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Power and Control Transcript

Power and Control: Domestic Violence in America Transcript Click for PDF Transcript

[TITLE: In 2009, domestic violence increased in the U.S. for the first time in many years.]

[- The New York Times. December 31, 2009]

[Most shelters are reporting an increase in women seeking help, while services in many states are being cut.]


KIM MOSHER: You know, I started realizing, “I don’t need to be in this. I don’t want to be in it.” You know, it’s like a constant – everything I do is wrong. Everything I say is wrong. I fought hard to just even go to school, and work, ‘cause I always got put down for that, and yelled at, to make that choice. I always said, “If you raise a hand to me in anger, I’m gone.” He started taking more swings at me or the girls, and threatening us. I can’t live like that.


FEMALE VOICE: I don’t care if [INAUD]–

MALE VOICE: My girl’s [INAUD]–

COP: All right. Hey. Relax. Relax. I’m gonna get both of your sides and figure out what’s going on here, okay?

MALE VOICE: Okay. Okay. Yeah.

COP: Are you guys dating, or what’s the deal?

MALE VOICE: Yeah. That’s my baby’s Momma. We got kids together.

COP: Alright. You just want to get away from him for the night?

FEMALE VOICE: I just want to get away from him, yeah. That’s all I want to do.

COP: Okay.

COP: The physical domestic calls, there’s so much emotion wrapped up into it. It’s a mixture of love and hatred and jealousy.

COP: Police!

FEMALE VOICE: Women are losing their lives. It’s serious. A woman is a victim of domestic violence every 18 seconds.

MALE VOICE: What captures our imagination is the kind that gets into the newspapers, gets on TV.

ANCHOR: The death of Nicole Brown Simpson, and the arrest of her famous former husband, thrust domestic violence into the national spotlight.

MALE VOICE: The ordinary violence between American couples – that’s not gonna make it into the newspapers.

MALE VOICE: It’s estimated one out of four women in the US will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Why, then, would Rihanna and millions of others return to their alleged victimizers?

FEMALE VOICE: We have to fundamentally change the power relationships between men and women in this society. And if we don’t change that, we’re gonna continue to see a lot of sexual and physical abuse of women and children.

KIM MOSHER: It’s not a matter of, “Why didn’t you just leave?” You’ve got to get away. It’s an escape. That day before I checked myself in, he took a swing, tried to punch me in the face. He was at work, and I left. I remember shoving everything in the car, as much as I could. The girls all crammed in there, just for a ride up to Duluth.

FEMALE VOICE: He’s got control over you – your mind, your body, your economics, your children. It’s the power and control dynamic that escalates in physical violence.





KIM MOSHER: When we get back, you girls get to make your beds, too.





KIM MOSHER: Yeah. Remember what I said? That’s part of the clean room thing. If they check the room, you’re gonna get yourself in trouble.

GIRL: Momma.

KIM MOSHER: You don’t even have socks on yet, Becca.

BECCA: I don’t want my school bag. It’s stupid.

KIM MOSHER: It scares me that it would get worse and worse and worse. He was starting to hit the girls more and more and more.


KIM MOSHER: He was disciplining ’em. He was leaving handprints, doing pressure holds on our eight-year old.


just always yelling at ’em, calling ’em stupid, calling them whatever name he can think of.


KIM MOSHER: And they’re dealing with that now. Sometimes they sound just like their Dad. “Oh, you’re stupid.” Or if they make a mistake, “Why am I so stupid?”

KIM MOSHER: No, that’s yours. Becca, wear this one for now, okay? ‘Cause I have no idea where your one went.

BECCA: It’s so stupid.

KIM MOSHER: You’re okay, honey. There you go.


KIM MOSHER: He was a correction’s officer. And I didn’t want to get him in trouble. A couple weeks before I left I said, “If you lay a hand on me or the girls I’m calling the cops.” He’s like, “Oh, quit hanging that over my head. Quit threatening me.” So instead of calling the cops I finally just left.

KIM MOSHER: Get in the car Deborah. Buckle up, buckle up.



JOSH: I had went somewhere and I came back and they were gone and I just– it was hard to come back to an empty house, not knowing what it’s gonna end up like if you’re gonna– you know, and then you start thinking, what did I– if I’d only done this. If I had just– you know?

FEMALE VOICE: You can always get a police escort to get your stuff that – you know, belongs to you. So, those are kind of some options that you have as far as separating. And I know it’s probably a hard thing to do, being as how he has all of your money.

SUSAN UTECH: Women have to stay here at least ten days.


SUSAN UTECH: Just like you have to get your mind changed. And if you’re only here for one night you’re likely to go back to your abuser. Oftentime people stay here 60 days and it’s not uncommon for women to stay here six months because they just can’t find housing. We will help her because we don’t want you going back to that situation and possibly losing your life because we said there was not even a couch for you to sleep on.

REMY: I wanted to come here the first time he hit me.


But he talked me out of it. He’s like, you know, “I’ll do – I won’t hit you no more. I love you. It’ll be all better, yada yada yada.”

VASHAWN: I’ve been thrown through a glass table. Busted lip.


VASHAWN: I’ve had phone books thrown at me. It – it doesn’t seem like, you know, the phone book would do any damage. But that – it does hurt.

