By Mike Jacquart
You’d have to be living in a cave to not have seen … or at least heard of… the video of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice assaulting his then fiancee (and now wife) in a hotel elevator. Unfortunately, domestic violence is all too common in the U.S.
The term “domestic violence” refers to physical, sexual and/or psychological harm – as well as financial control and abuse — caused by a current or former partner or spouse. Domestic violence is also commonly referred to as “intimate partner violence.” Consider:
* About one out of three American women (31%) report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives.
* Nearly 8 million paid workdays are lost each year due to domestic violence.
What can be done about this problem? The following are among the recommendations offered by Sandra Molinari, a professional with more than 10 years’ experience in the domestic and sexual violence field, in an issue of Employee Assistance Report (www.impact-publications.com):
* Educate employees about domestic violence through EAP-led workshops, newsletters, informal brown bag lunches, etc.
* Creating a supportive work environment in which everyone feels safe disclosing abuse. This includes maintaining requests for confidential assistance, and respecting the choices of adult victims in response to the difficult situations they experiencing. Special care should be taken to send the message that victims are NEVER responsible for the abuse they are suffering.
* Seek out the expertise of domestic violence advocates in your community for additional guidance, support, and training.
* Check out some of the noteworthy online resources. They include: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence… http://www.ncadv.org the Safe at Work Coalition… http://www.safeatworkcoalition.org … the National Network to End Domestic Violence … http://www.nnedv.org or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
As Molinari points out, talking about domestic violence is not easy, nor is it comfortable. “Most people – and many employers — would rather just write it off as a family issue, to be dealt with by the concerned partners.,” she notes. “As we have seen, however, it is a widespread ill in our society, and playing the ostrich with one’s head in the sand will ultimately hurt businesses and organizations.”
Watch for a new article by Sandra Molinari on this topic in an upcoming issue of Employee Assistance Report. To check it out and order a free trial, go to the “Employee Assistance Professionals” tab at http://www.impact-publications.com.