Editorial

Safe House's new program goes straight at the source

Monday, August 27, 2018

Some of the most meaningful work that no one knows about happens at the Safe House for Women.

This is a refuge for battered women, desperately seeking safety. This is where women land, after escaping from their abusive partners. They go there out of sheer desperation, having exhausted other options and enduring physical and emotional torture. It's a desperate step toward a new life.

So the Safe House does amazing work, providing these women, literally, a safe house: a place to rest and recover. Their work is necessarily private and quiet, but monumental nonetheless.

A new program announced recently aims to address the other end of these abusive relationships. The Safe House is partnering with state and local law enforcement to intervene and help educate those convicted of domestic abuse, according to a recent report by Marybeth Niederkorn.

Amy Vinson, program coordinator, said the Batterer Intervention Program, or BIP, is used to help men who abuse women learn what battering is, and why they do it, according to Niederkorn's story. Vinson said they will help with the educational process, teaching abusers critical thinking skills and help them understand how their actions affect their victims.

"If they grew up in a dysfunctional family, the batterer might have grown up in a battering environment. This could be very normal and part of his natural way of functioning," Vinson said.

Vinson said the education is crucial. "A lot of men do define themselves as, 'I'm not bad, I just made a mistake,' but when we break down into their beliefs, attitudes and decisions, they can make self discoveries and recognize that yes, they were doing some bad things, and most of them start to think differently."

The education will attempt to change the abuser's mind and prevent having more victims down the road.

The Safe House helps with other preventative measures, including a youth violence prevention program that focuses on adolescent students developing healthy friendships and safe dating practices.

We salute these proactive measures, which really falls on all of us. We need to teach our children the value of respect for others, and help our children manage their anger and feelings. We hope the Safe House's new and ongoing preventive programs have a multiplier effect, preventing abuse for generations. Godspeed to all involved.

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