FEMALE VOICE: I love you too [INAUD].

VASHAWN: Bye baby.

REMY: Bye honey.

KIM MOSHER: When I came in here, I was scared. I don’t think I talked to anybody, really, the first week. I felt alone, even though there were so many people here. I felt like I was nothing and worthless. It’s getting better. But it’s hard. If I cry, I cry in my room. People want to put me down because I work at McDonald’s. “Well, you could do something better.” Well, you know what? That is the best thing for me right now. It’s a job. It’s paying for what I need it to pay for right now.

KIM MOSHER: I’m supposed to work eight to four tomorrow, and I can’t work right now on my medicine.

FEMALE VOICE: Obviously let me know what’s gonna happen or when you can come back.


CATHRYN CURLEY: A woman comes into the shelter, she’s decided, “I’m not gonna go back.” And then all of a sudden, the reality hits that, “Hey, I don’t have the financial resources. I have to go to the food shelf, ‘cause we don’t have enough food.” And then he starts calling, saying, “Gee, I’m really sorry. I won’t do it again.” And the temptation is there, because she’s struggling.

KIM MOSHER: Here. Come on, girls.

CATHRYN CURLEY: I’ve worked at Safe Haven for 30 years. This is my 30th year. Back then we thought, well, maybe in 30 years we won’t need a shelter anymore. And in fact we need a bigger shelter. There’s more complex issues, more violence, less resources.




ANCHOR: A group of state and local women activists came here to test some theories they had on arrest, prosecution and rehabilitation. They got the whole community involved: the police, the courts, the women’s shelter and most recently, the schools.

FEMALE VOICE: When women say that, that “We will not be beaten” and they walk out the door the first time they ever get hit, and all of our daughters walk out the first time they ever get hit, that’s when battering will end.

ELLEN PENCE: I was attracted to this because feminism or all the issues that face women–


ELLEN PENCE: — there’s a million issues you could pick, but this one seemed so basic, is that we shouldn’t be afraid of our sexual freedom or our physical, you know, safety or sexual safety, our sexual safety, our physical safety in our own homes.

We never used this term, “Duluth model” or anything. But we did start it to say “We have to make visible what’s going on.” When we interviewed people in Duluth, we just knew that this is the city to do it in. They’d just had a young woman who’d killed her husband. Shot him, like, six times. She had just kept shooting him in the stomach. Everyone knew this girl was with this older guy, having his babies, being beaten, being hospitalized. And one day she shoots him and kills him and the grand jury said, “No, we are not gonna indict her. There’s something wrong in this community that this girl is sitting here now.” And she didn’t get indicted. And just right after that we show up in Duluth and say, “Are you interested in doing something new and trying an experiment?”


MICHAEL PAYMAR: And it was that experiment with the police department that then forced the court system and everyone else in the system to look at how they’re handling cases, and saying, “We can do things differently. And if we do things differently, we’re gonna save lives in this community.”

LINDA MILLS: Over the last 30 years, the changed in domestic violence policy have been literally revolutionary.


LINDA MILLS: We have transformed not only how we look at domestic violence, but how we react to it. And that’s a pretty amazing outcome of the work of a set of activists who committed their lives to changing how we think about violence against women.

ANGIE WYNN: It’s been a part of my life since I can remember.

ANGIE WYNN: My dad was abusive to me and my five sisters and my mom.

ANGIE WYNN: He died when I was 13, so kind of my whole life has been a struggle. Then my mom was a single mother of six girls. Every day it feels like a fight just to keep your head above water. I don’t want my girls to be hurt. I don’t want them to have to go through what I went through as a kid. They know that moms have had, you know, the bruises and the stories and the– and the fears that go on.

[“Angie Wynn — Safe Haven Advocate”]

So when kids leave their home, they’re afraid to tell people.

KIM MOSHER: I was so bruised up once when my dad had beaten me, you know, and I wanted to back to tell the teacher, but I was so scared. I just remember feeling that — like, what’s going to happen if I go home and he’s there and he knows I said something? I don’t want my kids to ever be the way, you know, Dakota used to come and tell me at times, you know, it might take her a little bit. But she’d say, “Mom, you know, Dad said he was spanking me, but it hurt really bad.” You know, and she’d have a mark. You know? It just got bad.

JOSH MOSHER: I probably paddled the girls harder than I should have. I — you know — grabbed them. When I was younger, my mom would grab me right here, right on that tendon and she would squeeze and so, I did that to them and you know, and Kim would say, “You know, they’re just kids, you know, don’t do that.” Okay, well, what? My mom did it to me, you know? Doesn’t make it right.

HANS JOHNSON: It’s tough to say what these kids experience because the kids don’t really talk about it much.

[“Hans Johnson — Child Advocate”]

We’d be playing with a kid and all of a sudden, they’ll look at you and they’ll go — pow. You know? And then they look at you and wait to see your reaction.

MONA PETERSON: When they first come in, you can tell if a child has been physically abused. When you move, they flinch.

[“Mona Peterson — Child Advocate”]

So then, with those childs you’ve got to be really careful on how you move around them. A lot of times they express through pictures. They will draw us pictures about what, you know, just draw how you’re feeling. They get angry, a lot of bed-wetting. Some of them will just come right out and bite you and you know, kick you and I’ve been spit on — everything. They come from a domestic violence situation and they believe that’s a normal way to behave.


