Every year Haselden Construction hosts an amazing Lean-In retreat in Breckenridge. Because we are spread out over four different offices (Centennial, CO; Fort Collins, CO; Glenwood Springs, CO; and Laramie, WY) and numerous project sites, it’s sometimes hard to find the opportunity to meet each other, much less actually get to know one another. This two-and-a-half day retreat gives us the opportunity to talk to the other women in the company in an informal setting, as well as review the Lean-In Circle’s mission statement, vision statement, and 2018-2019 goals.

This year we were also fortunate to have two guest speakers come present to the group: Marley Bordovsky and Linda Loflin Pettit, both from the Denver City Attorney’s Office, Prosecution and Code Enforcement. What Marley and Linda spoke to us about was a departure from our normal topics, but one that affects too many women—and men—in this country: domestic violence.

Why We Asked These Women to Speak

According to the National Coalition for Domestic Violence (NCADV), an average of nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the US. One in three women and one in four men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. This means that you most likely have known or will know someone touched by domestic violence. What is the best way to help a person in that situation?

What We Learned

Society’s typical responses to a person in a domestic violence situation are: 1) “You just need to leave”; 2) “You need to go to a shelter”; and 3) “Call the police!” To someone not in the abuse cycle, these sound like perfectly reasonable solutions. However many times there are barriers to stop the person in the abusive relationship from immediately taking these actions, so what can you do to help? Marley and Linda provided a list of five tools friends and family can use to help someone in an abusive relationship:

  • Understand the cycle of domestic violence
  • Understand power and control techniques
  • Understand what influences the person to stay in or leave an abusive relationship
  • Understand the abuser’s façade and manipulation
  • Recognize post-separation risks

This handout details each step, offering ideas to help the abused person get out of the relationship.

Resources

There is help available for those in a domestic violence situation. Violence Free Colorado offers safety planning, emergency shelter, counseling, legal advocacy, medical advocacy, and much more.