Document 5B: Statement of Barbara Wood, Executive Director, Turning Point, Ephraim, Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah. Senate Hearing 103-726, 13 April 1993. Hearing Before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, 103rd Congress, First Session on The Problems of Violence Against Women in Utah and Current Remedies, Salt Lake City, Utah. Serial No. J-103-11.
STATEMENT OF BARBARA WOOD
Ms. WOOD. Thank you. Senator Hatch, ladies and gentlemen, I'm very happy to be here today.
Senator Hatch. If you could get just a little closer to that mike. I'm afraid you just about have to.
Ms. WOOD. In rural Utah we see many barriers related to the domestic violence issue. I feel very strongly that domestic violence is not treated as a crime, that it is not understood that there is irrational thinking on the part of the perpetrator and the victim and the judicial system. There are no records kept, the legislative system and the judicial system seem to be totally out of touch with women's issues. There's a lack of equality. The perpetrators are oftentimes not punished. There needs to be education, especially around the issue of what is serious bodily injury.
The situation that I faced when asked to testify today, I began thinking that perhaps I would gather some statistics for the last 6 months, but then I decided well maybe for the last 3 months, and then I thought well maybe for the last 6 weeks. When I looked at 6 weeks, I was looking at over 100 cases in rural Utah. What you finally received was just last week.
When I looked at the things that are occuring, I'd like to talk to you just a little bit about some of the things that happened the last week in my office. It began on a Monday morning with receiving a telephone call from a woman who was calling me from her place of employment. She said would you please come over and visit with me? Don't come during my break and don't come during lunch. I really need to talk to you. I said what seems to be the problem, and she explained that she had been very serverely beaten the night before. Her husband had stalked her for years, he makes very certain that she doesn't talk with anyone during break or anyone during lunch or any other times.
I went and met with this woman and talked with her on the phone as well. We made arrangments for her to leave her home that evening. She would be home from work exactly at 4:30. I called the police department and was told to call the sheriff's office. When I got a hold of the sheriff's office, they said they would meet me there at 4:3F0. I went there at 4:30 and the woman came home, and I was parked just across the street at another house. I waited for about 25 minutes and no officer showed, and finally got an officer over there. The officer came in and when we went into the home it was very evident that she had been beaten in several rooms of the house, broken furniture and appliances, ceramic pictures, mirrors, everything else around. She'd not had enough time to clean it all up because she'd gone to work within an hour after the beating had stopped. The officer walked in and said, do you want to press charges this time, and she kind of smiled, because she said this officer had been to my house several times to break up these fights, and she said I can't have it be like it was last time. She said I signed the paper for him to go away, and you didn't even have him an hour and he was back here and he kicked in the back door and beat me again. The officer said well, we'll make certain that that doesn't happen this time, so he went out in the garage to talk to the alleged perpetrator and she and I visited and made arrangements to get someone to take care of the kids. We talked about who would do that.
As we went through, in less time than it took the physician at the hospital to examine her, the husband had bailed out and was back out on the street. Within an hour of her being taken back to the home, he was back at the home. She called the dispatcher and they said well, unless he's doing any physical damage to you, there's nothing we can do. This went on for 4 days with different incidents occuring. Her cycle of violence is every 2 weeks. He's been arrested 17 times, and yet he can bail out in less time than it takes the physician to examine her.
I see women in my office who have been victims of rape, who have been victims of all sorts of crimes that dehumanize a woman. I see women who are there on visitor's visas, who are there illegally, who are threatened with deportation if they tell the stories of the horrors that they go through on a daily basis. If we wish to stop this multigenerational problem, we must look at it as being a crime. Thank you.
Senator HATCH. Thank you.