Speaker believes men should get more involved.
By Michael Smith
Patricia S. Castillo, co-founder of PEACE initiative, said it is important to make communities aware of domestic abuse so solutions can be found at the “Visionary Women’s Lecture” event sponsored by the empowerment center March 19 in the nursing and allied health complex for Women’s History Month.
PEACE stands for Putting an End to Abuse through Community Efforts.
There were about 50 students and faculty at the event.
Castillo addressed the first step on raising awareness regarding abuse within households.
“We have to take the issue of abuse out into the community,” she said. “Effectively, if we keep it in the house and nobody sees or hears it, it will never be addressed.”
Castillo said some of the worst events of abuse begin with something as simple as what is going on in the mind of an individual.
“What is going on in our hearts is where everything starts,” she said. “That is going to determine what is going to happen in our homes, our town, our nation and in our world.”
Castillo spoke to the audience about the importance of women having pride and finding the source of their inner power to overcome trials and tribulations.
“Within us lies the capacity and ability to avoid further situations of abuse, violence and victimization,” she said. “We have to know ourselves well enough to not fall into that trap.”
Castillo continued to elaborate on pride by challenging the audience with questions that they should be asking themselves for mental uplifting.
“Do we value ourselves to not be easily influenced and guided in a way that is not good for us?” she said. “What are my roots, my history, do we have respect for our bodies?”
Castillo continued to use challenging life questions regarding relationships and what individuals should be asking themselves before or while being in one.
“You need to know what you are looking for in a relationship,” she said. “Whether it’s the way that person needs to act, sound, smell or even eat like, you need to know all of those things.”
Castillo said a relationship also needs to be supportive of one’s goals and dreams.
“Take the time to invest in yourselves in who you are and your identity so that you know what you bring to the table for a relationship,” she said. “Then you know what kind of relationship you deserve.”
Castillo and the audience agreed the main components of a beneficial relationship are passion, commitment, consistency, hope, compromise, communication, patience, honesty, trust, respect and love.
“These are the vital things you must be aware of before getting into any relationship.”
Castillo said the body of a woman can be the site of political struggle.
“Think about how many nations that are at war will go and rape the women that are from the group of people they are going to war against,” she said. “Think about the troubles of women trying to have reproductive rights. Our relationships are impacted by these political struggles.”
Castillo it wasn’t until 12 years ago that she decided to want to work with men.
“For the longest time, I would not work with men because I was taught by feminists that men are the enemy,” she said. “But the reality is that women who are attracted to men are going to want to be with men no matter how jacked up they are.”
Castillo said that for this reason women should be working with men as well because there is always a chance of potential.
“As long as you are breathing, there is always potential for change,” she said. “No matter how many traumas you have experienced, your brain can always create a new synapse. There is always that hope.”
Castillo spoke on the contributions men could make working together to get the message of abuse across.
“There are men who will know of another man abusing someone and not step in because he believes it is none of his business,” she said. “We need men to be willing to say something about violence and violent behavior toward other men.”
Castillo spoke on the cons of spanking children and why it is not beneficial psychologically.
“Spanking does for a child’s development for what hitting a spouse does for marriage,” she said. “When we stop hitting our kids, we are effecting their brain development in a positive way.”
Castillo expressed how she felt about being such an influential activist.
“Already being 60, I know I am not going to end family violence in my lifetime,” she said. “But I do know whatever I have done so far is going to be effecting the next several generations. That feels pretty good to me.”
Castillo then had a brief closing message for everyone who is seeking change.
“We are the savior,” she said. “ Just pick up a mirror; it’ll be more efficient.”
Castillo has been working to end violence against women and families for over 35 years. She helped found PEACE in 1990.