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“Why Cry if No One Hears? ” The Deaf Community’s Experience of Sexual and “Why Cry if No One Hears? ” The Deaf Community’s Experience of Sexual and Domestic Violence Presented by Gretchen Waech

Definitions: deaf – lacking hearing, either entirely or at a severe to profound level. Definitions: deaf – lacking hearing, either entirely or at a severe to profound level. This is a medical term. Deaf - individuals who, in addition to not hearing, are members of the Deaf community, subscribing to the unique cultural norms, values, and traditions of that group. Members of this group typically use American Sign Language (ASL) as their 1 st language. hard of hearing (Ho. H) - an individual with a hearing loss (ranging from mild to severe) 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 2

Definitions: v“hearing impaired” – Deaf community does not consider themselves impaired, and “hearing” is Definitions: v“hearing impaired” – Deaf community does not consider themselves impaired, and “hearing” is not the important word v. This is a term created by the medical field and reflects the pathological view of deafness v. The Deaf community prefers the terms Deaf and Hard of Hearing. 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 3

Deaf Culture Primary language is American Sign Language (ASL) Recognized language with its own Deaf Culture Primary language is American Sign Language (ASL) Recognized language with its own rules of grammar and syntax English and ASL are NOT the same thing! Consider possibility of ESL (English as a Second Language) circumstances 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 4

ASL/English The “ASL” slides are either written using ASL gloss (a teaching tool used ASL/English The “ASL” slides are either written using ASL gloss (a teaching tool used to transcribe ASL sign for those learning the language) or were written by a Deaf woman for whom ASL was a first language. This is a representation of what a Deaf person might write in each situation. The English slides are a representation of what a qualified interpreter would voice in each situation.

ASL ME HIDE SEE DADDY BEAT ME SCARED RUN HOUSE FAR MAN CALL POLICE ASL ME HIDE SEE DADDY BEAT ME SCARED RUN HOUSE FAR MAN CALL POLICE COME QUESTION REALLY ME SHOCK 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 6

English I was hiding and saw Daddy hit Mommy many times. I was so English I was hiding and saw Daddy hit Mommy many times. I was so scared, I ran to a house down the road. The man there called the police. They came and asked me many questions, but I was really just frozen in shock. 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 7

ASL THAT MAN COME INTO MY HOUSE. ME ASLEEP, WAKE UP SEX. PUSH HIM ASL THAT MAN COME INTO MY HOUSE. ME ASLEEP, WAKE UP SEX. PUSH HIM OFF DON’T STOP. DARK IN HOUSE CAN’T UNDERSTAND HIM, MAD. SCARED. HE LEFT. 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 8

English A man broke into my house while I was asleep. I woke up English A man broke into my house while I was asleep. I woke up to find him having sex with me. I tried over and over again to push him off but he wouldn’t stop. It was dark in the house, so I couldn’t see him clearly to read his lips but could tell he was angry. I was terrified. He finally left. 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 9

Translation/interpretation In the last example, how might law enforcement or medical personnel interpret the Translation/interpretation In the last example, how might law enforcement or medical personnel interpret the “ASL” version of her statement? Just the fact that she used the word “sex” instead of something more emotionally loaded could lead to bias across the board. Yet, if a qualified interpreter is used, the story is very different. Gretchen Waech, 2009

Deaf Culture n n Rooted common experience of being Deaf in a hearing society Deaf Culture n n Rooted common experience of being Deaf in a hearing society Examples: Restaurant, law enforcement, family dinners 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 11

Audism: N : an attitude based on pathological thinking which results in a negative Audism: N : an attitude based on pathological thinking which results in a negative stigma toward anyone who does not hear; like racism or sexism, audism judges, labels, and limits individuals on the basis of whether a person hears and speaks. (Humphrey and Alcorn 1995: 85) v v Based on the medical view of deafness as a disability which must be fixed Rooted in the historical belief that deaf people were savages without language; language = humanity 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 12

Audism: Examples q q q q Jumping in to help a deaf person communicate Audism: Examples q q q q Jumping in to help a deaf person communicate without being asked Asking a Deaf person to lipread you or write when he/she has indicated this isn’t preferred Making phone calls for a deaf person since they “can’t” Making decisions for a deaf person rather than explaining options because it would “take too long” Assuming that those with better speech/English skills are superior Asking a Deaf person to “tone down” their facial expressions because they are making others uncomfortable Refusing to explain to a Deaf person why everyone around him is laughing – “never mind, I’ll tell you later, it doesn’t matter. ” Forcing a Deaf child to give up recess to spend hours in speech therapy 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 13

