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Santa Barbara counselors shed light on the dynamics of family violence

Investigators have said from the beginning that the shocking chain of events in Hope Ranch stemmed from a domestic dispute.

The son of “Tarzan” actor Ron Ely killed his mother before he was shot and killed by deputies on Tuesday, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies say 62-year-old Valerie Lundeen Ely was stabbed to death at the home she shared with her husband, by her 30-year-old son Cameron Ely.

Counselors at Calm say if you look at the word domestic, that basically means a familiar relationship and that can be anyone that is in the family or home.

“I read on Facebook, this doesn’t happen in Hope Ranch, well it did,” said Denise Jaimes-Villanueva Psy.D, Calm Healthy Family Services Coordinator.

Santa Barbara counselors say domestic violence does not discriminate and doesn’t necessarily mean just partner on partner abuse.

“If anyone ever feels like they’re in the situation of being controlled and being coerced into doing things that is a big red flag,” explains Jaimes-Villanueva. Walking on eggshells, dealing with anxiety and depression and feelings of PTSD were also mentioned as things to be aware of.

Calm’s Healthy Family Services Coordinator says emotional abuse often manifests to something physical and is a vicious cycle.

“The perpetrator is often apologetic and remorseful and gives the victim hope again for some time until it builds back up and then tension builds again,” said Jaimes-Villanueva.

Perpetrators are often sent to Zona Seca for treatment and counselors there say domestic violence is usually a learned behavior.

“‘My grandfather did it to my grandmother, my dad did it to my mom, what’s going on?’ So once you can see that pattern you can make the decision to stop it,” said Maria Caballero, Zona Seca Domestic Violence Counselor. “We know any learned behavior can be unlearned and you can learn a new healthy behavior,” she adds.

Half of Caballero’s clients are typically there for a partner on partner issue, the other half, family violence.

“What you do is you tell your partner or the person you have a conflict with I need to take a time out this is escalating I’m starting to feel lots of anxiety and anger. I need to take a time out, I will be back and we will discuss this when I’m calm and you’re calm,” Caballero explains.

Officials say if the victim does decide to leave their situation permanently, that can be the most dangerous time for that victim so a support system is necessary.
Jaimes-Villanueva suggests having a safety plan which includes having important documents and a change of clothes ready to go.

Experts say there is a network of support out there and the community can speak up for the victims that aren’t always able to do that for themselves.

“Don’t be afraid to open up to people even if it’s a neighbor and let them know if you happen to hear any escalating yelling going on at my house please don’t hesitate to call the police,” said Jaimes-Villanueva. “We as individuals in the community that is part of our responsibility. This is not just a quote-unquote domestic situation, sometimes people think oh that’s none of my business, it is our business this is a community problem,” she adds.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, there will be a Domestic Violence Solutions Vigil at Paseo Nuevo on October 24th.

If you need help, call their 24-hour Crisis and Informational Hotline 805-964-5245.

KEYT 2019

Crime / Lifestyle / Santa Barbara - South County
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