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Inside TFP

Stay up to date on the latest happenings at The Family Place, news about family violence in our community, and what we’re doing to keep victims safe.


Inside The Family Place


  • Stiletto Strut makes an appearance in MySweetCharity

    by Emily Roberts | Apr 18, 2013

    The Guys Want To Loaf While The Ladies Stiletto Strut Around Neiman Marcus Downtown For The Family Place

    April 15, 2013
    by Jeanne Prejean
    MySweetCharity.com

    2012 Stiletto Strutters (File photo)

    2012 Stiletto Strutters (File photo)

    Ever since the Stiletto Strut starting circling the Neiman Marcus Downtown block, it’s been a ladies-only affair of champagning, chatting and charity supporting. After all, how many fellas want to don nose-bleed-high heels and stroll the streets in rush hour traffic.

    Robert Weatherly (File photo)

    Robert Weatherly (File photo)

    That’s what we thought, too. That is until this year. No, it’s not what you think. The fellas aren’t going to be wobbling around on heels, but they will be doing “their own thang” to help raise money for The Family Place, this year’s Stiletto Strut beneficiary, on Thursday, April 25.

    Robert Weatherly is chairing the Loafer Lounge at The Joule. And true to its name, the gents will be loafing around the pool deck until the ladies take to the street. Then they will rise from chairs and cheers the gals from on high.

    Afterwards, the boys will be joined by the girls for the Patron Party.

    Both groups will have their own tailor-made raffles.

    For the girls:

    • $100 tickets have a chance to win
      • Season of Shoe (a pair of shoes every season from NM Downtown)
      • Sewell Gift Envelope (a “mega collection of gift items valued at over $6,000 to more than 30 of the most upscale businesses in town”).
    • $25 tickets have a chance to win
      • Weekend Getaway Package (two-night weekend stay at The Joule, dinner for two in Charlie Palmer, two hours of ESPA time for two and an ESPA gift box from Headington Companies),
      • Lana Jewelry Collection,
      • Dinner and Wine Pairing for 8 (La Madeleine creator Patrick Esquerre will present an evening to remember. You just have to choose the location and guest list.) or
      • 10 Hours with Wardrobe Consultant Debby Allbright.

    For the guys:

    • $100 chance tickets have a chance to win
      • Golf Package (Four tickets to the Colonial Golf Tournament with weekend use of a Cadillac and a car wash and four tickets to the Byron Nelson Golf Tournament with a weekend use of a Cadillac and a car wash with car service provided by Uber)
    • $25 tickets have a chance to win
      • Loafers at Hadleigh’s (a pair of the coveted Hadleigh’s Gentlemen’s Smoking Slippers,
      • Dinner for Six With Chef John Tesar (Dinner and wine pairing with Chef John Tesar and car service provided by Uber) or
      • 10 Hours with Wardrobe Consultant Debbie Allbright.

    Besides sharing the goal to raise $$ for The Family Place, the Stiletto Strut and Loafers Lounge tickets can be founded here while they still last.

    Read more at MySweetCharity.com.

  • The Family Place Hosts Take The Next Step Training Camp for Men

    by Emily Roberts | Apr 11, 2013

    The Family Place - Take the Next StepTraining Camp

    The Family Place Presents Take the Next Step Training Camp

    A Leadership Initiative Encouraging MEN to Join the Fight Against Domestic Violence

    WHAT: The Family Place will host the first of four, free educational series next week that will provide men the opportunity to become involved in helping end domestic violence in the Dallas Area. In the wake of Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings’ Rally against domestic violence, The Family Place created this program so that attendees would learn how domestic violence impacts the community, how to step in when you see abuse happening, and how to become a mentor.

    Session One: Fundamentals

    Domestic Violence 101 – Everyone is Affected
    Presenter: Lt. Miguel Sarmiento, Dallas Police Department

    Why Men Abuse – From the Eyes of a Batterer
    Presenters: David Almager, Batterer’s Intervention Program Director, and a program graduate

    Space is limited! For more information or to register, visit www.familyplace.org/take-the-next-step-training-camp  or call 214.692.8295.

    "When one man abuses a woman, it diminishes ALL men."

