*** NEWS RELEASE ***
For Immediate Release
September 15, 2014
Ray Rice – Were there Signs?
Lighthouse Network’s Dr. Karl Benzio Says Warning Signs Indicate That a Relationship May Become Abusive
Philadelphia—It was the punch seen around the world, as video footage surfaced last week of former Baltimore Ravens’ running back Ray Rice striking his then-fiancée Janay Palmer in an Atlantic City elevator, knocking her unconscious.
On Valentine’s Day weekend of this year, Rice and Palmer were involved in an altercation, a video of which just resurfaced on Sept. 8. Now, the story is bringing renewed focus on the problem of domestic violence in America.
Karl Benzio, M.D., a psychiatrist and founder and executive director of Lighthouse Network (www.lighthousenetwork.org), an addiction and mental health counseling helpline, says that domestic violence is often the culmination of other problems and issues.
“Domestic violence is a sad and common reality in our broken society,” he said. “The erosion of the family structure, as well as the corruption of the biblical roles of husband and wife, have escalated a once-hidden plague into a public epidemic. In the Ray and Janay Rice tragedy, the main focus has been lack of awareness and the lack of punishment by both the NFL and law enforcement. That however, looks only at the 20th domino in a string of 21. We must look at dominoes 1 through 5—which lead to a fertile ground for this kind of conflict management technique—and then at dominoes 6 to 15, the warning signs that someone is prone to this kind of behavior, so that we can intervene early and avoid tragedy altogether.”
Benzio added that there are many warnings signs to watch out for.
“Perpetrators,” he said, “are always looking out for themselves, wanting their own needs to be gratified regardless of how it might trample other people’s rights or needs. And the batterer is willing to cross many lines to deliver their own satisfaction in almost any area.”
These warning signs, Benzio said, include:
- A past track record of violent crimes, regardless of conviction, as well as past aggressive physical behavior toward romantic interests, females in general or close family members.
- The use of physical force or inflicting physical harm on others is part of their occupation (examples include police officers, military personnel, football players, boxers, etc.).
- The regular use of alcohol or drugs as a stress management coping mechanism.
- Becoming easily verbally aggressive, especially with loved ones, and/or verbally degrading to romantic partners, including name-calling or swearing.
- Pressuring for rough sex or degrading sexual positions.
- Making fun of a romantic partner in front of others in order to degrade or build self up.
- Impulsive behavior
- Avoiding responsibility for mistakes, instead blaming others.
- Lack of empathy
- Being an emotionally driven decision-maker.
- Having limited conflict resolution skills, avoiding talking through problems.
- Pushing to have sex before marriage, especially if the partner resists.
- Forcing or coercing sexual activity even after marriage.
Studies have shown that domestic violence cases often involve the abuse of drugs and alcohol. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), “while substance abuse does not cause domestic violence, there is a statistical correlation between the two
issues. Studies of domestic violence frequently indicate high rates of alcohol and other drug use by perpetrators during abuse. Not only do batterers tend to abuse drugs and alcohol, but domestic violence also increases the probability that victims will use alcohol and drugs to cope with abuse. The issues of domestic violence and substance abuse can interact with and exacerbate each other and should be treated simultaneously.”
Regular alcohol abuse is one of the leading risk factors for intimate partner violence, also according to NCADV, and a battering incident that is coupled with alcohol abuse may be more severe and result in greater injury. Likewise, women who have been abused are 15 times more likely to abuse alcohol and nine times more likely to abuse drugs than women who have not been abused.
“People who have been traumatized have a higher instance of suicide as well as substance abuse,” Benzio said. “This coping mechanism for those who have been victims of domestic violence helps them escape the trauma. Coping skills are stretched and eventually become inadequate, so instead, those affected by domestic violence—both the batterer and the victim—turn to drugs or alcohol, but neither is a quick fix and won’t remedy the situation. Our country will continue to be impacted by domestic violence—and the grave costs ranging from broken homes to loss of life—until we employ a comprehensive spirit/mind/body treatment strategy for all involved.”
Those who witness warning signs or symptoms of possible domestic violence in their relationship should contact an abuse hotline or the Lighthouse Network Helpline at 1-844-LIFE-CHANGE (1-844-543-3242).
