An interview with psychiatrist, Dr. Jim Gilligan, former mental health director for the prison system in Massachusetts, and the author of three books on violence. Dr. Gilligan reports that many of his patients told him that they had committed murder and other acts of violence because they felt disrespected. He reports that for these men, feeling treated as if they were one down, weak or inferior was intolerable, and that violence was their only means of reclaiming pride or self-esteem. He also observes that punishment tends to generate violence, both in parenting and in our penal system. Punishment relieves people of the guilt (that inhibits violence), but increases their shame, which fuels violent acting out. Under his tenure, the only prison program that successfully reduced recidivism to zero, was offering course toward a college degree. In those men who completed the program, they now had non-violent means of reclaiming their self-esteem, and feeling less ashamed.
An interview with playwright, Cathy Plourde, founder of Add Verb productions about her new play, Major Medical Breakthrough. Cathy tells the story of writing a play to inspire health care providers to screen their patients for domestic violence. She gave sobering statistics about the high numbers of women and some men, who are being abused who see their doctors during the abuse and are never asked about it. Indeed only 10-19% of doctors report that they screen their patients routinely for domestic violence. Cathy stressed that where there is domestic violence, there is also likely to be sexual assault, something that often goes unasked about. She cites the ACE study to show that the more trauma in a person’s life, the more physical health problems they will have, and unless our doctors and nurses ask their patients, the cause of many illnesses will be missed. She gave a thoughtful description of why providers are hesitant to ask, but encouraged health workers to trust that asking the question, providing support and access to resources can make a tremendous difference.
This is part two of an interview with violence prevention educator, Daryl Fort, about ways in which we are all bystanders to social interactions that foster violence against women. Daryl challenges us to see these situations for what they are and to have the courage to intervene. He describes two everyday social situations in which it feels very risky to speak up and challenge what is going on; one in which guys are debriefing their sexual conquests together, and one in which a man is trying to get a woman drunk at a bar so he can have sex with her. He acknowledges how difficult it is for such verbal challenges to go well, and suggests that we make a clear decision ahead of time to act when someone is at risk.
Part one of an interview with violence prevention educator, Daryl Fort, about how the culture supports the superiority of men and the inferiority of women. He links the many levels of messages about women’s inferiority to the justification of mistreatment. He describes two gang rapes of young girls in which communities colluded to protect the rapists and to focus the conversation on the behavior, and dress of the victims. He describes the way that cultural assumptions that women are not to be taken seriously, result in minimization of the crimes against them. He makes a clear case that jokes and disrespectful language form the foundation and and basis for the eventual expression of violence against women.
An interview with Maine’s governor, Paul LePage about his childhood growing up in a home with domestic violence. Governor LePage describes the moment when he decided he had to leave home; the moment when his father tried to pay him to lie to a doctor about the cause of his injuries. He describes living with the fear that pervaded his childhood home, and his attempts to protect his mother from his father’s assaults. LePage then goes on to challenge men to speak up against domestic violence in settings with other men, and to create a culture that has no tolerance for attitudes and behaviors that belittle women. He talks about his vision for new laws in Maine that protect women from batterers and bring abusers to justice.