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The Interiod Designer

The Interiod Designer

Following the Light – Healthy Relationships

November 14, 2017
Contributor - Harmohan Singh Walia

Harmohan Singh Walia or Harry Walia as he is popularly known was an Olympic Torchbearer in Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. He graduated as a Mechanical Engineer from Guru Nanak Engineering College, Ludhiana in 1973 and post graduated as an Industrial Engineer from Thaper University Patiala in 1987.

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The Australian Sikh Association Inc, Glenwood initiated a seminar on building healthy relationships at Baba Budha Hall of the Sikh Centre on 12 November 2017. Paramjit Kaur Kaloti of ASA introduced Stephen Walton of Catholic Care and Calaudia Bretschneider of Blacktown Women’s and Girls Health Centre to the audience to conduct the seminar about the ongoing violence within families.

Domestic and family violence is a crime. It is not just about the family, it’s a social concern. As a result of inherent cultural and social beliefs millions of women globally from all socio-economic groups are abused and treated violently everyday. Family violence is about the abuser having control and dominance over their partner and/or children.

Statistically women and children are the most likely victims of domestic violence, which is not acceptable for any reason. Unfortunately, domestic and family violence is largely progressive in our community, especially behind closed doors. It is a gradual process and it starts with castigating the victim until it reaches a point where the individual begins to feel unsafe, isolated and depressive within and for their children.

There is always hope for light at the end of the tunnel that keeps the individual locked into the abusive situation wishing for a happy and harmonious family life. To hold on to this hope and dream we will keep peace at all cost. This is where we start  “walking on egg shells” waiting for the next cycle of maniacal behaviour.

The goals for the above seminar were as follows:

  1. What makes a healthy relationship,
  2. Conflict: understand and manage it,
  3. Boundaries in relationships and
  4. Being safe.

a) A healthy relationship is what we all strive to achieve and is identified through the presence of equality. Equality has various components to support and reinforce among people such as trust, support, respect, responsibility, communication, honesty, boundaries and accountability. Therefore, abusive and violent behaviour is out of bound. These are the first three “The Friendship Levels” in a healthy relationship:


  • What is friendship and how does it develop?
  • Knowing one another?
  • Communicating needs and responding to our partner’s needs.

Level 1: The foundation of the house Build Love Maps – Know one another’s world, have insight into the life of the other, understand the other and be curious about them.

Level 2: Share fondness and admiration – comes more easily at the start of a relationship, where acknowledging the good in your partner in everyday moments leads to a more likely satisfied relationship.

Level 3: Turn towards instead of away – This depends upon how do you respond to your partner’s biddings, ie. turning towards (mindful) or turning away (mindless) or turning against (critical/angry/defensive).

The other following levels will develop a healthy relationship if applied appropriately with trust and commitment:

Level 4: The positive perspective.

Level 5: Effective conflict regulation.

Level 6: Make life dreams come true.

Level 7: Create shared meaning.


b)To determine if your relationship is an abusive one, an individual needs to look at what the other person is doing, how it affects their life, how it makes them feel and where the balance of power lies in the relationship. Trust your intuition. If something does not feel right, then it is not ok. The abuse in domestic violence has many forms, such as fear, intimidation, physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, emotional/psychological abuse, spiritual abuse, financial abuse, social abuse and cyber bullying/cyber harassment.

Before an abuser starts physical assault towards their victims, they demonstrate certain abusive tactics through boisterous behaviours, such as charm (men are often very charming), control (obsessed with control), emotional abuse (emotional abuse to destroy your self-esteem), isolation (isolate their victims geographically and socially), jealousy (jealousy to control their victims. Abusers may accuse one of illicit relationship).

Conflict is a state of mind where a person experiences a clash of opposing feelings or needs. Conflict arises due to criticism, contempt, defensiveness or stonewalling. To stop criticism, complain without blame. To stop defensiveness, take responsibility. To stop contempt, build a culture of appreciation, and to stop stonewalling, do physiological self-soothing.

c) Maintain healthy boundaries. Create a safe and comfortable space in ones relationships by defining and communicating with others. Be aware that violent household environment affects your children’s health as well.

Living within a violent environment has severe ramifications on children becoming victims themselves. They experience the same fear, intimidation and threat to safety that the victim experiences. Children learn by what they see and are influenced by what they experience at home, therefore, are more likely to display – aggressive and/or socially inappropriate behaviours; have diminished self esteem and self worth; have poor academic performance and concentration; show emotional distress, phobia, anxiety or depression; have physical complaints.

d) Find solutions for a safe environment and take action. Some examples one can take to make it safer for ones family.

  • Be aware of all exit routes and safety spots.
  • Seek support from neighbours to call the police if they hear disturbance.
  • Develop a safety plan for all victims; how to call 000, how to safely exit the house and how to get help.
  • Phone police as soon as you can.
  • Seek medical support for any injuries.
  • Keep a diary of violent incidents, including dates.
  • Inform someone at your workplace about your current situation.
  • Avoid taking the same route to work each day.
  • Develop a safety plan for arriving and leaving work.

In Q&A session, the main feedback from the audience was that there should be give and take from both sides for the healthy relationships. Certain cases have come to light, where some men also fell victim to domestic violence, especially who have migrated to Australia after their marriage with Australian-Indian girls.

Support Services for Women

  • DVNSW 1800 65 64 63
  • Women and Girls Centre, Blacktown 9831 2070
  • Call 1800 RESPECT or visit their website
  • Relationships Australia 1300 364 277
  • Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service
  • Victim Services

Support Services for Men

  • Men’s Referral Service 1300 766 491
  • MenLine 1300 78 99 78
  • Relationships Australia 1300 364 277
  • CatholicCare Sydney 13 18 19



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