Household Sunshine Middle discusses home violence, the right way to get assist

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – The Cassie Carli case is once again shedding light on domestic violence. The Florida mother’s body was found in Alabama over the weekend. The father of her child, Marcus Spanevelo, is now charged with killing her.

“Domestic violence is about power and control,” said Tay Knight, Executive Director of the Family Sunshine Center. “In our community, we’ve seen recently some very devastating domestic violence incidences. It is very concerning as an agency that helps survivors of domestic violence.”

Knight says it can be very difficult for victims of domestic violence to reach out for help.

“They have been intimidated, and they have been manipulated, and they have been coerced to the point that they fear that the abuser may hurt their family, or may hurt their children or may even hurt their pets, if they reach out for help, said Knight.

Making a decision to leave can be dangerous.

“A victim is at a higher risk when they have decided that they are leaving and in the process of leaving that abusive relationship,” Knight added.

There can also be a rise in violence after separation. Cassie Carli was last seen alive during a custody exchange with her child’s father, Marcus Spanevello. The Carli Family says Spanevello changed the exchange location. The family has now launched the The Cassie Carli Foundation which is committed to keeping victims of domestic violence safe during child custody exchanges.

“I think as a community we need to figure out a safe way to help victims and to help those families,” said Knight.

Below are some of the Red Flags of Domestic Violence from the Family Sunshine Center:

  • Telling you that you never do anything right.
  • Showing extreme jealousy of your friends or time spent away from them.
  • Preventing or discouraging you from spending time with friends, family members, or peers.
  • Insulting, demeaning, or shaming you, especially in front of other people.
  • Preventing you from making your own decisions, including about working or attending school.
  • Controlling finances in the household without discussion, including taking your money or refusing to provide money for necessary expenses.
  • Pressing you to have sex or perform sexual acts you’re not comfortable with.
  • Pressing you to use drugs or alcohol.
  • Intimidating you through threatening looks or actions.
  • Insulting your parenting or threatening to harm or take away your children or pets.
  • Intimidating you with weapons like guns, knives, bats, or mace.
  • Destroying your belongings or your home.

Knight says it is also important that if a victim of domestic violence confides in you to never judge, but instead offer support.

“The first thing that we want to do is to tell them that we believe them and honestly and truly believe that they are telling us the truth. We want to support them unconditionally, not with strings attached, unconditional support, and help them to try and figure out who is out there that can provide what they need,” said Knight.

One of the first things that the Family Sunshine Center does is work with survivors to do is develop what’s called a safety plan.

“What that means is that they go through a series of questions and kind of scenarios. And it just helps you create this individualized plan that helps to lower your risk of harm,” said Knight.

Family Sunshine Center Crisis Line is 334-263-0218. It is open 24/7. You can also visit the Family Sunshine Center online. Services at the Family Sunshine Center are always free and confidential.

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