    WHEN: Thursday, April 18, 2013 | 6:00PM-8:00PM

    WHERE: Union Coffee | 5622 Dyer Street, Dallas, TX

    CONTACT: David Almager | 214.692.8295 | dalmager@familyplace.org

  • David Almager Appears on Good Morning Texas

    by Emily Roberts | Mar 27, 2013

    David Almager, Director of the Battering Invention and Prevention Program at The Family Place, went to Good Morning Texas this morning to talk about "Help for Men Who Abuse Women".  In the wake of Saturday's rally, David talked about our specialized program for men who are abusive. Watch the segment from Good Morning Texas below!

  • Dallas Men - Take the next step to end domestic violence

    by Emily Roberts | Mar 26, 2013

    Paige Flink and Jan Langbein: Dallas men, your next job in stopping domestic violence

    25 March 2013
    The Dallas Morning News

    To the men of Dallas:

    It was an amazing sight to see thousands of you braving the weather, standing in front of Dallas City Hall to take a pledge to stop domestic abuse in our city. There were men from all walks of life, teachers, preachers, coaches, celebrities, politicians and students — fathers and sons, fathers and daughters.

    For more than 30 years, family-violence service providers have worked to see this day come, and we say thank you. Thank you for making Dallas a model for the nation, a place where men say enough is enough — domestic violence is not acceptable, period.

    But what comes next? How do we maintain this momentum? How do we make this a beginning of a new movement? What will you do individually and collectively to make sure that this wasn’t a one-time show of support?

    Mayor Mike Rawlings asked the men at the rally to pledge to never hurt a woman. Even if you weren’t at the event, you can join them by making these personal commitments:

    I will never physically harm or emotionally abuse women.

    I will speak out and step in when I see a man abusing a woman.

    I will hold abusive men accountable for their actions and encourage them to seek counseling.

    I will teach my daughters, nieces and granddaughters that they never have to accept violence in a relationship.

    I will teach my sons, nephews and grandsons that violence is an unacceptable way to express anger.

    I will never blame the victim for “bringing it on herself.”

    You can also make an impact by holding our elected officials accountable. Make sure your representatives in Austin and Washington pass laws and provide funding to help curb violence in the home.

    Talk about domestic violence at work. It will help make your company more productive if the women you work with aren’t afraid in their homes. Make work a safe place for them to share their fears.

    Encourage your faith leaders to think safety first when someone in the congregation comes to them for advice.

    Get involved as a volunteer and financial supporter of agencies working to stop family violence. Go to genesisshelter.org and learn about how your co-workers, church members and other groups can participate in special events that allow Genesis Women’s Shelter to provide lifesaving services to women and children at no cost.

    Keep the momentum going by coming to the Family Place Training Camp. This free, four-part educational series will help men understand how to recognize the warning signs of abusive relationships, gain tools to train young men to avoid abusive behaviors, learn how to become a mentor and leader in holding men accountable, and find ways to have positive relationships in their family lives. To sign up for the first camp, April 18, go to familyplace.org.

    Many of us have deep-rooted beliefs that domestic violence is someone else’s problem, that it’s a family matter and somehow not our business. National statistics show that one in four women will be a victim of physical assault in her lifetime.

    That means somewhere, a woman you know has experienced the unspeakable — hurt and harm at the hands of someone who is supposed to love her. It matters to her if you speak up and tell her that you care, that you don’t want her to suffer alone and that she doesn’t deserve to be abused.

    We know that violence against women will decrease when men are involved in the solution. The outcome of men’s involvement in the solutions will be powerful. Working together, we can reduce the number of domestic violence murders in our city. We can all agree on that goal.

    The men of Dallas can do this. You can make Dallas a place where the culture changes, a place where women can feel safe that a bystander will be there for her to step up and say, “No more!”

    Paige Flink is executive director of the Family Place and may be contacted at phflink@familyplace.org. Jan Langbein is executive director of the Genesis Women’s Shelter and may be contacted at jlangbein@genesisshelter.org.

    Read more at Dallasnews.com.

  • BIPP Program Director David Almager on Telemundo Dallas

    by Emily Roberts | Mar 26, 2013

    David Almager, Director of BIPP (Batterer's Intervention and Prevention Program) at The Family Place appears on Telemundo Dallas in the wake of the Mayor's Rally against domestic violence.

    Click here to watch.

  • Executive Director Paige Flink Talks With Brad Watson of Inside Texas Politics

    by Emily Roberts | Mar 26, 2013

    Brad Watson, Host of Inside Texas Politics, talks with Paige Flink, Executive Director of The Family Place after Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings' rally against domestic abuse this weekend.

