In the cases of both Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice, we need to look at how we can help the abuser. Both domestic violence and child abuse are unacceptable, and make no mistake, the focus on the victim is first and foremost. Their safety and well-being as a victim of domestic violence or child abuse is of the utmost importance.
Having said that, as a medical professional I think we also need to use this opportunity that has thrust this issue into the national spotlight to focus on the impaired perpetrators. Ironically, these are often the people that need the most help, but they usually are held in disdain for their actions, arrested or neglected. There needs to be more attention paid to these pariahs in order for us to truly make a difference in stopping domestic violence.
Researchers and practitioners need to focus more attention on identifying ways to improve domestic violence treatment outcomes. We need to help abusers stop being violent and abusive and help them learn how to relate to their partners in a respectful and equal way. We need to show them non-abusive ways of dealing with difficulties in their relationships and coping with their anger in order to keep their partner safe.
The NFL today outlined a plan to create a conduct committee to make sure that players (and anyone associated with the NFL) are always living with the best practices. The NFL can be a role model and set the agenda for what is and isn’t acceptable. Let’s see if the NFL can implement the right policies and procedures to be a leader in dealing with domestic violence and child abuse. Only time will tell.
Information contained in this blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical or psychiatric advice for individual conditions or treatment and does not substitute for a medical or psychiatric examination. A psychiatrist must make a determination about any treatment or prescription. Dr. Paul does not assume any responsibility or risk for the use of any information contained within this blog.