FEMALE VOICE: You’re just making your own stuff.

MALE VOICE: My uncle’s.

FEMALE VOICE: Did you put that all by yourself? High five.

BONNIE KOLODGE: What is domestic violence?

[“Bonnie Kolodge — Safe Haven Advocate”]

It is power and control. If it was all anger, how come he doesn’t beat up a cop when the cop pulls him over for something? He can control it. He wants power and control over the people he hits. And this wheel was developed in Duluth by victims of domestic violence.

[“Battered women’s group — Duluth, 1983”]

ELLEN PENCE: We went to the women’s groups and said, “What’s it like to live with him? Describe it.” And people starting to tell stories.

FEMALE VOICE: How many other people are afraid of that?

FEMALE VOICE: And out of that eventually came the power and control wheel — those sessions with the women.

ELLEN PENCE: They kept saying it’s everything he does — you have to see it all together. It’s not just the violence. We’re trying to make it like a wheel where the violence held everything together.

MICHAEL PAYMAR: There was a pattern of emotional abuse, sexual abuse — that this sense of entitlement that a lot of batterers had about their own privilege and the relationship. It didn’t matter what country, what language, what culture — almost all battered women throughout the world would say, “This is my experience.”

[“Graham Barnes — Battered Women’s Justice Project”]

GRAHAM BARNES: It’s not American, in a sense, it’s almost un-American. I don’t know if I can say that, but it’s really about making the people with least power, putting them in the role of the experts.

KIM MOSHER: Let go of that part. Right there. And then you’re going to take it and flip it one more time this way. So we know it’s clean. You want to help Mommy fold the socks over? Looking at the power and control wheel, you know, that was sad to sit and stare at that and say, “Wow, that’s happened, that’s happened, that’s happened, that’s happened.” The talking down and name calling and the yelling and the hitting, the restraining. He’s grabbed my wrists, not letting me leave a room. Every area of my life has been monitored, I guess would be the word for my husband. If I buy anything, it’s — why’d you get that? Get a month’s worth of groceries for a family of five on 150 dollars. I mean, even the sexual aggression. It was always either pressuring or trying to force himself on me and you shouldn’t have to be that way with your spouse. Some people say they can’t understand how you can be married and feel like you’re raped. That’s how I felt a lot of the time. There are times I woke up and he was messing with me and that just made me feel violated.

JOSH MOSHER: I grew up angry. There was sexual abuse, there was physical abuse, there was — you know, all of it. There was just kind of an all-around, everywhere we went — so. We took it out whatever ways we could, you know? I had no control over everything else around my life. And so, there was something I had control over at home.

ELLEN PENCE: Okay, Patti, can you hear me okay?

PATTI: Yep, I can.


PATTI: You know, because you’ve been around so long, Ellen, you’ve been in the trenches of the domestic violence movement, you can bring a lot of that to the table in a way that’s–

ELLEN PENCE: I got into this work when I was in my mid-20s. I’ve just hit 60 and it’s just — I’ve never really moved away from it, not for one inch in all those years. The violence against women is not because of individual men gone wrong or poor choices that individual women make, it’s the outgrowth of living in a patriarchal society that’s less patriarchal that’s less patriarchal than 100 years ago. But still, it’s extremely male-dominated to this day. We live in a society in which lots and lots and lots of men beat up women, they rape women, they — when women try to get away from them — I mean, we all hear about bride burning in India and we think, “Oh, my God, that culture’s weird.” And yet, we have more women who are shot in this country for walking away from a violent relationship than any brides are burned in India. And so, in our culture, very deeply, is a notion that women do not get to walk out of relationships that are abusive to them.


[“Body casts of shelter residents”]

[“Each represents a woman or child killed in a Minnesota domestic violence crime.”]

MALE VOICE: She hit me in the face. So then they tried to get her away from me and she came right back and hit me again.

FEMALE VOICE: You — fuck you — worthless piece of shit. [UNINTEL]

MARC JOHNSON: You know, the physical, domestic calls are probably one of the few calls that are really hard to shake off after you leave.

[“Marc Johnson — Duluth Police Dept.”]

There’s one that I’ve never really been able to get out of my head and I just don’t know if I will be able to. It was a male and female, they had been married for about eight years and he had been hitting her for seven out of the eight years. It literally looked like somebody had surgically put a cut on her face and inserted a tennis ball on the size of her eye. Her entire orbital bone around her eye was demolished and fractured and just absolutely a million pieces. And to this day, I don’t believe that she’s even left him yet. I think they are still together, unbelievably. He was charged and arrested, but I think they’re still together at this point.

FEMALE VOICE: He pushed me out here and then he pushed me out the door and I managed to call 911 just before he pushed me out.

MALE VOICE: So bottom line — you just kind of want him out for the night?


MALE VOICE: All right, can you be the bigger person and find someplace to go for the night?

MALE VOICE: That’s typical, think of–

MALE VOICE: You wanna argue about this?

MALE VOICE: No, I don’t. I’m not pointing at you, I just know that this is typical.

