Violence strikes men and women

by Staff

This article is the first in a three-part series on diffusing violence in personal relationships.

Experts talk about choices. Yet, for victims seeking a way out of an abusive relationship, free will may seem like the first thing lost.

“You get so involved in an (abusive) world that you lose your identity,” said one female survivor, who wished to remain anonymous. She has beaten the odds, which aren’t in her favor. Every 18 seconds a woman is battered, according to the Center for Community Solutions in San Diego.

She has outlived her own abusive relationship and moved on ? only after pulling through two emergency visits, a knife stabbing and bloody urination after being kicked in the back.

Last December, The Daily Aztec interviewed Tina Shimane, a San Diego State University psychology intern, who said many people forget that domestic violence also includes non-physical violence.

Now Shimane is the co-facilitator of an on-campus women’s support group called “My Rights in a Relationship.”

“Usually (the abuse) is gradual, and that’s how women get stuck in it,” Shimane said.

But women aren’t always the victims. One study in 1985, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, found women are just as capable of committing violence in relationships as men are.

One 28 year-old male, who admitted he’s been in an abusive relationship for three years, is now considering getting help.

“I guess I am in a rut, and it always seems like it is going to get better, and then it doesn’t,” he said.

Kay Buck, a director and domestic violence counselor at the CCS, said men comprise only three percent of their referrals, but the low figure probably represents “underreporting” due to stereotypes associated with masculinity in our society, Buck said. The lack of public attention makes it harder for men to get the treatment they need, she said.

CCS maintains a domestic violence, legal clinic to assist survivors who may need a safety plan to address a violent partner. Through CCS Legal Clinic, victims can get restraining orders, obtain mediation support and attend uncontested divorce workshops free of charge.

In what he called “two-way street” support, Doug Van Sickle, director of Counseling & Psychological Services at San Diego State University, offers on-campus help to victims or perpetrators of abuse.

In supportive peer groups, clients can focus on relationship skills and find help in anger-management groups to rethink their reactions, he said. Van Sickle stressed the professional’s obligation to maintain strict confidentiality for clients.

Of those who access counseling services in general, there is a 60:40 ratio of females-to-males. Van Sickle said that is probably due to “a socialization factor.”

When assessing solutions to relational violence, he said there is “no standard one-size-fits-all (approach).”

The first step, he said, is to come in to CPS and make an appointment.

For more information on support groups or personal counseling, call CPS at 594-5220, the CCS counseling center at 272-5777, CCS’s Legal Clinic at 272-1574 or its 24 hour HelpLine at 272-1767.

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