I have a confession to make.. I have not acted before.
I have wondered, considered and then not acted. And I’m not proud of this fact, but I pledge from now on not stand silent with Family and Domestic Violence and Abuse.
When my neighbours were having another domestic I waited. Waited to hear if it got to the point of calling the police. Waited until I heard a cry for help, or some evidence of a struggle. Instead of acting, I listened to them hurling abuse. Loud enough to carry straight into my house on the other side of our big backyards. After all, they were both giving as good as they got right?? Some couples just fight, right? Not fantastic but not worth intervention??? WRONG! I was so wrong. After all, haven’t we all been warned that it’s these early warning signs that we should act on?
When I was in college and my friend’s now ex-boyfriend was hurting her, I didn’t act. I saw her fingers were sore after a fight. She made some lame excuse like he accidentally hurt them by being clumsy when getting out of bed, but I could see straight through it. He had bent them back to hurt her. A few weeks later my friend, her ex-boyfriend and I were in a car together. My friend told him she was going to hang out with me that night, so the bastard started speeding and ran a red light. I remember telling my mum and a few people, but never truly acted (nor did anyone around me). I didn’t know what to do but I was still wrong. Perhaps if there was a school program to educate us about these things I would have. Thank goodness these are now starting to roll out.
When I knew a few of my friends had controlling, emotionally manipulative and abusive fathers I didn’t act. Hell, things weren’t too rosie at my house so what was I supposed to do? Well of course the answer was something, anything. But again, I DIDN’T KNOW what to do.
Now as an independent woman with kids of my own, I now know I need to act. Tell somebody, reach out, support local refuges and fight for gender equality. Most importantly I vow to raise my two sons in an environment where any sort of violence is not ok. I will teach them to respect all people and teach them coping strategies to deal with anger and frustration.
This shame in our world is all of our responsibility. We can all do something, I just pray we have to courage to do it.
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