Thursday, January 15, 2009

Education in domestic abuse should be as common as education in STDs... or drinking & driving

I would like to provide a little bit of feedback about yesterday's presentation titled: "Domestic Abuse: What every woman should know" by Bailey Reid. Bailey is a very pleasant young woman, a great presenter, and is quite knowledgeable on the topic. She had clear slides, great videos, and encouraged lots of conversation with the audience. I got the feeling that she is quite passionate about this topic. I even noticed that she was a little teary eyed during the documentary video.

I particularly enjoyed how Bailey stated that we should ask "why are women abused" rather than solely focusing on "why do women stay in an abusive relationship". It got my mind thinking and I still don't know the answer. I think it has something to do with equality and women's rights, but I am never comfortable getting into those topics. But I did learn that two very common reasons why women stay in an abusive relationship are:

1. Economic dependence - there are still many women who depend on their husbands to provide for their family and don't believe they can support their children without their husbands.
2. Not recognizing an abusive relationship - the victim is usually the last to recognize she is being abused and says things like "it will get better", or "it's none of your business!".

In my opinion, every woman should attend this presentation... period. You will learn about recognizing abuse (whether it's hitting, verbal abuse, etc...), and how to get help (a few tips on what you can say to the victim, calling a hotline, etc...). This type of knowledge should be as common as knowing what to do when someone was drinking and is about to drive. CU-WISE would like to invite Bailey to do another presentation this term in hopes of reaching more women at Carleton. I hope you will all go.


Gail Carmichael said...

One of the key things I learned (in addition to what Barb has already said) were the tips for helping someone being abused. Even though most women don't always want to (or can't) leave a relationship, there are things she can do to improve her safety.

We were also told to always discretely give an informational brochure (like the one with these safety tips) in person, because you can never be sure that the abused person will be the next person checking the mail or driving the car. It's the only way to be sure the abuser doesn't see it.

Great talk, and I hope you can all attend the next time Bailey comes!