MARC JOHNSON: I don’t think we need to sit here and argue about it anymore. We’ve come back in the past and it’s turned into something more physical, where they keep on arguing and it progresses to that next level where he hits her, she hits him. So we just do everything we can to kind of avoid that situation. If there is physical harm, then Minnesota’s the mandatory arrest.

[“The Duluth Model introduced a policy of mandatory arrest, requiring the police to arrest batterers. Mandatory arrest laws now apply to most police departments.”]

MALE VOICE: The idea behind arresting and jailing family abusers began here in Duluth. New laws encourage or require police to make arrests.

YOUNGER ELLEN PENCE: So what we try to do is to say when the assault got to the point where someone was injured, there’d be a consistent police response and that the police would always arrest.

CURRENT ELLEN PENCE: The whole idea was to get a share of a police chief, a prosecutor, 15 or 20 judges, five or six mental health professionals to all come together and say, “Right, the system should be stepping in and very proactively putting controls on batterers.”

[“Evan Stark — Rutgers University”]

EVAN STARK: Mandatory arrest has been an extraordinary achievement. It was shown that men who are arrested for domestic violence crimes, even when they didn’t go to jail and even when there were no other punishments listed, simply the experience of being arrested reduced the probability that they would reoffend. And all of these changes applauded a more global recognition of domestic violence as a crime. This is culminated by the passage in 1994 of the Violence Against Women Act. And this was a tremendous and almost revolutionary victory for the battered women’s movement.

MALE VOICE: Do you have a phone?


FEMALE VOICE: Yeah, he was calling, but I wasn’t answering.

MALE VOICE: But you didn’t call 911, though?


MALE VOICE: There you go.

SCOTT JENKINS: This is the most dangerous call for the victim and their children. If we make the wrong decision, it could impact — adversely impact the safety of a woman and her children for years.

[“LT. Scott Jenkins — Duluth Police Dept.”]

She won’t access services. She won’t call the police again when she really needs them. She may take the law into her own hands and commit a dangerous assault or a homicide, God forbid, herself.

KIM MOSHER: You know, when you get the point you feel like you want to kill somebody, that’s bad. I’d be driving — oh, if I just drive off the road, the girls and I can go quietly. And then I’d get pissed off and go, “You know what? He’s the one who did it? Why don’t I hurt him? The doctor asked me if I had a plan and I said, ‘No, I just know he has a shotgun downstairs.’ I said, ‘I’m sure I could figure out how to load it’.” I had checked myself into a hospital for a week because it was either hurt him or get help. Becca, you can’t lean on the arm, though.

[“Melissa — Domestic Violence Survivor”]

KIM MOSHER: They treating you better?

MELISSA: I might have surgery again. May — he said — it’s a possibility. He’s got to look at it.

KIM MOSHER: I refuse myself to let myself get in the hospital ever again because I’m so torn down by somebody’s — I mean, at that point, it was just mental abuse. I don’t exactly have the strongest immune system and any time I was sick or whatever, it was just like going through hell because he’d give me a hard time for being sick, wouldn’t help with the girls and it was just always — oh, great, again.

FEMALE VOICE: Do you feel threatened or afraid at home?



JACQUELYN CAMPBELL: One of the things that women often say is that I get slammed against the kitchen cabinets.

[“Jacquelyn Campbell — Johns Hopkins University”]

And they’ll say, “You know, it’s not that bad. It’s some pushing and shoving and sometimes, he’ll slam me against the kitchen cabinets.” In many of those cases, it will escalate if there’s not some sort of intervention. We’re seeing abuse during pregnancy with consequences to both the unborn child and the mom and then we see the mental health effects — the increased depression, increased suicide amongst abused women. Women who are abused are significantly more likely to have contracted AIDS or sexually transmitted diseases that are related to the forced sex that happens to 40 to 45 percent of abused women.

[“After a two month wait, Kim qualified for Duluth public housing.”]

KIM MOSHER: Looks like it’s painted and it looks like they’re going to put the edging on the bottom. Take a peak in the window.

FEMALE VOICE: This is our mailbox?

KIM MOSHER: Yeah, that’ll be our mailbox.

FEMALE VOICE: Oh, my gosh.

KIM MOSHER: There’s the dining nook right there, then the kitchen. That’s living room — there’s a big basement. There’s three bedrooms upstairs, lots of closet space. See? You’ll have plenty of room to play in the yard. I’m excited. Hopefully, this week they’ll call and say that it’s ready. You’re more than welcome, we have a bed made up for you. We have the TV, we can watch movies. Being here some, I think it’d helped boost some of my confidence because I can see other people going through similar things and it is okay. Every day I wake up, I’m thankful I’m still here. I smile every time I see myself in my McDonald’s uniform in the mirror because I’m like, you know what? I’m doing it.

FEMALE VOICE: Good morning.

FEMALE VOICE: [UNINTEL] calling me a fat virgin.

KIM MOSHER: Okay, well the virgin’s not a bad word, but you’re so not fat. I gotta go. It’s okay, come on. You’re just fun. I don’t want to be hurt. I never would have said it even two months ago, but I do deserve better than that. I don’t care if I’m putting ten years of marriage in the trash, I don’t care. I’ve fought and I’ve struggled and I brought us to those ten years and the one good thing I got out of that was my girls.


