Domestic violence is in our midst. We have enabled its longevity through acclimation and denial. Violence poses a significant threat to our present and future generations if we fail to make a concerted effort see to its end.
WHAT YOU CAN DO...
Educate Yourself: Learn more about the root causes of violence, the warning signs and preventative strategies.
Spread the Word: We can all be part of the solution. Encourage your employer to sponsor a violence awareness workshop or arrange a community drive to support a local shelter. Sponsor an awareness workshop in your workplace.
Reach Out: Offer support without judgement or conditions to someone in need. Provide information on help that is available in your area.
ADVICE FOR PARENTS...
Be honest with your children. Help them to understand that abusing a loved one is wrong and that you (and they) are not responsible for the abuse. Your children need to know that violence has no place in dating or intimate relationship and that using violence to punish or control another is wrong! Encourage them to communicate their feelings (both the good and the bad) in a productive, healthy manner -- one that reinforces mutual respect and non-violence.
CALL TO ACTION...
The impact of domestic violence permeates the boundaries of the home. Our workplaces, our schools, playgrounds and neighborhoods have felt and will continue to feel its effects if we fail, both personally and professionally, to contribute to its end!
RECOGNIZING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE...
If you are confused about the relationship -- and are not sure if it is abusive, please, consider the following...
Has/is someone you know:
- Harming or threatening to harm a child, partner, spouse or family member?
- Repeatedly withholding money from a spouse or partner?
- Continually jealous, making irrational accusations against his/her partner/spouse?
- Restricting their partner/spouse from seeing family or friends?
- Abusing drugs and/or alcohol?
- Forcing sex upon their partner/spouse?
- Constantly criticizing, humiliating, or degrading their partner/spouse and/or children.
- Using physical violence to control the actions of their partner/spouse and/or children.
- Emergency: Dial 9-1-1
- Groton Police Department: (978) 448-5555
- Harvard Police Department: (978) 456-8276
- Statewide 24-Hour Hotline for Women's Safety: 1-800-922-2600
- Statewide Drug & Alcohol Information & Referral Hotline: (617) 445-1500 ~ 1-800-327-5050
- Al-Anon Family Groups of Mass: (781) 843-5300
- Department of Social Services 24-Hour Hotline: 1-800-792-5200
- Department of Social Services Teen Peer Line (Support): 1-800-238-7868
- Disabled Persons Protection Commission: 1-800-426-9009
- Department of Elder Affairs: 1-800-922-2275
- Marrimack Valley Legal Services: 1-800-336-2262
- Parent Stress 24-Hour Hotline: 1-800-632-8188
- Ayer District Court-DA's Office: (978) 772-4907
- Clinton District Court-DA's Office: (978) 365-3888
The term domestic violence actually refers to a range of behaviors including child abuse, assault of the elderly and/or disabled, physical aggression between siblings, and violence between intimate or dating partners. Violence is used by one person in the relationship to abuse, control, or dominate the other through force, fear, and/or intimidation.
An abusive act, whether verbal, physical, emotional, or other, is seldom an isolated incident. the initial, more subtle forms of abuse (i.e., name calling, put down, irrational jealousy) effect a pattern of insidious perpetual conduct. Tragically, the dismissal of these "benign" behaviors will most certainly evolve into the more lethal forms of physical violence.
There is no excuse for violence! Nor should any form of violence be considered an acceptable form of discipline. Stress induced by work, family, or finances cannot explain it and using drugs or alcohol will never justify it. Violence is a behavioral choice -- it is wrong and it is criminal.
The effects of violence on children are, at best, grossly underestimated. Without regard, many are living the consequences of domestic violence committed in their presence.
Witnessing violence can be as traumatic for children as being victims of it. However, the evasive impact masks injuries far beneath the skin's surface. Sadly, the fact remains that violence perpetuates because children see, hear and understand more than we've given them credit for.
Such exposure and experience will teach children two very powerful life lessons:
- We use violence to resolve conflict and relieve stress.
- Violence and intimacy go hand in hand.
If you are concerned about what your child has seen or heard or if you feel that your child is engaging in certain at risk behaviors, please get informed and get help.