A Well Defined Problem with Foggy Solutions
October 15, 2015
Every nine seconds a woman is beaten in America.
That’s right, in America. By the time you are done reading this blog post, about 7-9 women will have been physically assaulted in the United States.
We live in one of the most advanced, industrialized countries in the world and for all of our grandeur, for all of our equality, our world is still not a safe world for women. As I write this blog I count 12 women in my field of vision at Panera Bread. The National Domestic Violence Hotline says that 1 in 4 women have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime…
So in Panera Bread, right now, I am likely in the presence of 3 victims of domestic violence. Those are numbers I would expect to hear in totalitarian countries where women are treated as second class citizens, if citizens at all. Those are not statistics that should be part of America’s story. Intimate partner violence is a major problem in our country, one that we have to get serious about.
In the addiction realm, domestic violence and family conflict is part of the daily conversation. At the FCCG over 70% of callers cite family conflict as a prevailing issue in their home. There is a correlation between gambling addiction and an increased risk for violence in the home.
Simply talking statistics doesn’t do the domestic violence epidemic justice. We need to take action. Just discussing the problem is akin to gamblers just discussing whether or not they will attend their local GA meeting tonight. While the discussion represents progress, its not enough.
Here are some bullet points on how our society can take action and help protect our wives, mothers, sisters, cousins, and friends.
• Keep on the prevention bandwagon. The best way to solve a problem is to stop it before it becomes a problem. Our society is extremely reactive and not proactive. Why do we only talk gun control after a mass shooting? Why do we talk about domestic violence only after several NFL players beat their loved ones? We spend an inordinate about of energy reacting to events. Time to get out ahead of the problem. Programs like Coaching Boys into Men were on the right track. There needs to be more funding and effort in the prevention realm.
• One family, one judge. Not all of courts handle divorce and domestic violence in the most efficient way possible. Some court systems have one judge preside over the divorce while another judge presides over the domestic abuse claim. Such a system create undue hardship and burden on victims.
• Help women be economically dependent. In my years spent as a mental health therapist, I cannot tell you how many women I saw stay in abusive, even deadly, situations because of finances. Watching a woman walk out of my office with tears in her eyes, knowing she was returning to her abuser due to economic slavery, may be the most heart-wrenching thing I’ve ever witnessed. Helping women become financially fit will increase their options and flexibility in responding to domestic violence.
• Increase funding for support services. Although funding for domestic violence in the hundreds of millions (coming from a vast amount of sources) experts say its still not enough.
If you are a victim of domestic violence and need help call 1-800-799-7233 or visit http://www.thehotline.org/.
If gambling is a problem for you or someone you love, call 888-ADMIT-IT or visit http://www.gamblinghelp.org