Saturday, March 26, 2016
Teach Your Children Well
Every parent should teach their teenage children a few steps to take if and when they experience an abusive incident.
It should go without saying that the first priority is to get out of the situation.
The next step, one that's routinely overlooked, is for that person to just sit down with pen and paper and put the entire sequence of events in writing, dated and signed. The nature of the abuse - time, place, who was present, what actually transpired etc. in detail - and any events that immediately preceded the incident. There's no need to record emotions. The individual could be too traumatized or confused to make sense of them in the immediate aftermath. That can be left for a day or two.
Eventually more details of the events of days and weeks leading up to the abusive incident can be added along with a better expression of the emotional toll - fear, love, hate, self-doubt, everything.
I question whether if Ghomeshi's victim had picked up her note the following morning and read "then he punched me in the head three times" she would have remained under any delusion that this was some expression of affection. "He punched me in the head three times" brings a certain clarity to the incident.
Whether the victim has been punched, raped, or defrauded - a contemporaneous written statement is invaluable both for the victim to understand what actually happened and for those who later help.
Teach your children.