2013 Deltas at the Capitol:
Planning to Get Out
Shannon Berry, executive director of DAIS, addresses the Delta Sigma
Theta Sorority at their annual Deltas at the Capitol event in April.
By Jonathan Gramling

It isn’t easy getting out of abusive relationships. Often
times, there are internal and external forces that wrap
around the victim like a spider web, keeping them
ensnarled in the vicious cycles of abuse for years on end.
On April 17, Shannon Barry, the executive director of
Domestic Abuse Intervention Services, spoke to the Delta
Sigma Theta Sorority about domestic abuse and some of its
causes during the annual Deltas at the Capitol workshop
held at the State Capitol.

“Victims face a lot of different barriers,” Barry said
afterwards. “I think it depends on each individual family. It
might be economic barriers that perhaps the victim doesn’t
have the resources of their own and are relying on the
batterer. Maybe they don’t have a job or have never been
able to be on a lease or things of that nature. Certainly we
know that domestic violence victims are six times more
likely to be murdered by their batterers when trying to
leave the relationship than at any other time, which is why
local programs are so important to help victims with safety planning, offer emergency shelter services and things of that nature. And
also the laws in Wisconsin for restraining orders, whether it is domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, harassment restraining
orders are also critically important. And then certainly other barriers might be the victim being very isolated. Maybe they are afraid to
leave the batterer because they have children in common and they are afraid if they are sharing custody and physical placement of the
children, what might happen to the child when the victim isn’t there to protect them. So it can be a myriad of different things.”

The best way for victims of abuse — the large majority are women, but there are women too — to leave the situation is to plan and
have the right resources and support available.

“People who are abused should plan to get out of it,  Barry said. “They certainly don’t have to go through it alone and there are a lot of
resources available. And the earlier they can reach out to us, the better. And we do serve both women and men. We can help them
think about their long-term safety. Or if they are even considering separating from the batterer, we can do safety planning with them to
help them do so safely. Or if they decide to stay in the relationship, what do they need to have in place to be safe in that relationship?
We can go through all of that.”

Information about DAIS and its services are just a call or a click away.

“People should call their local hotline,” Barry said. “Here in Dane County, it is DAIS and it is 608-251-4445. There is also a lot of
information on our website, which is www.abuseintervention.org.  It has information about all of our services and also information for
concerned friends and family members who may have someone they are worried about and they don’t know how to support them.”
And DAIS has a myriad of services that it can provide to victims of abuse and their families.

“We have a 24-hour hotline,” Barry emphasized. “We have support groups, both in English and Spanish. We have legal advocacy
services. They aren’t attorneys and don’t provide legal advice. But they do provide information and support to victims as they are
going through different legal systems like restraining orders or family court. We have a face-to-face crisis response program where
we can meet with victims face-to-face and do safety planning. And then we have a children’s program, prevention programming and
operate the only domestic emergency domestic violence shelter for Dane County.”

Domestic abuse is intolerable. For the sake of the person who is abused — and his or her children and family — it needs to be dealt
with lest the vicious cycle of abuse continues on from generation to generation. Stop domestic abuse today.