I have a theory… silence kills. I’ve experienced it. Silence can be a very terrible thing. Silence keeps people from sharing their stories for fear of being chastised, punished, beaten, ostracized and made into villains. Silence? What keeps society from knowing how their neighbor is being beaten each night? What keeps friends from knowing that their best friend is being bullied? Or their best friend is beating his wife? Why is it that abuse is so quiet? Silence.
I wonder what would happen if people quit keeping secrets. I mean, what if you actually knew how much your coworkers were getting paid and they knew how much you were getting paid? The business would have to be more fair in its payment schedules. What if you knew what other students grades were and they knew what yours are? Would you work harder? Or would you work less? You would have a better idea on how the teacher graded. What if, instead of lying, what if a woman could tell you that her husband shoved her into the wall? What if you already knew that he was dangerous because when he was mean to his girlfriend she told the world? Would you be there still?
What would happen if men would treat women as human beings and not pieces of meat? What if women took pride in themselves and only accepted men who treated them well?
I’m trying to form this one thought that’s been bothering me for a long time. I feel like if there were a community discussion where women and men could speak freely about what is going on at home, that we would find out that abuse is rampant. I think we would be able to see the depths that this goes.
These are some statistics from 2015 in the USA, when I left my husband. I can guarantee you that each and every individual who was in an abusive situation felt alone, felt that they had no choice, and felt scared of telling others. Take a look. 1 in 3 women? If it’s not you then take a closer look at your friends. *this is from ncadv.org
- 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experience intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner sexual violence, and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetime.1
- 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men experience severe physical intimate partner violence in their lifetime.1
- 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.1
- On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.9
- The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%.10
- Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime.2
- Women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner.2
- 19% of domestic violence involves a weapon.2
- Domestic victimization is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior.2
- Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries.2
This is epidemic, it’s not sporadic. Women and men and children are scared for their lives, and they have the right to be. What doesn’t have to happen is the silence. What if we started asking questions? What if we started listening? What if we, the survivors and victims, had room to speak? What if we began screaming from the rooftops? What if we stood up in our churches and demanded they step in? What if we quit being silent?
Abuse continues because we put up with it. It continues because we allow our friends to be treated poorly. It continues because there are too few who are willing to speak up and when they do speak they are punished. Their friends don’t know what to say and so say nothing, or quit being with them. Their family refuses to believe them and so they do nothing, and instead question their truthfulness. Their co-workers blame them. Others think they are whining, and still others think they need to toughen up. What very few actually do is believe them and provide them with a way out. Even when a woman calls the police for help she will very often not press charges.
What can we do? What if we started a revolution? What if we always knew when a man hit a woman? What if we always knew when she is threatened? The reason this continues is because people get away with it. It continues because of the secrecy. What if victims were no longer blamed and no longer felt the need to be silent? What if a man knew, absolutely knew, that if he hurts his wife that the world would come crashing down his door? What if?
thanks for reading,