Wellness campaign: Ending domestic violence
This article is part of a project of the local Community Health Council, or CHIC. Health Councils were created statewide in conjunction with the New Mexico Department of Health with the goal of getting local citizens and county governments more involved in the manner in which health might be improved in each of their communities. The local CHIC is conducting an ongoing awareness campaign addressing the various areas that can potentially affect a person’s health. June has been devoted to solutions to domestic violence.
San Juan County consistently ranks third in the state for domestic violence, but we have the highest number of deaths related to domestic violence in New Mexico. That means that our domestic violence is terribly common, and uncommonly lethal. The aim of the Positive Wellness Campaign is to offer solutions.
While it may seem that the altercations between intimate partners are due to common disagreements and poorly handled reactions and emotions, domestic violence is not a matter of conflict resolution. No amount of effort on the victim’s part to improve communication or satisfy the abusive partner will solve the recurrence of abuse in a relationship. It does not matter what started the fight or what the victim did or did not do or say, domestic violence in relationships is not about conflict between two equals — it is an issue of power and control. Abuse is a pattern of behavior used by one partner to gain and maintain control over the other partner, whether by physical violence, emotional abuse, financial abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, or by coercion and threats. Victims of domestic violence do not have equal standing in conflicts, nor do they have equal options as the abuser to have their needs heard or met in the relationship — or to leave.
The single greatest predictor of a person either becoming a victim or an abuser is whether he grew up witnessing domestic violence being modeled by his family as a means by which one individual gains power to dominate others in the house. Herein lies the key to eradicating domestic violence — teaching healthy, positive relationship models to children and helping adults unlearn tactics to gain power and control in interpersonal relationships. Perhaps this seems a tall order, but it is certainly not impossible. When adults show children that we can change, to seek and give respect in our relationships because we want something better for ourselves and for them, we model greatness in resilience.
This is where we at Family Crisis Center can help. We offer most of our confidential services completely free to our community. If a victim wants a safe and clean place to land, we invite him or her to our highly secure and spacious shelter, which welcomes women, men, children and some pets. Victims/survivors are welcome to stay anywhere from just a night, up to months while we assist them in building their independence and safety from the abusive relationship. In addition to our shelter, we also offer free and confidential counseling to victims and their families, court advocacy, help obtaining orders of protection, support groups, and presentations for classes and organizations to equip the community with the knowledge and tools to end abuse.
For more information about Family Crisis Center's many services, which are free to the public, and all that we do to prevent and end domestic violence, find us on Facebook.
If you or anyone you know feels trapped in an abusive relationship, please call our 24/7 hotline at (505) 564-9192, or walk into our office on 208 E. Apache St., Farmington, anytime Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.