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Changing the dynamics of violent relationships

Lolly Kupec
My Turn

I would like to comment on the tragic events of the deaths recently of two Tahoe young people. It is indeed unfortunate that people can find themselves feeling trapped in life circumstances unable to believe that there are choices other than the inevitable.

I was very fortunate as a young woman to have a strong support system of family and friends and parents who would do anything to help me leave, and more importantly “break free” of that incomprehensible hold domestic violence has on its victims.

I commend Tahoe Women’s Services for its amazing accomplishments in our community, the knowledge and compassion with which it serves its clients, and the never-ending energy and enthusiasm it demonstrates in working to eliminate the horrific “dis-ease” of violence from our culture.

There are other aspects of this crime however, which have been left unsaid. We must recognize that the person “doing” the violence is as much a victim as the one being violated. To be trapped in the thinking that there is no other way out other than violence, no other way to deal with the demons that are haunting the violator than violence, is an unbearable hell.

Whether that action of violence is “inherited” (the “circle of violence” Tahoe Women’s Services referred to in its March 24 guest column “Breaking the cycle of violence”), or environmentally “learned” is not relevant. What is relevant is that, as a society, we must be prepared and willing to offer the education and guidance needed to provide the teaching of using acceptable alternative behaviors to deal with frustrations, and create an atmosphere where those alternative behaviors are totally accepted.

The perpetration of violence is more often than not men upon women and children, but it is not an exclusive scenario. Women can and are violent against men. We know they can be violent against children. There is also the violence of children against their parents, children against children, men against men ” there is no exclusive club. We should not close our minds to accepting and treating all victims, that is, the perpetrators of violence as well as the receivers of that violence.

When we are willing as a society to chastise the bar bully, the playground bully, the emotionally abusive woman to her children, we can hope to begin to rid our society of violence. Changing the culture begins and ends with all of us.

In the meantime, Tahoe Women’s Services has made and continues to make a significant “dent” in teaching us that the acceptance of violence is not appropriate. We should all support their cause with donations and volunteering.

I would like to think that with the deaths of these two young people we can begin to learn how to recognize, and hopefully help to change the dynamics of violent relationships whatever form they take. My heart goes out to all the families involved, may you each gain some solace in knowing that through tragedy we gain knowledge, and then we can help others.

Lolly Kupec is a resident of Tahoma.


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