    Read the full article on WFAA.

  • The End of Domestic Violence in Dallas Ends 3.23.13

    by Emily Roberts | Mar 26, 2013

    On Saturday, March 23, 2013, thousands of men joined Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings at City Hall for his Dallas Men Against Abuse Rally. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, celebrities, religious leaders together came together to inspire men at Saturday's rally. It was an amazing sight to see Dallas Men Against Abuse Leaders promising to help end domestic violence in Dallas.

    2013 Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings' Rally Against Domestic Violence

    Read more coverage from WFAA and The Dallas Morning News.

  • Family Place client speaks out - I am proof that abuse can stop

    by Emily Roberts | Mar 23, 2013

    Orenthal McRae: I am proof that abuse can stop

    21 March 2013
    The Dallas Morning News

    “If I had known then what I know now ….”

    How many times has that phrase run through our minds after we had a lot of time to painstakingly reflect on the past and experience a different way of thinking?

    Through just that kind of personal reflection was I able to understand that continuing a pattern of abuse toward my wife would harm her and my entire family in ways that were completely out of line with my core beliefs and values. Being accountable for the person I had become and taking the steps to change has made me a better husband, a better father and a better man.

    Domestic violence and abuse is far more prevalent than anyone can ever comprehend or imagine. Trying to justify that abuse is not as bad as all-out physical violence is not acceptable.

    Many words are associated with abuse and violence — blackened eyes, scratches, scars, bruises and abrasions. Just because a man hasn’t resorted to physical violence doesn’t mean he’s in the clear.

    Change is a difficult task to master. The stigma and shame associated with abusive behavior often cause men to shy away from seeking help.

    Attending a Battering Intervention and Prevention Program, such as the one offered at the Family Place in Dallas, is a valuable option that needs to be introduced as early as possible — especially to young men — to prevent and/or stop abusive behaviors.

    It’s a program that can also save a man from the painful experience of having to say, “If I had known ….”

    One of the most difficult tasks is to look in the mirror at the man you’ve become. The second is to honestly accept what you see, be willing to change and take steps to make that change.

    Abuse is a conditioned response. It is a learned behavior. And it is behavior that’s always taken at the expense of others. Our challenge as men is to step out the shadows of shame and embarrassment. Allow the light to shine on our issues and show ownership of the negative behavior.

    There are movements all across the country to address these shameful behaviors, and these days men have the chance to find encouraging environments and unprecedented opportunities where changes in attitude can happen.

    The stigma of abuse has hindered the willingness to come forward and seek help. No man wants to be an island or an outcast.

    You’ve heard the statements: “Any man who hits a woman is not a man” or “If he puts his hands on you, he’s not a man.” The bottom line is that those statements are true. More important, we can break free of the shackles of those phrases. We can end the stigma and break the cycle by joining together and starting anew.

    So in large numbers, let’s be the Clark Kent who loves and rescues our Lois Lane in ways that are just as important as Superman-like deeds — whether that’s the power of taking out the trash at home or reassuring and taking away our loved one’s fears.

    Abuse is a behavior that we can change by simply going into the booth of reality and becoming who we are meant to be: REAL MEN.

    Orenthal McRae completed the Dallas Battering Intervention and Prevention Program at the Family Place in 2012. He asked that his full name not be published. The Family Place provides comprehensive programs that stop domestic abuse. To learn more, go to familyplace.org.

    Read the full article on Dallasnews.com.

  • Hansen Unplugged - Real Men Dont Hit Women

    by Emily Roberts | Feb 19, 2013

    Dale Hansen Unplugged: Real Men Don't Hit Women

    by Dale hansen
    February 18, 2013
    WFAA

    Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings is trying to put a stop to domestic violence in the city, and it's long past the time someone did.

    The mayor says we live in a country where we disagree about almost everything, and he's right about that. We argue about gun control... birth control... the money our government spends... and the taxes we pay.

    We disagree about the religion we choose (or no religion at all). We even argue with people about the people they choose to love.

    But as the mayor says, how can we argue or disagree about this:

    Dallas police Chief David Brown says his officers handle 13,000 domestic abuse calls every year.

    Thirteen thousand.

    Every year.

    And imagine how many women are too battered or too scared to even call.

