Conversation on Police Violence
NOVEMBER 26, 2020
DISCRIMINATION, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, FEMINISM, GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE, MEN AND MASCULINITY, PODCASTS, POLICY, RAPE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT, SEXISM AND MISOGYNY, SURVIVOR STORIES, THE WORKPLACE AND EMPLOYMENT, TRAUMA AND ABUSE
In recognition of DVAM or Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Engendered Collective hosted a series of community conversations to bring greater awareness to domestic abuse and gender-based violence. This conversation deals with the intersection of abuse and police violence. Guests included Effy Zarabi, Heather McWilliam, and Nanette Chezum.
Heather McWilliam served in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Toronto Police Service prior to her medical leave in 2014. While on active service she worked in multiple specialized units including Homicide, Drugs Squad, and the Criminal Investigation Bureau. Her almost six-year human rights case has been called the longest in Canadian history. Heather is now pursuing a career in advocacy which will involve founding a not-for-profit and speaking publicly in support of victims of police culture abuses and sexual violence, those living with post-traumatic stress disorder and mental health injuries. Heather proudly re-initiated her social media voice immediately after the final decision of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario in June 2020.
Teri: Hey there podcast listeners welcome to Engendered, the show that features stories that explore the systems, practices, and policies that enable gender based violence and oppression and the solutions to end it. We use gender as a lens to understand power and oppression, teach feminism and decolonize hearts and minds. One story at a time. Engendered is sponsored by KANDUIT spelled K-A-N-D-U-I-T. And I'm your host, Teri Yuan. This year, in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Engendered Collective hosted a series of community conversations to bring greater awareness to domestic abuse and gender based violence. Today's conversation deals with the intersection of sexism, racism, rape, culture and policing. Welcome, everybody. My name is Teri Yuan and I'm the founder of the Engendered Collective, and today we are going to be having a community conversation on domestic abuse and police violence. We're happy to have three guests to talk about this issue. I'm a survivor, I'm an intersectional feminist, and I am also an advocate to end gender based violence, systemic sexism, and all forms of sexist oppression. And that's why I found at the Engendered Collective, which is a community of survivors, advocates and profitenist allies to come together in community advocacy and learning. And so the three pillars that we have for our work is number one, we engage in knowledge building and knowledge sharing. So we have a weekly podcast called Engendered. This Community Conversation, as well as the other ones that we have scheduled for October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month is also part of that. We have a platform where members can engage and share and ask questions. Second pillar is we engage in community care and community healing. So we have weekly survivors offering support groups that are based off of the feminist consciousness raising classes and workshops from the Better Women's movement. And we also engage in advocacy to end sexism and to increase accountability around sexist, oppression, violence and exploitation. So there's a working group that we have comprised of international members who are working on coercive control. That's what the general collective is about now, just to sort of frame the expectations for this conversation and future ones. What these community conversations are is an opportunity, hopefully for survivors and advocates, practitioners, researchers, everybody who's working the space and cares about the issue to come together, share experiences, be a source of inspiration and hopefully learning. They are not definitive in the answers that we offer what I say today, and I might be very strongly an advocate for or against a particular position. I'm open to change in learning. And so it is not a place where we are setting rules and agendas for how things should be in a final way. So please keep that in mind. The three speakers and panelists we have today are Effy Zarabi, Heather McWilliam, and Nanette Chazum. So I'm going to give everybody a brief opportunity to just introduce themselves directly. So we're going to start with Effy.
Teri: Thank you, Effy. And next is Heather, please.
Heather: Hi, Teri, thanks for having me. I'm also a police officer. I work at the same organization that Effy works out, which is in Toronto for the police Service. There I joined policing in 2004. I worked for the National Police Force for the RCMP originally and then continued my career mostly with the Toronto Police Service, and I've been a police officer for 15 years. In 2014, I left my service and went on a medical leave due to the toxic workplace and experiences that I had from colleagues and supervisors in my workplace throughout my career and due to the experiences that I had prior to reading work and afterwards I filed a human rights complaint that I fought alongside with very experienced lawyers with regards to sexual harassment, sexual abuse in the workplace and systemic toxic workplace in policing for women. And recently, after six years in June this year, we won the case of systemic sexual abuse in the workplace. And so there was changes implemented and there was a lot of awareness brought through that decision. I worked in different units within the organization. I had experience in homicide and drug squad and in the intelligence Bureau and with all that experience and all of the other women that I saw going through similar abuse, I decided to continue my career now as an advocate for women's rights and an ally to humanity for others to help make a difference in other people's lives so that we can all collectively have a better tomorrow.
