The Case for Black With a Capital B



Close To Home





Close To Home

by Sheena Quintyne


Though I’ve never been a victim to domestic violence, I’ve definitely witnessed and had peers who were involved, either as victims or abusers. I’ve always believed that the more popular decision is to mind your own business and stay out of the picture. Never believing this myself, I’ve tried to engage friends who were involved in either role of victim or abuser, and ask why they feel its ok not to seek help.

Even this process is complicated, because how do you even begin to initiate that conversation? Sometimes, these secrets of abuse are kept from the confrontational friend, or in this case, the “Big Mouth”. So again, how does one initiate that conversation, especially if they’re not supposed to know?

It has also been customary for the victim to fear the hands of the abuser, and as a result, that victim stays in the relationship, and reassures loved ones that everything is ok and the relationship is great, despite the abuse.

A series of questions come about here: What if they don’t want help? What if this continues? What role can I play, if I’m not close with either party?

After sitting with Priscilla Rorie, the Assistant Director at Close to Home, I’ve found that they are understanding of the fact that police aren’t usually involved, and the best way to deal with a domestic abuse situation is to facilitate it.

This is an organization that is aware of domestic violence. The workers are aware, some even know first hand, why the patterns of reclusiveness are constant, and what might be the best way to engage the parties involved.

To echo Priscilla’s theory, there is too much money and effort being poured into domestic violence situations that have already occurred.

This program trains youth on how to intervene before violence happens, or even before it gets worse.

I feel that the lack of knowledge in proper intervention is detrimental to our community, especially the youth. The survey issued by the Boston Public Health Commission is a painfully clear example of this. They used the high profile incident of Chris Brown and Rihanna’s domestic violence case to gain insight on where youth stand on teen violence. Among the findings: 100% of the youth surveyed heard about the incident. 44% said fighting was a normal part of a relationship; 46% said Rihanna was responsible for the incident; and 52% said both individuals were to blame for the incident. The participants of the survey were aged 12-19.

Judging from these statistics, I believe that better strategies and knowledge on dating violence should be in order.