saw, and it's concerning because young girls are, especially teenagers, are I was a teenager once, so we're very secretive when it comes to telling our parents about things because we're drawing them into our world and maybe we don't want them there because we're a teenager.

So being able to speak the language. And put them at ease and building that rapport, it all takes a lot of time within and they may be in a very damaging and emotionally damaging relationship. I don't know every way with which to do this, but I think we really need to start looking hard at that and capturing, those children to be able to care and teach them otherwise or educate them about key factors to look for red flags at Iris.

We do a lot of outreach. I've taught at high schools or spoken at different Children's programs just about dating violence and or violence that you're seeing in the home and why you do have the ability to stand up and have a voice. And I think that's important that we'll hear you and that will not only hear you, but we'll step in to help you in a way that won't harm you.

They often think they're going to be punished because they picked the wrong boyfriend. They think that they'll be seen as like you said earlier snitches get stitches. The embarrassment of their peer group. And being the one who told on him or her because that happens to yeah, I think this children's program is a need.

It's not a want. And I think that more shelters need to, there are only 16 in the state to begin with. But we need to start identifying and building those programs that start diverting those children into a better path and mindset as well. Or we will never reduce the numbers of domestic violence. Never.

Pepper Roussel: Thank you. Reverend Anderson?

Rev. Alexis Anderson: Good morning, Pepper. Good morning, OneRouge family. Pepper said, I just want this to keep going on and on, but put three things in the chat. And the reason I put them there’s a lot in this that's so important. One is that we have two major universities. And when I say that domestic violence is a big problem on our campuses, it is.

It's a big problem in our high schools. It's a big problem in our middle schools. The second thing I put in there is that the 19th JDC is planning to kick off a domestic violence specialty court. I would really encourage anybody who cares about these topics. I am in the court every single day at 1 p.m. Please come join me. I can show you better than I can tell you what this looks like. It is literally a different. system in every single court with every single judge in every single agency. And that is a problem. And then the last thing I just wanted to leave everybody with is that I made the comment that the bulk of survivors of which I am one of them will never ever access a shelter.

And so it's one of the reasons I take great pride in the fact that I'm a trainer of a program called cut it out that actually helps beauty professionals. Work with survivors that have either shared through physical evidence or in their conversations, how to navigate getting out of some of these situations safely.

And so we're doing that training on Monday, October 30th, but I can't stress enough the work Iris, the work, the Butterfly Society, all these people do is amazing. But at the end of the day. it is going to be each of us recognizing that this is in our community, in our church, in our families, whether we recognize it.

And the most dangerous time for a survivor is when they try to leave. And the second most dangerous time is if they have the unfortunate gift of becoming impregnated by the abuser. pregnancy is dangerous and trying to leave is dangerous. So I just wanted to share that because I think sometimes the conversation becomes those people and it really is us.

We're the solution, but we're also where the problem exists. And so I just wanted to thank one Rouge as usual for having just an amazing conversation and being able to do the hard unpeeling of the onion.

Pepper Roussel: I don't know, I prefer parfait. Who doesn't like, Patti Joy's the only one who got my reference to Shrek. Thank you. Anyway, Thank you all for being here. You know how much I love you spending your Friday mornings with me. Thank you for being so transparent, for being so open, for being so honest about this really difficult conversation.

Thank you for being in the chat and not only providing your thoughts and views, but also really great insight on how it is that we need to be thinking about moving forward in community. Through spoken and unspoken language. And my favorite unspoken language is this. However however, I do understand how important it is for folks to hear how much I appreciate you. And this moment we are thank you again to our panelists. It's 9:40 and I'm going to invite y'all to thank you, Keena. I'm going to invite y'all to share with us what's going on in Baton Rouge this weekend.

Also, if you have any other questions about inclusive, equitable, and culturally appropriate communication, Kina, I think has already dropped her information in the chat. Please go ahead and drop that in. Patti Joy has dropped hers in the chat. So if y'all want to volunteer or help out in some way over you're donating money, raising money, big sales.

I don't know what happens at Iris, but you can do that. Also for our immigrant new neighbor communities Golden Change and Lori are some really good resources as always for where and how it is that we can make sure that we, again, are communicating in appropriate ways and not increasing or expanding harm, just because we think that we know because we were doing good, that we are good and we know what good should be done.

