October is “Domestic Violence Awareness Month”; but I really take issue with the whole premise of this focus. Being “aware” of Domestic Violence produces nothing! We are in the middle of a pandemic. Being aware of Covid-19 won’t protect you unless you do something about it. We hear it said multiple times every day–wash your hands regularly, wear a mask, social distance, avoid crowds, etc. Why? To prevent the spread of the virus! PREVENTION--not Awareness--is our goal!
Here we are, in the 21st century, and yet, we are still operating our Child Welfare Services (CWS) system on outdated, residual principles and practices from the 19th century! Seriously. Consequently, we have done little to mitigate child abuse and neglect (now called “maltreatment”), or enhance the wellbeing of children and families across culture. It is time for a change.
I get irritated when I hear the word "broken" used to describe kids and families who are struggling. Although I hear it less often than I once did--hopefully this indicates that people are becoming more informed--I still hear it used to describe individuals in our world who have behavioral challenges, difficulty coping, poor family dynamics, troubles in their relationships with others, and/or are just suffering with their overall life functions.
My teen years were spent in the 1960's – you know hippies, long hair, rock-n-roll, changing norms, social unrest and drugs. I had the good fortune to be raised with a strong moral compass which helped me navigate the tumultuous times and come out unscathed. However, this wasn’t true for many of my friends and acquaintances. Too many had their lives destroyed by mind and body altering substances; their amazing potential and futures altered forever. Some died, while others died mentally but remained physically alive.
Oh sure, like many in my generation, I did some stupid things. But in reality, the “hippie years” were just a very small parenthesis along my time line. In fact, those years profoundly set into motion what I was to become and how I have spent the past five decades. I count myself fortunate, but also haunted by the devastation and destruction substance abuse causes. I don’t know of anyone who has not experienced the destructiveness of substance abuse in some way, either personally or in relation to a family member, relative or friend.