The statistics in Australia have come out today that three-quarters of our population feel that domestic violence is a bigger threat to our society than terrorism. It’s the silent epidemic caused by an increasing use of drugs, but also the increasing stress on finances, family issues and media-induced fantasies that life is supposed to be perfect. It also proved to us last week that it’s not only men hitting women in a marriage/relationship situation, or parents abusing their children, it can come in all forms, including the alleged murder of Adelaide Crows coach by his son. It’s rare to find someone in this society who has not been a personal victim to domestic violence. It’s not necessarily physical or sexual, but the emotional torment can also take you around the bend. Bullying at it’s best! And it all stems from the constant judgment that you’re not doing the right thing, or the expectation that you could do better, like nothing is ever good enough… like you’re never good enough. And that’s why it’s not ok.
And whilst I don’t like living in the past, I have brandished a black eye from a family member, constant bruises over my arms from being punched for no reason, being belittled by a ‘thigh grabbing’ a-hole who told me that my fat thighs needed to go, and I think the worst was the drawn out isolation and the feeling that I didn’t belong because of a lack of support and a manipulative family member. In the end, I saw the affects of other family members hurting others in my family, to the point that I needed to make the decision to walk away.
And walking away is isolating in itself. Especially when it’s not one person violating you… it’s the majority of your family network because everyone else is too scared to walk away, or the effects of domestic violence hasn’t been as apparent to them within the family network. So, as an outsider, you can understand why people stay in violent relationships or families, because the unknown is just as scary.
But in the end, we all need the courage to speak out, support each other and help wherever we can. Money sometimes is not the answer, it’s compassion, giving victims the opportunity to get them out of their situation and giving a victim/s a roof over their head when times are tough. The only way perpetrators will ever understand what they are doing to people, either physically or emotionally, is for the victim to walk away and the perpetrator either loses his/her outlet for their anger and finds someone or something else to take out their outbursts out on, indicating that they need some serious help as they are unstoppable, or they look deeply and see that they killed something that meant something to them, and again, they need help to see if they can change themselves to work on reconciliation.
Admittedly, in my circumstances, some people have been reflective and admitted that they were at fault, and others can’t see anything wrong with what they have done or say flimsy comments like ‘that’s all we knew what to do’ and I’m sure have found other victims to abuse.
My advice for those who feel like there is no way out, there is… don’t let it happen again. Don’t let it ruin your relationships with other people because you are becoming withdrawn. Don’t let it affect your self-esteem. Know that you are a beautiful person and you deserve to be treated like you matter. I know it’s hard to accept it, because I still struggle with it. But you are… you are beautiful. You will get through this, and your kids, friends and family that matter will be proud of you.