Perceptions of Domestic Violence in the Community - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Perceptions of Domestic Violence in the Community

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Domestic violence in our community remains a touchy subject, especially with many people having the mentality of, "It is none of our business."

Throughout the past couple days, the Valley News Live Facebook page has been inundated with comments regarding a complaint filed against former Moorhead boys head hockey coach Pete Cullen and his resignation.

The Rape and Abuse Crisis Center says we want to believe that our neighbors, or people just like ourselves, are not capable of abuse because once we do know, it is hard to ignore it is a problem in our community.

The comments in regards to Cullen on our Facebook page have been staying along the lines of: "I respect him and believe that his personal life should be just that, personal."

Greg Diehl, Executive Director of the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center says, in general, that is the mentality about domestic violence that has prevailed in society for years. "If it's happening behind their closed doors it's nobody's business but theirs," says Diehl.

But Diehl says it goes well beyond the walls of the home adding, "It affects businesses. It affects a place of employment. It affects the healthcare system. It affects children that might be living in that situation."

He says we do not want to have to believe the problem exists, especially when it becomes personal with someone we know or involves a public figure. "If it's a high profile figure who is, has a lot of respect by a lot of other people in the community, there's probably a quick call to judgement that this can't be true. They would never do that," says Diehl.

He explains domestic violence can go both ways, meaning the man in a relationship could be the one abused. No matter what, though, he says it usually takes seven times for a victim to actually leave, even if they may have tried already.

He says, "They still love the person. There could be issues with finance. They might be dependent upon the offender for finances. There could be children involved."

While many people may have formed their own opinion about the Cullen incident, Diehl says, in the end, "(It shows) if it can happen to somebody who's very well respected in the community, it can happen to everybody."

Diehl says another reason many people have a tough time leaving abusive relationships is statistics show the most dangerous time for a victim is when they leave. Also, he says they sometimes prefer what is happening over the unknown of leaving.
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