    My dad hit my mom once (at least only once that I ever knew about), but he broke her nose. My dad was a big man, a truck driver with huge arms and one of the strongest men I've ever known.

    But never has such a big man looked so small in the eyes of a little boy.

    We need to change the culture of domestic violence. I've laughed at the jokes; I've told some of the jokes; I've seen the T-shirts some men wear.

    But it's not funny.

    It never should have been funny.

    And it's time we change.

    Just like we stopped the jokes about drinking and driving; just like we changed the culture about smoking the cigarettes that kill so many; we can change this, too.

    I know it's not popular to quote liberals in Texas, but former Sen. Ted Kennedy said, "We know the future will outlast all of us, but I believe that all of us will live on in the future we make."

    And we start making that better future now.

    We make a better future for our moms and our wives... better for our sisters... a better future for our daughters and granddaughters.

    We have been quiet too long, saying, 'It's none of my business' when it's everybody's business.

    It is a blight on our city that has no boundary. It knows no color. It's a problem in some of our poorest neighborhoods, and a problem in the richest neighborhoods as well.

    Real men... who are gentlemen... don't hit women.

    Real men... who are gentlemen... we need you to join us and stand up now.

    We stand together Saturday, March 23 at Dallas City Hall to say we won't stand quietly by any more; we won't condone it any more; we won't look the other way any more; we won't defend you any more; we won't listen to your excuses any more; and we will not accept it any more.

    Let's join together and raise our voices together as we tell every man in our city, every young boy who will soon be that man — it stops today.

    We change the culture of domestic violence.

    We change the future.

    And we live on in that better future we make.

    Email dhansen@wfaa.com.

  • Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings announces Men Against Abuse Rally will be on March 23

    by Emily Roberts | Feb 12, 2013

    Mayor Rally: Men Against Abuse - March 23

    Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings announces "Men Against Abuse" Rally will be on March 23, 2013.

    Men Against Abuse - Putting an end to Domestic Violence in Dallas

    Mayor's Rally - 3/23/2013 at 10:00AM

    Take the first step to ending domestic violence in Dallas

    Join event by going to this link: https://www.facebook.com/events/476095059118773/!

    http://www.dallasmenagainstabuse.com/

  • BREAKING NEWS: VAWA Passes the Senate

    by Emily Roberts | Feb 12, 2013

    BREAKING NEWS!! VAWA passes the Senate by a vote of 78-22!

     

     

    S. 47, VAWA reauthorization, passes the Senate by a vote of 78-22 on Tuesday, February 12, 2013. Neither of the Texas Senators voted yes but thankfully, it didn't matter.

    Statement from the President on the Senate Passage of VAWA

     

    THE WHITE HOUSE
    Office of the Press Secretary
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    February 12, 2013

    Statement from the President on the Senate Passage of the Violence Against Women Act

    Today the Senate passed a strong bipartisan bill to reauthorize and strengthen the Violence Against Women Act. This important step shows what we can do when we come together across party lines to take up a just cause. The bill... passed by the Senate will help reduce homicides that occur from domestic violence, improve the criminal justice response to rape and sexual assault, address the high rates of dating violence experienced by young women, and provide justice to the most vulnerable among us. I want to thank Senator Leahy and his colleagues from both sides of the aisle for the leadership they have shown on behalf of victims of abuse. It's now time for the House to follow suit and send this bill to my desk so that I can sign it into law.

    ###

    We will have our work cut out for us in the House of Representatives. Every one of you who support the reauthorization of Violence Against Women Act will have to call your Representative.

  • Mayor Rawlings expects more than 10,000 men at rally next month

    by Emily Roberts | Feb 12, 2013

    Mayor Rawlings expects more than 10,000 men at next month’s rally against domestic violence

    by Christina Rosales
    February 12, 2013
    The Dallas Morning News

    Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings announced this morning that he expects at least 10,000 men to show up to City Hall Plaza for a rally next month to show they will not tolerate domestic violence in the city.

    Athletes including Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr and former Cowboy Troy Aikman plan to attend the rally, as well as city leaders and religious leaders such as T.D. Jakes and Catholic bishop of the Dallas diocese Kevin Farrell.

    “Most of all, I want fathers to bring their sons,” Rawlings said. “We have an intergenerational teaching moment here because, undoubtedly, this is a learned behavior.”

    The rally, which was planned to take place at Klyde Warren Park, will now take place in the plaza to accommodate all of the campaign’s supporters, Rawlings said. It is set for March 23 at 10 a.m.

