I am a very fair person. I don’t align myself with any political party for I choose to decide on issues. I don’t speak religion, because spirituality is so much more than another organization. When it comes to domestic violence I don’t advocate only for women. The truth is that men make up 40% of all reported victims. Violence is hate and hate doesn’t discriminate.
Today I shared a video on my Facebook page that depicted two actors in a domestic violence situation. In the first part of the video the man got visibly out of line with the woman. The crowd in the park that surrounded the couple were visibly upset. So much so that about 4 women approached the couple and called the man out on his bad behavior and assured the woman that she deserved better. When the script was flipped and the woman became abusive the response from the bystanders was really hard for me to watch. People were laughing. No one came to his defense. The contrast is remarkable.
What was really even more remarkable to me is the discussion that took place under the video. First of all I was pleasantly surprised to see men speak up and in such a respectful and grateful way. Women responded too and they clearly felt the same way that I did. Violence is wrong. Now there was one woman who decided to weigh on this discussion and she took my breathe away. This woman left four responses which made it very clear that she is the demographic that I am trying to educate. She was raw. She was rude. She was banned from my page.
The issue that this has highlighted for me is the degrees of abuse. I can’t even begin to tell you how many people have asked me if I was hit. As though if I hadn’t it wouldn’t have been so bad. Even police ask that question. I unfortunately suffered physical, verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse. All were horrible, but the wounds that cut me the deepest and have left me changed were caused by the verbal, emotional, and psychological ones. It is time that people start to understand this. You don’t have to be hit to be a victim of abuse.
I was a successful woman and yet I hid the torment that cursed through my marriage. Fear was the main reason I didn’t speak up, but I would have to say that the shame I felt was equally as strong. I was asked over and over again, “why didn’t you leave?” It’s not a simple answer. For a victim to stand up and leave an abusive relationship it really takes every ounce of strength that they have. The last thing they need to hear is someone asking a question that makes them feel worse. Now, just imagine for an minute what it must be like for a man. The degree of shame they must feel is beyond my comprehension and I understand why so many men are silent victims.
I also want to stress that abuse isn’t just physical. While men may have the upper hand in physical strength a woman can certainly hold her own in all other areas. Women can abuse verbally, mentally, and psychologically. Women can also be physically abusive. It’s so sad that we have such a small view of domestic violence. It is so much broader than what most people perceive. This issue is not about gender issues or equal rights. This is about human rights. I believe that nothing supersedes this. I speak on behalf of women because it I can get through to them. They can relate to me and I to them. I want to help them read my story and know that their is hope. That they can get out and they can thrive.
All of the media coverage in the last week has been focused on Male violence against women. I felt that I needed to be fair and balanced. I needed to give a voice to male victims of abuse. I married a man who abused me because he was abused. If he hadn’t been a victim of domestic violence growing up he most certainly shouldn’t have become the person that he did. Violence is never acceptable.