By Anna Maria Mora, Psychologist
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The focus of this month is emotional abuse. There are, however, other types of domestic violence or abuse: physical abuse and sexual abuse.
Mental, psychological, or emotional abuse is defined as abuse (violence) which deliberately takes aim at a person’s feelings. The emotions which emerge are used by the perpetrator to control, punish or manipulate the victim or the person being abused.
The individual who is exposed to emotional abuse loses any sense of self, feels lost, alone, becomes depressed and her or his mental health is compromised.
Emotional abuse might be preferred because it leaves no visible marks on the victim.
My issue with the revolving doors of the intense abuse and violence that are prevalent in our country, are the messages we send to the public through our advertising. There is an attempt to teach citizens to stop the emotional, physical, and sexual violence perpetrated against children, women, and men.
One example: A daughter is in her room. She could be about eight or nine. She hears some noise and a wail coming from the room next to hers. She goes to the door that separates the two rooms and opens it. It is obvious that it is the parents’ room.
She sees and hears acts of violence perpetrated, on her mother, because a woman is wailing and sounds as if she is being hit. The child returns to her room, blocks her ears and looks very distressed. Then instructions on where to go for help in these situations come on the screen. The advertising teaches people to be violent; instead of showing positive images, they reinforce negative.
My opinion is that many people do not know what it means to be civil, what it means to show that you care about someone. How to greet someone with “Good morning, how are you? Have a nice day.”
Our advertising must aim to educate citizens on how to be good citizens. The father in the home should be modelling a father who is taking care of his wife and children. They get together as a family when everyone is at home and sit and talk about the day’s activities.
Time for dinner, and they all have their responsibilities. Dinner is prepared. The table is set, and they sit and have dinner together. There must be a routine. Family needs to work together to develop a routine in which everyone gets a chance to be part of a happy family, children needing to do their homework.
We must begin to model success for our citizens. Polite and caring men, polite children who live in a happy, organised home. All this could be modelled, and our children will learn that there can be a different way of living in which happiness and success are possible.
Can we change this month to Domestic Happiness and Success Awareness Month (DHSAM)? We can have our students do dramatic presentations with this theme.