Today’s post is not a MWB post. If you were looking forward to your regular round-up, don’t worry, it will be back next week. Today’s post is about an issue that, at first glance, doesn’t look like it fits with my primary focus on health. However, as the high-profile murder-suicide that occurred recently in Kansas City illustrates, relationship violence is an issue that cuts across all of the different levels of our society. Abuse, both emotional and physical, is absolutely a health issue. Abusive relationships are bad for individual health, they are bad for family health, and they are bad for community health.
Because the recent murder-suicide involved an NFL player, the story has gotten a lot of attention. I have some frustrations that it took a high profile tragedy to get our greater community talking about these issues, but since the door is open, I will use that opening to remind readers that safe relationships matter for all of us. Most of the time, we focus on survivors of abuse, encouraging them to get help, to get safe. That’s hugely important, but it is not the entire picture.
We are all responsible for supporting safe relationships. Not sure what is involved in abuse? Here is a good overview. That means that if you have a friend or a family member whose partner seems controlling, you should speak up. Not sure how? Here are some good tips. Perhaps one of the most important things to remember is that many abusive people do not appear abusive outside of their homes. In fact, they can be charming and socially capable. So, if someone discloses possible abuse to you, please keep in mind the thoughtful words shared by Scott Mason, a staff member at the Rose Brooks Center in Kansas City in a recent interview with NBC Action News 41 in Kansas City:
“Saying ‘Oh, he would never do that,’ or ‘Oh, that’s crazy that you would say he would do that. He’s such a nice guy,’ or ‘Well you just need to leave,’” said Mason. “There’s all this victim blaming, this disbelief. So based on that response, often times, the victim will never disclose again.”
Mason said the most critical thing someone can do to support the victim is to believe them — validate what they say, rather than question.
“Remember you might only get a small snapshot of what that reality is,” Mason said. “To just believe and validate them and help them through that process.”–Story by JiaoJiao Shen