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domestic violence

Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash

Intimate partner violence occurs just as often in relationships between two men as it does between men and women. That's according to a new study from the University of Michigan's Center for Sexuality and Health Disparities.

 

The study enrolled 160 couples. Forty-six percent of the 320 men in the study reported that they had experienced some form of intimate partner violence within the prior year. That includes physical and sexual violence, emotional abuse, and controlling behavior.

Nicole Beverly
Stateside Staff / Michigan Radio

Lawmakers in Lansing are focused on giving some crime victims more rights and protections.

Governor Rick Snyder will have to decide if convicted criminals should be required to listen to their victims in court. The legislation, on its way to his desk, is in response to a defendant who was convicted of killing a woman – but who left the courtroom during the family’s statements.

“For me, it’s a matter of putting victims first,” said bill sponsor Holly Hughes, R-Montague. “Putting humanity first is the principal of all this and making sure you do the right thing.”

Remi Walle / Unsplash

There’s an important part of the national conversation about violence against women that hasn’t received as much attention as it deserves: the role of men and boys in preventing domestic violence.

Nicole Beverly
Stateside Staff / Michigan Radio

The torrent of death threats made an impression on the Washtenaw County jury because on Tuesday, that jury convicted Kevin Beverly of felonies for extorting and intimidating his ex-wife, Nicole.

Nicole Beverly first spoke with Stateside last summer. On Stateside, we heard her story of years of terrifying abuse, stalking, and threats from her ex, Kevin – including threats made while he was in prison, serving a five year sentence on a 2012 conviction for stalking Nicole.

portrait of Brian Kischnick
City of Troy

The Troy city council voted unanimously to fire its city manager after a closed-door session March 11.

Clawson police charged Brian Kischnick with domestic assault and battery. He’s accused of tackling a woman to the ground after a dinner party Friday night.

Kischnick has denied the charges and in a handwritten statement, he called the incident a “misunderstanding.”

Christopher / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The #MeToo movement has launched us into a national discussion about sexual harassment, especially harassment and assault committed by men in the workplace.

Shervin Assari, an assistant professor of psychiatry and public health at the University of Michigan, believes we should also be talking about another aspect of sexual assault that happens at home, behind closed doors: forced sex in intimate relationships.

Allen Allen / Flickr Creative Commons HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

Survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking would get more support under a package of five bills introduced in the state House.

Supporters say the goal of the legislation is to fill gaps in state law that leave survivors without adequate protection.

"Every survivor should have the resources they need to put their lives back on track without fear of intimidation as the try to move forward," said Rep. Kristy Pagan, D-Canton.

Paul Weaver / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The argument that bad guys will always find a way to get guns, so gun laws don’t help, doesn’t appear to apply to intimate partner homicides.

Nicole Beverly
Stateside Staff / Michigan Radio

Update October 20, 9:30 a.m.:

Nicole Beverly took the stand yesterday to testify against her ex-husband, and saw the man who has threatened her life and the lives of their sons for the first time since he was sent to prison for stalking her in 2012.

After her testimony, Ann Arbor District Judge Karen Quinlan Valvo ruled that there is sufficient evidence for Kevin Beverly to stand trial against the new charges brought forward by Attorney General Bill Schuette. Those charges include witness intimidation and extortion.

Nicole Beverly
Stateside Staff / Michigan Radio

There's been an important development in the story of Nicole Beverly.

Beverly is the Ypsilanti mom who spoke to Stateside last month, describing the abuse she's suffered from her ex-husband Kevin Beverly even as he's been serving a five-year prison sentence for aggravated stalking.

Wikimedia Commons

Stories like that of Nicole Beverly, whose abusive husband is set to be released from prison in August despite alleged threats to kill her and her children, are nothing new for Barbara Niess-May, executive director of SafeHouse Center in Ann Arbor.

“Her story is common, in that there are many survivors who find themselves needing to relocate because of the assailant,” Niess-May said. “What’s uncommon is the fact that she has gone public with her story.”

Wikimedia Commons

 


“All she wanted to do was leave.”

 

That’s how Barbara Niess-May, executive director of SafeHouse Center in Ann Arbor, described the case of Francine Hughes of Dansville, Michigan.

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Yes, this is a real thing.

But if you've never heard of reproductive coercion before, you're not alone.

It's a dimension of domestic and intimate partner violence that's only recently been recognized by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. And researchers just started studying it in the last 15 years or so.

Heather McCauley, an epidemiologist and an assistant professor at Michigan State University, says she first heard about it through a colleague.

SafeHouse Center director Barbara Niess-May told us community is key in preventing domestic violence and protecting victims.
Facebook


A couple of weeks ago in Dearborn Heights, four children were killed and their mother was bound, slashed with a box cutter and shot in the foot.

The man charged with the crime is her husband. The same man murdered his previous wife in 1991.

To talk about the best ways to hold domestic violence assailants accountable and keeping victims or potential victims safe, we turned to Barbara Niess-May, director of SafeHouse Center in Washtenaw County.

Humble Design

Humble Design has come a long way from its humble beginnings in the garage of its co-founder, Treger Strasberg.

Strasberg got the idea for the non-profit after a co-worker and her children became homeless. 

After some time in a shelter, the family found a house to rent. But they had almost no possessions.  Strasberg recalls visiting the home and being shocked at how they had to live.