So what's going on this weekend in Baton Rouge, y'all.

Helena Williams: The Futures Fund has JoltCon tomorrow Saturday from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. And it's a competition, so it's a $500 cash prize for teens to come up with a solution creative or a technology solution to help slow down climate change. So if you know any teens who want to come see and compete there's that. But we also have workshops as well.

Pepper Roussel: Sup! Rev. Anderson?

Rev. Alexis Anderson: I would be remiss if I didn't mention that BREC is doing Pets Unleashed today, I think it's today at six o'clock and I know they have a flyer and some other stuff, but it is super awesome. Second, tomorrow at the Scotlandville Branch Library, the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison Reform Coalition is having its open house.

We are going to be doing a wonderful presentation. The American Bar Association did an excellent webinar on deaths in custody. And so we're going to be discussing that as well as sharing with the community what our five years of investment in public service has looked like. Scotlandville Library from 10 to 12, come for the refreshments, come for the door prizes, come for the networking, stay to be part of the work. There is also an election coming up. We won't spend too much time here because you'll not be voting on the governor, however. There are down ballot things that still need to be decided.

Pepper Roussel: Marcella? Hi again.

Marcela Hernandez: I just wanted to remind all of you were maybe not in the other calls, but LORI also offers immigration legal aid.

So if you know anyone who is wanting to proceed their citizenship especially talking about being a victim. So we got to push that. We're here doing it. If you know anyone who is in the process of becoming a citizen, we're not only helping them with their immigration case, but also walking them through the process to do the classes.

We literally walk them through the entire process. from submitting the application, doing mock interviews, having weekly classes, encouraging them. And after they become citizens, we even help them to become registered to vote. And then we start with the whole civic engagement thing. So please, if you know anyone who would like to be a citizen, send them our way.

And then also I wanted to invite all of you guys we are organizing a small event to express our gratitude to our partners and our community leaders for our work and the mission and supporting the mission that we have at LORI. And this is going to be a fun event and an important event because we're going to be talking about the Welcoming City Initiative.

So if you want to learn more about this initiative and if you want to come and continue supporting our work please we'll wait for you on November the 11th from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. to have a very fun didactic and specially educational time with us. So please mark it on your calendars and Pepper, I will make sure that I send that to you so you can also share it with everyone else.

Thank you so much and you have a great day.

Pepper Roussel: Thanks, y'all. I really appreciate it. There was also in the chat earlier and I missed it, but a question about are there any sorts of studies or any information that we might be able to find for those folks who have maybe who are committing some sort of violence against animals? And then, eventually on people, so we will save that for the jumping off point for the next conversation around DV mainly because of this insidious ways that it does impact and perpetuate poverty.

So thank you all for being here. I appreciate it. Spending your time with me. Casey, any final words?

Casey Phillips: No, I just wanted to make sure and even though I was quiet today, I was listening attentively and Kina thank you and Patti for sharing with everyone today in the space. Kina, I feel like every time we speak, I see a different side of the, a different side of the four-dimensional energy source that is you in this community and Patti you have been added for, it feels a lifetime of doing this work. And I have to echo what Pepper said. Thank you for thank you for moving into the space with Iris. I think that it's gonna do a lot of good in this world. It was a pleasure to share space with both of you. Pepper. I was like that insidious, that was very haunting for the next for the next call, but so true.

And thank you for diving into something so deep and thank you for everybody in the chat. So I don't know, maybe 10 thank yous is too much. It felt gratitude felt like the emotion I wanted to bring to the space today. You cannot, we could unpack into overtime. When you identify as male and you're in these kind of conversations, it's it's an uncomfortable space and I'm in for it.

I've been for it and I didn't really think the conversation was about, me. But it was an interesting thing to sit on the outside and listen to on the peripheral and also understand your role that you have in it in some kind of way, shape or form. So thanks for all the thoughts that you gave today and you'll have a beautiful weekend.

Have a beautiful week.

Pepper Roussel: We'll see y'all back next Friday. Same bat time, same bat channel.


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