In just one week, two NFL players have been involved in domestic violence situations against women. Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt was fired from the team after TMZ released video of him kicking a woman earlier this year at a Cleveland hotel.
And in a separate incident, Washington Redskins player Reuben Foster was arrested for allegedly beating his girlfriend Elissa Ennis.
Ennis appeared on Good Morning America telling her story of abuse, showing graphic photos of bruises to her collarbone and cheeks. This was Foster’s second domestic violence arrest.
These stories have put abuse against women back in the national spotlight and open up a conversation about services and resources to help domestic abuse survivors.
Jen Polzin is the CEO of Tubman in Minneapolis, an organization that helps women who have experienced relationship violence. Tubman offers shelter, legal services and counseling.
Polzin shared her expertise about the issue as a guest on Two Haute Mamas, a new podcast with Sheletta Brundidge and Lindy Vincent that features down-to-earth and spirited discussions about topical issues.
According to Polzin, the first step is to provide comfort for the victim. “I would want them to know that they are not alone and this isn’t their fault. No one deserves to be physically assaulted or emotionally abused.”
Polzin said that the initial phone call might be hard for victims, but it’s worth it. “The first place [for survivors] to start is calling an organization like Tubman and talk to someone about a safety plan that can be tailored to your situation and talk through what some options are.”
She added there is no one-size-fits-all recipe to help women who find themselves in abusive relationships. “Some people need to go to a shelter. Others need to get an order of protection to be able to stay in their home. There isn’t one answer that is right for everyone.”
Tubman has domestic violence curriculum in 40 schools across the Twin Cities and works with thousands of students every year.
Conversations about domestic violence prevention should start earlier than most people think. Polzin recommends talking with children at an early age about what healthy relationships look like. “Remind kids in an age-appropriate way that they have control over their bodies and behavior and actions and they get to set boundaries and say no,” said Polzin.
To hear the entire conversation and get a list of ways you can help Tubman spread their message, visit TwoHauteMamas.com.