Teri: Thank you, Heather. And finally, Nanette.
Teri: Thank you, Nanette. So we're going to get started with just framing the problem. I don't know how many of us in this conversation are aware of this, but I first became introduced to this problem when I interviewed Rosara Torres Thomas for the podcast, and I was looking into the statistics around domestic abuse amongst law enforcement. And apparently law enforcement is the sector with the highest rates of domestic violence. There was a study in 1991 by Arizona State University that estimated based on its results that at least 40% of the law enforcement engages in domestic abuse. And this was based on questions where the term violence or behaving violently wasn't even defined. And so if we extend the definition of abuse to beyond just the physical incident model, it's likely that it's much higher than 40%. So I want to start with Nanette. In terms of your own personal experience, you were involved with an officer and an officer involved domestic violence relationship. Can you tell us briefly some of the ways in which he engaged in abusive behavior because most of it, as you explained in our podcast interview, was not physical
Teri: In the context of a regular relationship. Many people might interpret these behaviors as harmless, and we who are advocates of reframing domestic abuse, of course, of control in a non physical incident only model perspective. We understand that that's not the case, but with this additional layer of knowing that your partner was a police officer and carried a gun, what was that like in terms of the impact on you and the kinds of thoughts and self policing behaviors that you might have prescribed as a way to manage the situation?
Teri: Thank you. Nanette. So that's just the interpersonal setting. Let's talk about the institutional setting. Effy, when you and I spoke about the experiences that you had, they were initially things that you discovered through your partner and through a group chat that he was a part of. So can you talk about that and what it was that he discovered and shared with you?
Teri: Thank you. And Heather, your experience you shared with me your experience around how your colleagues behavior not just towards one another and to the women in the Department, but also how it was indicative based on their response to domestic violence and sexual assault incidents. And so how they're responding to the public was, in your words, something that the public would be shocked about. So can you describe some of the things that your fellow officers would say or do when responding to sexual assault and gender based crimes?
Heather: For one example or a few examples, I was a Detective conspiracy in the detective's office at the time, and I was working with male supervisors, and when there was sexual assault investigations that were being conducted, we would conduct interviews with the sexual assault victims and their survivors. And afterwards, after the interviews, there would be comments made as to whether or not the victim or the survivor was telling the truth. And the only part of the investigation that had commenced at this point was the interview. So there had been no evidence collected, there had been no other parts of the investigation that corroborate someone's integrity and whether or not something happened had not been conducted. And they were making comments that the comments were she had fake breast, she probably deserved it or she was asking for it or the comment was, I don't believe her right off the hop just because they didn't believe her from whatever sentence that they were showing at that time that they felt that they didn't believe her, likely didn't have the background and the experience and the knowledge as to what symptoms present trauma and what do not. And so comments when a female would come in to make a report, one of my abusers stepped up to me and was commenting on her physical appearance and what he liked about her physical appearance. And I remember another situation where there was a young survivor speaking about her experience about sexual assault, and my supervisor had went back into the room and basically read her her rights and cautioned her. Something that we're trained not to do is if they're making false allegations that they would be charged. So my experiences and as I was going through my own experiences of sexual harassment and I was sexually assaulted by one of my bosses, the response was these women weren't to be believed. They were called names, derogatory names, and there's also a checklist after an interview is conducted through in Canada called by Class that has to be submitted. So that we can track known or unknown suspects in sexual abuse or sexual assault, and they would complain about having to fill this report out. So there was a lack of motivation to want to to pursue conduct these investigations. All that surrounding all of it was so concerning on a larger scale than just that one person that we spoke to? How many times has this happened to someone, when they don't even know when they've come to us with courage to ask for help? And this is the response they're getting behind closed doors with police officers not understanding what trauma is for sexual abuse and how that affects people versus different other kinds of abuse or different other kinds of harm that's conducted that they respond to, that this was less than important than other offenses.
