For many Moab citizens, it is no surprise that resources are limited in our rural community. Multidisciplinary approaches are often appropriate to adequately support families encountering domestic violence, sexual assault/harassment, abuse, addiction, inter-generational poverty or homelessness. Many times these experiences are co-current, and often social service agencies like Seekhaven go above and beyond to assist these individuals. I am writing to provide clarification and insight on victim services in hopes that readers reconsider their approach (media coverage or otherwise) when discussing “familial issues” or “domestic disputes” in the future.
Seekhaven employees are bound by VAWA Confidentiality Provision (34 U.S.C. § 12291(b)(2)) under which we shall not disclose our clients’ identifiable information without written, time-sensitive permission. Confidentiality allows our clients to control their narrative, which can be empowering and stabilizing. It is an instrument of trust, which is understandably difficult for survivors to dole out. Most importantly it is a measure of safety, as individuals that abuse utilize personal information to execute abusive, violent acts.
The T-I’s recent article provided enough identifiable information to compromise these points, including details on the involved child (gender and age), and mother’s presumed utilization of Seekhaven services. It is certain that some readers have deduced who was involved in this dispute. I hope that their emotional, physical, and spiritual safety may be reinstated or addressed after this was made public.
Although other community members are not held to VAWA confidentiality, I request that we consider the impact on survivors before discussing sensitive details. Resumed coverage on local crimes is to be expected, and there is merit in covering the lack of services and the need for multidisciplinary action in our community. My hopes are to be proactive, as this approach is neither shaming nor dangerous.
On behalf of Seekhaven, I look forward to participating in these discussions, and hope that we can become a trauma-informed, supportive community together.
– Abigail Taylor
Director of programs, Seekhaven