Message From Our Interim CEO, Mary Whittier
It’s the age of a young child who was handcuffed, forced on the ground in 15-degree weather, pepper sprayed, and yelled at to get into the back of a police car.
It’s the number of RPD officers who eventually showed up at the scene watching and witnessing a young girl who was afraid, traumatized, crying out—pleading for her Dad—and clearly needing a supportive, caring, compassionate, trauma-informed response.
She didn’t get that. Instead, she endured even more trauma which culminated in being pepper sprayed while she screamed in pain.
It is with heavy heart that we at RESOLVE witness what occurred on the afternoon of January 29th. As the CEO of a Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence (DV/IPV) organization, but more as a mother, I could not get that poor child’s cries out of my head. It’s ironic that one officer yelled, “Stop acting like a child!”, and she had the immediate response to cry back, “I am a child!” We will remember and quote those words for a long time to come.
RESOLVE, an organization that works to eradicate Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence, grieves with our entire community at the treatment of a young child who was failed by a system that is there to serve and protect. At RESOLVE, our goal is to break the cycle of Domestic Violence by creating long-term, sustainable change in the lives of the clients and families we serve. Providing trauma-informed, short term therapy via our Survivor Transition Program, has demonstrated high success in breaking the cycle of Domestic Violence.
In addition to a treatment program that is highly successful, we conduct community-wide training and education for professionals who come into contact with those who have experienced DV/IPV. That includes law enforcement, the court system, medical and mental health providers, community organizations, businesses and other NFPs.
Together, we stand with our community partners in this effort to help provide alternatives to mental health crisis calls, and the need for trained professionals working in this field to step up, speak out and help a community that has dealt with so much pain and anguish, particularly this last year.
We invite in, and call for, our law enforcement partners to help make sustainable change for the system, not just the individuals we serve. We know that law enforcement has a very difficult job and they are often the “catch all” for anything and everything. No one can expect law enforcement to handle everything, and they certainly aren’t equipped to handle serious mental health issues. But what occurred last Friday was unconscionable. And the system must change. RESOLVE is here to help make that change by working to train our law enforcement community so something like this never happens again. This can never happen again.
We can only do this if we can work together. At RESOLVE we are here to be a resource and support not only for survivors, but for those who work with families in crisis. Please let what happened last Friday bring us together, not tear us apart, and works towards all of us being a part of the solution and not part of the problem.
Remember, she’s only nine.