Teri: So you mentioned trauma, that's something that's been covered very broadly in the media, for example, unbelievable is a docu drama, I guess, on Netflix about a serial rapist, and it shows very clearly how women are not only disbelieved, but that they're penalized for potentially in the view of law enforcement making false reports. There's a common argument that if only police officers or only XYZ groups of people were trained, they would do better. So are there instances I'll post this to all of our panelists. Are there instances where you know that training has led to better outcomes if they understood trauma better, that they would be more empathetic, for example, or at least not make jump to this stereotype. So any of our panelists feel free to answer this?
Heather: I'll speak just briefly about it. Just in my own experience, having gone through what I've gone through with my mental health and post traumatic stress and all of the other things that went along with that is that the more I personally learned about trauma, the more I was in mental health, the more I was able to understand others mental health and their trauma and their symptoms and their experiences and what affects them on a daily basis and what they're presenting to me and how it's being perceived by others. And so just through my own experience, because I know that through policing, I wasn't trained to the degree that we should be trained with regards to mental health and how it affects someone and what that truly looks like. Our experience as police officers has a lot to do with physical training rather than mental health training.
Teri: Okay. Would anybody else like to answer before we continue?
Teri: Okay, so to go on to the next part, let's talk about the responses to each of your experiences, Nanette, at some point you decided to break up with your partner and report. Can you tell us about that experience, what it was like, what you were considering, weighing the pros and cons of and what made you decide to actually move forward rather than keep quiet?
Teri: Was there any sense of fear that accompanied those other emotions?
Teri: Okay, so that contrast, obviously, for someone who actually works with their abuser or their harasser. And for those folks like FY and Heather who had to go back to work and deal with it every day, different set of consequences. So, Effy, you shared that your fiance was the first person to introduce you to sort of the web of the ecosystem of male entitlement and sexist and misogynistic behavior, not just towards the public, but obviously also towards their colleagues. So how did that play out in terms of its impact on your fiancé? Because he obviously one could arguably call him a whistleblower by telling on his buddies, how did it impact him? And then what subsequently happened when you reported
Teri: Thank you. And could you talk a little bit more about the human rights tribunal that you brought your case to and its impact on you? Obviously, you were basically shouldering this double burden feelings on grief and trauma around the experience. So what happened with the tribunal?
Teri: Thank you. So, Heather, in your own experience, you talked about the lack of disciplinary action and this trend in a way, if we want to call it that of people who are in power, some of whom may have been even accused perpetrators for moving them up or two different positions where they're still employed in policing and up, meaning they are promoted. So not only is there not a negative consequence, but there's a positive consequence. So just to follow up on what Effy said, there's this financial cost. So why is it that there is this financial burden that the victim has to shoulder herself rather? And then who is paying actually for the alleged perpetrator?
Heather: So when I came forward and decided that I wanted to go ahead with the application for the human Rights tribunals, our police Association, which is like a Union, and they had stated that they would not support me financially with regards to human rights. And so they have experienced decades more than me in policing. They also have a history more than me in policing. They also have a history of family members that have also been in policing for decades before me as well. And so it was a choice that they had. And so they have this discretion that they can say yes or say no to where they decide to allocate can say yes or say no to where they decide to allocate the money with which the Association provides support to. And so the officers, mainly in our organization that gets support, our officers that have been charged criminally or they've been facing some sort of other workplace problems, or they've been facing some sort of other workplace problems and not about female officer problems that we're experiencing. So in the past, female officers have just prior to my experience and going forward, there's a female officer that was leaving the job, and a lot of female officers take the job, and a lot of female officers take nondisclosure agreements so that they financially cannot go through with the standing up for themselves without the support of the Association. And so in my experience, after six years, my financial statement was about paid out of pocket. And that's the example of what it takes or what it took. In my circumstances, there are 30 police officers that they put on the stand against me to which were not found to be credible. And I was. But again, that is the example of why women won't come forward is that this is at all. Everyone was too fearful to speak up about the truth about it, fear of reprisal within the service. So just to go over is that we don't have the support. It's decades of this culture flourishing in the way that they've liked to suppress women for being able to change the way the things are, the status quo.. But a lot of the power and control comes from those that are at the top of our organization. And they did move people that were involved in my case to positions as to where they could have further power and control over my career over the situation to further harm me.
