In recent years, the gravity and voiceless nature of domestic violence have finally brought light to an issue that has plagued our country for many years - and still does. Whether the impact is seen on a national stage through prominent figures or felt behind closed doors, there is no denying the epidemic nature of domestic violence.
The idea of ending domestic violence seems like an insurmountable and daunting task. But for Brian F. Martin and the Childhood Domestic Violence Association, it is anything but that.
Martin, who was raised in a home with domestic violence, and the association are on a mission to help those who grow up living with domestic violence reach their full potential. And in doing so, they are working toward changing the mindset of future generations when it comes to domestic violence.
“Our goal is to create universal awareness of childhood domestic violence, what one experiences when they grow up living with domestic violence in their childhood home,” Martin shared with me.
Martin and the Childhood Domestic Violence Association are doing this by creating affordable tools to be used by families, communities and organizations in an effort to combat domestic abuse. Those tools include Martin's book "INVINCIBLE: The 10 Lies You Learn Growing up with Domestic Violence and the Truths to Set You Free" and the free "Change A Life" online program."
To date, these tools have been used by the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the NCADV and the New York City Department of Education in their efforts to put an end to domestic violence.
With over 1 billion people around the world having experienced childhood domestic violence in their lives, Martin and the association know the true change and peace this revolution could bring to families.
The reach of the association is greater than many know. Not only is Martin and his organization changing lives through speaking engagements and his book, but they are serving as advisors to many others - including the National Football League, where they contributed to the league’s player personal conduct policy.
UNICEF calls Childhood Domestic Violence the single best predictor of children becoming either perpetrators or victims of domestic violence later in life. And that is exactly where Martin and the association are targeting domestic violence - right from the start, in hopes of ending further violence before it ever begins.
“When you grow up living with [Childhood Domestic Violence], it negatively wires a developing brain and encodes a series of negative beliefs, or lies, early in life - beliefs that at the time aren’t challenged,” Martin explained. “If the adversity that you face in your childhood home causes you to feel guilty, fearful, worthless, unattractive, unlovable, resentful, sad, alone, angry, hopeless, then as a child your brain finds evidence or reasons to believe why this is true. By the time you know it - in elementary school, junior high, high school – it’s just you. That becomes your self-concept before you ever have a chance to choose.”
Through the focus of changing the lives of those who have experienced childhood domestic violence, Martin and the Association are hoping to end generational trends of violence in the home. And raising awareness to Childhood Domestic Violence is the first step towards solving the problem of domestic violence.
More than half of the children who are currently experiencing childhood domestic violence are being raised by adults who lived through the same experiences as children. It is a viscious cycle that is spanning generations.
For too many years, domestic violence was a taboo subject in our society. By raising awareness and helping those who have experienced childhood domestic violence, we have an opportunity to change lives today as well as in generations to come.
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