JOSH MOSHER: I’ve been suicidal before and thought — she might just be better off without me entirely in the picture. And so, I kind of just kept thinking that way and it just became more and more intent. I spent a week in a psychiatric unit. They did a lot of mental health evaluations on me. I was kind of more concerned about if she was coming back through this whole time and kind of didn’t understand the concept of I need to fix what I need to fix regardless.

[“The Duluth Model requires batterers to attend treatment programs, designed to change attitudes towards women. Many jurisdictions now have similar programs.”]

[“Domestic Abuse Intervention Project — Duluth”]

TRAVIS: I knew it wasn’t right to do it. I mean, 90 percent of people — you go and talk to people and everybody doesn’t like someone who hits a woman or hits another person. But then something justified it for me to say that it was okay that I did it. But I didn’t.


You know, I kept thinking to myself — oh, God, I could have just killed her. She’d be laying there dead and I’d be going to jail for murder charges instead of going to jail for domestic assault.


ROBERT: I was laying on a bed and she just wouldn’t leave me alone, you know? And I flipped her over and I started choking her and I felt something — I heard something pop.


JESSE: I pushed her. She tripped and fell and I mean, it’s not nothing I’m proud about, you know, ’cause she was pregnant at the time. So it’s really hard to deal with and hard to tell people. I don’t tell a lot of people, you know, that that happened.

[“Carol Thompson — Co-leader”]

CAROL THOMPSON: Where did you learn that it was okay to be violent to your partner?

TRAVIS: I’d seen my dad do it to my mom for so long and I think that’s where most of it comes from.

[“Scott Miller — Team Leader”]

SCOTT MILLER: So you learned it when you were young from your father, but then what were the things that throughout your life that didn’t challenge that?

MALE VOICE: You know, this is my house, you’re going to do what I tell you to do. And that’s how my father was and I always said — I always said to myself I’m never going to be like him, but I would up basically turning out exactly like him.

CAROL THOMPSON: Growing up as a boy, you were here. You’ve been socialized to have those expectations in our culture.

MALE VOICE: Every year, we get delegations of folks coming in from other countries from Moldova and China and Sweden. They all come in and observe our men’s group. They’ll say, “You know, the men in Duluth say the same thing as the men in China about why they do this.” And it really reinforces this idea that it isn’t an individual man’s problem, that this is really a global cultural issue that needs to be addressed for women to be safe in their homes.

SCOTT MILLER: How did you justify that? Like, as your buddy and I’m standing next to you and I say, “Kevin, what was the deal? Why’d you do that?”

MALE VOICE: Man of the house — bring in most of the money — totally in a rage, really, I didn’t know what I was doing, you know?

SCOTT MILLER: Yeah, well, the work in the class is figuring that out. All right. We’ll see ya, thanks, guys.

TRAVIS: You’re not gonna walk out the door like, “Oh, I’m different. I’m a new man now. I went through 26 classes and now I’m different so no — that isn’t how it works.” But what is healing me is the change of my beliefs that it’s not okay to downgrade another human being and make them live underneath your power or underneath your control.

[“In late October 2009, Kim was ready to leave Safe Haven.”]


JEAN MARIE JOHNSON: What’s gonna happen now is you’re going to enter into our database and I keep track of where you go for the next six months.

[“Jean Marie Johnson — Advocate”]

And that’s just basically if you’re in permanent housing, if you’re in a safe environment — that sort of thing.

FEMALE VOICE: And you returned your linens. Do you have anything in the safe?

KIM MOSHER: I got it already.

FEMALE VOICE: Okay. And then obviously, you didn’t move into a home with your abuser, right?


FEMALE VOICE: Okay. And I should probably get a hold of you within next week just to see how things are going and how the transition is going, but I trust — I mean, you’ve connected yourself to just about whatever resource that you were able to, which is awesome and I think that’s why you’ve done so well. So do you want some quilts?

KIM MOSHER: I know I want that beautiful thing.

FEMALE VOICE: The blue one on top?

KIM MOSHER: Plans are to stick with McDonald’s for now until I can get more settled in and have the girls feel a little more secure and then I’m planning on returning back to school in the spring because that’s important to me.

FEMALE VOICE: Those might actually be curtains or maybe couch covers.

KIM MOSHER: I can’t tell.

FEMALE VOICE: Yeah, it’s a curtain.

KIM MOSHER: Oh. I’m moving to my own house after three months of being in a shelter and going through lots of different things there, so I’m excited.

[“To collect her furniture, Kim drove to Wabasha, MN. It was her first trip back to her marital house. She was told that Josh would not be there.”]

KIM MOSHER: As much as I’m sure there are lots of people that are scared to even try to go near a place to get their stuff, but I’m not letting anybody stand in my way with this. I mean, anyone wants to even try to cause trouble, I will handle what I need to handle.

DAKOTA: You’ll get that shotgun.

KIM MOSHER: No, Dakota. Ah.

[“Mosher house — Wabasha”]

DAKOTA: [UNINTEL] home. A mess, but–

KIM MOSHER: Well, actually, it’s not that big of a mess.

