TAG | Domestic Violence classes
According to online dictionary http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/complacency the definition of Complacency is:
1: self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies
2: an instance of usually unaware or uninformed self-satisfaction
I was having lunch recently with a friend of mine. As we talked about our last couple weeks I relayed the story of the Butwin family murder-suicide and how I was feeling about it. I was still very sad and very sick. I knew the family. And for the first time in my career of working in domestic violence it was the first time I knew a family before something so violently horrific happened to them.
I didn’t know them well, but in the 10 years I had been acquainted with them I certainly said hello to Yafit (the mom) and had interacted with oldest child, Malissa, many, many times. I have about 100 photographs in which Malissa appears in her Band, Color Guard and Winter Guard activities.
I’d been at the house before. The same house which now, evidentially, bears the blood stains and evidence of the final moments of four members of this family.
I had also attended memorials, shared stores and help people as they cried.
This was a murder-suicide that was in the media with fervor. Every day new articles appeared for at least a week. The TV stations took up camp at the memorials and occasionally succeeded in capturing an interview. And all I could think about was what terror Yafit, Malissa, Daniel and Mathew must have experienced. I could never have imagined.
My friend shrugged her shoulders. “I never heard about that.” She said. “Do you watch the news or read newspapers?” I asked. “Naw, I don’t bother. Too busy”, was her unconcerned response.
I bit my tongue. This is a friend and I respect her. I didn’t want to pick a fight. But we’re all busy. I can understand not being able to keep up with all of it – there’s a lot going on around us. I’ve been known not to see a paper for a few days while on vacation. But I can’t grasp mentally checking out of the world we live in. Way too many of us never bother to pay attention until we’re the ones affected.
One of the greatest outcomes of the domestic violence classes I teach is that attendees walk away with a heightened awareness of the signs of domestic violence.
Here’s a quote from one attendee: “I have become more aware of the messages in our media/video/movies/television shows that continue to objectify women and also of messages that show women hitting men as if it is humorous.”
And another:” I have changed my way of grouping everyone into one box and thinking that lower economic groups are the once where abuse is happening more. I realize that it’s everywhere no matter what you make. 9. I care more in general about what is going on in others homes. Before I think I turned my back a bit because the thoughts of abuse were so overwhelming.”
I’m confident these recent attendees will take the next step to determine if there’s anyone in their organizations with a history of domestic violence, either as a victim, or an offender. And they will reach out to make sure that their workplace is a safe place to ask for help.
This is how, one business at a time, we’re no longer complacent. One business at a time we eradicate domestic violence and abuse, so we are no longer experiencing the loss of families like the Butwins.
Recently on an observation visit to Superior Court, I sat in on another probation violation hearing. Probably a weird hobby by some people’s standards. But to me it’s a part of the job, and a lot more interesting than, say, mowing the lawn. Anyway, the man the Judge was talking to looked scared to death. An act or the real deal? I wondered. He was underweight by about 30 pounds and tattooed from head to toe, definitely a colorful character. He had a public defender by his side – up until the Judge asked him to sit in the witness stand.
The prosecutor fired away at questions, “Why did you miss your domestic violence counseling sessions” “I was really sick” “Do you have a doctor’s note to verify you were sick? “ “Uh… no.” “Why not?” “Uh, I didn’t ask for one.” “Then why didn’t you go to class when you felt better?” “Didn’t have a ride” ”Couldn’t you get transportation? Etc. etc. He came up with reason after reason why he just couldn’t make those darn inconvenient classes. I was pretty impressed at the no baloney stance the prosecutor took.
The judge fell for it. Was it ‘hook line and sinker” or did the guy really deserve another chance? I can’t imagine being a judge is an easy job. And whether it was his second, third, fourth, or tenth chance I don’t know. But he sure looked relieved. You could almost see the sweat dry right off him.
I wondered what the prosecutor thought, because it looked, from her face like it goes both ways with some regularity.
I wish I knew where he was ultimately sent for DV classes. I’d love to know if he followed through or not and is completely them. Sometimes the discussion in the classes is whether the guys are just spending time; pretending to be into it, or if they really are engaged in the lesson of the day. It’s not that hard to tell who is and who isn’t after a couple weeks observing them and talking to them.
How many chances would you give someone? How hard is it to determine if the excuses are sincere or if the person’s blowing smoke? Do you consider yourself to be a good judge of character?
The rules have just changed on how many classes you get to miss. They don’t care about your excuse. In fact they don’t even want to hear it.
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