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Domestic abuse is a complex issue that affects 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men.
Help bring light to this often hidden epidemic by reading more below. 

The following posts are from the Emerge! monthly eNews.
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Creating Safety through Visibility

Celebrating LGBT Pride Month

June 2016 eNews

Healthy relationships are a critical component to the strength and future of our community, and should be celebrated in all forms. As a part of that community, we all have a responsibility for building a culture that supports the health and safety (physical and emotional) for every Tucsonan. This month, Emerge! celebrates Pride Month and honors LGBTQ members of our community.

Progress and Remaining Obstacles

For centuries, LGBTQ communities have bravely fought for the dignity and equality they deserve. Despite many advancements, individuals who identify as LGBTQ still face challenges and are often so marginalized that their needs become invisible. Much of the existing legislation that affect LGBTQ communities has limitations because the laws are not applicable in a universal way. For instance, although same-sex marriages are now legal, a lesbian-identified survivor who is leaving an abusive marriage may still have no rights to custody of her children if she is not the biological parent. Minorities are disproportionately affected by these types of legal loopholes, which creates a legislative culture that puts those who are already vulnerable at further risk of oppression.

The full impact of our grief from the mass shooting in Orlando this month has yet to settle in as the faces of the 49 people who lost their lives have surfaced. Emerge! stands in solidarity with all those who were so tragically impacted, and with our LGBT communities as we heal together.

The mass scale of this single shooting was horrific. Unfortunately, it is only one example of how violence is deeply embedded in the LGBTQ experience. As seen below, LGBT individuals are the most likely minority to be targeted for hate crimes in the United States. Statistics also show that 3 out of every 4 victims of hate violence homicides in 2013 were transgender-identified women. If you take into account the lack of accurate data available because of limited research and bias reporting, the numbers continue to grow.


Experiencing systematic violence and hate can make people susceptible to additional trauma, including extreme poverty and job discrimination. In the case of domestic abuse, LGBTQ individuals may have increased barriers to getting access to services because they are vulnerable from a lack of community support and fear of retaliation. To help offset this, anyone can and everyone should help create safety for LGBTQ communities, and the first step is knowing what the current obstacles are and how we can work together to overcome them.

Domestic Abuse in LGBTQ Relationships

The majority of LGBTQ relationships are non-abusive, but domestic abuse does happen within these communities. While nearly all forms of relationship violence are under-reported, this is especially the case for LGBTQ populations. That being said, the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey shows that bisexual women have a significantly higher risk of intimate partner violence, with rates nearly doubled compared to other populations. Because research about abuse in LGBTQ relationships is still at the beginning stages, educational and outreach efforts are too, and therefore when abuse occurs in LGBTQ relationships it can cause confusion for the individual experiencing abuse as to whether or not the behavior is normal.


The unfortunate silence surrounding the issue of domestic abuse for LGBTQ communities often results in limited access to resources for those reaching out for help. It can also create additional barriers to reaching out for help in the first place. For example,

For those who have not yet disclosed their sexuality publicly, their partner’s abusive behavior may include threatening to “out” them to their family, friends or workplace.

For those who have children, their partner’s abusive behavior may include threatening to take away the children. Some states do not allow same-sex parents to adopt their children, which can leave the person experiencing abuse with no legal rights should they choose to separate from the relationship.

Some may fear that bringing attention to violence in their own relationship may go public and halt progress towards equality by creating destructive stigmas of LGBTQ relationships.

Historically, LGBTQ individuals have often faced discrimination and further abuse when reaching out for help. In today’s society, it’s an important step for law enforcement agencies to evaluate their policies and train their officers to respond in a supportive way to all those calling upon them. By evaluating  related issues, law enforcement can address issues like gender stereotyping (in other words, the assumption that the partner who “appears” more masculine is the one using abusive behavior when responding to a domestic violence call) that can cause further damage to the LGBT individual reach out for help. Hospitals, social service agencies and housing offices should also revisit and revise their policies to ensure that everyone has equal access to the critical services they provide.

Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Populations

The transgender community continues to battle discrimination against their ability to express their gender identity. The homicide rate of transgender people is at an all-time high, and domestic abuse in relationships where one or both partners identify as transgender is rarely discussed. In facing our society’s current lack of understanding, many who identify as transgender become isolated and may also experience low self-esteem from public disapproval. The resulting shortage of support could cause even more barriers to resources, forcing an individual who identifies as transgender to stay in an abusive relationship.

Forms of abuse that are unique to relationships where one person identifies as transgender may include:

  • Denying that the transgender-identified partner is a “real” man or woman
  • Shaming the transgender-identified partner’s physical features
  • Calling the transgender-identified person the wrong pronoun, or an offensive pronoun (such as “it”)
  • Denying the transgender-identified partner’s access to starting or continuing medical treatment (especially if the medical plan is held by the partner using abusive behavior)

It’s Up to Us

LGBTQ communities continue to demonstrate that love is stronger than hate. As individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, we all must be part of the solution to achieve equality and safety. We all must listen to the needs of LGBTQ communities, and stand together in solidarity. It is only when the majority of our community takes action that we can achieve the culture change needed to ensure justice for all Tucsonans, and that starts with each of us. We thank you for being a loud, public voice for those whose needs are too often disregarded. Together, we can create safety.

Services For All at Emerge!

Everyone deserves to be safe in their relationships and Emerge! provides services and support to anyone experiencing domestic abuse. While the majority of the people seeking our services are women and their children, our services are available to anyone regardless of gender identity, sexuality, race, nationality, religion, or ability. If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse and has experienced discrimination in reaching out for help, call the Emerge! Hotline at 520.795.4266.


Intimate Partner Stalking

Most Commonly Committed by Current or Former Partners

February 2016 eNews

Having your daily activities monitored by a current or former partner is frightening and dangerous. While stalking can often be romanticized, it is a behavior that can escalate to more serious and dangerous acts. In fact, being stalked may indicate that someone is at risk of being seriously harmed or even killed.

Did you know?

  • 74% of those stalked by a former intimate partner also reported violence or coercive control during the relationship
  • 81% of women stalked by a former or current partner were also physically assaulted by that partner
  • 76% of women killed by an intimate partner had also been stalked by that partner

Stalking is a dangerous behavior and can also be a crime, and should never be taken lightly. If you have concerns about intimate partner stalking, Emerge! can help. Call the hotline to speak with someone who can assist you with safety planning (unless you are in immediate danger, then call 911 first). We also offer other services such as help with obtaining an order of protection, emotional support and assistance accessing other community resources to help you create safety in your life.

 Seeds of Hope

Planting a Garden Together

November 2015 eNews

One of the greatest impacts of domestic abuse for survivors is a loss of self-confidence and self-esteem; both of which are critical to a healthy personal identity.  This loss of identity can mean that a survivor may struggle with conflict or asking for what they need in relationships.  Over time, for many survivors, this results in losing touch with their own needs and goals. For the women staying in the Emerge! shelter, both the kitchen and the task of feeding themselves and others may trigger upsetting flashbacks. For many women, part of their emotional/psychological abuse may have included having their cooking skills ridiculed, they may have had limited food or there might have been incidents of physical abuse in the kitchen.

Emerge! saw the opportunity to create a nutrition program that would take some of these stress points and turn them into growth opportunities, while also strengthening the sense of community at shelter. What resulted for participants has been an extraordinary example of holistic healing and self-discovery.

Last month, the women and children living at the Emerge! shelter, along with shelter staff, took the nutrition program to the next level by creating gardening beds, laying irrigation lines and planting hundreds of tiny seeds. A sense of community began to develop as the women worked together, laughed and got their hands dirty in the freshly tilled soil.

Amidst the general commotion at shelter – which, on any given day, houses about fifty women and children who may have little in common but having experienced abuse – participants found peace and calm tending the garden together. Some of the women don’t speak English, but were still able to connect with the rest of the group as they planted and taught each other words, such as “radish” and “cauliflower.”

