Let Home Be a Place of Safety and Security

Vijai P. Sharma, Ph. D

In today's climate of violence in America, the Preamble of the Constitution of the United States of America acquires a new meaning. Let's look at the Preamble of our constitution in the context of violence in intimate relationships. The Preamble says: 

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity. " ( my emphasis). 

In the present times, the greatest threat to domestic tranquillity is from the destructive rage of the stronger towards the weaker in the four walls of the home. Today, for a superpower that America is, domestic violence holds the greatest threat to its "domestic tranquillity. " As regards justice, the proverbial scale is still tilted in the favor of men. 

A more perfect union between two partners is possible if the Justice and the Law view the violence inside the home no different from violence in street between two strangers. Complaisance towards violence in intimate relationships is based on an assumption that violence occasionally erupts between two people who love each other. Needless to say, this assumption is incorrect. 

And while we are at the great American values on which this country was founded, let's look at the values of freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The greatest threat to liberty in our times is from an aggressive violent partner to the other. There are so many prisoners today in the confines of their own homes, doing their time in a "jealousy jail. " Some fear that if they try to escape to freedom they may be crippled for life or lose life altogether. Unfortunately, their fears are justified. 

What comes to your mind when you think of home? Normally, our first thoughts about home are along the lines such as, home is one's castle, or home is the place where one feels safe, comfortable, and "at home, " so to say. Now let's do another little test of associations. What comes to your mind, when you think of streets? Don't you think of things such as, traffic, strangers, and violence on the streets? Here is the shocker. For a woman whose partner is jealous, possessive, and violent, streets are safer than her own home and strangers are kinder than the person she loves.

Let's clear another misconception about violence. When we think of the perpetrators of violence that victimize Americans, we think of armed robbers, rapists, muggers, serial killers, someone going berserk and shooting people senselessly. Well, in the case of a woman, her perpetrator is likely to be someone she is familiar with and someone who she trusts. The perpetrator of violence on her, may live with her or at one time lived with her, and claims that he loves her very much. Battering is the number one cause of women's injuries. More women are killed by battering than they are by muggings, rapes, and automobiles accidents put together.

Love doesn't have to hurt. Those who make light of violence explain away violence as a lovers' quarrel. They call it an "argument" that just went out of control. If the offending partner is remorseful, that is enough for the outsiders to "forget and forgive and start afresh. " People don't suddenly become violent; they have a lot of bad experiences and take a long time in learning to be violent. 

It's time that we separate anger from violence. You have a right to be angry with your partner but you don't have a right to be violent. Love doesn't have to be violent. Those who try to normalize or preach acceptance of violence promote violence. 

Channel your anger into energy to communicate information about yourself so that you and your partner can make some changes in your daily behaviors. If you are angry, don't stop caring about the person you love. One doesn't have to hurt the person one loves. One doesn't have to punish the person one is angry with. Assault has no place in an intimate relationship. 


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Copyright 1996, Mind Publications 



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