What is a Crisis?
Crime Victim Rights Act
Advocacy is a special service to the community. It comes
in the form of educational presentations, prevention programs, direct involvement, indirect decision making, awareness of resources, coordination and taking a stand on issues. Being an Advocate is a tough job at times. You might be liked one moment and not very popular the next. The heart is in the right place. Once determined, stand up for what
you believe. Your voice can be heard when victims are let down or when victims are gathering their strength. You're the voice. Your heart is open and your willingness unquestioned.
Have you stood up for a survivor of violence today?!
VICTIM ADVOCACY & the ROLE of the ADVOCATE
We are there to LISTEN ...not to work miracles (though some do happen)
We are there to HELP victims discover what they are FEELING.....not to make feelings go away
We are there
to help identify OPTIONS ....not to decide for them
We are there to discuss STEPS & PROCESS ...not to take all the steps for them
(unless the law dictates otherwise)
We are there to help victims discover their STRENGTHS ...not to rescue or leave vulnerable
We are there to help them learn to CHOOSE ...not to keep them from making difficult choices
||Five Things to SAY to a Reluctant Victim|
1. I am afraid for your safety
2. I am afraid for the safety of your children
3. It will only get worse
4. I am here for you when you
are ready (to leave)
5. You don't deserve to be beat
My Silent Plea
All alone and frightened on the inside,
I say everything's fine, but have plenty to hide
Battered and bruised, but can't tell a soul,
I want out so bad, but he's got control.
Using threats and manipulation to keep me there.
Brainwashing me to think no one would care.
Robbed of my pride and feeling only
He says it's my fault, so I shoulder the blame.
I'm so isolated from my family and friends,
If I ask for their help, he'll bring harm to them.
My heart is breaking, I need help so bad,
Yet I remain silent, lonely and sad.
No one understands the situation anyway,
Fear for my life is why I stay.
You'll never understand 'til you walk in my shoes,
So please don't condemn and say, "How can you...?"
I feel disgraced by your knowing looks,
We're women you know, your neighbors, or mothers
I want respect and love, just like you,
I'm tired of all the threats and abuse.
I feel so helpless, with no where to turn,
For protection and safety, I constantly yearn.
I want to live a life of my own,
Desperately wanting my plight to be known.
I hide the bruises behind make-up and smiles,
Hoping you'll notice, all the while.
Look past the smile, to my lifeless eyes,
Please notice the silence and the reason I'm shy.
Look at the way I limp when I walk,
realize I won't look at you when I talk,
My movements may be awkward and slow,
I say I fell, but
it's from last night's blows.
For every injury, I"ll give an excuse,
But please don't turn away and say it's no use.
Notice he won't let me out of his sight,
Giving me no chance to reveal my plight.
Don't confuse his "doting" for love and affection.
Please see it as control, and give me protection.
I'm crying out the only way I now how,
out to me and help me now.
I long for your trust and the words, "It's okay"
Please reach out to me and show me a way.
To put an end to the fear and pain,
To get back my pride and self-worth again.
I'm desperately needing compassion and help,
I feel there's no one to rely on, only myself.
My frightened cries are longing to be heard,
Please look at the
signs, my unspoken words.
Just open your eyes, all the signs are there,
And see my silent pleas for someone to care.
For if you ignore my problem and wait,
"One Day" for me, may be just "one Day" too late.
--Written by Penelope House client, a "Survivor because someone cared."
ADVOCATES.....read this poem with caution, yet with better understanding of the nature of the violence that some victims endure.
I hear the man downstairs slapping the hell out of his stupid wife again
I hear him push and shove her around the overcrowded room
I hear his wife scream and
beg for mercy
I hear him tell her there is no mercy
I hear the blows as they land on her beautiful body
I hear glasses and pots and pans falling
I hear her fleeing from the room
I hear them running up the stairs
I hear her outside my door
I hear him coming toward her outside my door
I hear her banging on my door
I hear him bang her head on my door
I hear him trying to drag her away from my door
I hear her hands desperate on my doorknob
I hear the blows of her head against my door
I hear him drag her down the stairs
I hear her head bounce from step to step
I hear them again in their room
I hear a loud smack across her face (I guess)
I hear her groan---then
I hear the eerie silence
I hear him
open the top drawer of his bureau (the .38 lives there)
I hear the fast beat of my heart
I hear the drops of perspiration fall from my brow
I hear him yell I warned you
I hear him say damn you I warned you and now it's too late
I hear the loud report of the thirty eight caliber revolver then
I hear it again and again the Smith and Wesson
I hear the bang
bang bang of four death dealing bullets
I hear my heart beat faster and louder---then again
I hear the eerie silence
I hear him walk out of their overcrowded room
I hear him walk up the steps
I hear him come toward my door
I hear his hand on the doorknob
I hear the doorknob click
I hear the door slowly open
I hear him step into my room
the click of the thirty eight before the firing pin hits the bullet
I hear the loud blast of the powder exploding in the chamber of the .38
I hear the heavy lead nose of the bullet swiftly cutting its way through the barrel of the .38
I hear it emerge into space from the .38
I hear the bullet of death flying toward my head the .38
I hear it coming faster than
sound the .38
I hear it coming closer to my sweaty forehead the .38
I hear its weird whistle the .38
I hear it give off a steamlike noise when it cuts through my sweat the .38
I hear it singe my skin as it enters my head the .38 and
I hear death saying, hello, I'm here
...by Ted Joans
System Changers Award
Give by Tom Green Coalition Against Violence, Inc.