The gardens are now beginning to flourish, as is the children’s interest in the sprouting plants. For the children staying at shelter, the garden is an opportunity for them to not only connect with the natural world, but feel the delight of watching the garden grow. Some have even joined the “Garden Club,” and are currently working on painting plant markers for the new plants.

For the families staying at the Emerge! shelter, gardening is a way for them to re-connect with themselves and foster relationships with each other, which can increase their self-esteem and buildconfidence. For them, the garden is a healing place.


The Tower Garden, a gift from Sharon Kephart Fuller & Larry Fuller, is full of mint, basil, oregano and other herbs.


Located right outside the kitchen, shelter residents can easily grab herbs from the Garden Tower while they’re cooking.















Shelter residents have planted seedlings in a raised bed, including cauliflower, broccoli, collard greens, kale, flowers and cilantro .


All of the planted radishes, carrots and lettuce sprouted beautifully from seeds in the perma-culture garden.


The garden is lined with rocks that were created by U of A students as part of a domestic abuse event held by the U of A Resource Center.















Children Exposed to Abuse

Looking Out for this Vulnerable Population

October Educational eNews Campaign – Email 4 of 5

“Children are not just eye witnesses to domestic abuse – they are actively involved in trying to
understand the abuse, predicting when it will happen, protecting themselves, their mother or their siblings,
and worrying about the consequences. The focus on day to day survival may leave little room for fun and relaxation,
or meeting basic needs. They grow up in a climate of anxiety, vigilance, helplessness and unpredictability;
what they need is structure, to be nurtured, and to have emotional and physical safety.”
(Wisconsin Department of Children and Families Domestic Violence Handbook-2010).

Children are often hidden victims of domestic abuse. Studies have shown that over half of the women who experience intimate partner violence have children under the age of 12. These children grow up in an environment that is unpredictable, filled with tension and anxiety, and dominated by fear. A child is aware and directly impacted by any exposure to domestic abuse, even when they are still in the womb. Often, these kids have also been directly harmed. It’s estimated that 30 to 60 percent of parents using violence towards their partner also abuse the children in the household.

Artwork made by a child participant during an Emerge! art therapy session

The Impact

Witnessing violence between one’s parents or caretakers is the strongest risk factor for transmitting violent behavior into future generations. Yelling and hitting by one parent to another may cause children to think this behavior is okay and it may occur in their own relationships as they grow older. In fact, boys who witness domestic abuse are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults.

Not all children exposed to violence are affected equally or in the same way. However, children exposed to domestic abuse often experience:

  • Increased aggression
  • Anxiety, fear, confusion, grief, and lack of trust
  • Isolation and regression
  • Bed-wetting and nightmares
  • Attempts to assume adult roles
  • Self-blame, guilt, shame and self-destruction
  • Developmental delays, including harm to their brain development and impaired cognitive and sensory growth
  • Greater risk for personality and behavioral problems, and damaged social development

Artwork made by a child participant during an Emerge! art therapy session

Services for Children at Emerge!

At Emerge!, 40% of the participants we serve are children. Intervention and support services to promote healing for those children who have witnessed abuse are critical to this this vulnerable population. Listening to them, nurturing them and making them feel safe will help kids heal. The goal of Emerge! family services is to provide a holistic approach to recovery, which includes the following:

  • Family services that help children strengthen emotional bonds with their non-abusing parent and siblings;
  • Engaging children in constructive, healing discussions about the abuse that they have witnessed;
  • Providing dance, pet and art therapy sessions;
  • Teaching age appropriate vocabulary to discuss the issue, as finding words to explain feelings around a traumatic experience is often difficult for children;
  • Activities that display healthy relationships and lessen the child’s chances of becoming a part of the cycle of abuse.