    Last month, Rawlings was moved by the handful of recent murders that involved domestic abuse and held an emotional press conference at City Hall to encourage men to change the culture of acceptance of domestic abuse.

    And many men in the city have responded to that, Rawlings said, surrounded by dozens of men on stage at the press conference at the Dallas Museum of Art: athletes, business and religious leaders and city councilmen and Dallas police.

    Casey Cox, brother of Karen Cox Smith, also stood among the men. He wore a purple ribbon on his lapel, commonly used to raise awareness of domestic violence. Police say his sister suffered years of abuse at the hands of her estranged husband before he shot her to death in early January.

    Cox spoke to the crowd at the press conference and said silence needs to be broken when it comes to domestic abuse.

    “I’m speaking for my sister,” Casey Cox said. “Her story needs to be heard by the many women who are victims of domestic violence.”

    The brother said his sister was smart and caring, but above all, courageous. He referred to her several reports to police about her estranged husband’s abuse.

    “She had the courage to say enough is enough,” he said. “She’d want me to share her story to tell women ‘if I had the courage, you too have the courage.’”

    It is unclear what’s next in the advocacy campaign once the rally is over, though the mayor promised there will be more awareness events. Rawlings said the whole campaign is a movement that will change the culture of domestic violence.

    “We’re making this a grass roots movement,” the mayor said. “And we’ll take it back to the community. In the past this has been viewed as a women’s issue, but it ain’t. It’s our problem.”

    Read the full article at DallasNews.com.

  • Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings to announce downtown rally against domestic violence

    by Emily Roberts | Feb 12, 2013

    Rawlings to announce downtown rally against domestic violence with Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith

    by Robert Wilonsky
    February 11, 2013
    The Dallas Morning News - City Hall Blog

    Tomorrow morning Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will start making good on his promise “to change the male culture,” per his remarks at a city hall press conference last month dealing with Dallas’ spike in domestic violence.

    A press conference has been scheduled for Tuesday during which Rawlings, Dallas Police Chief David Brown and city council members will be joined by former Dallas Cowboys Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith and current Cowboy Brandon Carr, among other local celebrities. The topic, according to this afternoon’s media alert: “Announcement of advocacy campaign and rally against domestic violence.” This is the event to which Brad Watson referred last week, when he said Bishop T.D. Jakes and WFAA-Channel 8 sports anchor Dale Hansen would also participate, in the hopes of drawing more than 10,000 to the rally.

    Paula Blackmon, the mayor’s chief of staff, says the event will more than likely take place at the Klyde Warren Park: “That’s the direction we’re heading,” she says. The date of the event will be announced tomorrow.

    “And it will be a multi-generational event,” says Blackmon, “meaning we want grandfathers, fathers and sons.”

    But, she cautions: “It’s not just a rally,” because rallies alone don’t end domestic violence.

    “It’s a movement,” she says. “You’ll see tomorrow.”

    Read more at Dallasnews.com.

  • Be Project Tells Students to Let Your Hearts Rule for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

    by Emily Roberts | Feb 11, 2013

    Teen Dating Violence Month 2013

    Be Project Tells Students to Let Your Hearts Rule
    February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

    February is Teen Dating Violence (TDV) Awareness Month. One in three students reports experiencing some form of abuse. Every young person deserves a safe and healthy relationship, no matter who they are or who they love.  Be Project, an initiative of The Family Place, will feature its Let Your Heart Rule Campaign throughout the community this month, supporting the National TDV Awareness Month Campaign from Love is Respect and Break the Cycle.

    Be Project will be distributing heart-shaped stickers and buttons in high schools so that students can decorate and wear on their sleeves during the month to raise awareness. This includes Coppell HS, Creekview HS, Ranchview HS, R. L. Turner HS, Madison HS, and Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School.

    In addition, high schools are raising the bar and creating their own plans.

    • Coppell High School Be More Group – Students plan to create a video about healthy relationships to show throughout the school and distribute table tents at lunch to raise awareness of TDV and get students talking about the issue.
    • Ranchview High School Be More Group - Students plan to create a music video where they will parody a current, popular song to educate and raise awareness of TDV.
    • Creekview Be More Group – Students will design video skits to raise awareness of TDV and show at school.
    • Seagoville High School – Students will compete in a poster contest.