Teri: And these individuals who were involved in your case, and I'm guessing they're still in those positions. There's no accountability still at this point for them.
Heather: That's correct. Even after the Human Rights Tribunal, after I've been down credible, those that stayed in policing and didn't retire since the case in which they have access and have used against me my personal location and various other ways in which to intimidate me and my family. So actually, recently there was a counselor within our city that decided to start involving the city with regards to the accountability of the service to what's happened since the decision has come out.
Teri: Yeah. And I just want to highlight for our attendees that in the Razoro Torres Thomas episode, we actually shared some resources where there was an article about the incidents and prevalence of law enforcement. And the article highlights that the lack of disciplinary measures is so severe that there are so many other disciplinary problems that police officers do actually get citations for and negative consequences for that fall for and negative consequences for that fall above domestic violence, and they include drug use, theft, embezzlement, in other words, false statements or perjury assault, and all of those actually have a higher incident of negatives actually have a higher incidence of negative outcomes than domestic violence, which falls below all of that, which I think is very indicative of how women and sexual assault and sexual violations are viewed in this culture are viewed in this culture. So let's talk about some of the structural impediments to accountability that exists. One of them is data. I think if you talked about the lack of transparency, part of the reason that there's a lack of transparency. Part of the reason that there's a lack of transparency is the intersection of what normally exists in domestic violence, which is the fear of reporting. We all know that when there is an experience of domestic abuse or course of control, that there's very low rates of reporting because of what the potential consequences are of engaging in criminal justice and all the other systems that you might have to engage in. But there is also another complication in data, which is apparently that in the US, at least in 1996, there was an amendment to a federal law that prohibits anyone convicted of no, this amendment is very valuable, obviously, for women who aren't in relationships with partners with guns. But if your partner is a police officer who can't use a gun to go to work, then obviously, if you report your partner or if you report anyone in that situation who has to use a gun for a later risk of retaliation, and if you're in the relationship itself, there might be economic considerations around your partner not being able to provide for the family. So that's one reason. But I want to go back to Heather and Effy with regard to the role of unions as gatekeepers, you talked to the role of unions as gatekeepers Effy. You talked about the cost of trying to achieve accountability. I'd love for you to delve into more the cost of just trying to be healthy and be employed still, and what the role the Union plays, if at all, in advocating for your interests as a victim over the perpetrators.
Teri: And right now you are on leave. Isn't that right?
Teri: So, Heather, you have talked about in terms of the institutional gatekeepers, in your experience, in terms of the institutional gatekeepers, in your experience, I recall the incident with the nurse who basically blamed you for not knowing better. But of course, this is something you are going to experience and reinforcing the culture of misogyny. Can you talk about what happened of misogyny? Can you talk about what happened with that nurse?
Heather: So after I went off work and I was now speaking to a doctor with regards to what I had experienced, she had advised that it was in my best interest for my health to not attend the workplace and to not attend the workplace. And so at this time, my workplace was coming to my house. So there was police officers coming to my home. Even one of my abusers had been sent to my home address supervisors to check on me, and I was already off work with my doctor. There was a medical note, but they insisted on coming to my home and harassing me. And then they continued to send letters in the mail ordering me to the medical Bureau at headquarters. And if I didn't attend, I would be disciplined. I also was told by my Union they would have my benefits and my pay cut off if I did not attend.. so going against my doctor's orders. And this is when my PTS was simply at its worst. When I needed support most they did not give it to me, and I was ordered under our policies and procedures. I have to speak to the nurse at least. So I was speaking to the nurse. And when I was speaking to the nurse, the nurse told me that this was a man's world. I should have known this. When I joined police, this was a man's world. I should have known this when I joined policing. What else did I expect? And that if I didn't listen to her, her bosses were going to make my life worse. And so when we had the hearing, this nurse had left the service and they could no longer find her to be able to testify regarding this information. And they could no longer find her to be able to testify regarding this information. And no one has been held accountable for the words that she had said when I needed support most, when my mental health was at the point of needing those words of encouragement to get better, they weren't there. She asked me, what else was I going to do with my life? I was too young not to work. And so she put all the blame on me and not on the situation as to what it was .
