I’m not serious very often. I don’t really like to talk about the ugly side of the world, especially when its personal. But life can’t always be fun, and sometimes bad things happen a little too close to home. No, I’m not a domestic abuse victim, but I have been personally affected by domestic violence. For the privacy of my family, and my friends, I’m going to be intentionally vague.
There’s a monster among us. He’s not hiding under the bed or in the closet. This monster is a friend, a co-worker, a relative.
We’ve shared a cold beer, cheered for the same team in the Super Bowl, sat next to each other on an airplane. Are you scratching your head yet? Why in the HELL would I be social or be friends with someone that disrespects women? Someone capable of abusing a woman? Physically, verbally or emotionally.
Why…would I categorize anyone as a “friend” if they were abusive to my Mom, my girlfriend or a fellow co-worker? Easy answer, because I wasn’t aware the person was a monster. Abusive people don’t come with warning labels.
Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women – more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
Right now, I’m experiencing a nightmare. I’m witnessing a friend ride an emotional roller-coaster of pain and shame. She was in what seemed like a normal relationship. And then without warning, things took a turn. Her significant other became someone she didn’t recognize. She’s terrified and so are her friends and family.
Her life sounds more like a Lifetime movie than reality. She doesn’t want attention or sympathy, she just wants things to be normal. Finding normal after being threatened, stalked and physically attacked isn’t easy. She’ll never return to what was once normal, instead her life will be a “new normal”, which at the moment consists of paranoia.
In a recent conversation with a friend we discussed her pain and outrage. Every noise makes her jump. She said she feels worse “than gum on the bottom of a shoe.”
Meanwhile, the guy causing all the problems, continues with business as usual. His life goes on as if nothing has happened.
She’s busy changing locks, creating new passwords, looking over her shoulder and filing legal paperwork. And friends pretend like they’re unaware of the situation. Instead of reaching out and offering support, they retreat, to avoid getting involved.
What does it take for people to realize there’s an issue? Does the victim need to scream from the rooftops? Does the victim need to be hospitalized? Or killed?
What can you do? Be part of the solution. Be supportive. HAVE THE COURAGE TO BE THERE FOR THE PERSON. When you don’t act or react and support the victim, then you’re giving the abuser permission to continue the cycle of abuse. There’s a monster among us. What will you do?