Colleen Nilsen, Director of Spectrum’s Violence Intervention and Prevention Programs, spoke on Wednesday, September 10th, with Pat Bradley at WAMC Northeast Public Radio in light of recent news coverage of domestic abuse.
Nilsen makes clear that the only thing that distinguishes current stories from anyone else’s is that they are publicized. In fact, domestic violence occurs every day, and violence endangers victims in all communities.
Spectrum offers batterer intervention programs targeted to men to change their abusive behavior. In the interview, Nilsen said, “Unfortunately the majority of the participants that come to us . . . come because the court has ordered them to do so based on some sort of criminal behavior. So a huge part of our job is to get them to see that maybe they do have an issue that they need to look at and really try to motivate them. That’s a huge part of our job. I think a lot of the men in our group think that this behavior is normal.”
Nilsen highlighted the importance of understanding the individuality of every woman’s situation, because the public often asks women why they would stay in abusive relationships.
“To me, the simpler question, the easier question, the better question is to say, ‘why is he being abusive?’ She’s not breaking the law by staying with him. He’s breaking the law by assaulting her.
“So I feel that as a public we need to stop blaming the victim and start really looking at holding people in our communities accountable for violence. Specifically domestic violence.”
Read or listen to the full interview here.