UPDATE: It’s now late October during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but the National Football League HAS been doing a better job promoting awareness of this problem of late… specifically, running a public service announcement featuring current players that bemoans domestic violence. Better late than never, as they say.
Professional football players and coaches are adorned in pink this month to note Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is certainly highly commendable, so don’t take what I have to say next the wrong way. I do understand: My sister is a breast cancer survivor, as was my mother-in-law.
However, in my view the NFL has dropped the ball on another important observance — Domestic Violence Awareness. This is really surprising to me considering the publicity that former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice gave to the issue earlier with the now infamous photo of him assaulting his then-fiance in an elevator. Consider:
* Roughly 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 a past issue of Employee Assistance Report (www.impact-publications.com):
* Educate employees about domestic violence through EAP-led workshops, newsletters, informal brown bag lunches, etc.
* Create 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.
** I would add… the NFL should consider having Ray Rice do some commercials about domestic violence awareness.
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.