"(They made) little nests on the floor of where they were going to sleep with their coats and their clothing," she says, "and (they had) no furniture at all."

iphone
iphone / Chuong Le [LeSy]

A new law will help victims of domestic violence get out of shared cell phone plans with their accused abusers. Prior to this law, victims did not have a way to cancel or change their cell phone plans unless they were the primary account holder. Under the new law, victims who have a personal protection order would be able to get a court order from a judge to cancel or transfer their cell phone or data plan that they share with an accused abuser. 

Carla Blinkhorn, CEO of the YWCA West Central Michigan, says cell phones can be dangerous for individuals in a violent relationship.

Domestic violence bills clear Michigan Legislature

Apr 20, 2016
Brian Turner / flickr creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A bipartisan  package of bills that would increase protections for domestic violence victims in Michigan is heading to Gov. Rick Snyder for signature.

"I think we have antiquated domestic violence laws in Michigan," said State Rep. Robert Kosowski, D-Westland, sponsor of one of the bills. "And I think this is a first step to righting the ship and making things right."

One bill in the package would allow victims to include their pets in personal protection orders. 

Kosowski said abusers often threaten  family pets as a means of controlling their victims.

Uniting Three Fires Against Violence advocacy organization logo.
Uniting Three Fires Against Violence

The Next Idea

How does a community address domestic violence and sexual assault when calling the police is not often an option?

This is the question facing Native communities in Michigan, according to Lori Jump and Rachel Carr of the advocacy group Uniting Three Fires Against Violence.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Victims' rights advocates say Michigan lags behind some other states when it comes to laws meant to keep guns from domestic abusers.

  More than a dozen states have taken steps in the past two years to strengthen laws that would keep guns from domestic abusers. But Michigan State University legal expert April Zeoli says Michigan has no law to ensure those barred by a judge from owning guns in domestic violence cases don't have them.

Keith Allison / flickr creative commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Headlined "Love Does Not Hit," a wanted poster has been released by Silent Observer, a Grand Rapids crime-stopper organization, to bring attention to Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The poster shows 24 people with outstanding arrest warrants on domestic violence charges in the Kent County cities of Grand Rapids and Wyoming.

Andrew Bossi / Creative Commons

Women are being arrested more frequently than they were 20 years ago.

A new study from Michigan State University says arrests have increased 26.7% since 1993, while arrests for violent crimes have jumped 53.2%.

Wedding Rings
Gerald Schmidt / Creative Commons

The Michigan Senate passed a bill Thursday that would require attorneys to wait 21 days after a divorce case is filed before soliciting business from either party.

Sen. Rick Jones, R-Eaton Rapids, is the bill's sponsor. He said some attorneys use newly filed cases to contact defendants who may not yet be aware their spouse is leaving them.

A package of bills to protect victims of domestic violence was introduced to the state House today.

Together, the bills would create a confidentiality program for victims, allow them to get unemployment benefits if they leave their jobs because of abuse, use sick leave to meet with legal and medical professionals, and prohibit landlords from evicting tenants over disruptions that happen because of domestic violence.

Creating4Change

Michigan filmmaker Sophia Kruz is exploring the ways art empowers women all around the world. She is hard at work shooting what will be a full-length film called Creating4Change along with raising the money to make it.

Hyatt Guns

Governor Rick Snyder needs to decide soon whether to sign a bill that would allow some people with restraining orders against them to still get concealed gun permits in Michigan.  

Senate Bill  789 would allow some people restricted by personal protection orders to get permits, which is prohibited  under current law.

A new study suggests domestic violence during pregnancy has long-term effects on the unborn child.   That’s according to a new Michigan State University study.

The study of 182 mothers ages 18-34 found a surprisingly strong relationship between a mother’s prenatal abuse by a male partner and postnatal trauma symptoms in her child.

The shifting conversation around domestic violence

Oct 1, 2014

  October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. I spoke with the director of Safehouse Center, Barbara Niess-May, about how the conversation around domestic violence is shifting.  Safehouse Center provides support for those impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault.

Here's our conversation:

Safehouse Center has a number of events planned in October. You can learn more at their website.

ahans / Flickr

Domestic violence is something that reaches every corner of American life.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence tells us that 85% of the people who suffer violence at the hands of an intimate partner are women.

One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. That’s 1.3 million women each and every year. And most of these women have mobile phones, computers, facebook pages, or some kind of an online presence.

The presence of these information communication technologies presents ever-growing challenges to a survivor trying to stay well away from an abusive partner.

Just how do these technologies influence interpersonal violence?

Jill Dimond is a computer science graduate from the University of Michigan. After she earned her PhD at Georgia Tech, she focused her efforts on what she calls "Human Centered Computing."

That includes forming a worker-owner technology cooperative called Sassafras Tech Collective helping social justice groups, non-profits, artists and others with web and app design and development.

For more information on online safety for survivors of domestic abuse, go to the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

*Listen to the audio above.

ACLU of Michigan

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Fair Housing Center of Southeastern Michigan  have asked the Inkster Housing Commission to drop its effort to evict a pregnant woman from one of its apartments. They say the Commission is evicting her because of domestic violence she has suffered while a tenant.

SafeHouse Center director Barbara Niess-May told us community is key in preventing domestic violence and protecting victims.
Facebook

It's the crunch that service groups all over Michigan are facing: funding is shrinking, even as demand for services is rising.

We wanted to see how these budget cuts are hitting service groups. What has the cost been in terms of the help they're able to offer to their community? And what strategies have they come up with to help close that gap?

Barbara Niess-May joined us today. She's the executive director of the SafeHouse Center in Ann Arbor. It's the only place in Washtenaw County that focuses on helping survivors of domestic violence.

Listen to the full interview above.

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