Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Domestic Violence - It's Everybody's Business

I have been thinking about writing this blog entry for a couple days now. This past week has been incredibly sad. I’ve had to do something a person should never have to do -- try to help people understand why fathers would kill their children – because it happened here where we are located, and then it happened in Washington State. I can explain some of the possible “whys” to people – but that is different than understanding it myself.

I can explain that an abuser can say or think “if I can’t have you, no one else can,” and by extension they can mean the children. Or an abuser wants to punish the victim of abuse in the worst way possible. And that is by killing the children. I can explain those things. . but it doesn’t mean I understand them.

You know, I can write and speak on domestic violence and its impact on the workplace, and I can tell you what how it affects your company and your employees. I can even tell you what you should do about it and give you great practices and great resources through our website at www.caepv.org.

I do know that helps make a difference. When companies address this issue it is “enlightened self interest” for them – especially in these turbulent times. And it is great for our society – when companies stand up and say “Hey, domestic violence IS our business –and we want to do something to address it” that sends a strong message to all segments of society – and to employees who are victims and abusers.

However, one of the things I have learned is that while the “business case” is vitally important, until an employer personally understands the very human cost of domestic violence, they won’t fully “get it.” Until they see the very human face of domestic violence, they won’t see it as their “business” and things won’t really change much.

Isn't that true for all of us?

This past week has been really, really personal for a lot of people – from Washington State to New York State and in between right here in Central Illinois. My heart goes out to everyone who has suffered a loss.

I hope we all see these faces of people we may or may not know and learn from their incredible loss and act to make a difference. So there is not a next time.


Miragi said...

It's next to impossible to determine the "why" behind DV and killings. You get the basic details through the news, but never learn about the mitigating or background circumstances that would lead someone to snap like that.

All you can do is target the killing demographic and keep hitting home (absolutely NO pun intended) the point that they have resources to help them, and that it doesn't ever have to reach that point where they lose control. What else can you do?

Maybe education needs to start earlier, like in grade school. Especially for those that live in an abusive situation, educating them early about where they can turn could maybe go a long way in helping them to grow up without repeating the cycle they live in.

I don't know. I have no useful commentary on why people kill. None.

Kim Wells said...

Miragi - Thank you for your comments. Early education is for sure an answer! One thing people can do is help get a healthy relationships curriculum into high schools with the National Association of Attorney Generals and Liz Claiborne by signing the MADE petition at www.loveisnotabuse.com. It isn't grade school, but it's a start!

Mocha said...

Kim, I wanted to comment on the post itself but I can't possibly explain the why part either. There's no reason good enough.

But it was your other comment that has me interested. You may not know this but I work in a high school and I see far more abuse than I'm comfortable sharing with you. You're probably not surprised. Just in the last month alone I had to report 2 cases of girls who were hit by their teenage boyfriends. While my role is an asst. principal I often act as a social worker/counselor. That part of me just comes out. I can't help it.

The social worker and I share a wall (cubicle, so we hear everything on the other side) and it's great to have him as a resource. I'm going to share that website with him as well. We just met last week about how to better educate teens on this abuse. We're considering having 2 social workers next year (of course it'll be a funding issue) to help with more preventative teaching.

Thanks for your work. It's hard work. I can only imagine how you get to sleep at night except maybe you focus on the joy of helping others.

Cindy said...

Kim, for as sad as your work must be at times, you must also surely feel great to know your efforts change lives and save lives.

This post has driven me to talk to the HR Manager at the office about our next Safety and Health topic!

Me taking this action, just might be my favotite thing today!

Kim Wells said...

Mocha - I am so glad you found the Love Is Not Abuse site - it is indeed a great resource for working with students. We have a lot more on our website (www.caepv.org) on our LINKS page under "Teen Resources." I hope you all find more things helpful as you work with your students. . and THANK YOU for what you do on a daily basis to shape the lives of young people! You are truly making a difference.

Kim Wells said...

Cindy - That's awesome! If that is your favorite thing today - I love it. If that ends up happening at your workplace you have no idea whose life may be changed or saved!

Sherry Clark, f.a.c.e.s. said...

I firmly believe that education is key to prevention. I say, "People don't know what they don't know." If we want children to know that violence is wrong and won't be tolerated, then we need to teach conflict resolution skills in the early years. Kids need to know that people will always have differences, and that differences make the world go 'round - how to handle them with mutual respect is a learned skill. A child who learns to compromise will most likely not become a power and control addicted adult. That's my two cents. I can't bear to hear of one more dv death.

Kim Wells said...

Sherry - thank you for your comments. The younger children learn to treat others with love and respect the better! Thank you for all you are doing to make a difference!

Carrie said...

I have been browsing your blog. I ran across it today, oddly after I was just thinking this morning about the affect of dv on work. I never told anyone what was going on at home. After a more obvious incident, I know that I suffered from PTSD for 6 months, easily. I can imagine that my work was very much affected by what I was going through at home.