It’s Valentines Day. It’s supposed to be a day of hugs and kisses. A day intended to remind us that relationships are meant to be loving, caring and mutually respectful.
Sadly, that isn’t always the way it is. Over the past week we’ve heard of two firings in the White House due to domestic violence. We’ve seen the terrible tales of the #metoo movement. There have also been many other clear examples of some very un-Valentines Day behavior.
Many years ago as a newbie in my post training experience, one of my patients came in wearing sun glasses to cover a black eye. I asked her what had happened and she replied she had run into the door. Her husband was a well respected person and though I asked about the possibility of any physical assault at home, she stuck with her story. I’m still upset that I missed a chance to help that woman more. As a person who helps high achieving women in perimenopause struggling with high stress, low energy, and symptoms of change who want to get their life back in balance, at that stage of my career, I didn’t have the wisdom to realize someone like her could be a victim of domestic violence.
Not so today. I have learned all too well that sexual abuse and domestic violence is not limited to any one socioeconomic, ethnic or any other group. Now I routinely look for it and know how to identify it. But it did take time. Of course, there is much more overall awareness today, but as the recent news has shown, not nearly enough.
Several years after that I wrote a song called Love Doesn’t Hurt about Domestic Violence. Shortly after I wrote that song, I was given an award by my High School for being a distinguished alumnus. When I was invited to receive the award, the High School asked me to give a talk to a group of high school girls in a special academic situation.
Those girls were in a special classroom setting. First of all, you had to pass through a metal detector to enter. You weren’t allowed to use a pencil because they had sharp points. You get the idea. Basically, these girls were almost in a jail setting. They all had a pretty rough past.
My assignment that day was to see if they had any health issues to discuss. I went with my wife, Sharon, who is a Psychiatrist and together I thought we could answer their questions and be helpful.
But that wasn’t the way it went…at first. The girls sat there with their arms crossed and glared back at Sharon and me. We were getting nowhere. It was one of those situations where you wonder who will stare at you the hardest.
Finally, on a hunch, I asked if any of them “knew someone” who had been physically or emotionally hurt. Then I played the song, “Love Doesn’t Hurt.”
That was all it took. For the rest of the afternoon until the bus came to take them home, they asked question after question about what had happened to them, unwanted pregnancy, and many very personal questions.
Here is a link to the song. It not a solution, it’s a tool to open the conversation. That’s how I use many of the songs I create as part of HealthRock®. I would love to know what you think.
Hoping this Valentines Day for you and yours is one filled with loving, caring and mutual benefit.