Why it’s important to address the healing support of perpetrators as well
When it comes to addressing domestic violence, it is important to focus not only on the victims, but also on the perpetrators. By providing support and healing to perpetrators of domestic violence, we can help to break the cycle of abuse and prevent further harm to victims.
We know, we know… Not every perpetrator is ready and willing to admit their behaviour is problematic and wrong. It is common for people who use violence to justify their actions with different reasoning: “I had a bad day”, “I was drunk”, “I don’t know what got into me”, “I wouldn’t have said that if you weren’t nagging so much”, “I did this because you did _insert action here_”. It is also common that they promise they won’t use the violence anymore or that they will get help and change.
Why isn’t it so common then, that they actually go and do that? We have learned through our therapists and people who’ve actually experienced or used violence themselves, that there are many individual motives behind that. And maybe surprisingly to some, quite many of them are similar reasons which make it difficult for the victims to reach out for help, for example: not recognising the violence, denial, feelings of guilt, shame and fear, not knowing where to turn to and the lack of services. And as it goes with people who’ve experienced violence, they too have to be motivated and ready to talk honestly to get the real help.
We have also learned that some people believe that perpetrators should not be helped. It is normal that people get angry about violent acts as violence is wrong and goes against their values. Some might think perpetrators should only be punished. In many countries most acts of violence are crimes too and there surely are consequences. We also know that oftentimes a sanction alone isn’t the cure for repeated crimes. We know it is possible for people to learn more about violence, themselves, their toxic behaviour patterns and shift them. But they need to be willing to commit to long-term professional help. One meeting with a therapist is only the beginning of a long and rocky path.
Luckily there are people who are ready for the challenging soul-searching expedition. So there needs to be services too! Why?
One of the key reasons why it is important to address the healing support of perpetrators is that it can help to prevent future incidents of domestic violence. By providing perpetrators with the tools and resources they need to change their behavior, we can help to reduce the likelihood that they will engage in abusive behavior again. This can ultimately protect victims and prevent further harm.
Another important reason to focus on the healing support of perpetrators is that it can help to promote accountability and responsibility. By providing perpetrators with support and resources to help them change their behavior, we can help them to take ownership of their actions and to understand the impact of their behavior on others. This can be an important step towards creating a safer and more supportive environment for victims.
Furthermore, providing support and healing to perpetrators can also help to reduce the stigma and shame associated with domestic violence. By focusing on the healing and rehabilitation of perpetrators, we can help to shift the focus away from blame and punishment, and towards a more compassionate and supportive approach. This can help to create a more open and understanding environment, where victims and perpetrators alike can receive the support and care they need.
In conclusion, addressing the healing support of perpetrators is an important part of addressing domestic violence. By providing support and resources to perpetrators, we can help to prevent future incidents of abuse, promote accountability and responsibility, and reduce the stigma and shame associated with domestic violence. By working together, we can create a safer and more supportive environment for all.
If you know someone who is a perpetrator of domestic violence, there are a number of steps you can take to help them change their behavior. Here are six suggestions for how you can help perpetrators to change their behavior:
- Encourage them to seek professional help: One of the most important things you can do is to encourage the perpetrator to seek professional help. This can include therapy, counseling, or other forms of support that can help them to understand the root causes of their behavior and to develop healthier coping mechanisms.
- Support them in their efforts to change: If the perpetrator is willing to seek help and to make changes in their behavior, it is important to support them in their efforts. This can include things like providing encouragement and positive reinforcement, or offering to help them with practical tasks like finding a therapist or accessing resources.
- Be patient and understanding: Change is not easy, and it can take time for anyone to learn new ways of thinking and behaving. It is important to be patient and understanding, and to recognize that progress may not always be linear.
- Set boundaries: It is important to set boundaries and to make it clear that abusive behavior is not acceptable. This can include things like refusing to be around the perpetrator when they are engaging in abusive behavior, or making it clear that you will not tolerate verbal or physical abuse. Remember also that their process is not your responsibility, so don’t try to do their work for them.
- Seek support for yourself: It is important to remember that supporting your close one can be emotionally and mentally taxing. Make sure to take care of yourself, and to seek support from friends, family, or a support group if you need it.
- Encourage the perpetrator to take responsibility: Encourage the perpetrator to take responsibility for their actions, and to understand the impact of their behavior on others. This can be an important step towards creating a safer and more supportive environment for everyone involved.
We are currently building our AinoAid™️ services which will include help for anyone who’s experienced domestic violence but also the perpetrators because we believe that when one person stops the cycle of violence it saves several lives. Even generations.