Domestic Violence Prevention, the discussion continues - Camp Lejeune Globe: Raising Healthy Minds

Domestic Violence Prevention, the discussion continues

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Posted: Monday, October 15, 2018 7:30 am

Last week in “Raising Healthy Minds,” we went over what domestic violence (DV) and intimate parent violence (IPV) is, some risk factors and ways you can prevent it. I want to finish that discussion in this second part as we recognize October as Domestic Violence Prevention Month.

To recap, some of the risk factors for DV include young age, alcohol abuse and social/cultural isolation. According to the staff at Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) Lejeune-New River Family Advocacy program (FAP), service members have the potential to possess many such factors in addition to added strain from the military lifestyle. However, prevention is possible and help is available.

“Accountability is key,” said David Phillips, MCCS FAP prevention and education specialist. “Each person has to recognize the maladaptive, destructive behaviors they have practiced within the relationship. It can’t be one-sided. When both sides can be honest and admit their mistakes, the path to authentic healing and understanding can begin.”

Domestic violence often is the conclusion to extended periods of tension and relational strife. The gradual escalation leads to an explosion of violence or other negative behavior. Admitting to such practices helps in de-escalation and resolving conflict.

“When one person can step forward and say, ‘I did that, it was wrong. I should not have done that,’ it pays dividends in deescalating conflict and bringing the relationship back into better terms,” said Deborah Burns, MCCS FAP prevention and education clinical supervisor. “It’s one of the crucial steps in having a healthy relationship.”

According to Burns, learning concepts such as accountability is key in many of the programs the FAP delivers to couples.

“Acceptance, admittance and taking responsibility are the best solutions to preventing and resolving disagreements,” said Jill Campbell, MCCS Lejeune-New River FAP prevention and education specialist. “Being defensive is counterproductive, as it just builds on the tension and leads to more conflict and strife.”

Conflict is not the enemy in relationships. However, the way couples handle it can be detrimental to the health of their relationship and their own personal health.

“There is a difference in being aggressive and assertive,” said Dr. Gayloyce Willis, MCCS prevention and education specialist. “Being assertive means you can express your thoughts and ideas so you can get your needs met, without getting defensive or having to attack the other person. You might not come to an agreement, but feeling heard lets you know you are valued by the other person.”

Dr. Gayloyce highlighted that most individuals end up feeling unappreciated when they are not listened to. The same goes for people when in relationships, where staying on the same page serves as a cornerstone for success.

In addition to listening, having genuine empathy leads to healthy conflict, resolution and an overall more fruitful relationship. Phillips acknowledged that couples being empathetic towards each other brings them closer together.

“Empathy is being able to listen to and understand another person’s perspective,” said Phillips. “You may not share the exact same experiences, but you allow yourself to enter and relate to the feelings and thoughts associated with them. You are saying ‘your bad day may not be my bad day, but I hear you and am with you.”

If DV is or has happened, seek assistance. The FAP staff have a few recommendations for those in this situation.

“When you decide to leave, you are at your most vulnerable,” said Campbell. “Do not telegraph you are leaving, just get out.”

If you know someone is experiencing DV, remain supportive throughout the process.

“Oftentimes, many victims might recant or deny anything is happening,” said Phillips. “Remember, they are scared and often have little to no financial and other resources of their own. Listen and support them and direct them to professional assistance.”

DV and IPV could happen to someone you love. Take this month to raise awareness and take every step to stop it from happening.

For more information on local resources for IPV, visit www.mccslejeune-newriver.com/fap. The MCB Camp Lejeune domestic violence hotline is 376-5675 and the Marine Corps Air Station New River domestic violence hotline is 376-2155.

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