The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

About 175 turn out for Hartley House walk

 

October 10, 2018

David Grieder

Eastern New Mexico University senior Sarena Garcia, left, walked Saturday with Jacklyn Jones of Clovis.

CLOVIS - Speak up, pay attention and be there: that's some of the main advice from participants in Hartley House's third-annual walk Saturday in Clovis for domestic violence awareness.

"Take Back The Night" drew about 175 people, according to Hartley House's Executive Director Donna Horton. It was the largest turnout yet, and it kicked off that night with a bouncy castle, face painting and food outside their office at Ninth and Main before participants walked north to 21st street and back wearing glow sticks while carrying signs and banners.

The Hartley House domestic violence shelter in Clovis has since 1979 served Curry, Roosevelt and Quay Counties through advocacy and crisis intervention.

"I'm out here because I'm a survivor and this is important to me," said Kayala Gamble, of Clovis. Her friends came too, supporting Gamble as well as, importantly, "those who can't speak for themselves," Elizabeth Hatfield said.

"The best thing you can do is to be there, physically and emotionally," Gamble added.

Before that, it helps to understand that domestic violence takes many forms - perhaps most obviously as physical abuse, but ultimately it "is best understood as a pattern of abusive behaviors," of many types, as described in a proclamation read this month to the Curry County commission.

It includes "physical, sexual and psychological attacks as well as economic coercion, used by one intimate partner against another ... to gain, maintain or regain power and control in the relationship."

In 2017, New Mexico saw almost 27,000 domestic violence incidents reported to law enforcement, and locally the Hartley House "provided shelter to 155 women and 60 children," while providing 3,400 shelter nights in fiscal year 2017, according to figures from Horton.

Sarena Garcia, a Hartley House intern and Eastern New Mexico University senior studying social work, said it was "eye-opening" to see the different ways and situations in which the issue manifests. It can be the way one partner polices how another dresses or behaves, when they can go out or who they see.

"What I'm seeing is, 'Dinner's not cooked,' or 'The house isn't clean to my expectations,'" Garcia said.

After less than two months interning with Hartley House, Garcia said she's been able to re-evaluate past relationships and observe current ones with a lens toward identifying controlling or manipulative behaviors.

That's part of what it means to "take back the night" - to reassert independence, and to insist again that "love shouldn't hurt," as one of the participants' signs declared.

"It's like taking back their life, taking back those nights they lost to being scared for themselves or possibly for their children," said Lauren Anderson, an ENMU freshman from Phoenix. "Violence is not necessarily just physical. There's mental, emotional violence, anything that makes someone feel like less of a person. ... Nobody deserves to be treated like that, no matter how you think of yourself."

Anderson was among a contingent of college students out Saturday with ENMU's psychology club; the group's faculty advisor told The News that advocacy and understanding on the issue were as important now as ever.

"Victims of domestic violence and of sexual assault are often blamed, and I think that's really one of the critical issues where advocacy comes in. Clearly, counseling, psychology, social work - these are professions that are there to help people with the healing," said Dr. Leslie Gill. "But they're also there to provide broader advocacy, to have an impact on a larger-scale level, when those professions are studying and working with both victims and people who are driven to be perpetrators of assault and violence."

 
 

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