Press Releases

October 6, 2004

Community Outreach Leader Gives Lecture On Helping Victims of Abuse
VIBS representative explains support, services available for abuse survivors

Amber Bryant (

Southampton, NY – Providing sincere confidentiality and avoiding blaming a victim of domestic violence could be the difference between their recovery and a life of hiding and making excuses.

This from Susan Paraspolo, a community educator with the Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk (VIBS), during her recent lecture entitled “Domestic Violence: Identification and Response” given to a receptive audience of men and women in the Duke Lecture Hall at Southampton College.

Paraspolo identified the physical and behavioral symptoms of physical abuse victims, from patterns of bruises and embellished excuses to heightened startle reflexes and depression. She stressed that abuse can be physical, emotional, mental, or financial, and that abusers can be male or female, even though statistics name 98 percent of abusers as male.

“There’s no conventional type of abuser. They’re lawyers, they’re doctors – they’re smart people,” she said. “A woman can be an abuser just as much as a man can.”

She explained methods for helping a friend in trouble by providing a non-threatening shoulder to lean on.

“Saying it’s their responsibility to leave is revictimizing them,” she said, adding that such advice could put the victim on the defensive. Instead, she said, validate the person’s feelings and listen.

“If they ask you not to tell anyone, don’t tell anyone,” she said. “If you feel his or her life is in danger, that’s another story.”

Paraspolo reviewed the community outreach services VIBS offers, including educational presentations and a 24-hour crisis hotline. The center also provides counseling services specific to children, adolescent women, the elderly, persons struggling with substance abuse, and rape victims, among others.

For more information on their programs and services, contact them at (631) 360-3606.

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