Going around in circles At the outset, we should remind ourselves that with any group of students in one year, or with the total number of students in a law school, there will be some amongst us who have experienced situations of the sort we will be speaking about. Epidemiology is the study of health on a statistical basis across communities.
I heard it said for example, that every 7 minutes, a man is knocked down in a motor vehicle accident in London – and apparently he is getting sick and tired of it. Or we know that it is said that every family has about 2.4 children, and when I was brought up, they told me I was the point 4. Statistics can seem strange things, when we find them difficult to apply to the individual case. They do tell us about the incidence of abusive relationships, and that within any group of the size of the average law school intake, their will be some students amongst us who have experienced (and may still be experiencing) some very disagreeable situations. We feel that it is therefore important for each group of students undertaking this course, that there be some counsellors available who can deal confidentially with any issues which arise.
Dawn Rowan from Melbourne has worked extensively with people who have problems with their relationships and with their own view of themselves. The situations have involved families, co-workers and friends – and have ranged from a general sense of unhappiness, to situations of domestic violence, incest and sexual assault. She has developed models which help us first to understand and talk about the difficulties, and then to help to resolve them. The following discussion is derived from her work notes and video tapes.
Healthy Relationships – model 1 Dawn suggests that a healthy relationship will look something like this: