In today's episode of What Compassion Accomplishes, Cory and Becca talk with Dr. Beronica Salazar, Program Director of the WCA. We discuss the stigma with male survivors and the importance of healing.
If you or someone you care about have experienced domestic, dating or sexual violence please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or one of the WCA's 24-hour hotlines at 208-343-7025 or 208-345-7273.
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Welcome to what compassion accomplishes a podcast dedicated to sharing information, ideas and resources about domestic abuse and sexual assault. The topics discussed in this podcast, including survivor stories, supportive services, and domestic abuse or sexual violence can be difficult. And we urge you to listen with care. Our hosts are not licensed counselors or mental health professionals. If you or someone you care about have experienced domestic dating, or sexual violence, please call the WCA 24 hour hotline at 208-343-7025 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233. You can also find more resources in the description of this podcast.Cory Mikhals:
I am Cory Mikhals with auction frogs along with Becca Maguire, WCA outreach specialist. And this is What Compassion Accomplishes. How are you?Becca Maguire:
Good! How are you?Cory Mikhals:
Oh, wonderful this, this is going to be a different topic today as we welcome our guest, Dr. Beronica Salazar, WCA Program Director. And our topic today and we've talked about before that abuse doesn't just affect women and children. It does a lot. It also affects men as well. And I think this is something that Dr. Salazar is very equipped to be able to speak to how are you today?Dr. Beronica Salazar:
I'm doing good, thank you for allowing me to come and join the conversation.Cory Mikhals:
And even though not not talked about as much, when it comes to men being the focus of abuse, it's out there and it's prevalent. And I think there's because of that maybe it's the the masculine quality or whatever, wanting to say that you're being bullied, abused, anything like that, that goes against everything that we were raised as guys to be. And so I think there's even more of a situation where we kind of bottle that down and don't talk about it. And well, with any one, you hide those feelings, and they're going to come out at some point and usually in ways that aren't, aren't good. What, What have you seen with I know, you have worked with many in both your private practice and with the WCA as well, when it comes to men and abuse.Dr. Beronica Salazar:
I think for me, one of the things that I realized early on in my career, that when you think about victims or survivors it there's not only one face to it, and I think early on, because of the research that has been out there, and even the wonderful work that different organizations are doing is very much centered in women and children. And I don't think that's a bad thing. I think there's great value. When you think about that. However, I think it's important to realize that we need to expand that. Because at least in the work that I've done as a clinician, I have seen that male identified survivor, and one of the things that they tell me is similar to what you just shared is this stereotype that's around who's the victim? And I think for me, it was so helpful when clients begin sharing about their journeys and how difficult that can be and just being really afraid to even name it, as you said, because our communities and our culture, either knowingly or unknowingly, they don't realize there could be significant pain even for males.Cory Mikhals:
Yeah. And it's it's something that is out there and I'm sure Becca when you when while you are able to be out and in public in doing you know the the different events and things and hopefully we'll be again soon. Did you see or talk to a lot of a lot of guys males are male identified, or was it primarily all women and children?Becca Maguire:
So primarily women and children, but I do think that that's a lot of the stigma behind domestic abuse and sexual assault and men, male identifying people not feeling comfortable talking about and being open with their own experience, or even not even being able to recognize it. So mainly women and childrenCory Mikhals:
well, and Again, we talk about abuse comes in many different ways. It's not necessarily just physical abuse, mental abuse, you know, someone that is, you know, every time you turn around, they're checking your phone and checking your, your email and trying to control everything that you do keep you away from your friends, and, and all of that those are all forms of abuse, monetary abuse, where controlling the purse strings as it were of the house. And those are all things men, women, whatever, that that is straight abuse, and no one deserves that. And there's help, there's hope that is out there. And that's the big thing that we want people to know.Dr. Beronica Salazar:
Absolutely. And I think when we think about all that painful experiences, going back to what Becca mentioned, and even some of the things that you shared, is really thinking about, sometimes that label is even difficult for male clients to actually kind of name it that that's what's happening for them. They know something doesn't feel right, they know there's pain around feeling powerless, because they fear that if they leave the situation, they're going to lose their children feeling like at any given time, as you said, it could be physical or mental. And sometimes my clients would share about experiences that were so profound, even in a kind of mental impact to them. So individuals, perpetrators, specifically trying to control everything around them. So I think for me, one of the things that I think about when I'm hearing all this pain, is really recognizing that there is opportunity for healing. And those were some of the things that I was able to do with them walk in that journey to really kind of bring back that light, because that's really what happens, it's almost like that beautiful light that they probably had at one time is really taken away from them, and thinking about how do we bring that back. It's just an amazing feeling and experience for myself as a clinician and being part of that witness, but then also for that individual and seeing what ripple effect that could have on a person's life.Cory Mikhals:
And I think part of it, the that comes out, as we've talked about is that, you know, I'm, I'm a guy, I'm strong, I can't be abused. But it's also the societal feelings on abuse, it's a lot of times automatically that the male is the abuser and unfortunately, in too many cases, that is the case. But I know for for me, I was, I was seeing someone many, many years ago now. And you know, and I didn't really notice. I mean, I guess I did, I ignored the signs at first. And it all kind of came to a head finally one night when the this person that I was seeing came over to the house, very intoxicated. And my youngest daughter, who was a teenager at that time was in the house. And she came in and was looking for a fight. And there had been a lot of the signs of of abuse along the way. And this went from me being dead asleep to all of a sudden here's this this person and she's throwing throwing things around the room and just screaming and incoherent and wound up hitting me a couple of times. I got caught on some glass from a lamp that had been, you know, thrown and but I was afraid to call 911 and it was actually my daughter who did and it when the police arrived automatically. There was blood in the entryway. There was from my feet and but I was the guy and so I was the one who had the guns drawn on me I was the one sitting on the stairs, wondering what just happened. Now, as they did their investigation, you know, they, they figured out the truth quite quickly. But it was that feeling of not only did I just get abused, now I'm being questioned as being the abuser. I was not a good feeling at all. And, but you know, luckily it all it all came out and everything was was fine. But it was that moment when I realized why it's hard for anyone who is going through any form of abuse to, to reach out and to help and you get so far into a situation that you just kind of accept it until he comes to a situation where that you can't accept anymore. And that was that was mine. Unfortunately, for a lot of people, it gets a lot more extreme, before you finally realize this is not okay. So just, I didn't know who to call then. And I should have, I work with the organizations all the time. But I still didn't. So the one thing that I hope, if you were listening right now, and you were in a situation male, female, child, friend, is that reach for that, that help that hope it's there. And whether it's folks like Becca, Dr. Salazar, get out there and and, and make that make that call, and you're not going to be judged. It's not your fault. And, you know, get, get the help that is readily available for you, they want to help. And we want to be able to make sure that you are in the happiest, healthiest, Best place possible. Now, Dr. Salazar for you when it comes to the the male clients that you've seen in your private practice, and as a clinician, was this a situation where they were referred to you? Or did they actually, you know, finally get to a point where they reached out and said, No, I need help?Dr. Beronica Salazar:
Well, I think I'm gonna answer your question. But I just want to pause for a moment and just thank you for sharing that story. AndCory Mikhals:
actually, the first time I've ever, ever shared that in an public setting.Dr. Beronica Salazar:
And I think that's not a small task, and it is powerful and meaningful. And I hope people that listen to your story, bring some awareness about what that pain is. And even as you share in this moment, experiencing that with Becca and myself. It's a profound experience and information and very telling. And I think that's really what this conversation is about, is unmasking what the reality is of domestic abuse and sexual assault. That's what happens. It keeps hidden. So I appreciate your vulnerability and sharing that. And I think that's really the direction that we want to go, that individuals are not alone in that there is help out there. But going back to your original question, I think when I think about my referrals, and that's the work that we're also going to try to do here at the WCA is in my private practice. My primary referrals began with other organizations, specific organizations that worked with individuals with domestic abuse and sexual assault. But yet, they would get referred to me. Other types of referrals that I would get were from other male identified clients, or even because I also worked with women identified clients, the referrals would also come from them. So they would say, Hey, I may have met this amazing counselor that really changed my life. I can't guarantee the same but I think she would be a good person for you to visit. And as I think about those moments, for me the most significant way that I think about, am I doing the work that I need to be doing? comes when a client says here's another person, I think you can help them too.Cory Mikhals:
Yeah. And I think those are the greatest advocates are the ones that have been through it. They know what that fear is. So the relatability to be and realizing that the the, the acceptance level that is out there, what when you're in it, what you're willing to accept. And once you get on the other side, what you realize you should have accepted. And so, yeah, when someone comes out on the other side, and they truly had someone, they had that village around them to be able to say, It's okay, there is hope there is another way to live the right way. And so getting those, those folks out there, they're the best advocates we could ever have. Because they can say when that person's like, you don't understand it's like, oh, no. Yes, I do. And when you're ready for it, there's help. So now with, as a community, what can we do to kind of make it more comfortable, of a subject to be able to talk about in your opinion, Dr. Salazar?Dr. Beronica Salazar:
I think for me, one of the first things where it starts is education. So education and regards to what is domestic abuse, not jumping so fast to trying to identify who could be that victim, but really education of what that looks like, I think if we can start there and educating ourselves. And if we don't have the education seeking those opportunities, I know within the WCA, we create opportunities where people can learn about what is domestic abuse, but then also seeking in other spaces where you could have some conversations about what this is. I think, in my opinion, that's one of the primary goals that we need to be working towards. The other part is, which is a little bit more challenging, is removing this kind of idea of what is a typical client, because a typical client can be anybody that is out there. And sometimes when I get this question asked to myself, I say, just look in the mirror, guess what that is a typical client that could be you, that could be anybody that's looking in the mirror. So I think also removing this idea that it only looks one way or the other. And also be ready to listen, because the signs are out there that things are happening. I think by the time individuals come to places like the WCA, things have escalated so far out that it just feels so helpless. And I'm hoping as a community that we all engage in this conversation, and don't allow people to live in isolation with that pain.Cory Mikhals:
Nobody deserves that. No. And I think one thing that has come along, we're still we've still got a long way to go. But it's not as taboo to talk about. Now as it used to be even 10, 20, 30 years ago, where you just kind hid the shadows, because that was just going to add to your pain, if everyone was just going to be going, Oh, look at him or look at her that day. You know, they're the ones that have... And so that just is going to compound the situation that you're in. And it's getting better. The conversations are out there and and as Dr. Salazar said, there is no face of abuse. There's not. That face it, it does not discriminate. Abuse is equal opportunity, no matter what your race, creed, color, religious, sexual orientation. Who or what you identify as it does not matter. Everyone is subject to unfortunately, abuse and just know that, that's the whole point of this is not to scare you. It's to say no, it's the exact opposite. There is hope and you do not deserve to be abused mentally, physically, in any way your children do not deserve to be abused. No one deserves that. And now Becca for someone who wants and is Ready to find that help? Where did they reach out right now.Becca Maguire:
So the first step would be to call our 24 hour hotline, and that is 208-343-7025. And you will talk to one of our amazing trained WCA employees on resources, next steps. And if you're if you're ready to have a meeting with one of our amazing employees at the WCA, and to get you started on your, your journey to healing, safety and freedom.Cory Mikhals:
Wonderful. So just know that is there in Dr. Salazar, are there any final thoughts that that you have and thing, something that you would like to leave with someone who is either has someone in their life who they fear is in that situation, or someone who's listening, that is living with it themselves right now,Dr. Beronica Salazar:
I think for somebody that's witnessing that from a loved one, or just somebody that's close to them. And they just wonder, I think probably the first thing is Speak up, and speak up in a way of listening and wanting to listen, not in directing, but really speaking up and stepping into that conversation with that individual. And just being that good listener, because we don't understand yet what's happening. And then the second part of that, if you're in that situation, I think the first thing that you want to know that you don't deserve this, nobody deserves to live like that, and that we are here and we want to, this is why we do this work. This is what excites us in the morning, and what really kind of turns the page for us. So we're excited to contribute in that process. So do know we're here. And there's hope. And we don't rush anybody into anything. We will move at the pace that you want to move. So know and trust that we're here with you.Cory Mikhals:
Dr. Salazar, thank you so much. And Becca, thank you once again for joining me for another edition of what compassion accomplishes.Becca Maguire:
Of course, I'm always so excited to be here. And thank you so much, Dr. Salazar, I'm so excited to see what we can accomplish at the WCA together.Cory Mikhals:
Absolutely. So please enter all the contact information that you would need is right there in the description, and we look forward to talking with you again on another edition of what compassion accomplishes.Intro:
Thank you for listening to this episode of what compassion accomplishes. Again, if you or someone you know has experienced domestic abuse, dating or sexual violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or the WCA's 4 hour hotline 208-343-70