Domestic Violence taking front stage in some places

There is increasing awareness of domestic violence – although one might question this statement given recent publications to the contrary. Small towns and large experience calls for help from victims of intimate partner aggression.  Actor Peter Hermann joined forces with his wife, actress Mariska Hargitay, in the PSA ads for “No More” along with more than 40 other celebrities. “No More” works with organizations like the National Domestic Violence Hotline and Break the Cycle to galvanize support and action to end domestic violence.  In December 2012, Kansas City Chiefs Lineman Jovan Belcher killed himself at the teams practice facility after murdering his girlfriend and mother of his daughter Zoey.  It is among the most hideous cases of DV that ultimately did not need to happen.  The ‘No More’ ad compaign ( hopes to bring to light these cases and provide a clear message about never keeping quiet and saying no more to domestic abuse and sexual violence.

Fathers need to talk to their sons about sexual violence and abuse.  Prosocial modeling is what is needed within families for healthy growth that included zero tolerance for physical confrontations.  Meanwhile, at times of strain parents make mistakes – nobody is perfect.  They need to take personal responsibility for their action if it includes abuse and establish a trust that plans to stop violence are in place and healing can begin.  This takes time and is successful only 50 % of the time for a number of reasons.

“Eighty percent of respondents …

“Eighty percent of respondents said they believe domestic violence is a problem, but only 15 percent think it is a problem among their friends, according to the NO MORE Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Survey commissioned by the Avon Foundation for Women.” from Long Island Newsday 9-30-13

What poeple often fail to see is the subtle condescension and veiled intimidation among intimate partners that occurs right under our noses.  What can the average person do?  The research on bullying – often considered a developmental precursor to domestic violence suggests that someone needs to “speak out against the bully” and take a stand.  Does this mean we all must be our neighbor’s keeper when it comes to marital harmony and family cohesion?  Some might say yes – as uncomfortable as this makes us feel.  It is a myth among those in law enforcement that “what happens behind closed doors is not our business”.  And it is a myth when neighbors believe “they will work it out”.

There seems to be a disconnect when it comes to people we know and those with whom we have regular contact.  In truth, it is those connections that may respond best to someone saying threats and intimidation have no place in a relationship.  The best marriages share control, decision making and negotiate the rules.