    For more information, please contact Elizabeth Ferrigno at 972.243.1611 or beproject@familyplace.org.

    The Be Project: Empowering Youth to be Part of the Solution to End Relationship Violence

    The Be Project, an initiative of The Family Place, provides age and culturally appropriate classroom and therapeutic groups to children and youth in 3rd-12th grades, as well as to college students. To learn more about Be Project, visit www.familyplacebeproject.com or https://www.facebook.com/thebeproject.

  • The Family Place Partners Kicks off 2013

    by Emily Roberts | Jan 30, 2013

    The Family Place Partners toast loyalists and new members at 31 in Highland Park Village

    by Rachael Adams
    1.30.2013
    CultureMap Dallas

    Last year, the Family Place celebrated the 20th year of Partners Card, the largest fundraiser for the charity. Partners Card holders receive a 20 percent discount at participating restaurants and retailers throughout the area during the much-anticipated 10-day event.

    To celebrate its new members, the Family Place Partners president Jennifer Burns welcomed devotees — Kim Lewis-Gleason, Laura Pitlik, Annika Cail, Katy Duvall, Jennifer Tobin, Kaycee Holmes, Sarah McKee, and Fran and Jim Wallace — to 31, Alberto Lombardi's chic Highland Park Village lounge, for cocktails and small snacks.

    In one corner guests noshed on popcorn, nuts and fried calamari. In another, attendees shared stories about their life-long commitment to the Family Place, Dallas' largest domestic violence agency for more than 35 years. "I've been a volunteer for as long as I can remember — since I moved to Dallas," one guest told us.

    Jamie Singer, events and catering manager for Village Marquee Texas Grill & Bar and the Highland Park Village theater, talked about the Partners Card and how people fly into Dallas from out of state just to shop.

    That reminded us to mark our calendars for October 25, the start of the 21st annual Partners Card event.

    Read the full article and see pictures on CultureMap Dallas's website

  • Read more about how Dallas is making unprecedented domestic violence reform in The Dallas Morning News

    by Emily Roberts | Jan 24, 2013

    Advocates praise Dallas’ domestic violence reform, eye opportunity for further change

    By Sarah Mervosh
    23 January 2013
    The Dallas Morning News

    City leaders’ recent resolve to stop domestic violence has made the issue a priority in a way that’s unprecedented in Dallas, but officials can’t let up if they want to address the problem comprehensively, experts say.

    After a jump in domestic violence slayings in 2012 that hasn’t seemed to slow down so far this year, leaders in Dallas have said enough is enough.

    As part of the charge to raise awareness, advocates, city officials and police gathered Wednesday for a candlelight vigil at City Hall for domestic violence victims.

    Mayor Mike Rawlings has also appealed to Dallas’ men to stop domestic violence, a City Council member announced efforts to help curb the problem and the police chief has been asked to make it a priority to serve domestic violence warrants.

    Local advocates praised the city’s coordinated response that puts the responsibility where it should be: on the abusers. Jan Langbein, the executive director of Genesis Women’s Shelter for 22 years, said she has never seen a mayor take such a strong stand on this issue.

    “Just in the past two weeks, we’ve seen our city turn the corner … from blaming a victim to holding accountable the perpetrator,” Langbein said. “That’s a message that’s heard loudly throughout our community.”

    But advocates say it’s only part of the solution.

    The voices of city officials play a part in reducing domestic violence by helping sway public opinion, said Paige Flink, executive director of The Family Place shelter.

    “It is not going to stop it by itself, but it is an important part of stopping family violence,” Flink said. “We need to look at the whole system.”

    The city’s response came days after a man was accused of killing his estranged wife in a UT Southwestern parking garage. Police say Karen Cox Smith, 40, was gunned down by Ferdinand Smith on Jan. 8 while an abuse warrant was outstanding for his arrest. He had been accused in December of trying to strangle his wife.

    Police say Smith’s slaying is part of the troubling trend of domestic violence murders, which jumped from 10 to 26 between 2011 and 2012. So far this month, police have reported four in Dallas, as well as several others in surrounding areas, including the murder-suicide of an estranged couple outside their daughter’s birthday party Saturday in Grapevine.

    Rawlings’ chief of staff said the mayor had been troubled by recent violence, including the Connecticut school massacre and the uptick in local domestic violence deaths. Smith’s death spurred him to action.

