That may well be what some of you think about this post and frankly, my response is, it’s my blog, the subjects about which I write are important to me and I believe some of them are important in the larger scheme of life. That said, there are three reasons leading up to my choice of topic today. First of all, another woman in another nearby county is dead and her “boyfriend” is in jail awaiting charges. Interestingly, a law enforcement officer commented on the “irony” of the situation because the murdered woman was recently publicly lauded for “her tireless advocacy on behalf of victims of domestic violence.” Ironic? Really? That’s reason one. The second reason is a conversation with a young woman I know, mother of two children under age three, whose significant other was arrested on a DV charge after punching holes in the walls and grabbing the woman by the throat. Is this true? I looked it up in the state court records just to be able to answer the doubters; yes the arrest occurred based on evidence. Third, this issue has become personal. In discussions this week I received comments like “Get over it,” (from a woman, no less) and “Well, I didn’t see it,” from a male relative. Really? Not seeing an abuser in action means abuse didn’t take place and one should sit down and share a meal with said abuser, basically demeaning the experience of three victimized women, two of them children or at least under age during their experience?
Do I need more reasons? Are three enough? I know this isn’t a pretty post; there’s no humor, nothing funny like chocolate bunnies without heads, but there’s very little humor in me as I write this. I’m discouraged and disgusted and it’s once again time to stand up and speak out with all its ugliness. Disregard, disrespect, dismissal, those darned D words that women experience all the time. It’s even worse when life-altering occurrences have the D words applied.
If you care enough to help, what can you do? First of all, do NOT dismiss the experiences or minimize the effects even years later. It’s now known that women who’ve been mistreated – intimidated, called ugly names, had their possessions broken, walls and doors kicked in, pets abused – all these events leave their mark and many women experience symptoms of PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder, triggered by something as simple as a spring breeze causing a door to slam shut, or observing a young couple in a grocery store and he calls her a vile name. These incidents can bring back the ugliness in a heartbeat and are not easily gotten over; flashbacks are not something over which a person has control.
Educate yourself so you don’t make hurtful comments or display a dismissive attitude. And be willing to stand up and be counted; it’s not okay to condone abusive behavior through silence. And pretending something ugly didn’t occur does not make it disappear. It’s not a matter of lack of forgiveness or dwelling on past events. Do you think people who’ve experienced this kind of ugliness really want to relive it? Not on your life. There are those of us who’ve chosen to turn ugliness into benefit for others. Help me do that, please – support your local women’s shelters, donate your old cell phones and printer cartridges, volunteer at shelter events, advocate for victims whenever the opportunity presents itself, open your mouth, take a stand. Thanks for listening with an open mind and heart…