Friday, November 2, 2012

Raising awareness about domestic violence


INTERACTIVE EDUCATION: Michael Cloutier, senior investigator for Police and Security, reads a scenario for his team to discuss.


Lucy’s husband has hit her – again. She isn’t sure if she should visit a doctor, talk to a friend or seek counseling from her minister. She visits the clergyman, who expresses concern. But Lucy leaves still unsure of what to do. Should she turn to a family member or go to a shelter? Her husband has apologized – again. She spends the night at her son’s home, but in the morning the same questions remain. What should she do?

MGH staff who attended the “In Her Shoes” interactive event on Oct. 11 were faced with this and similar scenarios regarding domestic abuse. Each of the eight teams read from an index card a different abusive situation followed by two options of how the woman could respond. Once in agreement on a course of action, the teams would discover the consequence of their decision on the next card. This continued for several rounds, each team ending with a different conclusion including divorce, counseling and even death.

Sponsored by the MGH Domestic Violence Working Group, the session was one of three events held in recognition of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.“This program is a little different in that it guides you through what a survivor may experience. It shows the dilemmas and challenges survivors face with and some of the next steps they might choose to take,” said Liz Speakman, LICSW, director of HAVEN (Hospitals Helping Abuse and Violence End Now).

During the event, Rabbi Ben Lanckton, of the MGH Chaplaincy, and Frank Garvin, an investigator in the Police and Security Department, were each honored with the Unsung Hero Award for their dedication to helping survivors of domestic violence.  

Read more articles from the 11/02/12 Hotline issue.

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