    “That tragic incident really kick-started it,” Paula Blackmon said. “That moved it along.”

    Smith’s brother, Casey Cox, said he will fight to make sure his sister is not forgotten.

    “She would have wanted the next woman suffering from a similar situation to know that silence is not an option,” he said at the vigil Wednesday.

    Since Smith’s death, the city has announced that police will prioritize domestic violence arrest warrants for repeat offenders and those who pose an immediate threat. Council member Delia Jasso’s office is also working to put up billboards advertising assistance for victims and to engage places of worship in outreach efforts.

    Katie Ray-Jones, president of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, said Dallas’ response has laid a strong foundation to combat domestic violence.

    “It sounds like an aggressive intervention approach,” she said. “But how are we going to address the prevention angle?”

    City officials say they plan to round out their response with prevention, but those initiatives could take time.

    Rawlings is planning a rally in the spring to launch an awareness campaign focusing on men, his chief of staff said. Jasso is working with police to raise domestic violence awareness in Dallas schools, but that probably won’t begin until next school year.

    The Family Place’s Flink said she, too, has never seen such a promising response from the city. But she also knows it’s important to build on the initial changes.

    She said she’d like to see the city impose stronger penalties for domestic violence misdemeanors to deter abusers from escalating violence.

    She also sees an opportunity to prevent abuse by reducing unemployment, which she says can play a role in domestic violence.

    “It’s something we’ve wished for — for family violence to be a priority, to have it be something that’s a City Hall priority,” Flink said. “They’ve made this commitment, and I just want to see them follow through with it and keep pushing the pedal to the metal.”

    Read the full article at Dallasnews.com.

  • A former victim of domestic violence speaks out in The Dallas Morning News

    by Emily Roberts | Jan 24, 2013

    Family Place's cause close to home for woman who endured 25 years of domestic violence

    By Sarah Mervosh
    23 January 2013
    The Dallas Morning News

    Connie Nash says she hadn’t been married for even a week before her husband hit her for the first time. She had burned the beans. What followed was 25 years of abuse, bruises, broken bones and jail stays for her husband, she said.

    Then a day came when their 16-year-old son stood up for her. Her husband got angry and left but returned with a gun and put it to Nash’s head. If her son hadn’t jumped on her husband’s back, he would have killed her, Nash believes.

    “So often women die in that situation,” she said. “So I consider myself very blessed.”

    Nash’s experience is fairly typical for situations that escalate into extreme violence or death, said

    criminologist Denise Paquette Boots, an associate professor at the University of Texas at Dallas.

    “There’s something that’s happened that puts … [abusers] over the edge,” she said.

    Often, the flash point comes when a victim stands up to an abuser or decides to leave, Boots said. In Nash’s case, it was her son who took a stand.

    “Things were going to be different. He just couldn’t accept that,” Nash, 53, said of her husband. “If he didn’t think he had control over his family in all situations, he was just going to end it.”

    Nash met her husband in church and got married at 16. She said she never pressed charges or left him because she’d made a commitment to God to stay married forever. Her pastor also counseled her not to leave him, she said.

    “I really thought I’d be married until death do us part, until it almost happened,” Nash said.

    After the incident with the gun, police arrested her husband, she said. He spent less than two years in jail, but he died several years ago, she said.

    Nash had never worked outside the home until he was jailed. Now, more than a decade later, she’s a senior tax processor and serves on the board of directors for The Family Place shelter, she said.

    Nash would like to see harsher laws for domestic violence to help deter abusers. She also suggested a policy under which the city or police could press charges on victims’ behalf.

    “I can’t even believe I’m saying it,” Nash said, because she would have been terrified of the consequences when she was married. But from her perspective today, it seems like a good idea. “It could save a lot of lives.”

    Read the full article at Dallasnews.com.

  • Stiletto Strut Makes the List of the 10 most anticipated spring events on the Dallas Social Scene

    by Emily Roberts | Jan 23, 2013

    The 10 most-anticipated spring events on the Dallas social scene

    by Rachael Abrams
    1.21.13
    CultureMap Dallas

    The sun has emerged from behind the clouds, and spring is just around the corner. That means the Dallas social set is back in philanthropic action. We are marking our calendars, sending in our reply cards and readying our wallets for charitable donations. From lively luncheons to the city's most formal affairs, these are the 10 most anticipated spring events.

