By JESSICA GLEASON
The report of abuse cases has increased lately at BYU as well as across the nation, as “people now recognize that they have the right to report it and explore it,” according to DeMoyne Bekker, clinical director of the Counseling and Career Center.
“We see quite a number of abuse victims here as clients in our center,” Bekker said. “I’ve been at other universities and I don’t feel that our population (of abuse victims) is any lower.”
Abuse will be explored today at the Healing and Prevention of Physical and Sexual Abuse Conference, sponsored by VOICE, a BYUSA club.
“VOICE is an organization at BYU which was formed,” according to the club’s charter, “in order to promote awareness and understanding of women and the issues they face.”
The conference, however, focuses not only on the abuse of women, but it deals with all abuse.
Barbara Morrell from the CCC will be addressing sexual abuse of males. She calls men “the hidden victims.”
Morrell said that because of the way males are socialized, when they are abused, they feel that “if they admit their pain, they’re not a man.” Morrell says that this mindset is wrong.
Kristy Bartley, a psychology intern at the CCC, will be discussing the mentality of the perpetrators of abuse.
Bartley will talk about the cycle of abuse, which starts with some event that makes the perpetrator feel angry and victimized. The perpetrator then fantasizes about getting revenge on the person who triggered that anger.
Perpetrators of abuse, though, act out their revenge on someone who is less powerful than they are, which makes them feel powerful and good about themselves, according to Bartley.
“Most survivors (of such abuse) come into therapy,” Bartley said, “believing that abuse is somehow their fault, because it is to the advantage of the perpetrator to make them believe that.”
Bartley said, “That way, they are less likely to tell.”
Bartley hopes to impress upon her audience the fact that “there are reasons why people act abusively, but there are no excuses for the behavior.”
Other topics of discussion at the conference will deal with healing from the trauma of abuse and lessons that can be learned from the scriptures that enable healing from abuse.
The abuse conference is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Varsity Theater today. The film “Scared Silent” will be shown hourly from 1 to 4 p.m.
James Harper, chair of the Family Science department, will discuss church leader’s support and abuse at 7 p.m. in 3290 ELWC.