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What do we tell our son about domestic violence?

Posted on April 7, 2015 at 10:35 PM

We all want our son to grow up respecting women and understanding that a Real Man cherishes his woman and doesn’t hit her. The problem is that we assume our children understand without having a real conversation with them. The fact is that we must sit down and talk to them. I assumed my children were evolved on the topic of domestic violence because I, as an attorney who represents victims, exposed them to information. What I learned was that their evolution comes not only from their exposure, but most importantly from our discussions.

 

Violence against women worldwide is epidemic. Unfortunately the United States represents well in those numbers. During the same time period while 6614 troops were killed in Afghanistan, 11766 women were killed due to domestic violence. What that suggests is that it could be more dangerous for a battered woman to survive than a soldier. What’s even more troubling is that the numbers do not get better when she leaves. According to reports, leaving a battering partner may be the most dangerous time in their relationship. Women are 70% more likely to be killed in the two weeks after leaving than at any other time during the relationship.

 

These numbers paint a colorful picture of why it is important to be supportive and compassionate to women in these situations. We need to be aware on a community level of resources available to women where they can plan a safe and effective escape. That includes knowing your community shelters, and connecting the women to service providers who work with battered women, including attorneys, counselors, employment trainers and social service providers. It’s also important to know where individuals can obtain anger management counseling

 

When we talk globally and look for answers community wide, sometimes it feels like the issue is overwhelming. I encourage you to become a part of the community solution. I promise you, it will not be difficult to find out what organizations exist in your community and how you can help. But here’s a thought— let us become a part of the long term solution for the next generation.

 

What do you tell your son about domestic violence?

 

As a mother and a lawyer, my view on violence against women is essentially the same. After fully discussing the issue, this is what I concluded:

 

Number one, if you ever get arrested for hitting a woman, I will leave you in jail. If you do ever get out of jail, find a new girl friend, because she is not the one for you!

 

Number two, if you are in a relationship which incites that kind of behavior or emotions, either from you or her, then you need to find another girl friend because she is not the one for you!

 

Number three, if a girl hits you, walk away from her. Run away from her if necessary. It doesn’t matter what names you are called. I’m not suggesting she can get away with hitting you. There are consequences for her as well. But get away, than find another girlfriend. She is not the one for you!

 

And finally, if you hit a girl, even after she hits you, chances are you are going to be arrested. I didn’t say life was fair, but I am saying that she is not the one for you!

 

I’m by no means suggesting that all we need to do is have a conversation with our boys. Certainly we want our girls to grow up and become the type of women who would never stay in that type of relationship. Nor am I suggesting that only women are victims of domestic violence. But we have to start the conversation somewhere. What we tell our girls is for a whole different discussion. My son and I watched the new Ray Rice elevator video and discussed how that would make us feel if that were my daughter or his sister laying on the floor. But there’s another side of the story.

 

How would I feel if he were my son?

Join the conversation.


Delia Parker Mims is Principal of Parker Legal Center, a civil litigation firm located in Lewisville, Texas.  She has represented victims of domestic violence for 20 years and is especially equipped to handle the sensitive nature of such cases. She can be contacted at [email protected]

 

 

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