Teri: Okay for those of the audience who hasn't heard of the different cases in the public around being to hold someone in custody. And if you engage in rape or sexual assault, as long as the police officer says that there is consent, it's legal. Believe it or not, in many States, across the country, in the US, at least 30 States, that is the case. So it's not surprising that when you have that lost, you're going to be experiencing people who are the nurse that you experienced gatekeepers of that culture.
Heather: I just want to add that I think, actually she was being intimidated by my supervisors, by the ones in power that were named in this complaint. We don't have those laws here. So I really do anyways.
Teri: And I know for a fact that those same insinuations are also made when officers are responding to domestic abuse incidents. And the perpetrator or the alleged perpetrator is not a police officer, those officers are still going to be asking, how are you going to support yourself, who's going to pay the bills, et cetera, et cetera. Right. And so this is a great segue offered in the domestic violence community as well as in the police reform community. And one of them is there was an article in Times magazine that stated that part of what we need in policing to address the fight to end domestic violence is gender parity, the better it will be. So Effy was talking about Effy both and Heather, how their experience to help them be more empathetic and better understand symptoms of trauma and the people that they are responding to. But I want to ask you this concept of more women has shown up in a book and a book by an Australian journalist named Jess Hill, who we also had on the podcast episode. And she wrote a book that's just been re released in the US called See What You Made Me Do. And in that book, she talks about this idea of in the global south winds police idea of in the global south women's police stations. So instead of treating domestic violence and domestic abuse as something that needs to have a remedy where there's an arrest potentially and a conviction that the goal is providing signal and a conviction that the goal is providing signals of accountability in some ways and helping to have an ongoing mechanism for developing or enhancing a survivor safety plan. So the survivor basically has a relationship with the women police officers, basically has a relationship with the women police officers who check on them regularly and have a relationship and can kind of signal literally or figuratively to the perpetrator who might still live in that home. I have an eye on you. So if you were in a situation where you were living with someone or in a relationship still with an officer, is that something that would help you be more inclined to want to reach out and look to law enforcement for help?
Teri: Okay. Thank you. So I'd like to address another policy proposal that I'm sure many of us have read about, especially post George Floyd and the strengthening post George Floyd and the strengthening of the Black Lives Matter movement. There's this term that has been very prominent in the media called Defund the Police. I know that if he has shared with me, she'd rather the term be reformed the police. So either way, just to reform the police, either way, just to give some background for the attendees defund the police or reform. The police movement is about reallocating direct policing resources to strengthening in particular communities of color who have been over policed. In particular communities of color who have been over police. And so it may include allocating resources so that you're ending the presence of police in schools, but increasing monies for social workers and other kinds of crisis services or peer services to be those verses to be those first responders. When there are incidents of crises that might have a mental health consideration or behavioral consideration, there's also the possibility that the reduction in money might help to end enforcement of marijuana possession and distribution, for example. So these are just a few of the high level ideas that have come out of defund the police. And I want to turn to Heather now with regard to your outcome, which came out in June. If you can talk about with regard to societal change and policy, if any of the outcomes that you would recommend in addition to the defund the police options, or if you have objections or additions to make with regard to how do you feel those might be modified?
