Spokane City Councilwoman speaks out about violence against women

Spokane City Councilwoman speaks out about violence against women

Following the Inlander’s recent article detailing community leader and NAACP president Phil Tyler’s history of domestic violence allegations, Spokane City Councilwoman Kate Burke is speaking out about violence against women, calling on men to help be a part of the solution.

“It shouldn’t just fall on woman and the victims to speak up,” said Burke. “It would be great to see men help bear this burden and I think that would move us forward.”

She says Tyler’s situation should be used as a catalyst for continuing the conversation around the important issue of ending domestic violence.

“We want to hear about it,” she said, “so that we can make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else, and woman can feel protected in our city.”

As one who has been through her own experiences with workplace harassment, and also as a community leader, she feels empathy for the women who have spoken out about their relationships with Tyler, saying it’s a hard decision to make to speak out about domestic violence to begin with, multiplied even greater when it’s a respected public figure.

She says as a city councilwoman it’s important for her to speak out against the allegations Tyler is facing because she doesn’t want anyone who doesn’t represent everyone equally to be in a city leadership position, elected or not. She says however the narrative should not be about only Phil Tyler, instead it should focus on the victims and the overall picture.

For his part, Tyler has denied the physical violence allegations, but has apologized to his former spouses for verbal abuse. For Burke, that is an admission that shouldn’t be overlooked.

“He admitted to being verbally abusive,” said Burke. “That is an issue, why are we moving past it?”

She says during her time serving on city council, she’s had many women reach out to her, looking for hope, support, and a way to come to terms with people and a society that brushes aside domestic violence or sexual assault accusations, which have serious effects on victims.

“It messes with your psyche, it messes with your brain chemistry, it messes with everything,” she said. “You almost have PTSD from abusive relationships.”

Burke says it’s time for things to change.

“The issue is the people that abuse women and people that don’t take women seriously and people that aren’t standing up for women,” she said. “As a community we need to not think that domestic violence or sexual assault is ok. Right now, that is what I am seeing.”

She says it’s a serious issue, and one that shouldn’t only be driven forward by victims.

For individuals in an abusive relationship, there are resources like the YWCA where they can get help. She also encourages women in need of a friend, confidant or someone to talk with to not hesitate to reach out to her.