Monthly Archives: January, 2013

Domestic violence is a Family Affair

Every person in the family is affected by domestic violence. It starts with ideas like, I don’t deserve to be treated like that, and escalates to “I wish he would die” and finally the police may be involved.
When two people get together they don’t even imagine themselves being embroiled in a bitter custody battle, or incarcerated for laying hands on each other. Unfortunately, the best plans of newly coupled parents get set aside as the day to day irritations arise.
I just returned from a workshop sponsored by the Supervised Visitation Network. Domestic Violence and how to work with families in supervised visits was presented. The difficult position of the monitor, who must work with someone who may have been physically assaulted and then work with the “assaulter” and their child in visits can be a daunting experience. Not taking sides after hearing both stories is important for the monitor as they navigate between custodial parent and visiting parent. The pain in the eyes of each parent is seen, for entirely different reasons.
The one parent, who may have even spent a few nights in jail for the assault, is now having to schedule visits with their flesh and blood. This is the child who they helped cut the umbilical cord, or walked the floors with at night. This is the child that, up until a couple of weeks ago, jumped into the car when dad picked them up from school or daycare. The visiting parent is still reeling from the shock of having his child in a “System” that tells him he must attend services to work on his violence and visit his child while someone else watches. It doesn’t seem fair.
Turn the page and see the frightened escaped survivor, who has finally left a really abusive situation and watch while she has to hand off her bring her precious child to visit with the man who shoved her down the stairs! She stares in disbelief that anyone would make her drag her child to see such a human being. No, it doesn’t seem fair.
Violence is something we see in the streets, we hear violent words spoken in congress and the house, with finger pointing and blaming going on day after day as we innocent voters look on. Can you relate to those children who must pick sides or try to comfort a parent when they might not have even seen the violence, only the aftermath?
As an advocate for peaceful transitions for families, I hope we can all see that little violent words and a few misdirected facial or hand gestures can escalate our fellow man, and be on the side of safety for all mothers, fathers and children in our country.