Heather: Sure, I'll just share with you what the orders were from the Tribunal. It was developed Human Rights Strategy from the Tribunal. It was developed Human Rights Strategy retain an external expert on policing and human rights to conduct additional training for supervisors, specifically provide annual training for all officers on sexual harassment, human rights and poison work environments, track report on internal human rights complaints, as I said, not been done in the past. So in my experience, through this hearing of six years, I had the opportunity to look outside of the organization itself and really understand and see a different perspective. We are failing ourselves and the public. And so in my experience, just even listening to the testimony of the officers on the stand was that they really had no idea some of them that our workplace had was a poisoned workplace. They had become so used to the culture and the experiences that they were having that it had been normalized. So the leaders at the top that have also gone through this culture also have been normalized to the culture and don't have that outside perspective as to what is truly needed for the change internally and externally for the public. And it's not about ego. It's not about saying you don't know how to police or make change or differences in people's lives. It's about bringing in the experts who understand problems both individually and collectively as a society, as a whole, for our health and well being.
Teri: We going to turn now to the questions and answers by the audience. And I'm going to just follow up with a question with Effy, a listener previously asked, Why did you go into policing? And I'd like to have you share with our attendees what your personal reason was and what you knew about it before you started.
Teri: Right. And I want to add a lot of people who are in the prison abolition and on the extreme end of the defund the police movement, where they really do stream end of the defund, the police movement, where they really do want to eliminate a corset real estate and they want to eliminate policing. There are arguments that we don't need a criminal justice system if we have resources invested into helping communities economically thrive, is that we can't trust policing because of its racist manifestations. Well, the argument has also been made about the healthcare system we had interviewed recently with an author, Jennifer Block, and journalist who talked who talked about the healthcare disparities between men and women, but also, of course, between women and women of color being negatively impacted. And if that system also has had terrible abuses perpetrated by doctors against black Americans and black women, nobody is saying.. hey let's defund the healthcare system. we wanna reform it. And so I think that there's room for having this conversation and fixing what isn't working. And so to that, let's turn to the questions, Michelle. I've asked Michelle to sort of aggregate the questions and certain themes. So maybe if you have a question that we can give towards Nanette feel free to ask it.
Michelle: Another question that has come is around accountability with police officers, and how are they held accountable for their actions?
Teri: So can I ask your experience, actually, I think is so unusual. It's such the exception and not the rule. Was there anything in particular? What did you do differently? Was there anything in particular? What did you do differently? Was it the people that were involved? How was it that you were able to get an outcome where you're actually having conversations with the police officers? They did an investigation, and there was a remedy that I don't know if you find it satisfactory, but at least wasn't hopefully unsatisfactory.
Teri: So if I may, it sounds like one of the suggestions that you have and the other catalysts have offered as well is that accountability requires that people speak up. And the more people who speak up, the more quote unquote evidence or documentation there is against someone.. and data that will make it hard for people in power to ignore. Does that sounds right?
Teri: So next question, please, Michelle.
Michelle: Right along with talking about the Union question that came up with was, what are some of the steps? So the first step in changing the power dynamics the union has with regards to mysoginy.
Teri: So, Heather or Effy, you probably know a bit more about this, either of you.
Teri: So just as a reminder to the attendees, Se and Heather are based in Canada, but certainly in the US, but certainly in the US, there are guests, state specific and Union specific rules with regard to how these kinds of complaints would be responded to. And I don't want it to give an update. From 2018, at least in New York City, there is an organization entity called the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board. And it wasn't until 2018 that they started investigating complaints of sexual assault and harassment by officers, which previously was being referred by the board to the internal affairs beureau so it's.. so I've heard Effy & Heather saying You can't have people policing themselves. You need to have independent authority. Okay. Heather, would you like to add anything to what Effy said?
Heather: Yeah. I think the option is if the Association isn't being compliant, our option is to go to the labor board and to make a complaint about them not assisting us. And so I think the bigger picture here assisting us. And so I think the bigger picture here is that for decades, this is how they did it. This is how they felt was the best way to protect the majority of their members of their male members. But the culture has changed, and more officers don't want to work in a culture that is negative. And so eventually the cycle will have to come to a full circle where the majority of officers have had enough of this negative culture and that the Association could see that standing behind good officers in the end will be the best practice for less work for them. It might be hard now, but in the end, doing what's right now will eventually get easier.