DAKOTA: Oh, mamma mia. Mamma mia [?].

KIM MOSHER: Hey, Dakota, grab be one of those boxes in Deborah’s room. Okay, this account. I love that picture. It’s funny talking with some of these people — oh, I never knew he hit you. Well, do I walk around and announce that?

KAREN SWINEHART: No, you don’t let everybody know what was going on.

[“Karen Swinehart — Kim’s friend”]

KIM MOSHER: Well, I don’t care if it might sound mean. I have got no compassion for him whatsoever. I have nothing.

KAREN SWINEHART: Well, be safe than sorry.

KIM MOSHER: I was at a different place — kind of that tie between — oh, I don’t know. I feel like I still love him, but I don’t know, you know? And it’s like, I’m at the point — I know I don’t. I think I’ve been scared into staying. It’s been every which way he can. He’s cut me off from my family, tried to cut me off from friends, you know how he’s been when you’ve been around the house. Lord forbid I have somebody over. Can you describe the recipe box? It’s the one little thing.


DAKOTA: Okay, I grabbed it.

KIM MOSHER: You like the chair?


KIM MOSHER: Every time I sit in that, I think of Grandma Polly [?]. Hop on, Karen, we’re outta here like Thelma and Louise.

KAREN SWINEHART: Stay right there.

DAKOTA: You okay?

KIM MOSHER: I will be.

DAKOTA: Don’t forget the part right here.

KIM MOSHER: Uh-huh. Mom, what’s up? I am so happy that we’ve got a house. You are so cool — finding houses. You are the coolest mom I have ever had.

FEMALE VOICE: Pretty barren here.

KIM MOSHER: It’s breathing.

FEMALE VOICE: Losing air.

KIM MOSHER: I’m coming to get you, Dakota. Wow, the door’s in the way. I’m going to be filing my paperwork for divorce — start that process. It’s not so much being on my own, it’s just having to figure out who I am. Just moving on and doing the things that I desire to do and meeting people and helping the kids grow up in a better environment.

[“The Duluth Model now faces criticism from different directions. Critics include prominent academics and ‘men’s rights’ activists.”]

[“Evidence-based domestic violence policy conference”]

FEMALE VOICE: I’m incredibly impressed with the courage, the strength and the perseverance of this man — what he has gone through. David, if you could talk a little bit about yourself?

DAVID WOODS: Okay, at one point, Ruth tried to kill me again for like the 12th or 15th–

[“David Woods — Domestic violence survivor”]

And when I say, you know, oh my wife tried to kill me. Oh, it’s metaphorical, it’s allegorical, my wife tried to — no, my wife tried to fucking kill me 12 times, 15 times, 18 times — I lost track in the ’90s, I stopped keeping score.

[“Murray Straus — University of New Hampshire”]

MURRAY STRAUS: There’s many things that need to be done to end partner violence, but one of the big ones that’s not being attended to is violence by women. Women initiate. They’re the first ones to hit as often as men.

[“Erin Pizzey — Founded first shelter in U.K., 1971”]

ERIN PIZZEY: I was thrown out of the feminist movement. I have a letter banning me from all of their collectives. I was standing up and saying, “The safest place for children is with the biological mother and father under one roof.” I never, from the beginning, could see that it was anything to do with the idea that it was the patriarchy. To say that it’s all men do to all women and that the family is a dangerous place is a lie. It’s not a gender issue, it’s never been a gender issue and children need family.

MALE VOICE: I was watching “Oprah” and they talked about cobras and pit bulls.


MALE VOICE: And in the methodology, he said if you can study female violence, 40 percent of the women in our study would have been severely violent.

[“Donald Dutton — University of British Columbia”]

DOLAND DUTTON: The Duluth Model is kind of legislated by law against the Violence Against Women Act virtually all over the U.S. And so, it’s put in place and there’s domestic violence consuls that make sure that people adhere to Duluth Model Principles and if you try to do other forms of therapy, you don’t get a contract. So basically, they own the system. Duluth, which is more of a kind of finger wagging model, very, very blaming. I’ve likened it to Chinese thought reform because you’re trying to get this sort of compliance to agree with a political position, but you’re not working on the emotions that underlie the attitudes. And I think that’s why Duluth fails and will always fail.


[“Richard Gelles — University of Pennsylvania”]

RICHARD GELLES: We have got a problem of being weighted down by carrying around 40 years of advocacy and ideology and one-size-fits-all mantras before we can approach this as a health psychology problem, which in fact, it is.

ELLEN PENCE: It’s kind of like, you know, when you get a new president and now we say they have that first 100 days. Well, when a social movements starts and the public catches on and is sympathetic and you have a couple years in which you’re defining the issue and you’re saying, “This is about this.” And then the powers that be step in and start to redefine and who’s stepped in big time is the side [?] professions. They started to put that whole psychological spin on everything, where it was an individual pathology, where it was a function of the communication and the relationship. It’s just like smoke, smoke, smoke, smoke screens over what’s going on.

[“New York conference on batterer treatment”]

SAMUEL AYMER: My socialization with respect to domestic violence was such that everything was predicated on power and control with the model where you sort of preach to batterists.

