October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. I’m giving you two posts a week until November because, well, I want to blow open some pretty old, heavy doors right now. Celebration comes in many forms. This one, for me, is celebrating my voice. The one that was taken away for so long. It’s back now. And I intend to use it as much as possible this month (expect darkness and inappropriate language).
It’s understandable for the majority – 75% of women, to be exact – who will never come face to face with domestic violence to shy away from the severity of the issue. If it’s not tangible, if it isn’t draping sheets of sadness around us, then it’s likely others haven’t, and maybe won’t, become victims either. But society misses that avoiding what is uncomfortable, the scary possibility that your best friend could have her skull shattered by her partner, only creates a platform for the issue to be ignored and grow larger. And then the head pounding only gets worse. Next time she’ll need staples.
Ignorance is not only prominent in our society, but it’s one of the largest reasons domestic violence still lives behind broken window frames and underneath turtleneck sweaters. It’s why police officers aren’t educated on the dynamics of domestic violence and the cycle of abuse. Why, when they showed up at my house the three times I called, they looked at me like I was the problem and like I was too stupid to leave. Standing on my newly waxed hardwood floors, grabbing at their tight black belts, twiddling their fat thumbs at me. And the only message they left me with was their silence, which made it really fucking easy to keep mine, too. Don’t get me wrong, the blame shouldn’t be placed on those who are sworn to protect us. But it should be placed on a system which doesn’t value the lives of individuals who are trying to escape a monster the system doesn’t understand. I don’t blame the individual; I blame the culture.
More knowledge. We need it. Echoing through traditional, conservative hallways and blared from progressive, liberal speakers.
Will you help me, friends? Can you? Sparing one moment to further someone else’s education might mean they won’t end up on the cold concrete of a basement floor. With their head against the wall. Swallowing their own blood.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. Get educated. Spread the word. Wear purple.