    Neiman Marcus Stiletto Strut
    Stiletto Strut is one of our favorite annual events — and not just because it's at the landmark Neiman Marcus Downtown. On April 25, hundreds of ladies, decked out in all manner of super-high heels, strut around the department store to support The Family Place. Sip cocktails and strap on our stilettos for a great cause? We're telling chairs Jenifer Strauss Dannhauser, Stacy Girard and Lindsay Jacaman to count us in.

    Read the full article at the CultureMap Dallas website.

     

  • City of Dallas Domestic Violence Task Force to host Candlelight Vigil on January 23, 2013

    by Emily Roberts | Jan 22, 2013

    Tomorrow night, Wednesday at 6:00 PM, the City of Dallas Domestic Violence Task Force is hosting a candle light vigil to remember domestic violence murder victims of 2012 and 2013. It will be on the plaza in front of City Hall, and is open to the public.

    The Domestic Violence Task Force is chaired by Councilwoman Delia Jasso, who... released three new initiatives to combat this problem last week. Mayor Mike Rawlings has also launched a new initiative to fight domestic abuse.

    For more information, please contact the office of Councilwoman Delia Jasso at (214) 670-4052 or gerardo.sanchez@dallascityhall.com.

    DVTF Candlelight Vigil - 1/23/2013

  • Paige Flink Responds after Recent Shooting

    by Emily Roberts | Jan 22, 2013

    Parents dead after gunfire at daughter's birthday party

    by Jonathan Betz
    January 20, 2013
    WFAA

    GRAPEVINE — An argument at a girl’s 16th birthday party in Grapevine late Saturday night ended with the child's father shooting her mother and then killing himself, according to police.

    Kelly Suckla, 43, shot his 44-year-old wife Kristi near the front door of her parents’ home in the 3100 block of Creekview Drive just after 10 p.m. on Saturday.

    Kelly Suckla then shot himself in the head a few moments later in the front yard.

    Kristi Suckla died about 40 minutes later at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Grapevine.

    “It’s a quiet neighborhood, a family neighborhood,” said neighbor Ruth Cramer. “We're just speechless.”

    Police say Suckla and his wife were estranged, but appeared to be friendly. Friends said Kristi moved into her parents’ Grapevine home about two months ago, but investigators said Kelly was invited to his daughter’s celebration.

    “The family members were aware he was going to be there,” said Sgt. Robert Eberling with the Grapevine Police Department. “So I think it pretty much took everybody by surprise.”

    Police said they’re unsure what sparked the argument. Family members — including the couple’s teenage daughter and 21-year-old son — were nearby, inside the house, when the gunfire erupted, but they did not witness the shooting.

    Jeff Barr has lived next door to the Sucklas' home in Euless for more than 10 years. Just hours before the shooting, he chatted with Kelly Suckla about the party.

    “He said they were just going to do a birthday thing for their daughter, and that was about it,” Barr said. He occasionally visited with the Sucklas inside their home, and said they never gave any indication of problems with their marriage.

    “They seemed normal — never thought anything was going wrong,” Barr said. “Never gave me any reason to believe otherwise.”

    The number of domestic violence murders in North Texas has spiked recently. In Dallas alone, they more than doubled last year to 26, up from 10 the year before.

    “It just seems like it’s gotten more extreme,” said Paige Flink, executive director of The Family Place, a Dallas shelter for battered women. She said not only are the number of domestic abuse cases rising, but so is the viciousness.

    “In the past, what we would see is pushing, shoving, bruises... but not the use of knives and guns,” she said. “It’s extreme violence.”

    Flink worries the sluggish economy may be behind the spike in domestic abuse cases. “The majority of the victims have batterers who are unemployed,” she said.

    The violence even prompted Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings last week to urge the police department to step up efforts to catch known domestic violence abusers.

    “We’ve got to dial it up to the next level,” he said during a Monday news conference at City Hall.

    Dallas officers are now prioritizing cases involving domestic abuse, after the department launched a special task force of 100 officers last month to serve arrest warrants.

    Yet officers point out domestic violence crimes can be very difficult to predict or explain. That’s why victims’ advocates are pushing not only for stepped up enforcement, but also for women to feel more comfortable in seeking help.

    “There really is no hurdle we can’t help a woman overcome,” said Flink, the shelter director. “If it’s bad enough for you to be afraid, it’s bad enough for you to come seek services.”

    Read the full article at WFAA.com.

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