Secondary Survivors

Caring for Someone Who’s Suffering From Abuse

October Educational eNews Campaign – Email 4 of 5

Feelings of guilt, frustration, shame, powerlessness and grief are commonly experienced by survivors of domestic abuse, but they aren’t the only ones to have these emotions. Knowing that some you care about is being abused can be overwhelming and frightening, which is why friends and family are often greatly impacted by their loved one’s abuse. In fact, many friends and family members can experience a range of emotions that are similar to what a survivor experiences in an abusive relationship. These feelings can often include anger, guilt and powerlessness.

It is important when we are concerned about someone’s safety to offer help. However, trying to “control,” dictate or convince someone to do something, even if we truly feel it will help them, adds pressure to their situation. It may also inadvertently increases the negative emotions they are already feeling from their abusive relationship, such as guilt, shame and fear. These emotions may result in a survivor withdrawing even more from the people who are trying to protect and support them.

The 24-hour bilingual Emerge! hotline is available to not only those who have experienced abuse, but also their friends and family. The hotline can be helpful for learning how to best speak with and support someone about the abuse they are suffering from, as well finding out what resources are available to them within the community. The hotline is also a resource for friends and family who feel overwhelmed by fear and anxiety and need a supportive place to talk and process their emotions. If you or a friend have questions or need to talk, the hotline is there for you. Call 520.795.4266.


No One Deserves to Be Abused

Building a Safer Community, Together

October Educational eNews Campaign – Email 3 of 5

Defining Safety

Emerge! defines safety as a life free from abuse, and each individual has their own interpretation of what it means for them to feel safe. Put simply, safety is a basic human right that all people deserve. It’s important to keep in mind that emotional and physical safety are equally important. When someone feels emotionally unsafe, they suffer from fear, uncertainly and anxiety.  Living under these conditions makes it difficult to feel comfortable or enjoy day-to-day activities, let alone be productive at work or at home. Over time, a person can completely lose their identity, sense of control and self-esteem.

The Community’s Role in Creating Safety 

Emerge! helps those who have been affected by domestic abuse find safety by providing crisis intervention and support services. While access to these services is critical, the harsh reality is that they are only half of the equation. For truly effective intervention and prevention of abuse within our community, individuals must also educate themselves about the prevalence and complexities of abuse, how to help someone who’s being abused, as well as how to be a loud, public voice for cultural change.

It’s estimated that one in four women will suffer from domestic abuse in their lifetimes. The survivors are not faceless – they are our mothers, our sisters, our neighbors, co-workers, and friends. The same is true for those who are abusing their loved ones.  The individuals and families impacted by abuse belong to our community – we know them and we can help them. As individual community members, we must take a proactive role in creating safety.


The most important thing we can do is to remember that it’s okay to ask help and it’s okay to offer help. We can intervene and offer help to those currently suffering from abuse by:

  1. Learning how to identify the signs of abuse
  2. Knowing the available community resources
  3. Offering help to someone suffering from domestic abuse


We can also help create a safe community that does not tolerate abuse in the following ways:

  1. Speak up by clearly and frequently verbalizing our intolerance for abusive and coercive behaviors
  2. Set an example by role-modeling healthy and respectful relationships and gender roles for men and women
  3. Helping those who use abusive behavior to get the support they need to become safe and healthy partners.


The Cycle of Abuse

Learning to Recognize the Patterns

October Educational eNews Campaign – Email 2 of 5

Most abusive relationships don’t start out that way. In fact, those who use abusive behaviors will often attract their partners by purposefully displaying extreme kindness and over-the-top gestures of affection in the early stages of their relationships. This initial dating period is often what keeps those experiencing abuse from leaving the relationship. They remember how good things once were and are hopeful they will return that way.

Though not all abusive relationships will fit this pattern, the diagram below represents the reoccurring cycle of behavior that’s frequently seen in abusive relationships. Within the cycle, the person using abusive behavior displays affectionate, remorseful and calm behaviors in-between periods of tension that grow into physical, sexual or emotional abuse. This can sometimes causes the survivor to focus the majority of their attention on avoiding conflict and tension causing situations, so much so that they can lose focus of their own needs.

