Domestic violence clients pledge to change behavior
Local domestic violence clients have made pledges and declarations of non-violence to change their behavior and are sharing their pledges with others.
Clients involved in the domestic violence intervention sessions are referred by the upper and lower courts to complete a 26-week approved program to learn how to make better choices to their anger when faced with conflict, noted Allen McBride, Alternatives to Violence Coordinator with the Pee Dee Coalition. These members engage in discussion about domestic violence and learn what better choices they can make as opposed to what they did to put their victims in fear of their lives.
After sentencing, the clients are allowed to return home with their significant other or they move on and end the relationship. Whatever they choose to do, they must make changes that would ensure they do not continue to hurt someone who they claim to care about, not to pass a legacy of violence on to their children and not continue to make the bad choices that contribute to their own social and or economic ruin.
McBride shared the pledges that his clients in Florence have made:
• “My plan is to walk away if I can, talk things out if things get heated, control my anger because once things get heated there is no telling what can transpire. I pledge to be honest, respectable, trustworthy and understanding.”
• “My plan is to think before I act. I plan not to argue in front of my daughter so she does not grow up thinking that it is ok to fuss and fight. My pledge is to work on improving my communication skills with my significant other. I also plan to try to be the best that I can be as a person.”
• “My plan is to have mutual respect for my significant other. I plan to listen more to what she has to say. I also pledge to be a better provider for my child and work on having a better line of communication between the two of us.”
• “My plan is to be truthful with myself and people that I associate with. My pledge is to stop trying to control all situations with my loud talking and all my physical confrontations. I pledge to be a better father for all my children. Most of the time a cool off period is better than yelling.”
• “My plan is to strive to be comfortable by myself. I plan to strive to know myself more before I get to know another woman. My pledge is to be a better role model for my children by showing by example.”
• “My plan is to not react to every little thing, to talk things out. My pledge is to be a better man towards my significant other and to change my ways and attitude towards this relationship.”
• “My pledge is to put my family first. I will honor and respect my children and to do the same for the mother of my children. I also pledge to stay positive to every confrontation that I and my significant other might encounter.“
• “My pledge is never act or talk about a situation in the heat of the moment while I am angry. I will walk away if possible, reassess the situation, then come back to it after I have cooled down to talk about it if the other person is ready.”
• “My pledge is to listen more and be able to communicate better. I will try to be more understanding and will be able to listen to her point of view and to have a better vision of what she is trying to say. I also plan to be a better husband and father to my children.”
• “I plan to be the best father, friend, person and individual that I can be. The only way this can happen is realizing my flaws. I plan to be a better me. “
• “My pledge is talk things out to get a better understanding. My pledge is to never use my hands to solve a disagreement.”
• “My pledge is to keep my composure in any confrontation that we may experience. I plan to give her space to calm down so we can talk about any differences that we may have.”
• “My pledge is to take time to think positive if I get angry. I plan to talk things out and listen more to what others have to say.” McBride says that clients are sharing their pledge or declaration with their significant other and other members of their family and/or friends. The impact or the effects of this exercise is high, he said, adding this strong effect forces the admission of guilt while at the same time influences a high level of resolve in their attempt to make amends for wrong doing.
The posting of the pledges amplifies the promise in that each client is making plans to do something about the abuse and put it all on notice. It challenges the authenticity of the declaration. The more people they share their pledge with, the more effective the pledge becomes, thereby creating a safer environment for the family and reducing the chance of repeating the behavior as it relates to the level of authenticity of the pledge.