Liberty Resources Victims of Violence Program Advocates to Change the Conversation About Domestic Violence
September 17, 2014
September 17, 2014
The following is from a press release from The New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NYSCADV):
Albany, NY (Sept. 12, 2014) – Many aspects of Ray Rice’s perpetration of violence against his partner, Janay Palmer Rice, are upsetting, but perhaps none more so than the blatant and aggressive blaming of Mrs. Rice. We ask that the news media and the community in general take steps in changing the conversation by becoming part of the solution.
Understanding the nuances of domestic violence can be very difficult, as the dynamics are complex. Yet at its core, domestic violence is less complex – batterers use violence against their intimate partners because they can, and they can as long as our communities continue to blame victims for their actions, and question victims for their decisions. Communities rarely hold offenders to the same standard, and this must change.
Change is possible. The New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NYSCADV) believes that intimate partner violence is a pattern of behavior that is culturally learned and socially condoned. As such, domestic violence can be unlearned. Even more importantly a world is possible where, with the great effort that broad and sweeping social change requires, future generations will never learn it in the first place.
We ask that New York, and the nation as a whole, take advantage of this moment. Not by dwelling on what anyone did or did not do, but rather we ask that each and every one of us begin to take the steps necessary to move forward and create communities in which intimate partner violence is never committed in the first place. This concept – referred to as primary prevention – is well supported and, more importantly, is possible. This has been a mainstay of our mission and our work.
The broad social change that is necessary cannot happen through a sprinkling of information; it requires saturating communities with educational and skill building opportunities that change the knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors of the people that make up those communities. Focusing on this one incident of perpetration of physical violence against an intimate partner will not end domestic violence. As a society, we must address the root cause of domestic violence: oppression.
Oppression is a learned behavior. It is used by people with power to subjugate or lessen the power of others. Victims of domestic violence experience oppression not only as coercive control exerted by their intimate partners, but also from society at large, through our blatant disbelief, minimization, and judgment of their experience. For many survivors of domestic violence, this is compounded by other forms of oppression like racism, classism, homophobia and ableism, that all work to further silence their experience and keep them from seeking help.
Asking why someone would commit acts of violence and intimidation against an intimate partner is difficult because it requires us to look at ourselves and at our communities. All change comes with discomfort. We ask that everyone take steps to closely examine and challenge their beliefs and begin a journey towards understanding domestic violence; to creating a world in which individuals do not use fear, intimidation, and coercion to control their partners, but instead act with kindness and compassion in all relationships.
The NFL is being forced to create change very publically. We appreciate the NFL’s outreach to domestic violence experts like the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) to learn and process. It is our hope that the NFL will include primary prevention efforts in its work to respond to and end domestic violence perpetrated by members and employees of the league.
In closing, we thank all of the survivors of domestic violence that have come forward to share their experiences of the violence perpetrated against them. It takes significant courage to share these experiences when blame is often so readily available through social media, community contact, and the press. To our community we say: it takes significant courage and effort to take a real look at what it is about our culture that drives intimate partner violence, but we are confident that our society and our individual communities have not only the desire, but also the capacity to do so. Today is a good day to begin.
For more information about NYSCADV’s Primary Prevention Project, please visit our website http://www.nyscadv.org/what-is-primary-prevention/