The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community’s DHHS Prevention Intervention Program’s Domestic Violence division, along with the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, hosted a presentation called In Her Shoes on October 21 at the Health Annex Building. The activity was a part of the month long Domestic Violence Awareness activities taking place throughout the Community.
In Her Shoes was a presentation/game individuals played which was based on real life situations of a woman and her family face as victims of domestic violence. Different tables spread throughout the conference room were labeled as facilities or events, such as “Hospital,” “Church,” “Shelter,” “Support Group” and “Funeral,” and each had cards describing the different scenarios faced by the family. A participant picked up a card and read the scenario—for example, a woman wakes up in the hospital and has the choice to go to a police station to make a report, go to a domestic violence shelter, or go to a friend or relative. If the person chose the shelter, they would go to the table labeled “Shelter,” where role-players known as facilitators would act out the experience of asking for help for herself and her children. They might be denied because the woman has too many children, which would put the shelter over its occupancy limit, and instead be put on a waiting list. Then they might need to go to a family member’s house, which would take them to another table where other facilitators would play out the obstacles represented by that situation, such as family members being judgmental, and so on.
One of the facilitators emphasized, “These are real-life scenarios of what a woman or man [experiencing domestic violence] goes through in life—many times they have to return home, and then [they] end up dying.”
After the game was over, Ellie Nierstedt from the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence asked participants what they thought of the activities. She asked, “Was it helpful to see the many resources that would be available to you, and where not to go?”
The participants then discussed what they learned—how they think they are making the right decision, but it might not always be the right one, and could lead you back into the same domestic violence situation or even death.
Another individual shared frustrations within the game on either getting the run around or being on the waiting list at the shelter.
Nierstedt who worked at a large shelter in the past talked about the frustration she went through trying to fit families or individuals in the shelter or even denying them because of overpopulation.
“Many things go into getting placed in shelters, such as if there was a teen in the family, [because then] many of the shelters will not accept you.”
Prior to In Her Shoes was the Mandatory Reporting session, another domestic violence awareness event that took place on October 13. The program covered the mandatory reporting requirements for domestic violence and who would be able to officially report a situation, such as a resident who has reason to believe an occurrence took place or first responders treating victims of domestic violence. People need to be able to report to law enforcement the proper and correct information, such as a list of names of those involved in the incident, the address of the injured person, the extent of their injuries for treatment, as well as associated child abuse and neglect situations.