CCSF Newsletter April 2023

There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.

Nelson Mandela

Dear Friends,

We hope you have a happy springtime as we are all mindful of those in our community who hope and work for the end of unsafe family systems. We appreciate the workers and families and friends who pray for loved ones who desperately need help and loving support to gain freedom from abuse.  We appreciate you! 

This month’s e-newsletter includes:

The First Women’s Self Defense Case

An Aftermath of Self-Harm

Self-Injury and Self-Harm, Definitions

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Dawson Place Child Advocacy Center

Refuse to Abuse

Stop the Abuse, Heal the Family, Change the Future



Twitter: @CCSFDV

The First Women’s Self-Defense Case

University of Miami School of Law authors Donna K Coker and Lindsay C. Harrison published an abstract in 2007, The Story of Wanrow: The Reasonable Woman and the Law of Self-Defense. The following is taken from that abstract:

The Washington State Supreme Court decision in State v. Wanrow is often described as one of the first “women’s self-defense case.” The Wanrow decision marked the first time that a state’s highest court determined that gender was part of the “context” from which a jury should determine the reasonableness of a defendant’s self-defense claim. Yvonne Wanrow was not a battered woman, but the analysis of self-defense doctrine and the defense strategies that grew from her case would become the underpinning for many self-defense cases that would follow on behalf of battered women.

From Wikipedia, we learn that:

Yvonne Swan Wanrow, is a Sinixt Native American activist and a once convicted criminal. She is part of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. Wanrow is known for the 1972 trial concerning the shooting death of a man who had attempted to molest her son and had attacked other children. The ruling was the first in America recognizing the particular legal problems of women who defend themselves or their children from male attackers and was again affirmed by the Washington Supreme Court in denying the prosecutor’s petition for rehearing in 1979.

An Aftermath of Self-Harm

By C.L.

The aftermath of a domestic violence relationship is invariably despair, self-blame and other agonizing emotions. Following the patterns of a survivor’s tortuous journey to healing can be one of self-doubt balanced with hopeful breakthrough moments even for the most seasoned counselor and/or family member/friend. Tortured thoughts and questions survivors ask themselves might go like this:

  • Why did I let it go on for so long? (There are hundreds of really good reasons to stay, including vulnerable children still in the home, financial burdens, fear of abuser retaliation, etc., etc.)
  • Have my children been harmed too much? Will my children follow in the abuser’s footsteps? (There are a boatload of statistics that give survivors pause to think about this as a real possibility.)
  • Is it all my fault? (Even though the aftermath is often worse than the abuse itself, survivors always blame themselves because they have heard a litany of ‘blamespeak’ that they have ruined their marriage and family forever.)
  • Why didn’t I get help? (Perhaps they have tried their friends, family, pastors, called the hotlines and done everything but raise a flag over their home and been doubted and even shunned by those who don’t understand.)
  • Is it too late for my family to be whole again? (This is often the hardest burden to bear: that all their efforts to begin again and build a healthy home are hopeless.)

​As supportive and loving people who care greatly about survivors of abuse, we need to be understanding and look for signs and words of those who are helplessly despairing to the point of self-harm and even ending the agony permanently. Not to be an alarmist, but it is wise to have hotline numbers on hand to give to a survivor for legal and advocacy counseling as well as the Suicide Hotline.

These numbers are also a source of help for those who are in a close relationship with survivors or who have been called into a situation as support. You can call these numbers to get help from people who are trained in the field and who have great ideas and words to help you with talking to the survivor.

Don’t forget that reporting or referring a person for follow-up by the hotlines is often the most loving thing we can do. See numbers below:

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-4673

Crisis Connection: 866-427-4747

Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: 988

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 866-427-4747

These are just a few. Help and hope are available!

Self-Injury and Self-Harm, Definitions

© Sandra L Brown, The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction and Public Psychopathy Education

In a recent article, Sandra L Brown, M.A., discusses Aftermath and Self-Injury and Self-Harm. She states that “a frequent, but often undiscussed, aftermath symptom (for DV survivors) is self-injury. Aftermath is the traumatic symptoms associated with the relational harm by pathological partners. Self-injury is the deliberate harm to oneself sometimes through cutting or burning but also through consumption of high amounts of drugs or alcohol not necessarily associated with addiction…”

“Many survivors of Pathological Love Relationships (PLRs) have been wrongly diagnosed as BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) and perhaps the issue of self-injury is one of the symptoms misread by other therapists that have caused survivors to stop discussing self-injurious and self-harming behavior. The Institute believes that self-injury is not necessarily an indicator of BPD and often more an indication of unprocessed trauma and a lack of coping skills…”

Ms. Brown goes on to say: “PLR trauma, which is often a form of PTSD, is a complicated layering of trauma symptoms. At the heart of PLR (Pathological Love relationships) PTSD is the issue of dysregulated emotions… The inability to stabilize one’s emotions often causes survivors to try to gain control over the emotions through other means—like medicating these emotional highs and lows or flashbacks through alcohol or street or even prescribed medication. What can’t be controlled is often ‘numbed’ through drugs, alcohol, sex, or food… The point being, untreated trauma behaviors that feel so out of control cause survivors to take extreme measures to relieve the intensity of the emotions. Some do that through self-injury like cutting, scratching, or burning while others take other approaches to reduce intense feelings.”

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

(National) Child Abuse Prevention Month is an annual observance in the United States dedicated to raising awareness and preventing child abuse. Wikipedia informs us that “April has been designated Child Abuse Prevention Month in the United States since 1983. U.S. President Barack Obama continued that tradition, and in 2016 issued a presidential proclamation stating: “During National Child Abuse Prevention Month, we recommit to giving every child a chance to succeed and to ensuring that every child grows up in a safe, stable, and nurturing environment that is free from abuse and neglect.”

April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month

(National) Sexual Assault Awareness Month, SAAM, is an annual campaign to raise public awareness about sexual assault and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence.

What an incredible tragedy when these two traumas, child abuse, and sexual assault, intersect in a child’s life.

Do you know about the excellent resource (Childhood Domestic This comprehensive site is for adults who experienced domestic violence in their childhood and for children who are or have experienced DV. It is also for those who want to help people impacted by domestic violence.

Dawson Place Child Advocacy Center

Do you know about Dawson Place Child Advocacy Center in Everett? Dawson Place is a safe place where abused kids and non-offending family members can go for safety, justice and healing. Dawson Place offers advocates who help navigate services and provide information, offer medical and mental health professionals, and professional law enforcement support.

Refuse to Abuse

From the Refuse to Abuse website:

Refuse to Abuse is Sunday, June 4, 2023, T Mobile Park! Registration is now open. This unique 5K takes you around every level of T-Mobile Park, from the top to the players’ tunnel to the final lap around the field!

Refuse To Abuse ® is a partnership between the Seattle Mariners and the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) to promote healthy, respectful relationships. WSCADV is a nonprofit 501(c)3 charity. Every dollar raised directly supports our statewide domestic violence prevention and education work.

©2023 Christian Coalition for Safe Families

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