Picture - Educational Piece - Cycle

The Cycle Over Time

The cycle is fluid and constant, but each couple’s situation is unique and the length of each phase can change. Over time, abusive incidents tend to become more severe and occur more frequently, and a couple may go through the entire cycle several times a day.  Additionally, as time goes on, the honeymoon stage will sometimes disappear altogether. The diagram below represents the honeymoon stage getting shorter and the abusive behavior getting worse.

Picture - Educational Piece - Cycle Over Time

Domestic Violence Doesn’t Discriminate

Having an Open Mind is Key to Helping Our Community

August 2015 eNews

The harsh reality is that domestic abuse is happening all around us – to our friends, loved ones, co-workers and neighbors. People of all walks of life come to Emerge! for help and support. Domestic abuse has no boundaries within gender, religion, race, color, ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic status, age or disability. It can happen to anyone at any time.

The idea that abuse can only happen to certain people in a certain kind of situation can create beliefs that further isolate those who need help.  For example, it could easily be assumed that a well-established female executive at a top company would never experience or tolerate abuse. Assuming that it could not happen, may mean that she may not be believed.  It may also mean that she would feel embarrassed and fearful that her staff and co-workers view of her would change –from savvy and resilient to weak and easily manipulated. These fears could become a barrier to her leaving or asking for support.

When someone gathers the courage to reach out for help, it is important that the response be supportive and encouraging, as this can impact a person’s decision in moving forward. In fact, it is common that the fear of how others will respond prevents a person from ever seeking out help at all. Shame, humiliation and even denial are common emotions for someone experiencing domestic abuse. Afraid of hearing, “how could you let this happen to you,” can lead some victims to become socially isolated in an effort to hide what may be happening from friends and family.


Take Action to Create Safety!

As a community, we can provide a loud and clear message that it’s not the victims fault. There is no shame in their situation or in asking for help. If this message is not made undeniably apparent in our community, someone wanting to reach out for help may never know it’s safe to do so. Together, we can help people find the strength and confidence within themselves to move from victim to survivor. We can do this by both understanding and voicing that abuse can happen to anyone, and that no one deserves to be abused.

Support is Only A Phone Call Away

If you’ve reached out to someone for help in the past but are still in need of support, don’t give up! You deserve a life free from abuse. When you’re ready, a bilingual Emerge! representative is standing by for you 24-hours a day, even if you just have questions. The Emerge! hotline can be reached at 520.795.4266 or 1.888.428.0101.


Barriers to Leaving an Abusive Relationship

July 2015 eNews

Domestic abuse is a complex issue, and there are often many different barriers to leaving an abusive relationship. Every situation is unique, but some common obstacles can include isolation, custody of children, safety concerns, belief systems about divorce being taboo, beliefs in gender roles within relationships, cultural messages about relationships, religious beliefs, or to put it simply, a lack of options.

This past year there were several high profile figures charged with domestic violence. The media attention given to the issue at the national level created an opportunity for an impactful conversation about abuse. One example of this was when Ray Rice, former NFL Baltimore Ravens Running Back, assaulted his then fiancé in a Las Vegas elevator. In response to the publicity surrounding this case, the community created the social media campaign #WhyIStayed to voice their outrage and bring to light the many barriers to leaving. The video below features Meredith Vieira, formerly of “The Today Show,” discussing her encounter with domestic violence and why she stayed.

video clip

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It is important for family, friends and the community to make an effort to understand the reasons someone feels trapped in a relationship. By doing so, that person can feel supported in their journey to safety and independence. Check out our website for some additional examples of what keeps people in abusive relationships.


What About the Person Choosing to be Abusive?

While learning about the barriers to leaving can help us be more supportive to someone experiencing abuse, it is important that we also work together to stop placing responsibility on the victim and instead find ways to change the social structure that allows domestic abuse to continue. This includes significant belief and behavior changes for the small minority of men who use abusive behaviors, and a great responsibility for society to hold them accountable in order to create safety for women and girls in our community.

