Presentation raises domestic violence awareness

Cameron Waddington, Staff Writer

The Haven House hosted a presentation about domestic violence in Connell Hall on Oct. 30.

The presentation was put on by Haven House to raise awareness about what domestic violence is and the avenues by which someone could escape an abusive relationship. The presenters, Elizabeth Sederberg and Shannon Ridenour, spoke about the different theories of domestic violence and the ways Haven House is equipped to help those in need.

Domestic violence is defined as: the intentional physical assault, intimidation, battery, sexual assault, and/or use of other threatening behavior by one member of a household against another to maintain control and power.

When the Battered Women’s Movement began, the prevailing theories were that of mental illness in both parties. One theory believed that the abusers were mentally ill and could be cured of their abusive tendencies through medication or therapy. On the other side of the coin, it was believed that the women who were battered were mentally ill. This was because in contrast to the manic state of the abused, the abuser would be calm and collected and would be given ample opportunity to discredit the abused. Both of these theories have since been debunked.

Another theory was that men abuse because they had learned violence in their families as children and have thus brought it into their own home. Similarly, women choose abusive men because they saw their mothers being abused. This is believed to be a learned behavior and can then be unlearned.

The presentation mainly focused on what Sederberg, an intern at the Haven House, called the “Cycle of Violence.” This cycle begins with tension building, moves to a serious battering incident and then goes into a honeymoon period before the cycle begins again. The main point was meant to bring attention to the fact that it is never “just one time.” If one person abuses another, chances are it will happen again, and the abused should seek help through these resources.

Haven House, in response to the reasons for abusers to abuse, have stepped in to help. They are the main service provider in the Wayne area, according to Ridenour, the Haven House outreach coordinator.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, it is okay to reach out. Haven House has a 24-hour crisis line at 1-800-440-4633. The service is free and also available in multiple languages. They also have office hours Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 215 W 2nd St. in Wayne. The phone number is 402-375-5433.