Accuracy in Media

The National Healthy Marriage Resource Center and the Center on Children and Families gathered on July 18 to hold a discussion addressing how
domestic violence and marriage programs are working together in a
common direction and toward common goals.

The audience was also given the opportunity to view a segment from Something My Father Would Do, a documentary of interviews with men who experienced and witnessed abusive behavior from their fathers during childhood. Juan Carlos Areán, a Senior Program director for children’s programs at the Family Violence Prevention Fund,
introduced the clip, explaining that the men featured in the film were
“men who grew up with abusive fathers” and shows how they are currently
handling life’s obstacles as adults with families.

“The work of engaging men…is an emerging field,” Areán said of the
problem of spousal abuse. “Two-thirds of men say that if they know that
their children are being affected by their violent behavior, they will
look to change.”

Panelists included several domestic violence experts, program directors
and participants in “healthy marriage” programs. The event was the
second in a three-part series called “Healthy Marriage, Strong Families
& Child Wellbeing.” Specifically, the panel addressed the topic of
creating an alliance between domestic violence programs and “healthy
marriage” programs to “promote safety together.”

Anne Menard, Executive Director for the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV), explained that domestic violence is defined as a pattern of
abusive physical behaviors characterized by one partner’s need to
control the other. There are six major elements of domestic violence
and marriage education programs, Menard explained, including creating
opportunities to disclose domestic violence and responding to their
disclosure.

The grouping together of marriage and domestic violence programs has been a work in progress for years. Lisa Nitsch, Gateway Project Program Manager at the House of Ruth, a domestic violence prevention agency, explained how her collaboration with the Center for Urban Families (CFUF) fell into place. Nitsch said that it began with an overlap of
the same clients, which eventually led to an alliance between the two
groups. Cassandra Codes-Johnson, who serves as the Director of
Family Services for CFUF, attested to the success of their alliance,
saying that the cooperation helped to bridge the gap between their
related goals.

“We worked together so we could build more common ground,”
Codes-Johnson said. “[This helped to] open up the dialogue between
healthy marriage and domestic violence.”




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