(This blog is written by Regina Ress, board member of Healing Voices-Personal Stories.)
The Crisis Center of Northern New Mexico has released a short video to assist families in understanding the effects of domestic violence on the most vulnerable members of the family, the children. The film, which can be viewed in English or in Spanish, is entitled Through Their Eyes.
This short film focuses on one family, the parents and, in particular, their two adolescent children. There are flashbacks to when the parents were teens, suggesting a pattern of learned behavior. The film also shows teen and date bullying in the flashbacks. It is through the eyes of the two children that we see the smashed living room…the mirrors, the windows, many of the objects…all of which stand for the broken family.
The film ends with the father, who had rampaged through the house, asking…yet again…for forgiveness. When the mother and the two children stand their ground, he finally asks for help. “I can’t do this alone,” he says. When his wife tells him that they need to get help he says, “I’ll do whatever it takes.” The narrator then describes the effects of domestic violence on children, and describes some of the help available to families. Later, these suggestions are visually displayed on the screen.
This film is a short, clear picture of what so many families and children go through because of domestic violence. It can be used within families as well as in schools and other institutions to spark discussion and to suggest how important it is to get help and where to do so. The film can also open a discussion of bullying in general, inappropriate language and actions in relationships, and the fact that many people are caught in this kind of situation. Most important, it states that help is available.
The Crisis Center of Northern New Mexico offers a wide range of services, free of charge, to families and individuals in crisis. There is a shelter, individual and group therapy, legal advocacy and anti-bullying programs for schools. There is help available 24/7 and all of the services are free.
The message of this film is positive. “You can break the cycle of violence and prevent it from destroying your child’s life.” It is an important message, for many children and families see no way out. There is one. There are organizations available to help, and The Crisis Center of Northern New Mexico is one.
Regina Ress is a storyteller, actor, educator, author. Board Member Healing Voices-Personal Stories; adjunct faculty, New York University and Santa Fe University of Art and Design. Regina believes that “Storytelling connects us to each other and to the deepest parts of ourselves.” Visit her website and Facebook page.