Today: Apr 21, 2024

Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Trying to spot the ‘red flags’ and prevent abuse

JAMES HOFFECKERSpecial to Southern News
The Friday Sept. 2, 2011 issue of the New York Times included a front page article entitled, “Bloomberg Hid Crucial Detail As Aide Resigned: An Arrest,” which uncovered an incident that indicates why New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg ‘s aide, Stephen Goldsmith, resigned at the beginning of August 2011: he was arrested for a domestic violence complaint on July 30.
The domestic violence dispute, as reported by the article in the Times, stemmed from a loud argument which resulted in Goldsmith pushing and shov¬ing his wife, then escalated to the point where she called the police. When the police arrived, she declined to have him arrested, but due to domestic violence laws, the police were required to arrest him. Goldsmith resigned shortly after the arrest, to which a spokesperson for the mayor responded that Goldsmith, “could no longer serve at City Hall, regardless of his guilt or innocence.”
Regardless of his guilt or innocence? That seems like harsh punishment. Or is it? Statistics show that worldwide, at least one out of every three women have been physically or sexually abused in their lifetime. Venerable work has been done in the past 30 years in domestic violence prevention, including leaders across communities across the country and across the world. Even Mayor Bloomberg knew the importance of domestic violence prevention, which some experts agreed is a “glowing track record” on the issue. However, as one domestic violence advocate was quoted, “if we are going to hold the regular people of New York City account¬able for not being violent in their relationships, we need to hold our senior leaders and officials [accountable] too.”
I think this phrase applies to us here at Southern too– we all need to hold each other accountable for our actions, particularly our friends. When we see the “red flags” of an unhealthy relationship, such as emotional abuse, isolation, coercion and stalking, we need to figure out ways to ad¬dress that behavior directly or indirectly.
It is likely that you may know of an unhealthy relationship; statistics also show that dating violence occurs in one out of every five college relationships. During the week of Oct. 3, you will see red flags and posters around campus that bring these staggering statistics to the forefront and encourage us to address dating violence. It is the first full week of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, in which the Women’s Center and the Men’s Initiative will hold programs, events and classroom presentations to address domestic, dating and sexual violence. For more information on this, visit the Women’s Center webpage at: www.southernct. edu/womenscenter/.
We certainly need to hold our senior leaders and officials responsible for their actions, as well as holding ourselves responsible- responsible for not allowing dating violence to plague our communities and our college environment. And we do that by recognizing the “red flags” of an unhealthy relationship and learning the ways in which we can address it as friends, family and community members.

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