Can you believe that February is already here! We are celebrating Black History and raising awareness about Teen Dating Violence. At CONNECT, we are always thinking about transformation, especially about those attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that fuel intimate violence.
And this month we want to focus on a critical practice in our prevention work: dialogue.
Working at the intersection of Faith and Domestic Violence is a critical part CONNECT ‘s holistic approach to domestic violence prevention.
Definition of Shrink: become or make smaller in size or amount; contract or cause to contract.
Rev. Dr. Sally MacNichol, our Co-Executive Director opened as Special Guest Speaker of “Fordham University’s Conference, Spiritual Geographies of Domestic Violence” on May 6, 2016.
In addition to sharing her story about how she got started in her work to prevent violence and tansform communities, Sally highligted some key elements that are rarely addressed; spiritual and emotional abuse.
“There has never been a domestic violence survivor that hasn’t said to me that the emotional abuse was worse than the physical,” she said. “You can see bruises, and they heal. But you can’t see spiritual and emotional wounds, and these take a long time to heal.”
We need to become more aware and less tolerant of invisible abuses, MacNichol said, or else a wide swath violence will remain undetected and unresolved. Faith communities have the ability—and the responsibility, she said—both to lead these conversations and to reduce inflicting further harm on victims (for instance, working to save an abusive marriage at all costs, rather than helping an abused spouse who is trying to escape).
Read our Huffington Post article “Let’s Stop Referring to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault as a Women’s Issue.”
The article is co-written by Linda A. Seabrook, General Counsel for the anti-violence organization Futures Without Violence and CONNECT’s Co-Executive Director, Quentin Walcott.
“Young boys who witness violence at home are three to four times more likely to perpetrate acts of domestic violence as adults. Up to 10 million — or every one in 15 — children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90 percent of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence. Beyond what children may see at home, they are continuously surrounded by messages and images in community institutions, advertisements, TV shows, songs, and other spheres that reinforce gender stereotypes — such as expectations of the subservience of women, or men exhibiting force as a display of strength — that often correlates with abusive behavior.”
Q joined a national gathering of activists, politicians, actors, and more at the White House’s “The United State of Women Summit” including President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Oprah. Watch the video here.
Leading the live televised conversation with actor Matt McGorry from “How To Get Away With Murder” Q stressed that among the most important ways a man can become an ally to women is by listening and paying attention to what women are asking of them.
Both Q and Matt McGorry shared the words of the women and feminsts they are inspired by.
“Is it possible that half of a mass of the earth is tied to chains, that the other half could soar to the sky? As women, our dreams, hope, potential, significance, vision, life, our voice is equally as important and vital as men. We are in tandem. What can men do to support women’s issues? Have our backs and listen.” - Viola Davis
“At the heart of male allyship is a willingness to be present, a genuine desire to listen and learn from and with women, and an ongoing committment to teaching and transforming other men.” - Rev. Dr. Sally MacNichol.