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Communication key to preventing domestic violence

Jessica Smith

On Feb. 10 the MCC Counseling Department hosted a workshop on domestic violence and healthy relationships, which was presented by Jacqueline Jarvis ACSW, LCSW and Norman E. Veierstahler LAC, NCC of Catholic Charities Community Services. In the workshop, domestic violence was defined, the cycle of abuse and red flags of an abuser were discussed, myths were exposed and different forms of abuse were identified.

The Arizona Coalition against Domestic Violence defines domestic violence as, “A pattern of behavior that includes the use or threat of violence and intimidation for the purpose of gaining power and control over another person.”

The myths that were dispelled included, “battered women are helpless, passive and fragile; have little or no education, no job skills, and numerous children; and are usually of color.”

Some red flags of an abuser discussed were jealousy, controlling behaviors, quick involvement and isolation. Forms of abuse can include physical, sexual, emotional, mental and financial.

Additionally, the qualities of a healthy relationship were also discussed and so were strategies for getting out of abusive relationships.

Healthy relationships center on equality instead of power and control, according to Jarvis and Veierstahler. They include aspects of respect, trust, support, honesty and partnership.

Workshop participants were given quizzes to fill out called “Characteristics of Healthy People and Healthy Relationships,” aimed at showing people what a healthy relationship should look like.

“I thought it was very beneficial. I thought they gave some really resourceful information about abuse and the types of abuses out there,” said Jessica Black, an MCC student who attended the workshop.

There was time for question and answer at end, which some students took advantage of. Alonzo Gonzalez said the workshop opened him up to seeing other aspects of domestic violence that he hadn’t seen before.

“It’s not just simple physical abuse, its verbal too. Little things affect a lot more,” he said.

When asked about his intentions for coming to MCC and his hopes for the workshop, Veierstahler said, “My hope is that we can get [information about domestic violence] more out there. Domestic violence is often silent.”

By talking about domestic violence, Catholic Charities is taking the first step towards changing the cycles of abuse.

“Talking about domestic violence is the best weapon against it. It’s the best thing to use against it to try to stop it,” he added.

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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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