CLEARFIELD – Over the next several months, a small group of local women is hoping to have a mighty impact on the lives of domestic violence victims in northwestern Pennsylvania.
Members of the Clearfield Business & Professional Women’s Club have chosen to support Citizens Against Physical, Sexual and Emotional Abuse Inc. (CAPSEA) as part of BPW’s statewide project.
Angela Chew, club member and clinical director at Dickinson Center Inc., recently spoke to the club about CAPSEA and then gave some very alarming domestic violence statistics.
CAPSEA provides a 24-hour hotline, crisis intervention, counseling and ongoing support services, shelter and permanent housing options to victims of abuse in Elk and Cameron counties.
It also provides services to victims of crime in Elk and Cameron counties in accordance with the Pennsylvania Rights and Services Act (RASA).
All CAPSEA services are free and confidential, Chew said, noting the non-profit organization’s programs are “evidence-based” and serve both women and children.
CAPSEA was founded in 1977 by a small group of local women who felt domestic and sexual violence issues needed to be addressed in their community.
At that time and under the name “Elk County Crisis Line,” the group of volunteer women provided crisis intervention through their local hotline.
In 1980, the Elk County Crisis Line became incorporated, and in 1986, the name was changed to CAPSEA. It will celebrate 42 years of service in November to victims in Elk and Cameron counties.
CAPSEA is under the leadership of Executive Director Billie Jo Weyant, who provided Chew with information, brochures, etc., to distribute to Clearfield BPW members.
Chew said CAPSEA’s “Wish List” was also included and the organization needed household, food, personal hygiene, medicinal and cleaning items.
Other needs included items for children and gift cards for pizza shops, grocery stores, Wal-Mart and Sheetz (gas), plus old cell phones, phone cards and postage stamps.
Each month, Clearfield BPW will select one of the “Wish List” categories, and its members will donate recommended items for Chew to deliver to CAPSEA.
CAPSEA’s hotline can be reached at 814-772-1227 (Elk County) or 814-486-0952 (Cameron County). For more information, visit its Web site at www.capsea.org or like Capsea Inc. on Facebook.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault and or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another.
It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats and emotional abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically.
Chew said domestic violence is now being referred to as “intimate partner” physical violence so that it encompasses non-married and same-sex couples.
According to statistical data presented by Chew from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) for the commonwealth of Pennsylvania,
- in one day in 2014, 2,498 victims/survivors were served by Pennsylvania domestic violence programs; 252 requests for domestic violence services went unmet.
- an estimated 19.1 percent of Pennsylvania women will experience stalking in their lifetimes.
Nationally, the coalition’s statistics show that:
- an average of 20 people experiences intimate partner physical violence every minute. This equates to more than 10 million abuse victims annually.
- one in four women and one in nine men experience severe intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner contact, sexual violence and or intimate partner stalking with impacts such as injury, fearfulness, post-traumatic stress disorder, use of victim services, contraction of sexually transmitted diseases, etc.
- one in three women and one in four men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.
- one in seven women and one in 25 men have been injured by an intimate partner.
- one in 10 women have been raped by an intimate partner.
- one in seven women and one in 18 men have been stalked. Stalking causes the target to fear she/he/they or someone close to her/him/them will be harmed or killed.
- on a typical day, domestic violence hotlines receive approximately 21,000 calls, an average of close to 15 calls every minute.
- intimate partner violence accounts for 15 percent of all violent crime.
- the presence of a gun in the home during a domestic violence incident increases the risk of homicide by at least 500 percent.
- 72 percent of all murder-suicides involved an intimate partner; 94 percent of the victims of these crimes are female.
- intimate partner violence is most common against women between the ages of 18-24.
- 19 percent of intimate partner violence involves a weapon.
Sexual assault statistics show that one in five women is raped in her lifetime. And 18 percent of female victims of spousal rape say their children witnessed the crime.
Statistics show that 19.3 million women and 5.1 million men in the United States have been stalked. And 66.2 percent of female victims reported stalking by a current or former intimate partner.
According to statistical information from the NCADV, victims of intimate partner violence lose a total of 8 million days of paid work each year, the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs.
Intimate partner violence is also estimated to cost the U.S. economy between $5.8 billion and $12.6 billion annually, or up to 0.125 percent of the national gross domestic product.
Chew said while physical abuse is more obvious, abuse starts as psychological. She said “red flags” are victims being humiliated, controlled, demeaned, isolated (from family/support systems), etc.
Another form of abuse, according to Chew, is economic, where victims are prevented from going to their workplace, not allowed to seek work and forced into non-consensual credit-related debt.
She said other indicators are only a male/female having access to a bank account and or demanding to have the lease/home mortgage in their name.
“It’s amazing how powerful these situations are,” she said, “… because it gives them (abusers) control.” So far as Chew’s knowledge, women usually try to leave eight times.
“At the eighth time, they’ve either finally made it or they’ve been killed. Or they stay in the situation for the rest of their lives … and feel trapped.”
She said communities are small, abusers know the locations of “anonymous shelters” and Protection from Abuse orders are nothing more than a piece of paper.
Nationally, statistics show that one in seven stalking victims has been forced to move as a result of their victimization while one in eight has reported losing work.
Statistics also show that 37 percent of stalking victims meet all the diagnostic criteria for PTSD; another 18 percent meet all but one diagnostic criteria. And one in four commit suicide.
Chew said the “controversial” form of domestic violence is spousal rape. She said women are often too embarrassed to report their husband or significant other and try to justify their abuser.
“[Domestic violence] crosses all socioeconomic statuses … it crosses all cultural boundaries,” Chew said. “… People say, ‘well, just leave.’
“… Of course, that’s the answer and those women know that. They definitely know that. It’s just how. It’s how do you leave, that’s the thing.”
BPW/PA is a statewide organization of 1,400 members in 61 local organizations and 12 districts throughout the state. Organized in 1919, BPW/PA is a leading advocate for working women.
Nationally, the BPW Foundation has over 30,000 members in more than 1,600 local organizations represented in every congressional district in the country.
BPW is a vast network of women from all walks of life, coming together in friendships, business contacts, personal growth and support.
About Clearfield BPW
For the past 78 years, the Clearfield BPW Club has been dedicated to the promotion of working women through its informative meetings, community involvement and camaraderie.
Locally, Clearfield BPW meets at 6 p.m. the third Wednesday of each month. Meetings consist of dinner, club business and objectives and an informational program.
The club has two major programs each year. In May it honors a local woman for her community volunteerism; then, it awards a scholarship to a senior of the Clearfield Area School District in June.
For more information and to keep up to date on Clearfield BPW, please like and follow the club on its Facebook page @BPWClearfield.
The club’s next regular meeting is Wednesday, Oct. 9 at the social hall of the Trinity United Methodist Church in Clearfield, beginning at 6 p.m.