Domestic violence is an epidemic, that quite frankly, makes me sick. Right now most people are talking about the Trayvon Martin verdict, Texas and the idiocy running rampant through the legislature or the overdose of Glee star Cory Monteith. Each topic has value in what we can learn from them, but domestic violence is a part of the daily fabric of our lives. It never goes away. You may be fortunate enough that you are not a firsthand victim of it, but the odds are overwhelming that someone you know quite well, is.
I say is and not is or was, because once a victim, always a victim. The violence may end, but the scars remain on the inside and sometimes the outside as well. While some will move on and reclaim their personal power after victimization, the scars still remain. The scars are the reminder of what once was and never, ever, should be.
I could put a slew of statistics up here and try to use that route to demonstrate how big the problem is, but we know it’s a major problem already. No one living in the rational world can deny that domestic violence isn’t a major problem. Men are victims. Women are victims. It happens with gay couples as well as heterosexual couples. Some will speak up and others will suffer in silence. No matter who … No matter how or what … It is always heartbreaking. It is always a crime. It is NEVER justified.
With everything else going on in the world right now that does deserve our attention and discussion at length, this is what is on MY mind. It is on my mind because it is hitting home for me right now. I’m not being directly abused nor is my partner, but someone close to me recently was. Someone that is as close to me in my heart as my own family. Someone I genuinely love as one of my best friends if not my best friend. And it is killing me.
It is killing me to be too far away to physically intervene and protect her. It is killing me that she is in a somewhat impossible situation to speak up and make it stop. It is killing me to know it has happened before, it has happened again even though they are apart, if something isn’t done it will probably happen again. The waves of fear, anger, nausea and very dark thoughts I am feeling are nothing compared to her hell. I can’t even imagine.
I don’t know what to do. Part of me is screaming to be on the next plane out of town if for no other reason than to sit vigil on her porch and wait … and watch … I know that isn’t what she wants right now. I know that won’t do anything more than serve as a stopgap at best and at worst … I don’t care to entertain those thoughts …
I could try to anonymously report it, but then again I know … I know firsthand how that often makes things worse. I know how broken the system is. I know all too well how it turns into “he said/she said” and we all know the justice system often fails to deliver justice. I know that even though I am close, it is not my decision as to how and when to act. I don’t have all the information. I don’t know the reality of the on the spot, right there, right now. I’m impotent to act. You may judge me harshly for that, but I know the reason why reporting the crime, at least now, will make it worse. So I sit. I wait.
I sit and wait to make sure I hear from her, even if it is nothing more than a quick “I’m here” so I know … I know she is okay. At least for the moment. I wait to hear if she needs someone to listen. I remind her that she is loved. That she has people that will protect her any way that she needs. I remind her it isn’t her fault. She did nothing wrong. I remind her that help is only one call away.
You or someone you know may be in dire need of support right now. Every situation is unique. We can’t say one solution fits all because it doesn’t. What we can do, and need to do, is be there for each other. We need to know exactly what to do if someone needs our help and we need to not be ashamed to ask for it should we be that person in need.
Below, I will include some information that would be good for everyone – women, men, the young, old, gay, straight — EVERYONE — to file away in a place that can be quickly and safely retrieved. You never know when it may be necessary to get help. Please, I beg you, know HOW to help someone in their hour of need. Know how to get yourself help if it is ever necessary. It can be the difference between life and death not only for yourself, but for others. Maybe even your children.
This isn’t some sort of abstract “bad things could happen” warning. Bad things do happen. Bad things will always happen to people. We need to be prepared. I cannot say that enough or with sufficient emphasis. ALWAYS BE PREPARED!
****** Please remember that if you are in IMMEDIATE DANGER CALL 911
If you feel that none of the following resources will not provide you with the help you need or you are outside the US, please contact us at out Facebook page and we will make every effort to get you the information you need for help in your area. https://www.facebook.com/spitfire.gals
National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224.
Crisis Helpline Call 1-888-7HELPLINE
Safe Horizon’s Domestic Violence Hotline: 800.621.HOPE (4673)
Safe Horizon’s Crime Victims Hotline: 866.689.HELP (4357)
Safe Horizon’s Rape, Sexual Assault & Incest Hotline: 212.227.3000
TDD phone number for all hotlines: 866.604.5350
National Battered Women’s Law Project
275 7th Avenue, Suite 1206
New York, NY 10001
Battered Women’s Justice Project
Minnesota Program Development, Inc
1801 Nicollet Ave, Suite 102
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Phone: 800-903-0111, ext.1
Battered Women’s Justice Project
c/o National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women
125 South 9th Street, Suite 302
Philadelphia, PA 19107
TOLL-FREE: 800-903-0111 ext. 3
National Clearinghouse is a national resource and advocacy center providing assistance to women defendants, their defense attorneys, and other members of their defense teams in an effort to insure justice for battered women charged with crimes.
National Clearinghouse on Marital and Date Rape
2325 Oak Street
Berkeley, CA 94708