Your very silence shows you agree.
~ Euripides (484 BC – 406 BC)
The voice on the other end of the phone was frantic with worry, not the norm for my mother-in-law. She’d learned that my sister-in-law was being pushed around by her live-in boyfriend, the father of her kid, off porches, into doorways. Unkind hands had been lifted.
My father-in-law loaded the shotgun.
And they waited. Waited for the call to come and get their little girl, to save her from the bastard who’d cowardly gone a step, or three, too far.
We lived several states away, and yet the emotions of hatred and disgust and nauseous disquietude were just as fresh on our end. We wanted her out. Now. For my part, being a reactionary kind of person, one who hates to see others in pain, I wanted the cops called. Charges filed. No second or third strike. The thought of her face stinging, the bruises on her arms, the tears pooling then spilling down the cheeks I’d lovingly pinched since she was four, drove me sick.
Days passed and the call never came. He’d settled down. Apologized. They’d worked it out and she felt safe again. That was several years ago and there have been no further instances that we know about. We’ve crossed paths at reunions and whatnot and he seems mellow. Nice. A slacker, but a sincere one.
Can I be honest for a minute?
I can’t help but see him as anything other than a sleeping monster. I don’t like talking to him, for I remember that night all those years ago. I allow it to taint his aura. He may be forgiven, but not by me. Not yet. He doesn’t owe me anything. It’s not my problem, and perhaps I do humanity a disservice by not recognizing the changes. By not taking K’s word for it when she says he’s getting better. That he’s a good father. It’s a road slick with haunted memories, overshadowed by a tunnel of trees rooted in violence, and I loathe travelling it. I don’t want to be his friend. I don’t want to be his role model. In light of all my blathering on about forgiving others, being tolerant, living compassionately, and granting the benefit of the doubt, I realize and readily admit that perhaps in this instance I am naught but a self-blinded hypocrite. While some things are worth the pain of the healing process, I’m not ready to go there with him.
I am fortunate that this has been my only close and personal brush up against the madness of domestic violence. Yet, because of this, as a family we have taken baby steps toward making a difference in the lives of the abused. We lived downtown for many years and it became a holiday tradition to deliver cookies and unused toys to Charis House, our local shelter for homeless women and children. We never saw their faces, but we like to think they lit up knowing people cared. And it frightens me to think of how many faces I do see every day that, underneath the shimmer, have been damaged by domestic violence and sexual assault.
And then there’s Maggie. She’s been a Tweaker since Day One and I’ve come to love and respect her so much since those first comments. More than a mere dipping of the toes, she’s jumped into the murky waters of abuse and given the victims a voice . . .
And now, the site is up for an award. The BlogLuxe Most Inspiring Blog Award. Awards don’t mean shit, right? Perhaps. But the exposure, the word-of-mouth, the reTweets and Facebook shares and whatnot that come with these types of things is second-to-none.
It’s not easy reading about getting hit. Punched so hard that teeth break out. Raped by once-trusted lovers or complete and vile strangers. Battered emotions and scarred physiques. But deep inside their words is a modicum of healing. The process can begin. Continue. Culminate. By leaving comments, bowing our digital heads in a moment of kindness, we empower victims to continue their journeys. I feel unworthy most days, reading these stories from the comfort of my easy chair with my loving spouse and gorgeous children within earshot. Not a hint of violence in sight. I rest at night knowing that each victim has been heard. Given a chance to share the load of their pain. And I bear their stories upon my humbled heart.
Visit Maggie’s site. You’ll be moved. And then go vote . . .
1. Go to http://www.socialluxelounge.com/blogluxe/.
2. Click on the tab that says “Most Inspiring Blog.” (It’s the light blue tab.)
3. Search for “Violence UnSilenced.” (I know it can be kind of a pain to have to search, but remember that it’s worth it!)
4. Click “VOTE!” and type in your name and email address in the box that appears.
5. After you’ve entered your information, click the button that says “Vote!”
Remember that you can vote up to once a day until July 6th! It only takes a few seconds of your time each day, so keep voting and show your support for “Violence UnSilenced!” If you’re on Facebook, you can also show your support by signing up to be a part of the Violence UnSilenced group.
Silence has its advantages. With silence comes contemplation. Pensiveness. Too often, however, silence becomes a sign of apathy. Speak up, dear Tweaker. Let the victims know we are on their side and wish for them only the peace that comes with healing . . .