The elevator doors open and I can hear a couple arguing from down the hall. As I scramble to recover the house keys, I realize the shouting match is coming from my apartment. It’s my roommate and her boyfriend going at it again. They fight so often I don’t know why they just don’t call it quits. I unlock the door and cautiously step inside. On the couch sits my roommate and her boyfriend. He gently strokes her arm while she places her hand over her cheek. The left side of her face is cherry red. It appears to be the result of a slap of some sort. “Is everything ok?” I ask. “Yeah, we are fine. Don’t worry about it”, says my roommate. It is clear that he has gotten rough with her, but I’m not sure whether or not I should say anything. After all, my roommate seems to be ok with it. Hesitantly I walk away, enter my room and shut the door behind me.
In today’s world we are just a click away from invading our neighbor’s personal space. With the help of Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter we have become accustom to peering into the lives of others. Clearly they have invited us in, so what’s the harm in taking a peek? Truth be told, nothing. But why are we so comfortable with boundless access to one another from behind a screen, yet when face to face with someone in need, we second guess our boundaries and hesitate to act?
The Center for Family Safety and Healing has created the Where’s The Line campaign in an effort to end family violence. The campaign is intended to empower bystanders to speak up and say something when they witness an act of abuse. Most of us have seen abusive or questionable behavior and many of us don’t know whether or not it’s our place to say something. When it comes to domestic violence, prevention is more than just empowering a potential victim. It’s about empowering ourselves. Reassigning the power to you to speak up and say something when witnessing an unacceptable act. Just because your neighbor may consent to such behavior doesn’t mean you should. You have the power to say it’s not ok! Your community is your business. People around you are your business.
So, where’s the line for me? It’s simple. I refer back to the rules that were set for my children when they were just toddlers. Keep your hands to yourself. No one should ever hit anyone. Putting your hands on someone else is completely unacceptable!