PURPOSE of the AWARD
To recognize a person for exemplary work in the field of family violence due to their innovative approach, motivation towards improvement changes, and tireless dedication to serve in this field. Achievement goes to those who are innovative, progressive & dedicated
Stewart D. Dickson and Rita Guthrie
The dual award of System Changers for 2001 was presented to Mr. Dickson and Ms. Guthrie on December 11, 2001. It was a befitting recognition for the work they have done for crime victims in the shadow of the September 11th attack on America. The change in the system that Stewart and Rita created
for this community was that of the "Crisis Intervention Unit" of the Tom Green County Sheriff's Office. Stewart Dickson had the vision and Rita Guthrie took the
This ever serving program assists those in crisis and crime victims with on-scene response by coordinators and volunteers. Upon request by law enforcement officers, the crisis intervention unit provides direct assessment, counseling, referral, safety planning, and the gathering of basic needs. This
program smoothes the path for victims or those in a crisis situation.
Stewart Dickson was the public information officer for the Tom Green County Sheriff's Office (retired 2006). He has worked in law enforcement for 42 years. His career has included positions of dispatcher to Chief Deputy. Stewart has worked as a law enforcement instructor for Texas A&M University,
Criminal Justice Director for the Concho Valley Council of Governments, Chief Deputy for the Sheriff's Office in Tom Green and Taylor Counties, and Lieutenant over training for the Sheriff's office of Tom Green Green County. Mr. Dickson holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Hardin Simmons University.
His vision was to create a unique program that served both victims and law enforcement officers---directly tend to the needs of victims and assist officers in helping victims through a crisis situation. Stewart wrote a VOCA (victims of crime act) grant to support his vision. Working hand in hand,
the program is designed to provide care and inform victims of their rights; work with adults and children; enable victims through the criminal justice system; develop cooperative witnesses for effective prosecution efforts; and tend to the basic needs of this community. The program offers reassurance to the officers that once they leave the scene to return
back in service, the victims will be taken care of by unit workers.
Rita Guthrie was hired as the CIU Coordinator in 1999. Ms. Guthrie has taken the vision
and achieved a strong coordinating program. She has worked in the field of victim assistance for over 4 years, inclusive of the Sheriff's Office and the Family Shelter. Ms. Guthrie holds a Master's degree in counseling psychology and has specialized training in crisis intervention, debriefing, death notification and community response.
Rita was instrumental in implementing the structure of the program, designing an effective volunteer training program and setting forth the protocol for crisis intervention services. Rita has been an active member of the Coalition since March 11, 1997. She served as President of the Coalition for 2001.
Lori Bearden Flores, 1st Recipient
Lori received the "Systems Changer" Award on August 8, 2000. Mrs. Flores is currently a victim services specialists with Assault Victim Services since February of 2000. Lori was the former legal services coordinator at the Family Shelter where she began her service in December 1990 as a volunteer. She quickly moved into the role as a lead victim advocate while
working the evening shift at the shelter. After a lengthy understudy, Lori enhanced the duties of a legal advocate, leading the path to legal rights and remedies for victims. Her special skill at understanding cultural diversity became an attribute for working with battered women. She assisted in the role play activities for rookies at the law enforcement academy.
She enjoys working with law enforcement and prosecution and helping victims secure their rights within the system. Lori has always been creative in her endeavors where victims are concerned. Lori doesn't hesitate in securing the safety of children, coordinating child visitation, conducting visitation exchange with angry perpetrators, and assisting during the
"escape phase" of the battered. Mrs. Flores has a deep insight into the needs and issues of family violence victims and truly understands the plight of sexual assault victims..
Ms. Flores was a coalition member since its inception on March 11, 1997
until 2002. She has served on numerous committees and served as the
Vice President of the Board for 2001. She continues the
pursuit in her hometown of El Paso, Texas.
Valerie J. Tillery, Original Recipient of the "Systems Changers" Award
Valerie received the award on June 30, 1999 after serving 9 years as the program director of the ICD Family Shelter. She was one of several founding coalition against violence board members who firmly believed in the strength of uniting agencies and organizations for a common cause. Valerie began at the shelter in November 1990 during a time when "the movement"
of family violence was somewhat stale in San Angelo. Law enforcement was fighting a battle with only a few laws on its side, yet the coordination between them and victims' service programs was minimal. "Blaming the victim" was the common attitude--even amongst shelter workers. Even so, Valerie found a whole troop of dedicated officers and mentors.
Previously and after working for seven years with prosecutors, investigators and the Dallas Police Department at the Dallas County Criminal District Attorney's Office, Valerie felt that law enforcement played a major role in the healing process of victims. "They ARE the front line", she proclaims. Stronger advocacy roles and duties were put into place at
the shelter. Victim sensitivity and compassion was focused on. Even so, Valerie met with opposition when first initiating the batterers intervention program. She even tried to organize a coalition in the early days--only one person was interested. It was still a time when "family violence" wasn't spoken---out loud. Many people didn't know that the shelter even
existed. A great deal of time was provided in teaching at the law enforcement academy, volunteering with Assault Victim Services, the Police Spouse Association and giving speeches throughout the community. Times changed, media and awareness increased and criminal statutes were enhanced. She claims that throughout those years, her staff created miracles for
victims and were remarkable advocates in the truest sense--they built a strong foundation. Finally, other organizations and agencies stepped forward to assist in the fight against abuse of men, women and children in this community. It was a welcomed relief!
Valerie served approximately 4 years as the Coalition Board Secretary, 2 1/2 years on the board of directors for Assault Victim Services
(now Concho Valley Rape Crisis Center), and served on the advisory board for the Crisis Intervention Unit of the Tom Green County Sheriff's Office. She is a licensed TCLEOSE law enforcement instructor, a certificated teacher/secondary education with the
State, holds a B.B.A. degree and a B.A. degree from Angelo State University.
She continues to serve on the Concho Valley Criminal Justice
Advisory Committee and the Concho Valley Criminal Justice
Community Planning Committee (since 1995).