or do we?
You may be familiar with the that old Culture Club song 'Victims' but can you actually spot one? Probably not?
The victims we know so well
They shine in our eyes
When they kiss and tell
Strange places we never see
But you’re always there
Like a ghost in my dreams
And I keep on telling you
Please don’t do the things you do
When you do those things
Pull my puppet strings
I have that strangest void for you
We love and we never tell
What places our hearts in the wishing well
Love lead us into the stream
And it’s sink or swim
Like it’s always been
And I keep on loving you
Feel like a child
On a dark night
Wishing there was some kind of heaven
I could be warm with your smiling
Hold out your hand for a while
We know them so well, etc, etc, etc...
Unfortunately, we don't know the victims in order to help them in their time of need. And I am not in any way trying to make you (or myself) feel guilty for not recognizing the signs, or symptoms of domestic violence in our friends, family or even co-workers. It would be easy if they walked around with a big red light above their heads, but that is just not the case.
My hope is that by talking about it, people will see that domestic violence is thriving in our communities, and may be more apt to noticing it. I should also add that victims of domestic violence are extremely good actors/actresses in hiding what is actually going on behind closed doors. Unfortunately, I know this from personal experience and I have the scars; both internally and externally to prove it.
I did my monthly volunteer shift with the Domestic Violence Victim Support Team over the weekend and unfortunately I met a victim. For reasons of confidentiality I will not go into great detail, but the point I would like to make is that this person was a successful, attractive woman who has 5 children, a lovely home - definitely on the right side of the tracks, and runs her own thriving company. This woman is, and has been a victim of domestic for the past 8 years.
Domestic Violence does not discriminate against race, class, age, intellect, or even religion. Anyone can become a victim.
Thankfully, in the above scenario the victim involved was courageous enough for both her, and the welfare of her children to seek a divorce from the abuser. She also - finally - confided in a good friend who encouraged her to seek the assistance of VST. But the fight is not yet over, and in fact this is usually the most dangerous period for victims of domestic violence. During the time when the victim is gaining control, and thus, the perpetrator feels that he/she is losing control, is the time when a safety plan is crucial. It is usually during this time that victims are most at risk or serious harm, or even becoming a fatality.
If you are currently in an abusive relationship, or know someone that is please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline on 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or the YWCA of Seattle, or for a comprehensive list of contact numbers go to the WA State Coalition Against Domestic Violence or check your local yellow pages. Of course if you need immediate assistance be sure to call 911
Note: The graffitti photo pictured above were the exact words that one victim needed to read that enabled her to break the cycle of domestic violence. What are you waiting for?