Domestic violence is everybody’s problem. And those people who turn their heads or make excuses or point fingers are the ones who are at greatest fault. When another woman is murdered, a mother’s life taken at the hands of her husband,a partner disappears, it impacts society in a negative way. The ramifications are far reaching and inconceivable. And it is preventable.
When hearing the stories that make it to the news, and watching neighbors and friends act dumbfounded at the crime that has been committed right under their noses, it is time to come out of denial. It is time to get involved. It is time to not be a coward and believe when a woman reaches out for help, that she needs it.
But what the general public doesn’t understand and refuses to comprehend is that denying or ignoring does not make the problem disappear. We have entered an age where privacy is valued above all else. And that is good. There has to be a line. When you hear fear, when you see abuse, notice it, report it. DO SOMETHING. Just don’t sit there.
Another mother has just “disappeared” and her husband is the key suspect. The friends of the woman have said that the woman was unhappy and scared. But those voices are being drown out by the drama. Children have lost their mother, parents have lost their daughter, what will it take for others to see the dangers? What is it going to take for society to stop allowing these abuses to exist? It seems that if a man doesn’t “look” the part of wife beater, then they get the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately, domestic violence does not have a “look”. We don’t fit a “type” and it isn’t always the woman who came from a dysfunctional home and it isn’t always the bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks.
There are so many facets to domestic violence. Why not educate yourself? Arm yourself with knowledge and reach out to those who may be to scared or beaten down to ask for help. Don’t ignore, don’t assume. Everyone needs a helping hand every once in a while, and a family suffering, a woman in danger needs your attention.
Avoiding this issue has not helped those who need it. There is no reason for domestic violence to exist. If a person is unhappy, if a relationship isn’t working, then leaving is always an option. But in a domestic violence situation, leaving can be deadly. The abuser feels threatened and reacts. It isn’t about love or passion. It is simply about control. When they feel that their illusion of control is slipping over the other person, they react violently at times. The abuser refuses to lose. They see the relationship as a game. Many times they view their partner as simply an extension of themselves. And they feel justified in taking whatever steps they need to to stay in control.
Just like rape is not about sex, abuse is not about love or relationship. It is only about control. See it. DO something. Protect those who need protection. Do not ignore a person who says they need help. It is your responsibility. As a member of society. As part of the human race.
Many of us will get behind a cause. We will be outraged at injustices in other countries, crimes against humanity, rotten dictators, our economy, H1N1, the state of our public schools. We all have plenty to be angry about. But domestic violence is pushed away as shameful or as the victim’s fault. At the very least it is looked at as a private matter. Until another woman is killed or missing never to be found. Then it is a terrible shame. Feel guilty. Change it. We have the power to disallow these abuses. Believe that it is happening. And believe that if YOU stop condoning it with YOUR silence it can and will change. Educate yourselves and your children. Every victim of domestic violence was somebody’s child. The shame is ours. We can change it.
A victim of domestic violence has legal recourse. But without support and protection, they are walking naked into a room of unseeable landmines. The consequences of a victim reporting a crime are sometimes deadly. Because we allow it to be. Victims go back time and again because they are scared, because they have hope, because they are forced to. A victim needs help. And we as a society should be obliged to give support and help to those in need. In a free society where we are all encouraged to make choices and live free, when one of our own is in bondage and suffering, we need to act. Stop ignoring, stop denying, stop being so self centered and educate yourself and those around you. It is not a happy issue. It is not like there is some cure waiting in a lab. It is not an easy fix.
Nothing worth doing is easy. It may take generations for this issue to resolve. But in the meantime we can and should be aware. We can do what we can today for those who need us. You are important in this issue. You have the power to help. There is no shame in being a victim, there is shame in being a bystander who refuses to help.