Today is Halloween. It’s also the last day of October. It’s also the last day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Domestic Violence has always been a hard subject for me. My childhood was overshadowed by it. I have seen family and friends destroyed by it. I have put myself in harm’s way on more than one occasion to help a woman and her children leave a batter. Yes, they went back. Time and time again. I took it very personal until I realized that it wasn’t personal. She (and in one case he) was not going to leave until THEY decided to leave. Until that point, there was nothing I could do.
In my professional life, I encountered women who begged for help, only to turn on the same people who ran to her aid. It is soul-sucking work. I have nothing but praise for those who do this work on a daily basis.
I could say so much on all sides, including the victims and the perpetrators. So many times, those sitting on the sidelines can only watch and prepare for the fallout, when it comes. And it will come.
Like a ripple in a pond, domestic violence will resonate generations. It destroys individuals, families, communities, countries.
We all have to take a stand.
We have to challenge the perpetrators and the victims.
We have to tell perpetrators to stop using those they claim to love as their personal punching bag.
That was never love.
Perpetrators (in my experience) are insecure individuals. Scared, confused, sad people. They don’t know how to deal with themselves and their inner turmoil so they lash out at the world.
Victims are also insecure individuals. They seek out people to reinforce the negative beliefs they have and feel about themselves.
Like seeks like.
It’s a vicious cycle.
I’m sure someone reading this will blow up about my simplistic view of domestic violence.
While my view may seem simplistic, it’s not.
Abusers seek out victims
Victims attract abusers
Abusers view themselves as victims
Victims believe themselves to be saviors of the misunderstood, unlovable, the unappreciated.
An “us against the world” mindset
The problem is the other person, other friends, other family members, the job, friends, the landlord, the boss, the grocery store clerk, the passing car, the TV anchor, the preacher, teacher, child, anyone else, and everyone else.
If you did what I told you to do, I wouldn’t have to hit you.
You made me hit you…
He only hit me because the kids were making too much noise when he came home from work…
She only slapped me because I wasn’t giving her my undivided attention…
Don’t call the cops, because I can’t pay the rent.
Don’t call her job; I don’t want her to get fired
No one will want me if I leave
No one loves me they way she does
I just want her to be the woman I fell in love with back
The person the victim ‘fell’ in love with never existed.
The “representative” of the person they met gave way to the bottomless pit of terror they now find themselves in now.
A victim of domestic violence will not leave until they are ready.
All anyone can do is be ready to be there when you get the 3am phone call, the Sunday morning after the weekend final beating, the call from the ER, the call from the police, the call from the coroner’s office.
And they will still go back.
And back until
Something inside of them breaks. Not the daily, slow breaking of their spirit; but the breaking of their humanity. The part of their psyche that rises up, in the totally dark reaches of their soul, screams
NOT ANOTHER SECOND
Until that day comes, no offers of support, no safe passages, no begging, no pleading, no rescues from anyone will matter.