That accountability includes clearly and frequently verbalizing intolerance for abusive and coercive behaviors, providing support for men in getting the help they need to become healthy and safe partners, and role-modeling healthy and respectful male gender roles for the boys in our lives. This message of accountability is one of the most important components of preventing abuse within our community and equally important as the message to victims that we support them and help is available.

Myths vs. Realities

Increasing Awareness & Understanding to Better Support Survivors

June 2015 eNews

It can be difficult to recognize when someone might be in an unsafe and unhealthy relationship. In order to provide meaningful support, it’s important that we, as a community, have accurate information about domestic abuse. Increasing our knowledge about domestic violence also allows us to support individuals who choose to use abusive behavior by helping them understand the impact that their choices have on family, friends and the community. 

Uncover the Facts

myth 1

Myth 2

Myth 3

More Myths & Realities – Want to read about more domestic abuse myths and realities? Click here.

Children & Domestic Abuse

Every Child Has the Right to be in a Safe & Loving Home

May 2015 eNews

Each year, thousands of American children witness domestic violence within their families. In fact, slightly more than half of female victims of intimate partner violence live in households with children under age 12.

Kids Art

Artwork made by a child participant during Emerge! art therapy sessions

The Impact

It is often assumed that young children are unaware of their surroundings. However, studies have shown that children of all ages are impacted by exposure to abusive households, even when they are still in the womb.

In the short term, children exposed to domestic abuse may exhibit:

  • Increased aggression
  • Anxiety, fear and lack of trust
  • Confusion and grief
  • Isolation and regression
  • Bed-wetting and nightmares
  • Attempts to assume adult roles
  • Self-blame, guilt and shame
  • Self-destruction

Long term effects may include:

  • Developmental delays, including harm to brain development and impaired cognitive and sensory growth in small children;
  • Greater risk for personality and behavioral problems, and damaged social development;
  • Becoming the next generation to enter the cycle of abuse – the single best predictor of children becoming either perpetrators or victims of domestic violence later in life is whether or not they grow up in a home where there is domestic violence.

Services for Children at Emerge!

Emerge! helps children who have been exposed to domestic abuse by:

  • Providing family services that help children strengthen bonds with their non-abusing parent and siblings;
  • Engaging children in constructive, healing discussions about the abuse that they have witnessed;
  • Providing dance, pet and art therapy sessions;
  • Teaching age appropriate vocabulary to discuss the issue, as finding words to explain feelings around a traumatic experience is often difficult for children;
  • Helping the non-abusive parent with divorce and custody issues access legal services if there are any safety risks for their children;
  • Discussing what healthy relationships look like in order to lessen the child’s chances of becoming a part of the cycle of abuse.
Kids Art

Artwork made by a child participant during Emerge! Art Therapy sessions.

Financial Abuse

Using Money and Resources for Power and Control

April 2015 eNews

Financial abuse can be used to trap someone in a relationship by limiting resources that would allow them to be independent. Although most people think violence is always involved, financial abuse is also a component of domestic abuse. As with any form of abuse, it’s about power and control in a relationship.

Financially abusive behavior can include:

  • Controlling how money is spent;
  • Withholding money or “giving an allowance;”
  • Running up unpaid debt in a partner’s name;
  • Stealing a partner’s identity, money, credit or property.

In healthy relationships:

  • Financial decisions are made together;
  • Monthly finances might be managed by just one partner, though, this is agreed upon by both;
  • Access to financial information is available to both partners;
  • Both partners are allowed to work or earn money;
  • Each partner has a say in financial decisions, regardless of who earns more.

Getting Help: 

  • Emerge! helps people break free from financial abuse through:
  • Safety planning to help separate finances before leaving an abusive relationship;
  • Teaching life-skills literacy – including budgeting assistance, education about renting and home ownership, assistance with employment searches and educational options;
  • Assistance with accessing financial resources – including food stamps, cash assistance, bankruptcy support and child support enforcement;
  • Support with establishing independent housing.