Friday, February 24, 2012

Domestic Violence Training Experience

 I recently was able to attend the Domestic Violence training in Bloomington with the Mid Central Community Action’s Neville House staff. There were over twenty people at the training and it was an incredible learning experience. Upon arriving I lacked little knowledge about the dynamics of domestic violence and I left with a powerful understanding of the effects domestic violence leaves on not only the victim but the surrounding family, children and even pets.
The training was rich with information from survivor stories to important films, activities and discussions. One of the most powerful films I saw during the training was of a woman who had been battered both physically and emotionally by her husband and it was filmed by her eldest son. To witness such a horrific account of someone being mistreated cut to the core of me. No one should have to experience that but yet millions of victims do experience that everyday.
There is a bright side to this horror which is the domestic abuse survivors who are able to share their story. These stories taught me a few things:
  1. Always meet the victim where they are and do not judge them for going back to the abuser. There are many complex reasons for victims to stay with their abuser and as family, friends and professionals we need to be supportive of their decisions but encourage safety precautions first and foremost.
  2. Emotional abuse is just as hurtful as physical violence. Bruises heal, whereas emotional scars hurt a victim’s self-esteem and self-worth which takes much longer to heal from and makes it harder to leave the abuser.
  3. Safety planning with a victim is the most important thing you can do with them. Knowing they have the option to leave when they are in danger is an incredibly powerful tool you can give them that will help empower the victim.
I feel grateful and blessed I was able to attend such a wonderful training and I encourage those in the Decatur area who are wanting to understand the dynamics behind domestic violence to attend Dove’s forty hour training session on April 30th, May 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 9th and 10th from 8:00am to 5:00pm.

You can make a difference in the lives of victims and their children. You can be the advocate that refers victims to Dove in your workplace and community to get them the help they need. With this training you can also volunteer alongside Dove staff in the areas of legal advocacy, children’s programming, and hotline or shelter coverage. Please call 217-428-6616 for more information.

April Burgener - Receptionist

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