|For those of you currently living with violence please don?t give up and don?t loose hope. The peace you are looking for will come if you stay true, forgive, and continually move forward no matter how many set backs -- please don?t ever give up.
We in the professional sector of the domestic violence community have a unique opportunity and obligation to provide consistency, stability, education, hope, build trust, establish social relatedness, and provide positive reinforcement regarding the strengths of the family (all different types & compositions of families).
We all must respond to the crisis of violence however, in this response we must work toward prevention. Embracing a transdisciplinary (the incorporation of principles and perspectives from Forensics, Clinical, MFT, Sociology, Anthropology, Social Epidemiology, and Social Justice) and ecological approach (the individual, the family, the community and society) to family violence we can begin to understand the unique and dynamic situations that reinforce the spread of violence.
Science continues to inform us regarding the relationship between children?s exposure to violence and later biopsychosocial development. Overall, studies have shown that children raised with chronic violence are more likely to be violent (Hickey, 1991), live with mental health issues (Osofsky, 2004), or become involved in the juvenile and criminal justice systems (Widom, 2001). The consequential functioning is complex, dynamic, and multilayered. Violence has a way of reinforcing and strengthening the continuation of violence. Therefore, our intervention and prevention efforts must replace the consistency of violence with dedication, patience, creativity, and a tremendous amount of strength and support.
Systems that respond to families and children exposed to violence must be equally consistent and dynamic. We can no longer approach any social issue from a singular lens, as isolated agencies, or to continue the vertical projection of research, training, policy, and practice. To do so would cause more harm than good. How a system collectively begins the process of preventing family violence and children?s exposure to violence will never be easy, routine, or evident. The process, the players, the factors, all may change. The ramifications of exposure to violence are painstakingly complicated; no two individuals react in the same way. One may choose a life of crime, the other a profession in law enforcement.
When there is a recognized organizational, personal and moral obligation combined with a willingness to face past mistakes without blame we can create a collective commitment and shared responsibility, we can then begin to build the type of individual and systems changes that endure.
The San Diego Domestic Violence Council is the convener of the people, knowledge, training, resources, funding and the intrinsic desire for personal and social betterment.
Please join us, your voice is needed and wanted. I believe in the work of the San Diego Domestic Violence Community and if you believe in the power of growth, learning, and change then I am confident all this will help.
Dawn Griffin, PhD.