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Deaf Culture and Domestic Violence. Presented on 3/2/09 by Gretchen Waech Executive Director Justice for Deaf Victims National Coalition. Definitions:.

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deaf culture and domestic violence

Deaf Culture and Domestic Violence

Presented on 3/2/09 by Gretchen Waech

Executive Director

Justice for Deaf Victims National Coalition

definitions
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 1st language.hard of hearing (HoH) - an individual with a hearing loss (ranging from mild to severe)

Distinction between deaf and hard of hearing tends to depend on where the loss is on an audiogram

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

definitions1
Definitions:
  • “hearing impaired” – Deaf community does not consider themselves impaired, and “hearing” is not the important word
  • The Deaf community prefers the terms Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
  • Also very ambiguous, does not define extent of hearing loss

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

definitions2
Definitions:
  • Integration: to a Deaf person, this term often means “isolation”
  • Why? Why is integration not the best option for deaf clients?

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

audism
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)

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

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

audism examples
Audism: Examples
  • Jumping in to help a deaf person communicate
  • 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”
  • Refusing to call an interpreter
  • 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 spend hours in speech therapy instead of playing at recess

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

audism1
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.

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

deaf culture
Deaf Culture
  • Primary language is 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

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

asl english

ASL/English

The “ASL” slides are either written using ASL gloss (a teaching tool used to transcribe ASL sign for 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.

slide10

ASL

ASL

DADDY HIT MANY MANY BLOOD ME SAW ME AFRAID RAN TELL FRIEND CALL POLICE MAYBE JAIL

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

slide11

English

DADDY HIT MOMMY MANY TIMES TIL I SAW BLOOD. I WAS SCARED AND RAN AND TOLD A FRIEND ABOUT IT. MY FRIEND CALLED THE POLICE AND DADDY MAY GO TO JAIL

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

slide12

ASL

ASL

WOMAN SILLY

MOUTH WIDE MY FACE

ME UNDERSTAND NO

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

slide13

English

THE WOMAN WAS SCREAMING. SHE WAS IN MY FACE. I COULDN’T UNDERSTAND HER

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

slide14

ASL

ASL

MAN DRIVE DRINK SEE DOG HIT WOMAN SELF MY-FRIEND SAW WHOLE-THING TELL ME WOW I CAN’T BELIEVE

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

slide15

English

A DRUNK MAN HIT THE TREE WHEN HE SWERVED TO MISS A DOG. A WOMAN WHO IS MY FRIEND SAW THE WHOLE THING AND TOLD ME ABOUT IT. I COULDN’T BELIEVE IT.

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

deaf culture1
Deaf Culture
  • Based on common experience of being Deaf in a hearing society
  • Examples: Restaurant, Hotel, Law Enforcement

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

when interacting with a deaf deaf person
When interacting with a Deaf/deaf person…
  • 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 – used with permission Created 3/2/09

communicating with the deaf
Communicating with the Deaf:

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, PSE, etc)
  • Speech/lipreading
  • Writing

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

communicating with the deaf1
Communicating with the Deaf

There is only one dumb question you can ask a deaf person (verbally):

CAN YOU LIPREAD?

Do you read lips?

Discuss: Why is this a dumb question?

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

lipreading the imprecise art
Lipreading: The Imprecise Art

Much of the English language looks very similar on the lips: for an example of that, try standing in front of a mirror and saying “Pay me, baby, maybe” or “I’ll have two, I love shoes, elephants snooze”

These may seem like extreme

examples, but English is

littered with them.

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

lipreading the imprecise art1
Lipreading: The Imprecise Art

It is possible for an expert lipreader to combine what is visible on the lips with environmental cues, English proficiency, knowledge of subject matter, body language, and facial expressions to understand a reasonable percentage (50-75%) of what is said.

Only a small percentage of deaf people are considered expert lipreaders. Lipreading is not considered an acquirable skill, but rather an inborn talent.

Would YOU be satisfied with 50-75% of the information in any situation? What about in a crisis situation?

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

lipreading the imprecise art2
Lipreading: The Imprecise Art

Depending on lipreading as a communication method means you are gambling on the following:

  • The deaf person has a high level of English proficiency
  • The deaf person has a thorough understanding of the subject you are speaking of
  • The deaf person is an expert lipreader
  • Your body language and facial expressions are conveying the correct message
  • The lighting and placement of both speaker and lipreader are correct
  • 50-75% of the information is sufficient

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

lipreading the imprecise art3
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?”

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

communicating with the deaf2
Communicating with the Deaf

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:

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

communicating with the deaf3
Communicating with the Deaf
  • 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.

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

communicating with the deaf4
Communicating with the Deaf

CHECK YOUR TEETH!