[“Samuel Aymer — Hunter College”]

They have no choice and they parrot you, you know? It’s very interesting. You tell them about power and control and then the next week they come in — they tell you about power and control. And if you’re not a skill practitioner, you think that somehow they’ve internalized the material and they really haven’t.

FEMALE VOICE: I’m here because I’ve been frustrated by the sort of knee jerk reaction of the system to exile one parent from the family and I’m really excited that there are solutions to that.

FEMALE VOICE: So many people do want to stay together and I just think there comes a time when we just have to look at different approaches.

LINDA MILLS: The advantage of shelter has been to give space, right?

[“Linda Mills — New York University”]

But most shelters don’t say, “We know you want to reunite and here are the programs we can provide to help you do that in a way that might be peaceful or it might help you separate.” The solutions, really, have to move beyond the Duluth Model, which is a kind of narrow perspective that identifies the cause of domestic violences, in a sense, exclusively patriarchy, and doesn’t get to the deeper, underlying causes. I’m not here to convince anybody that I’m right. I’m here because I believe there is an important alternative viewpoint and whoever wants to come along because they think it might help them, I’m fine with that.

MICHAEL PAYMAR: I think you’re going to see battered women, you know, in a place where they’re extremely vulnerable and batterers using violence with impunity. If we revert to what a lot of the critics would like us to do.

[“Sally MacNicol — Program Director, CONNECT”]

SALLY MACNICOL: There are men who are, you know, trying to get their — who are getting their children away from the women that they’ve abused, children that they have abused themselves who are succeeding in that. There are people trying to get rid of the Violence Against Women Act. It’s a very dangerous situation.

[“July, 2009”]

FEMALE VOICE: Okay, keep your fives.

KIM MOSHER: Well, let me flip it quick just to see.


FEMALE VOICE: I’m gonna grab a [UNINTEL].

JOSH MOSHER: You want a cup?


JOSH MOSHER: There you go.

[“In early 2009, Kim asked Josh to move back in.”]

FEMALE VOICE: Mom trusts me with both.

KIM MOSHER: I was having a really hard time. I was just constantly sick, whether it was with a cold or just always feeling worn out and I ended up in the hospital for a week. He came down and helped with the girls for that week and tried to take care of me, you know, as best as he could. And I had never got that from him before. I mean, that was a big thing because he didn’t complain about having to be with the girls.

JOSH MOSHER: It was nice because she appreciated and she saw that I was trying to make an effort. I might not have liked it, but I shut my mouth and I didn’t say anything negative and I just tried to support her and let her know that I was there for her.


KIM MOSHER: Through the whole time, you know, I still had the intentions of filing for divorce. Drew up all the divorce papers and we were able to be amicable with that. I just remember going into the court hearing and I said, “Just dismiss.” I just remember seeing Josh’s face because his jaw just dropped. You know, he’s like, “Oh, my gosh.”

JOSH MOSHER: She was calling the lawyer and said, “What do I need to do to stop the paperwork?” And I just started crying.

KIM MOSHER: And it was funny because when I started drawing it, I didn’t plan out six hearts. So Dakota’s like, “Oh, look, there’s one for each of us.”

JOSH MOSHER: That is cool.

KIM MOSHER: Oooh, you’re turning into a Smurf.

FEMALE VOICE: It’s a rainbow. It’s a rainbow.

KIM MOSHER: Ginger, sit.

JOSH MOSHER: Well, I don’t wanna walk on your pretty rainbow.

KIM MOSHER: He’s taken a lot of responsibility in saying, “Yeah, I did this and it was wrong.” But it seems like there’s so many blank spots in his memory for things and it’s usually when there’s an issue with aggressiveness and that’s kind of scary.

JOSH MOSHER: I don’t remember some of what she was saying that I was doing. She said I was punching the walls a lot and I don’t remember that, I just know my hands were sore a lot. She had said I had slapped her and I won’t deny it. I don’t remember it, but I’m not gonna deny it.


FEMALE VOICE: There’s a million reasons why she’d go back. It takes a woman seven to ten times to actually leave her abuser.

BONNIE KOLODGE: You okay? I lived, I survived, okay? It’s okay.

BONNIE KOLODGE: It’s tough, especially in this economy, to make it on your own with limited resources and finances. And a lot of times, the abuser is saying, “I’ve changed, I’ve changed, I love you. I want my kids.” It’s easy to then go back and think he really has changed.

JOSH MOSHER: Becca [?], it’s time out. And why is there sand all over this?

BECCA: Dad, look, Dakota was [UNINTEL]. Dakota’s barefoot.

DAKOTA: No, I wasn’t.

KIM MOSHER: It’s been kind of hard the last month. Sometimes I feel like everything is just slowly seeping in and I’m like, “Oh, please don’t tell me I have to go through it again.” You know? And I’m not going to feel like I have to battle him to get my online classes done or to go to work. I mean, I feel that that is power and control.

FEMALE VOICE: Get out of here. Get out.



JOSH MOSHER: If you want to ignore me, that’s okay.

DAKOTA: I’m not ignoring you. Can’t I stick my face–

JOSH MOSHER: Shh. Don’t yell.

DAKOTA: Please get out.


DAKOTA: I want my turn.

JOSH MOSHER: You’ll get your turn.

