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Massachusetts couples make choices against domestic violence

Domestic violence has no place in any marriage or relationship, and children reared in environments of violence and instability often suffer the most. Massachusetts General Hospital has begun an initiative named Men Against Abuse to raise awareness of men's roles in stopping domestic violence before it takes root in a family and destroys it.

When adults choose to stand up against violence, they are making healthy and positive choices for not just their families, but their communities, to thrive. This public health issue crosses all strata of society and eventually impacts everyone. Studies have been done that indicate that being exposed to any type of violence affects people's health negatively.

The group was established by the hospital's Domestic Violence Working Group. Those participating make pledges never to condone, commit or remain silent regarding men's violence toward women. They commit themselves to listening to, respecting and sharing power with the women with whom they share their lives.

The group is growing. Each member is supposed to reach out to two co-workers to get them to commit to the group's cause. One of its founders, the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization's chief financial officer, was a major recruiter. He has a personal understanding of the problem of domestic violence, having grown up with regular loud arguments between his parents. To him, that was just how marriage was. He realized from his own -- peaceful -- marriage that others could learn to manage domestic issues before they escalate.

He said, "Family background, culture, and traditions can establish expectations that can enable unhealthy behavior. The work we do with Men Against Abuse raises awareness about what a healthy relationship looks like and also how to prevent unhealthy relationships."

When seeds of violence begin to take root in a marriage, it can be the beginning of the end. Both parties need to take steps to stop it before it ruins the marriage. A Massachusetts family law attorney is one good source of referrals for counseling for individuals, children or the family as a unit.

Source: The Bay State Banner, "Partners in Preventing Violence" No author given, Jun. 12, 2014

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