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Domestic Violence Awareness

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Did you know:

It is estimated that nearly one-third of all American women have been hit, beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused during her lifetime.

30% of Americans say they know a woman who has been physically abused by her husband or boyfriend in the past year.

Women of all races are equally vulnerable to abuse by an intimate partner.

One in five high school girls report being physically or sexually abused by a dating partner.

In a national survey, 50% of men who frequently abused their wife, also abused their children.

Studies report that between 3.3-10 million children witness some sort of domestic violence annually.

For more startling facts, see endabuse.org.

What can we do?

Teach children early about violence, and how to express anger appropriately.

Be there and listen. Encourage children to express feelings of frustration, anger and hurt (walk it out, talk it out, or take a "time-out")

Be a role model. SHOW boys how to respect women. SHOW girls how to be assertive.

Support local Domestic Violence prevention programs, and shelters. Educate yourself on what is available in your community.

I supervise a community Domestic Violence Program at Family Services of the Desert. We have several groups for both victims of domestic violence, and male perpetrators of domestic violence and child abuse. These are people JUST like you and your neighbors. The problem crosses all socioeconomic, racial and age boundaries.

Friends often ask me, "Aren't you afraid to work with those guys?" I am afraid NOT to!

These clients are regular men (and women) without the skills to control anger, and express feelings. They are not sociopaths. Often, alcohol or drug use was a factor. Often they witnessed domestic violence in their own families while growing up. They CAN and DO break the cycle, after completing their 52 week mandated counseling program. They learn what a healthy relationship can look like. They learn to respect women as equal partners. They learn how to change manipulative, controlling behaviors and how to show respect, and empathy toward their partners and children. They learn to communicate their feelings, listen, and build (or rebuild) trust and intimacy. Victims learn to be assertive instead of passive. They learn to keep themselves and their children safe. Some marriages are "saved", and families remain together. Others lose everything that was important to them.

If you know someone in this situation (I bet you do!), let them know help is available!

Comments (8)

Barb Cabot:

This is an important issue and so prevalent in our society. Thank you for reminding us we each have a duty in raising awareness.

sandrac:

This is a great post, Palma. And a wonderful photo! I admire you for your work, that takes a lot of courage.

It's a shame that as a society, we still can't come to grips with domestic violence. It's so much easier, it seems, or perhaps more comfortable to pretend that all of the dangers are out in the big, bad world rather than facing the fact that women and children (and sometimes men) are at far more risk from people they know, than they are at risk from random violence.

Eden:

Palma, my first thought was "What a great post!" I admire you for bringing this sensitive issue to the forefront.

Nicole Kidman also spoke on the subject in her address to the United Nations today.

LOL, That must be the first and only thing Nicole and I will ever have in common!

jgk:

Palma, This is such a valuable blogpost! I even see it at the preschool level--kids out of control with their anger. And I know we have a small window of opportunity to interrupt the pattern. The girls are learning to say "NO!" at school too. Teachers can really make a difference!

nancyhol:

What a great informative post!

Thank you for making us think about this important subject!

Kim:

Palma, question. AFter they complete their 52-week program, is there any sort of follow-up?

Kim, that depends on a couple of things.
Some are convicted of a felony (more severe abuse or prior) and are on parole. They may remain on parole for a few years and are tracked by a parole officer. Others, have a misdemeanor and are on probation, followed by a PO. Some come to us from Child Protective Services because although there was no child abuse, the kids were home during the incident. They are required to do parenting groups and have a social worker from CPS. Many are also required to attend AA or NA meetings. The counseling agencies do not track their progress, but referrals sources do. Occasionally we get a "repeater".

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 23, 2008 6:58 AM.

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