The Purple Light Nights rock, created by members of the Hope Association for Community Living, Tillicum. Drawing attention to the 2020 Purple Rock Campaign. (Submitted/Sharlene Harrison-Hinds photo)

The Purple Light Nights rock, created by members of the Hope Association for Community Living, Tillicum. Drawing attention to the 2020 Purple Rock Campaign. (Submitted/Sharlene Harrison-Hinds photo)

Domestic violence: Two sides of the same coin

How people who are perpetrators of family violence can find help

Every relationship has two sides – like a coin. And like a coin, they are separate and distinct but have been melded together. Although the focus on domestic violence more often than not is on the victim, we are tragically forgetting the other side of the coin – the offenders or perpetrators of the violence – be it physical, emotional, sexual, psychological or financial.

Upon closer examination, it seems that both parties are victims, to a degree. One is trapped in the relationship and bound by violence and abuse, the other is trapped in the emotional and psychological causes of their behaviours.

This year, Purple Light Nights Campaign would like to acknowledge that both parties need help, which makes this year’s theme, R.O.C.K, even more appropriate than simply an acronym that applies to only the victims.

ROCK stands for: R: Reach out; O: Organize important documents; C: Connect with someone and K: Keep safe.

Victims are not the only ones who need to reach out for help, although there is more help available for them, a fact of life that needs to change, especially in smaller communities like Hope. Help is available for the offenders, but it is not as readily accessible locally as it is for victims.

An excellent resource for help is the Mennonite Central Committee which offers two highly effective programs to help offenders discover, cope with, and change the causes of their violent behaviours. One is the Home Improvement Program: Men in Relationships, which teaches how to identify and recognize abusive actions and attitudes, healthy ways of relating to and understanding abuse. Another is Home: A Safe Place for All. It’s a program that addresses both the victim and the offender and how outsiders – family, friends and others – can help be more than bystanders and assist both parties in finding solutions to their situations and emerge from the ravages of domestic violence.

As mentioned earlier, domestic violence is a like a coin, with two distinct sides that are different yet share a common plane. If our society does not treat both, then change is extremely difficult if not impossible. Nobody sets out to be a victim or an offender but life’s experiences do mold us and create the people we become. With the right help lives can be changed and improved.

Both programs are available in Abbotsford. For more information, contact MCC British Columbia in Abbotsford (604) 850-6639 | (888) 622-6337 toll-free direct line (604) 851-7725.

Learn more at https://mcccanada.ca/learn/where/canada/british-columbia

Or call BC211, which is open 24/7.

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