White Ribbon Day
It is November 25th this year, Friday that is!
If you haven't heard of it, well now you have! There is no longer an excuse to bury your head in the sand.
In support of Wanderlust and all the other victims of this abuse lets all speak out and stop burying our collective heads in the sand.
Domestic violence against women and children is happening every day around you.
Not in my neighbourhood....think again. It is much nicer to think that it is not happening though, isn't it? The reason many people feel this way is because they don't know what to do.
Domestic Violence is everywhere. Many people think that it is something that is of a bygone era or that it is for those in the less fortunate areas, maybe they think it is only for those affected by substance abuse.
Maybe they don't realise it can happen to anybody.
At the start of this year in response to a friend I started facebooking information out on this subject. They needed help and due to their situation, some randomly read posts was the safest option for them in a shared forum.
The address above is one of the images that I connected people to, to highlight what DV is and is not. It is an insightful resource.
Inadvertently I offended a family member who thought I was talking about her situation. I wasn't, whilst hers was a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship, the friend I was helping was in danger. They were isolated in a rural area, did not know how to access help, substance abuse was also involved and there were children too. This friend I grew up with at a distance and we became friends later, what saddens me is that from what I know of her childhood, the same is now happening to her as an adult. Her husband is a wealthy, respected farmer, involved in many charities and committees in their town.
Early intervention is the key in all areas of life.
Back to the family member who has now left her husband. I am in two minds about this as she never gave him the chance to seek help and see if it could all work and he was willing. We have since also learnt that she only married him to have children and knew they were not ideal together. It doesn't condone her partners behaviour, but sometimes the violence can be lessened, this is a case where I feel it could have and therefore the 2 little boys in the midst of this would not have had to endure what they have. She and her husband were both well educated people in management streams, middle class comfort.
I have another friend who today told me that she was thrilled to only be losing her licence for three months and 3 days. She blew in the mid to high range. Her partner and her were at a celebration and he was being an idiot (as he is when alcohol is involved) and so she decided to leave. He came after her and started yelling and having a go at her because if she went how was the car going to get home and there was no way it was going to be left in the car-park! He has already lost his licence for a couple of years for driving under the influence! So after a heated argument and pushing and shoving she gets in and drives.
All the while he is putting her down, calling her a fat arsed skank, stupid, bimbo, slut and believe it or not a whole lot worse (I have heard it all from him). He is poking her and pinching her whilst she is trying to drive. They are driving over a bridge and there is a breath testing station at the base and he is smashing her head into the steering wheel and pulling her hair at this stage, she is just trying to drive and stay on the road. She nearly ran over the police officer.
When she gets out and she is already crying and in a state; they breath test her and she openly admits to drinking and driving. The officer asks her about what was going on in the car as he could see that she looked like she was being shoved, she tells him. Charges are laid on her partner.
Guess what? She is still with him. It annoys the life out of me as her two kids now entering their teens are witness to this. The daughter now comes with her own set of issues and their 12 year old son, thinks his parents are losers and becomes very upset when they fight. I have given them both all of the resources I can to get help for themselves, each other, their children. You can lead a horse to water......
For teens and adults affected by this and for the accompanying troubles within that lifestyle go to http://au.reachout.com/. They have great easy to read resources and contacts nationwide.
I grew up knowing my parents were not suited to each other, different. I can honestly say though that I never saw them argue, never heard it either. I know they disagreed, had different opinions, but violence was just not part of our lives. I am truly grateful for that, so thank you mum and dad.
Due to my mother and I clashing though I did live informally with a foster family. Have I told you about how wonderful they are? Will do so one day.
From time to time came emergency foster kids. I remember Hayley. Her stepdad used to bash her, but not her younger sister. Hayley was 13 or 14, I was 11 or 12 the same as her younger sister. So Hayley came to my foster family. She did not know about hygiene ( you have to wet all of your hair to wash it!), she did not know about feminine products or cycles, she did not have a clue about life in general. I remember thinking she had the prettiest face, much prettier than her "nasty" younger sister. One day she was struggling with her very basic maths homework. I was year 7, she was year 9 and I helped (think I did it) her with her homework, she had no idea how to do multiplication. That was the day that it became clear to all of us that she had suffered some kind of brain damage at the hands of her mother and stepfather. How cruel, how utterly disgusting to do that to another human being. What gave them the right.
So to all the Hayley's, Will's, Carly's and kids you are always in my thoughts. I work with adults who began as your story everyday and I pray that you don't end up as they have.
To the rest of us I say educate yourself, speak up and out, reach out to another, but know when to back away and that some people just make bad choices.
If you are looking for other ways to support people affected by domestic violence I could write you a whole blog on that topic alone. However buy the Big Issue it supports the vendor, many of whom are victims at some stage in their life. Or checkout the lovely Lina at http://mothersloveletters.com as she has found a beneficial and aesthetically pleasing, not to mention useful way to help.
If you are in South Australia this may help.
If you do find yourself in this situation or know of somebody who is, it is never too late to speak out.
Take care and I hope your journey is not a painful one.