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Inside Paradise: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

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Inside Paradise: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
Published on January 15, 2016 Email To Friend Print Version

By Sherna Alexander Benjamin

Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Today, this phrase still stands true. If we can prevent abuse in any form before it occurs, this will lessen the cost of fixing the problem after the act has been committed.

Sherna Alexander Benjamin is a victim advocate and trainer, executive director, and a university student
It will lessen the emotional, physical, psychological and financial cost to the individual, the family, the community, and the state. The aftercare maintenance cost of abuse is high, real high. With every new case of abuse the cost increases. It also increases many other social ills and issues that affect us as a people, and the financial burden to the state is overwhelming.

One has to remember that abuse is not an isolated social issue and it trickles down into every facet of society. Before we can implement prevention interventions and give prevention tips we need to understand what prevention includes and the levels of prevention.

The term “prevention” is reserved for those interventions that occur before the initial onset of violence. The field of public health has defined three levels of prevention: primary, secondary and tertiary. Primary prevention aims to stop violence before it initially occurs. Secondary prevention focuses on immediate responses to violence. Tertiary prevention involves long-term approaches that occur in the aftermath of violence.

Three types of preventative interventions have also been defined. Universal preventive interventions are targeted to the general public or a whole population group that has not been identified on the basis of individual risk.

Selective preventive interventions are targeted to individuals or a subgroup of the population whose risk is significantly higher than average.

Indicated preventive interventions are targeted to high-risk individuals who are identified as having minimal but detectable signs or symptoms but who do not meet diagnostic levels at the present time.

Prevention is achieved through the application of multiple strategies; it is an ongoing process that must relate to each emerging generation. Some may say, “There is no surefire way to prevent violence be it sexual assault, molestation, domestic violence, murder etc.,” and while this statement may ring true, we cannot sit back and do nothing, prevention intervention strategies have shown a high success rate of violence reduction and prevention when implemented properly.

We must work with communities, groups and organizations to implement primary interventions strategies in this fight against violence, without primary intervention we will continue to count casualties and cost because we focus mainly on secondary and tertiary prevention interventions.

"Prevention requires a clear vision of what we're working for, not only what we're working against and a commitment to social change." If we can prevent violence from touching the life of one person, one family and one community then all our efforts would not be in vain.

Using the river analogy, fixing the hole in the bridge will help not only those at greatest risk of falling in, but also everyone who crosses the river, rescuers, and those who pay for rescue costs. Our goal should be to prevent pain and suffering associated with violence by stopping it before it initially occurs.

The implementation of Prevention Support Units (SUP) whose primary aim is to establish programs, projects, and policies to deal with the prevention of violence should be instituted within the Caribbean.

Contrary to popular belief, abuse is not isolated to only physical or sexual and understanding this is crucial. We live in a society where abuse is prevalent in various forms; it is perpetrated in subtle and heinous ways, and accepted by many as 'normal' all because of a lack of information and education.

Ignorance of the various types of abuse is not an option, vigorous primary prevention strategies is foundational in this work. Bancroft says the following about manipulation, abuse, the abuser, and the victim here you will see various types of abuse brought out.

Dr Sam Vaknin in his book The Mind of the Abuser said: "The batterer is controlling; he insists on having the last word in arguments and decision-making, he may control how the family's money is spent, and he may make rules for the victim about her movements and personal contacts, such as forbidding her to use the telephone or to see certain friends.

“He is manipulative; he misleads people inside and outside of the family about his abusiveness, he twists arguments around to make other people feel at fault, and he turns into a sweet, sensitive person for extended periods of time when he feels that it is in his best interest to do so. His public image usually contrasts sharply with the private reality.

“He is entitled; he considers himself to have special rights and privileges not applicable to other family members. He believes that his needs should be at the center of the family's agenda, and that everyone should focus on keeping him happy. He typically believes that it is his sole prerogative to determine when and how sexual relations will take place, and denies his partner the right to refuse (or to initiate) sex. He usually believes that housework and childcare should be done for him, and that any contributions he makes to those efforts should earn him special appreciation and deference. He is highly demanding.

“He is disrespectful; he considers his partner less competent, sensitive, and intelligent than he is, often treating her as though she were an inanimate object. He communicates his sense of superiority around the house in various ways.

“The unifying principle is his attitude of ownership. The batterer believes that once you are in a committed relationship with him, you belong to him. This possessiveness in batterers is the reason why killings of battered women so commonly happen when victims are attempting to leave the relationship; a batterer does not believe that his partner has the right to end a relationship until he is ready to end it.

“Because of the distorted perceptions that the abuser has of rights and responsibilities in relationships, he considers himself to be the victim. Acts of self-defense on the part of the battered woman or the children, or efforts they make to stand up for their rights, he defines as aggression against him. He is often highly skilled at twisting his descriptions of events to create the convincing impression that he has been victimized. He thus accumulates grievances over the course of the relationship to the same extent that the victim does, which can lead professionals to decide that the members of the couple ‘abuse each other’ and that the relationship has been 'mutually hurtful’."

Persons cannot make informed decisions without education; people clamour for direct intervention, and to have direct intervention you need direct education. To protect effectively, one must get the information on what they are protecting a person from. "Get educated, Get informed for friends do not let friends harm others."

"Parenting is the toughest job on earth as you are responsible for the physical, emotional and mental development of another human being." ~ Unknown

Encyclopedia of Narcissism and Psychopathy

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Jan/30/2016, 10:01 am Link to this post  

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