Teri: Okay. Thank you. So in the remaining time, I would like to have each of the panelists give some final thoughts. And maybe what we could do is remain that haven't been answered, and they can maybe choose to answer one of them in their remaining thoughts. And what I'd like to do also is invite Effy and Heather to be on the podcast. And so any question that has not been asked already, we're happy to ask them during our interviews in the podcast in an upcoming episode. So, Michelle, if you can just read out loud the remaining questions or themes, and then we'll have each of the panelists close.
Michelle: So one thought has to do around transformative models of justice. What are your thoughts on transformative models of justice specifically for sexual and domestic violence? Do you think that divesting sexual violence and domestic violence cases away from a male dominated force is necessary?
Teri: Okay. Are there any other questions Besides that?
Michelle: And one centered around the topic that you handled already, which is, how did you talk about evidence? How did you get the evidence? And what evidence did you have that helped you win with the Union and with law enforcement officers lying and harassing you?
Teri: Okay. So that was for Heather, that question. Why don't we start with Nanette if you can provide a short closing thoughts on what you think would be the biggest levers for change that we need that we can do and that you would recommend.
Teri: Thank You! Effy..
Teri: Thank you. And finally, Heather, your closing thoughts?
Heather: Yeah. I agree with Nanette and Effy regarding what they've given forward with regards to change and with leadership. They've been in the culture for decades, and when they get to the top of that culture for decades, and when they get to the top of that pyramid, they're not going to turn around and point fingers at possibly the people that have been a part of the problem. Or perhaps they've been turning a blind eye to this their entire career. So having outside leadership might be the best chance at change. There are not prepared. They didn't do it in the 2030, 35, 40 years of their service. They're not about to rock the boat now and allow that to happen. So the leadership is truly what matters. And the leadership needs to be about integrity. It needs to be about. We took an oath to protect people and that involves every it isn't just the people outside that we respond to that. We're going to make the difference in it's the people around us and it's ourselves and the choices that we're making every single day and who we're going to protect and serve. And that means everyone with that oath. It just doesn't mean we get to choose.
Teri: Thank you. I'm going to actually thank you. And so I'm going to actually add my own personal response to address the question that Michelle asked around transformative justice. We talk about that a lot in the podcast, and it is something that is very controversial within the domestic violence movement. It's been used in the domestic violence movement, it's been used in juvenile justice, in rape and sexual assault cases and in violent crimes. But there's hardly been any studies around whether or not it should be used or would work for domestic abuse because of the nature of the power and control for domestic abuse, because of the nature of the power and control & dynamic. And when you have it's very similar to what I was sharing earlier about when you have a police officer being able to legally rape a detainee if they claim it's consensual. But we all know that if they claim it's consensual, but we all know that there's no such thing as consensual sex when you're in police custody, right? And so similarly, for domestic abuse victims, there are many of us myself included, and members of the Engendered collective who believe that there is no such thing as consensual participation and restored of justice practices especially as an alternative to incarceration when you are in a relationship with the abuser from whom you are seeking to get away, it is potentially a very coercive act just to ask for participation and to center anything else other than the survivor's safety and freedom to then make a decision later if they want to participate in those kinds of things or not is different but to make it an alternative to incarceration especially when there are multiple systems involved, like criminal court and child welfare and family court makes it very muddies it and makes it something that myself and my community members find is dangerous. So we are happy to share more resources about this and before we close I wanted to point out that that unfortunately AR was unable to join us today as she became ill but she graciously very last minute invited Effy and Heather so very happy that both of you were able to join us. Effy and Heather just as an FYI for folks who are participating. This is one of five conversations that we schedule for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It's something that we schedule for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It's something that you can join individually, but we would love if you can join more of because the themes are intersection and it builds upon one another in terms of the knowledge that we're gaining. I would like to thank all of our panelists, Nanette, Effy and Heather for joining us today. I'd like to thank Michelle for helping to moderate the question and answer. Okay, so thank you all. Have a great afternoon and let's stay connected.
Panelist: Thank you.
Heather: Thank you.
Panelist: Thank you.