Audism Because many Deaf people grew up in hearing families who did not learn Audism Because many Deaf people grew up in hearing families who did not learn to sign, audism may be ingrained. It is only when they encounter Deaf-centered empowerment philosophies that they begin to understand their capabilities. Audists may be either hearing or deaf. Some are even Deaf. 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 14

When interacting with a Deaf/deaf person… n n 16 March 2018 Be extra aware When interacting with a Deaf/deaf person… n n 16 March 2018 Be extra aware of your body language and facial expressions Be on the lookout for the “smile and nod” that signals lack of comprehension Gretchen Waech, 2009 15

Communicating with deaf people: It is important to remember that not all deaf people’s Communicating with deaf people: It is important to remember that not all deaf people’s communication needs are alike, and you should ask the person directly what their needs are. They may communicate through: Sign language (ASL, SEE, contact sign, etc)* Speech/lipreading Writing *American Sign Language, Signing Exact English 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 16

Lipreading: The Imprecise Art Is it worth the gamble? Always ask how the deaf Lipreading: The Imprecise Art Is it worth the gamble? Always ask how the deaf person wishes to communicate. Give options. Example: “Communicate best, how? Interpreter (I will pay), writing, lipreading? ” 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 18

Communication Tips If it is necessary to communicate with a Deaf person who indicates Communication Tips If it is necessary to communicate with a Deaf person who indicates a preference for lipreading (only appropriate if both parties are completely comfortable) here are some tips: 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 19

Communication Tips Hands down, the best way to sit is… hands down! Remember not Communication Tips Hands down, the best way to sit is… hands down! Remember not to look at paper while talking Be conscious of lighting… don’t sit with back to light Speak at a reasonable pace, but not S…L…O…W…L…Y If the person doesn’t understand what you say at first… don’t repeat. RESTATE. 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 20

Communication Tips CHECK YOUR TEETH! Spinach interferes with lipreading. 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, Communication Tips CHECK YOUR TEETH! Spinach interferes with lipreading. 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 21

Relay: Allows phone communication between Deaf and hearing people May be either text-based relay Relay: Allows phone communication between Deaf and hearing people May be either text-based relay or video relay (VRS) Many prefer VRS due to its linguistic accessibility but the technology is not always available Text-based: English comprehension level an issue VRS: most do not allow you choice of interpreters 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 22

Sexual and Domestic Violence in the Deaf Community Most evidence regarding Deaf people is Sexual and Domestic Violence in the Deaf Community Most evidence regarding Deaf people is anecdotal – few studies focusing on this population. Studies indicate abuse is 2 to 6 times more likely to occur among people with disabilities Some figures indicate over 60% of Deaf persons have experienced or will experience abuse by a partner in their lifetime. 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 23

Sexual Violence in the Deaf Community Some studies - sexual violence against women with Sexual Violence in the Deaf Community Some studies - sexual violence against women with disabilities is much more prevalent, 2 X-3 X higher Others have shown it is at similar (unacceptably high) levels. Two significant factors differ for women with disabilities: 1) Duration of the abuse is longer 2) Higher number of perpetrators are reported Gretchen Waech, 2009

Why are Deaf people targeted? Perception of vulnerability Easier to isolate Deaf Stressors 16 Why are Deaf people targeted? Perception of vulnerability Easier to isolate Deaf Stressors 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 25

Deaf Stressors Elements of being Deaf/HOH that make a person more susceptible to victimization Deaf Stressors Elements of being Deaf/HOH that make a person more susceptible to victimization Learned helplessness/internalized audism Compounded by abuse Difficulty in communication with law enforcement, medical professionals, etc. Tradition of secrecy within the culture or protection of perpetrators who are members of the community Common to minority groups 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 26

Deaf Stressor Number One The Deaf victim/survivor often cannot leave her community. Even if Deaf Stressor Number One The Deaf victim/survivor often cannot leave her community. Even if she chooses to change her geographical location, she will still be part of the community… thus, safety planning takes a different slant. 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 27