KIM MOSHER: Dakota’s attitude — she’s been kind of upset since he’s been back in the house. And she’s always like, “I just wish you weren’t here.” He’s heard a lot of “I wish you weren’t my dad” in the last month.

DAKOTA: I didn’t get to have a turn.

JOSH MOSHER: Don’t stomp, you’re gonna hurt–

KIM MOSHER: Deborah was sick to her stomach about even trying to get up and go to school. She wanted to kill herself and it wasn’t just a kid saying, “Oh, I wish I was dead.” She was talking about things like that she could easily have access to and do. And one of the last statements was, “I just wish the house would blow up and all you guys would get out and I’d stay in.” And I’m just like, “You know what? That’s not how a kid should be viewing themselves.” You’re silly.

JOSH MOSHER: Give me some sugar.


[“Sept. 7, 2009 — St. Paul, MN”]

MALE VOICE: Why are domestic violence situations so dangerous for police? Officer Richard Crentintin [?] was shot and killed yesterday in an apartment complex in North St. Paul. Crentintin was called out to check on a violation of an Order of Protection. Dockery’s [?] wife had filed that Order of Protection and he had violated it several times before.

ELLEN PENCE: Any more news on the killing?

FEMALE VOICE: No, I don’t — I haven’t heard anything. I think they’re just trying to process it all.

ELLEN PENCE: Yeah. I can’t be sitting here and not first say something about the officer who was killed yesterday responding to a domestic. I know it’s really, really hard, Dave, for you. And this violence is like — it just touched so many people in so many ways and it just spreads out these ugly tentacles and we want to thank you for what you do everyday. Okay, having said that — so everyone here has been involved in some way or another in the blueprint. And now what I’m trying to do — I’m working in St. Paul. And I have this opportunity, this very unusual opportunity to do Duluth again 25 years later, better.

YOUNGER ELLEN PENCE: Women say that, that we will not beaten.

ELLEN PENCE: It just reminds me of going back to the 1980s and I’m just like, “Oh my God, I get to do it again and I get to do it with a lot more knowledge.” It’s — they’re very engaged in it and I think they’re going to make it happen if we can just stick with it. I don’t waver very much from the original notion that it’s a gender issue. We’ve been successful in undermining some of the structural supports for this violence, especially in the field of the criminal justice system. We’ve been less successful in other big institutions — the mental health, medical, and if we don’t continue with that institutional change work, if we just stop here and just try to maintain what we’ve done, we’ll never get beyond this very limited place that we’re at right now.

MALE VOICE: There’s folks who come to our cities for training and there’s four domestics in an evening and think, “But this is Duluth. Aren’t you all done?” It’s going to take a lot more time than we’ve had to change generations of thought that have went into controlling women, beating women to get compliance. That’s something that’s going to take decades.

[“Linda Riddle — Exec. Director, Domestic Abuse Intervention Project”]

LINDA RIDDLE: I mean, we’ve had hundreds of years, thousands of years, where violence against women was the norm. So in 25 years in one city in America, it’s going to be ended because of the work we’ve done. The work that we’ve done has set the stage.

JOSH MOSHER: Look, the bridge is going up.

FEMALE VOICE: Why does the bridge go up and down?

JOSH MOSHER: ‘Cause the boats.

KIM MOSHER: Becca, go stand by Dad.

JOSH MOSHER: Cutie pie.

KIM MOSHER: As much as I love the dock, I don’t want to get [UNINTEL].

JOSH MOSHER: You hear it, you hear it.


FEMALE VOICE: Mom, help — help me.

JOSH MOSHER: Ginger, come on.


JOSH MOSHER: Good girl.

KIM MOSHER: I’m not looking for him to screw him, but I’m also not going to be stupid about it. My eyes are open. I’m not going to, by any means, get into the crap that I had to live with before and I’m not going to have the girls to have to deal with it.


KIM MOSHER: If this go-around doesn’t work because I don’t know how many second chances I’ve given, I’m by no means concerned about making it on my own because I was doing it for seven months without him. He’s unnerved, I think, somewhat to see the difference with the two, though, ’cause I’m not the same as I was before I moved to Duluth and before I was at the shelter. It’s just, how do you go on from there? I dunno.


SHARON RICE-VAUHGAN: You can’t expect it, you know, to be a happy ending.

[“Sharon Rice-Vauhgan, Co-founder, Womens’ Advocates Shelter, 1974”]

We have to expect that. There will always be a backlash and it’s very creative. It’s like it’s malleable. We are always in a contest to keep what we have achieved alive.

ELLEN PENCE: I think what we’ve lost in the battered women’s movement is this real sense of sisterhood with battered women. It’s become institutionalized, professionalized in a way where we no longer have that sense of sisterhood that drove so much of our work in those early years and made us overcome huge barriers to — to women and made lots of big institutional changes. We can’t go back to those days, but we have to recapture the momentum that we had that was about sisterhood that doesn’t exist as strongly today.

MALE VOICE: If you had one thing to say to people who were gonna watch this film, what would it be?

KIM MOSHER: You don’t have to take anything, whether it’s hitting or whether it’s someone yelling at you.


KIM MOSHER: Then go get your coat on.

FEMALE VOICE: Can I give you a hug?




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