People have always been afraid of the unknown. Most of us avoid risk for the uncertainty of its outcome. When it comes to witnessing domestic violence, we often stay silent for that very reason.
At some point in your life, you may encounter a family member, friend or co-worker who is experiencing domestic violence. It can be difficult to know what to do. You may wonder if it’s your place to get involved in a private matter; if your friend will turn on you for confronting her spouse, or if the situation will become dangerous for you.
While speaking out does present some degree of risk, consider these facts before you choose to stay silent.
- Domestic violence is a CRIME
- By saying nothing you are ALLOWING the abuser to continue violent acts
- If you stay silent it will get WORSE
So how does one decide which risks are worth taking? For the volunteers at a local women’s shelter, it’s helping a victim escape the harshness of daily abuse that makes the risk of an encounter worth it.
They arrive at a secret location to escort a victim and her children to safety. They are not accompanied by a policeman or guard. They arrive alone and unarmed. They move swiftly to minimize the chance of being followed.
They spend countless hours on the phone counseling victims, many of whom will choose not to make their way to the shelter.
They willingly take in victims – now clients – and dedicate their time and resources in order to help them be safe and to return to a healthy, flourishing life. Yet they never know which ones will choose to stay with the program or leave the shelter in the middle of the night.
Every day these volunteers devote their lives, their time, and their resources to help women and children escape the cruelty of domestic violence. It takes a special person to offer that type of support. I’ll admit I don’t know if I could put myself out there day after day the way they do. But I can use my VOICE to help victims of domestic violence. I can write about it. Speak about it. Say something to stop it!
The only way to put an end to domestic violence is to not remain silent! If you witness acts of abuse SAY SOMETHING! The more we talk about it, the less risky it will become.