About a year ago, we had a vision of creating a space where survivors and people who are interested in the cause of domestic violence could share opinions and ideas on current events. Today, we are making that vision a reality with the creation of “Share Your Voice”, a blog that will feature guest authors who will write on various topics related to domestic violence. We will also present the opportunity for comments to be posted. The topic of domestic violence will often create a heated discussion. Our hope is that this will be a place where we can all share our ideas and thoughts in a respectful manner, as well as feel free to voice our disagreements. We hope to have little moderation over comments, because we believe this community will be able to moderate itself. However, we will remove comments we deem to be inappropriate.
My husband grew up in community where violence was prevalent. His mother left his father when he was a very young child. Although he has no actual memory of his father, he does remember hearing yelling and screaming while his father was abusing his mother. He has told me that when he was growing up and would see a father and son together, he would feel envious. He has also told stories about how he needed to learn to fight at an early age in order to protect himself. When I first started working in the field of domestic violence, which was over ten years ago, I remember sitting in a training and the trainer was covering “Characteristic of a Batterer” and talking about children who witness violence, cultural norms, etc. I remember thinking, “my partner has some of these characteristics”. So, I began to think, how did we get so lucky? How is it that my husband didn’t follow that behavior? What characteristics does he have that allowed him to stop the cycle of violence?
Well, my husband had positive male role models in his life. These men were coaches, his playmates’ fathers and most significantly, three young men from his neighborhood, who let a young boy, follow them around, play football with them in the street and hang out with them each summer. They helped him dream big dreams, they challenged him and although they pestered him as young kids do, they taught him respect. They are all grown up now and all are fathers themselves, but are still connected.
My husband worked against the odds and I know I am truly blessed to have found him. Now, that we are parents ourselves, we work on a daily basis to ensure our son has a nurturing, loving home environment. We want our son to respect all people and know that violence is never okay. At the same time, we want to teach him how to be confident and assertive. We question ourselves daily about whether or not we are saying or doing the right things. As parents, we are aware of how our behaviors impact our little one and that his eyes and ears are aware of our actions and words.
At the National Domestic Violence Hotline, we dream of a day when our services will no longer be needed and the phone will stop ringing. It is my personal hope that someday, I will be able to tell my grandchildren what I used to do and they will have no idea what domestic violence is. Perhaps, as we continue this blog, we will begin to see more people join our cause, share their stories and together we will eliminate domestic violence!
- Katie Ray Jones, Hotline Operations Director