Kristi Boettcher, Director of Advocacy for the Women's Resource Center in Traverse City, presented a program today entitled "Domestic Violence 101."
Domestic violence is defined as "a pattern of behaviors in intimate partner relationships that incorporates a range of abusive tactics which serve to establish coercive control of one partner over the other."  Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional or involve the destruction of property or pets.  The violence occurs in a cycle:  From honeymoon to the build-up of tension to an acute incident then back to honeymoon/remorse.  The time between phases often shortens over time.
People ask "Why does she stay?"  This is the wrong question, putting the focus on the victim.  The right question puts the focus on the abuser: "Why does he do that?"  There are a number of possible reasons for the abuser's actions, including the satisfaction of having power and control, free labor, approval of friends and relatives and double standards.
Why does the victim put up with the abuse?  A variety of economic, safety, social and emotional factors are involved.  To help a victim of abuse one should remain supportive, concentrating on the abuser's behavior as opposed to criticizing him as a person.  Also help the victim develop a safety plan and encourage her to contact the Women's Resource Center.
The Women's Resource Center for the Grand Traverse area is based in Traverse City and serves four counties, including Benzie County.  Its mission is to protect, shelter and empower people impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault.  Features of the Resource Center include:
  • Emergency Shelter
  • Transitional Shelter
  • 24-hour crisis line
  • Advocacy
  • Thrift Shop
  • AWARE/MENS program.
In the Q&A Kristi indicated that the Center has an advocate dedicated to Benzie County.  Once COVID restrictions are lifted, she will be available in Benzie County two days a week.