Specific issues for Deaf survivors ü Access to communication and information ü The Deaf Specific issues for Deaf survivors ü Access to communication and information ü The Deaf grapevine/community ü Abuse in educational settings ü Lack of culturally affirmative/accessible services Misunderstanding about isolation/integration Lack of support system Lack of accessibility of the judicial and medical systems ü ü ü 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 28

Access to communication and information v Little or no education about S/DV within community. Access to communication and information v Little or no education about S/DV within community. v Minimal ability to understand or interpret information presented – example in court v Sometimes technology is not Deaf-friendly (closed-captioning, subtitles, English) INCIDENTAL LEARNING 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 29

The Deaf Grapevine/Community v Deaf community very interconnected v Rumor and gossip common – The Deaf Grapevine/Community v Deaf community very interconnected v Rumor and gossip common – information has great value, even if not precise v Confidentiality in Deaf community can be perceived as antisocial – may need to educate Deaf client on why confidentiality is important 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 30

Abuse in Educational Settings Historically a widespread problem - left generations of adult sexual Abuse in Educational Settings Historically a widespread problem - left generations of adult sexual abuse survivors with few resources Lack of education for students and faculty on abuse and its consequences Who do they tell? Deaf community fears exposure – closing of schools – but wants to protect children This is changing, slowly but surely. 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 31

Lack of culturally affirmative/accessible services Ø Limited number of Deaf-centered programs Ø Hotlines not Lack of culturally affirmative/accessible services Ø Limited number of Deaf-centered programs Ø Hotlines not accessible – often hang up Ø Advocates not trained or knowledgeable regarding deaf survivor needs Lack of understanding about Deaf culture Lack of appropriate treatment - No signing therapists, doctors, etc Shortage of interpreters Ø Ø Ø 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 32

Isolation in the Deaf context v Philosophy of integration - a boon to many Isolation in the Deaf context v Philosophy of integration - a boon to many with disabilities, but often a barrier for Deaf clients. v Integration into a hearing program = isolation v Hearing shelters: few will stay more than 24 hrs without other Deaf to interact with v Safety becomes a lesser priority than the need for communication. v Support groups – lack of common cultural experience and communication barriers 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 33

Lack of support system Deaf community is often spread out – particularly true in Lack of support system Deaf community is often spread out – particularly true in rural states Loss of status in community… or loss of community Family may be unable to communicate – high percentage of Deaf have hearing families Inappropriate behaviors run unchecked 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 34

Lack of accessibility of the judicial and medical systems v Interpreters often concentrated in Lack of accessibility of the judicial and medical systems v Interpreters often concentrated in one area – difficulty in securing an interpreter for outlying areas v Shortage of interpreters in general v Lack of legal/medical interpreters v Lack of interpreters in a timely manner – Denver v Refusal to follow the law or claims of undue burden 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 35

Differing forms of Abuser may: n Attack ears (to cause pain) n Attack hands Differing forms of Abuser may: n Attack ears (to cause pain) n Attack hands (to prevent signing) n Destroy, withhold or damage communication equipment n Refuse to sign n Attack sight (to further isolate) 16 March 2018 Gretchen Waech, 2009 36

Specific issues with sexual violence Deaf survivors often contend with double barriers: SV survivor Specific issues with sexual violence Deaf survivors often contend with double barriers: SV survivor myths/ general deaf myths SV survivor sexuality issues/ deaf sexuality myths SV survivor shame/ internalized oppression SV medical issues/ lack of medical system access SV survivor barriers to justice/ justice system inaccessibility Gretchen Waech, 2009

What next? n n n Program assessment and research Sponsor training on Deaf survivors What next? n n n Program assessment and research Sponsor training on Deaf survivors for your program/area Create formal referral process with Deaf advocates Policy-protocol creation/change Outreach I am happy to assist with any of these! Gretchen Waech, 2009

Contact Information Gretchen Waech gretchen. marie@gmail. com GRETL 88@yahoo. com Coolgretl – AIM 866 Contact Information Gretchen Waech gretchen. [email protected] com GRETL [email protected] com Coolgretl – AIM 866 -937 -1667 (Direct. VP) 24. 149. 28. 208 (IP) 847 -385 -9011 (IP Relay/Cell) Gretchen Waech, 2009

Any Questions? Thanks!! Any Questions? Thanks!!