Benzio also noted that those who have been victims of sexual or physical assault in the past—without proper processing or counseling—are more likely to be assaulted again, compared to those who have never been assaulted.
“We live in a society of insecure people with fragile egos,” Benzio said. “The need to save face, be macho, be the man and not let anyone top you has become ingrained and pursued because many don’t know where to look for security, identity, confidence and acceptance. Many have stopped looking to God to meet these needs and have taken matters into their own hands, figuratively and literally, fighting in vain for the respect and power only God can deliver.”
Those struggling with serious issues that can lead to domestic violence and addiction can be helped through a three-pronged treatment approach involving the spirit, mind and body, as well as a recognition of an important and necessary ongoing growth and transformation process.
Those concerned about a friend or loved one should reach out for help through a trusted mental health resource or hospital. And the most effective help will incorporate God into the healing process, because without Him, no amount of rehab, treatment or medication can bring lasting healing and transformation.
Lighthouse Network offers a free, 24-hour helpline, 1-844-LIFE-CHANGE (1-844-543-3242) for those who are struggling and for their family and friends. Lighthouse Network also provides online resources for those concerned about a friend or a loved one. Visit www.lighthousenetwork.org/im-family-a-friend.
Lighthouse Network representatives and counselors also help those in need navigate the complex health care system and complicated insurance processes, offering expertise to clients to maximize their insurance in order to obtain the best treatment option with minimal out-of-pocket cost. Lighthouse can also help those without insurance find treatment options,
Benzio shares insights on various mental health issues in the one-minute daily radio feature “Life Change with Dr. Karl,” airing on approximately 425 radio stations across the country, including 200 stations in the American Family Radio Network. The purpose of the “Life Change” program is to bring scientific expertise and biblical principles together to examine some common daily struggles and help people successfully navigate life’s obstacles and enjoy fulfilled lives. For more information on “Life Change with Dr. Karl,” visit www.lighthousenetwork.org/life-change-with-dr-karl/.
Lighthouse Network works to guide struggling people through storms to achieve peace and find answers for those who have a hard time defining their problems. Lighthouse Network also offers the free, 24-hour Lighthouse Life Change Helpline toll-free at 1-844-LIFE-CHANGE (1-844-543-3242).
Lighthouse Network’s web site, www.lighthousenetwork.org,provides information to those struggling to find help for their addiction problems, as well as to family members searching for help for a loved one. Topics addressed include alcohol abuse, addictions, and other mental health or life management issues.
Lighthouse Network offers several resources for those struggling with addiction and their families, such as Stepping Stones, a free daily devotional for managing life’s stressors and storms and equipping readers with healthy decision-making skills. Visit www.lighthousenetwork.org/stepping-stones/ to read the devotionals and sign up to receive them daily via email.
For more information on Lighthouse Network, visit www.lighthousenetwork.org or call the Lighthouse Life Change Helpline toll-free at 1-844-LIFE-CHANGE (1-844-543-3242).
To schedule interviews with Dr. Karl Benzio at Lighthouse Network, contact Deborah Hamilton at email@example.com, 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096.
Lighthouse Network is a Christian-based, non-profit organization that offers an addiction and mental health counseling helpline providing treatment options and resources to equip people and organizations with the skills necessary to shine God’s glory to the world, stand strong on a solid foundation in the storms of their own lives, and provide guidance and safety to others experiencing stormy times, thus impacting their lives, their families and the world.
Karl Benzio, M.D. is the founder and executive director of Lighthouse Network. With a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering, Benzio went on to medical school and then specialized in psychiatry. His experiences include teaching pastors, ministry leaders and students counseling and conflict resolution skills in Uganda and Kenya; leading a behavioral health team into post-Hussein Iraq to equip health care specialists with treatment and assessment skills and successfully testifying for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives opposing legislation for Plan B contraception administration and for President George Bush’s Council on Bioethics regarding Right of Conscience. He is currently a member of Focus on the Family’s Physicians Resource Council. His specialties include Adolescents, Addictions, Decision-Making, Infusing Spirituality into Practical Treatment Modalities and the Ramifications of Decision-Making on Social Policy.