By T. D. Jackson, Belvoir Eagle Photo EditorOctober 10, 2014
Fort Belvoir, Va. (Oct. 9, 2014) - As the unfortunate spate of domestic violence occurrences seem to dominate the media lately, I think it may be wise to skip the blame game.
It doesn't really matter who spit on whom first. It doesn't really matter how badly someone was misbehaving. And it certainly doesn't matter who started the argument.
All that really matters is that there seems to be a significant number of unhealthy relationships that didn't get that way over night. One argument regarding a person's whereabouts does not all of the sudden bring on abusive behavior.
So what is an unhealthy relationship? Fort Belvoir's Domestic Abuse Victim Advocates point to these abuser character traits:
-Neglecting their spouse, child or significant other.
-Trying to control others through intimidation.
-Using shouting to intimidate.
-Monitoring the activities of their spouse or partner including phone calls.
-Trying to keep their spouse or partner from spending time with others, including Family.
-Using children as pawns in arguments.
-Threatening to take their own life if things do not go their way.
Some of these may seem trivial by themselves, but once you roll two or three of them together, it gets pretty serious. How serious? One in three women have experienced some form of physical violence in their lives and one in three have been raped. So basically, out of your 300-plus Facebook friends, 60 have been physically or sexually assaulted at least once in their lives. And the attacks are usually at the hands of someone they love.
Sometimes people in unhealthy relationships, usually women, don't realize it until it's too late. They don't notice the arguments growing more and more heated, they don't notice the intensity of the questioning and they think the threats are empty. None of these things are normal. Yes it is common for every couple to argue, but getting physical, even a "simple" push, is crossing the line.
The slamming and banging of furniture after a fall out is not normal either, because it's anger or frustration directed at an object, and one of these days that object may be you.
Certainly there is help and compassion for the abuser. They are sick or unbalanced individuals and they need prayer, intervention, therapy, rehab, medication or maybe incarceration to be delivered from those demons. But as a victim, there is a whole world of resources -- including people -- to help you. At Fort Belvoir alone there are teams of caring individuals, like the folks with the Victim Advocacy Program who want to help. It is their job to help people in precarious situations and risky relationships.
So what does a healthy relationship look like? A healthy relationship looks like two people who love each other enough to work on their relationship together.
They spend quality time doing things one or the other or they both like to do. They encourage each other. They compliment and complement one another. Maybe they pray with and for each other. And most importantly, they have each others' backs.
If your dating or domestic relationship could stand some maintenance, join Army Community Service in their month-long promotion of activities that encourage safe and healthy relationships.
ACS has developed a Healthy Relationships program to include an awareness walk and other events. Visit www.belvoirmwr.com/Facilities/ACS for more information about the Healthy Relationships initiative.