Spinach interferes with lipreading.

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

relay
Relay:
  • Allows phone communication between Deaf and hearing people when the hearing individual does not have a TTY
  • May use either text-based relay or video relay (VRS)
  • Many prefer VRS due to its linguistic accessibility but the technology is not always available

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

relay and tty etiquette
Relay and TTY etiquette:

There are specific rules established to make communicating via relay easier—

  • When using any type of relay, address the operator as if they were the person you are talking to

Not “Tell them…,” but “I need to let you know…”

  • If using text-based relay, do not interrupt conversation
  • Be aware there may be a lag, and be patient

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

relay and tty etiquette1
Relay and TTY etiquette:

Remember:

Relay is NOT a replacement for an interpreter. When using text-based relay, the English as a second language issue comes into play. When using VRS, you have little control over the choice of interpreters.

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

domestic violence in the deaf community
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

Conservative figures indicate over 60% of Deaf persons have experienced or will experience abuse by a partner in their lifetime.

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

why are deaf people targets
Why are Deaf people targets?
  • Perceived as more vulnerable
  • Easier to isolate
  • Deaf Stressors

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

deaf stressors
Deaf Stressors

Elements of being Deaf/HOH that make a person more susceptible to victimization

  • Learned helplessness
  • Learned “need to please”
  • Inability to communicate - i.e. with law enforcement, medical professionals, etc.
  • Tradition of secrecy within the culture/protection of perpetrators who are members of the community
    • Common to many minority groups

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

deaf stressor number one
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.

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

specific issues in working with deaf victims
Specific issues in working with Deaf victims
  • Access to communication and information
  • The Deaf grapevine/community
  • Abuse in educational settings
  • Lack of accessible/culturally competent services
  • Lack of support system
  • Lack of accessibility of the judicial and medical systems

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

access to communication and information
Access to communication and information
  • Little or no education about DV within community.
  • Isolation from friends and/or family because of deafness
  • Minimal ability to understand or interpret information presented – example in court
  • Sometimes technology is not Deaf-friendly (closed-captioning, subtitles, English)
  • Inaccessibility of incidental learning situations

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

the deaf grapevine community
The Deaf Grapevine/Community
  • In tight-knit Deaf communities, rumor and gossip common
  • The Deaf community has little education about DV – myths run rampant
  • Confidentiality in Deaf community can be perceived as antisocial – so may need to educate Deaf client on why confidentiality is important

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

abuse in educational settings
Abuse in Educational Settings
  • Sexual and domestic violence in residential schools has historically been a widespread problem. This led to a generation of adult survivors of childhood abuse who had few resources and no education about what happened to them.
  • There is often a lack of education for students and faculty on abuse and its consequences
  • Who do they tell? - staff members must advocate for both students in any given situation.
  • The Deaf community sometimes fears the exposure will lead to the closing of Deaf schools – long the strongholds of Deaf culture – but is adamant about protecting Deaf children.

This is changing, slowly but surely.

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

lack of accessible culturally competent services
Lack of accessible/culturally competent services
  • Hotlines not accessible – often hang up
  • Advocates not trained
  • Lack of interpreters on hand
  • Lack of knowledge as to how to find an interpreter
  • Lack of understanding about Deaf culture
  • Lack of appropriate treatment - No signing therapists, doctors, etc

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

isolation in the deaf context
Isolation in the Deaf context

While the philosophy of integration has been a boon to many in the disability communities, it is often a barrier for Deaf clients.

Integration into a hearing program = isolation

Few Deaf clients will stay in a hearing shelter without other Deaf interaction for more than 24 hours.

Safety becomes a lesser priority than the need for communication.

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

lack of support system
Lack of support system
  • Deaf community is spread out
  • Loss of status in community… or even loss of community
  • Family may be unable to communicate – high percentage of Deaf have hearing families
  • Inappropriate behaviors run unchecked

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

differing forms of abuse
Differing forms of Abuse

Abuser may:

  • Attack ears (to cause pain)
  • Attack hands (to prevent signing)
  • Destroy, withhold or damage communication equipment
  • Refuse to sign
  • Attack sight (to further isolate)

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

lack of accessibility of the judicial and medical systems
Lack of accessibility of the judicial and medical systems
  • Lack of clear and understood interpretation
  • Lack of legal interpreters
  • Lack of interpreters in a timely manner
  • Refusal to follow the law

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09

contact information
Contact Information

Please do feel free to contact me with any questions! I’m always happy to answer.

Gretchen Waech, consultant

GRETL88@yahoo.com

gretchen.marie@gmail.com

VideoPhone: 866.937.1667 (voice or VP)

Gretchen Waech – used with permission Created 3/2/09