Domestic Violence Awareness Month observed

By: 
CARY HINES, Assistant editor

Glendale Police Sgt. Patrick Beumler

Photo courtesy Glendale Police Sgt. Patrick Beumler
Glendale City Hall is lit purple throughout the month of October in observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Twenty people are physically abused by an intimate partner every minute in the United States.

That is just one of several staggering statistics put out by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV).

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“DV Awareness Month is an opportunity for the Police Department to remind the community about domestic violence, bring the spotlight to it,” Glendale Police Sgt. Patrick Beumler said. “A lot of times, domestic violence is behind closed doors, so it doesn’t really have the same spotlight that a lot of other criminal activity does.”

Detective Beumler has been the family violence supervisor for the Criminal Investigations – Special Victims Unit for about 10 years.

Every October, the Police Department participates in public outreach programs, such as library presentations to discuss domestic violence and showcase services available to victims. Other presentations take place at domestic violence shelters where victims can learn more about what to expect with the criminal justice process; high schools where students can learn about warning signs; and post-secondary educational facilities, such as Midwestern University, where medical students can learn about the signs of domestic violence. The Police Department also conducts a warrant roundup at the end of the month.

 

 

 

“We’ll take two days out of the month and basically focus exclusively on tracking down people with domestic violence warrants and arresting them and kind of holding offenders accountable by making sure they go to jail and they take care of their warrants,” Beumler said.

According to the NCADV, 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. The abuser’s main objective is to dominate and control his victim, using a variety of tactics, often in cycles that consist of periods of good times and peace and periods of abuse.

Beumler described what’s known in domestic violence circles as the cycle of violence.

“Basically, it starts out just as you would expect, it’s kind of the honeymoon phase, and everything is nice, both partners are in love, and it’s charming and it’s everything that you would expect a loving relationship to be like, especially in the initial stages,” Beumler said.

He said it then moves into what’s called the tension-building phase.

“The anxiety increases, the jealousy increases, the controlling behaviors increase, monitoring phone calls, and text messages and social media posts, just anything like that that can be misconstrued by the other partner and increase their amount of jealousy,” he said adding other factors, such as inadequate housecleaning, can also contribute to the tension-building phase. “You hear the term walking on eggshells, it’s that whole situation where it doesn’t matter what they do, they can’t do everything perfect, and once they mess up on any one little thing, that’s when it moves into the acute battering.”

Beumler said the battering can be physical, sexual, verbal or psychological.

“After it’s done, and that tension’s been alleviated, the action of it has taken place, then it moves back into a honeymoon phase where there’s the apologies, ‘I was drunk,’ or ‘I was high,’ or ‘I had a bad day at work,’ whatever the excuse is, and then the apology and the makeup,” Beumler said.

The timeframe between the phases can be very long, but as the cycle progresses, the time between cycles gets very small, he said, adding that’s when apathy sets in and the victim feels helpless, and “even though the prevalence of domestic violence is very widespread, most victims feel alone and they feel trapped and isolated.”

Beumler said domestic violence is one of the most prevalent calls police officers must respond to.

“On any given day, a patrol officer working the street will probably go to at least two or three domestic violence calls for service,” Beumler said.

He said they can also be some of the scariest calls for police officers.

“You never know what you’re walking into,” he said. “It could be that final straw moment where the abuser is ready to act violently toward anybody to hold onto the victim.”

He said some victims will even act violently toward the responding officers.

“Because of the power and control dynamics, now the victim has to save face in front of the abuser, and so they turn on the officer and say, ‘No, don’t take him, I don’t want him to go to jail, I’m not pressing charges,’” Beumler said. “And they can even turn violent toward the officers, even though it’s not personal, it’s just that they just don’t want to look like they’re cooperating, because they’ll get worse retribution-wise once the abuser does get out of jail.”

If someone is in a domestic violence situation, she is encouraged to call a victim advocate at the Glendale Family Advocacy Center, Beumler said.

The Glendale Family Advocacy Center, established in 1998, is a partnership between the Glendale Police Department, Crisis Preparation and Recovery, Department of Child Safety, Honor Health and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. It is designed to be a “one stop center” for victims of violence, child abuse and sex crimes, and is available for residents and law enforcement agencies throughout the West Valley. It includes facilities for forensic interviews, medical examinations, therapy and consultation between law enforcement personnel and victim services personnel.

“We’ve got a great set of domestic violence victim advocates here at the Glendale Family Advocacy Center, and they can set people up with what we call a safety plan,” Beumler said. “Sometimes, it doesn’t mean leaving the relationship right this second. Sometimes, it means getting all your ducks in a row, this is how you exit a relationship safely when you recognize that you’re in a domestic violence situation.”

He said that too often, people try to leave and are then pulled back and get “trapped in that web.”

“These advocates have a lot of experience in knowing what all those pitfalls are that many victims often face trying to safely exit a relationship,” Beumler said.

It’s especially dangerous for the victim if she returns after already leaving, he said.

“When it’s about power and control for the suspect, when they finally realize that they’ve lost that power and control, it becomes that old adage of ‘if I can’t have you, nobody can.’ And that’s when it’s most dangerous and most violent for the domestic violence victim is when the abuser has felt like they’ve lost all the control,” he said.

He said family and friends should acknowledge the abuse and be supportive.

“It’s good to just put it out in the open, like, ‘Hey, we see the bruises, we see what’s going on, we’re here for you,’” he said, adding that oftentimes, the victim is blamed for not leaving when the abuser is the one who should be blamed.

Beumler is one of the longest-tenured sergeants in his job, he said.

“I think a lot of people get burned out,” he said. “I’ve just found that I’ve got a passion for this type of work and these types of victims.”

For more information on domestic violence or to get help, contact the Glendale Family Advocacy Center at www.glendaleaz.com/advocacycenter, 623-930-3720 or 6830 N. 57th Drive, Glendale.

The Glendale Star

The Glendale Star
7122 N. 59th Ave.
Glendale, AZ 85301-2436
Ph: (623) 842-6000
Fax: (623) 842-6013
Terms of Service

Email Us

Facebook

Peoria Times

Peoria Times
7122 N. 59th Ave
Glendale, AZ 85301-2436
Ph: (623) 842-6000
Fax: (623) 842-6013

Terms of Service

Email Us

Facebook

Please Login for Premium Content