There are so many people in our community that are passionate about ending domestic violence. They are emphatic that our rank as 3rd in the nation for domestic violence is not the community we want to be. They see that domestic violence is a behavior, a choice that an abuser makes, and that it can be stopped. And their question to me is, “We need prevention. Do you go to the schools and teach young women how to avoid violence?”
Let’s ignore for a second that the question puts the responsibility to stop violence on the victim, who is the person without power. Instead, let’s focus on just how miraculous you are asking this one presentation to be. You are asking that I go into a school and make one presentation that stops domestic violence from happening.
It is the competition. I just can’t compete. My one time in front of a young person has to counter all the things they see on a daily basis that convinces them that the red flags to violence are romantic, normal, sign of real love. I remember the many times I have had to sit for a moment with my own niece and nephews and talk about what we just saw. No, that movie where the boy climbs into her room without asking isn’t romantic, it is stalking. No, when that girl sings a song about being single for the rest of her life if the boy leaves her isn’t real love, it is guilt and shaming. No, uncontrollable jealousy is not a sign of deep love, it is a sign of power and control in a relationship. Each moment a chance to counter what they saw, deconstruct it with them and teach them assertive communication skills if that were to happen to them. And, even more moments reinforcing what it means to be equal in relationships.
So, should we give up? Absolutely not, prevention can be done. But, we have to forget this one hour presentation model that we’ve been doing for way too many years. We have to forget handing someone a brochure that is supposed to stop violence. Instead, we must all agree that prevention is part of the lifestyle that we adopt. We can help other deconstruct what they see, youth and aged. We can have the conversations among ourselves about the contributors to violence and how we might support changing those. And still, we should invite DVRC, Inc. to speak with groups, but let’s not limit it to youth, let’s not limit it to an hour, and let’s expand it to include so much more than a quick rundown of the “dating red flags”.
If you’re interested in bringing in someone to speak to a group you belong to, give us a call 505-843-9123.