Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Reality of Life

The topic of this blog isn't pleasant for me, and probably won't be for those who read it. It isn't something we like to talk about in civilized society, it's one of the taboo subjects we shy away from at cocktail parties, and social gatherings.

A few months back, there was a case of physical abuse in the news. Two very popular people were involved in a domestic dispute. Her picture was in the news, he was all over the news, sharing his "side" of the events, and telling everyone who cared to hear that he, too, was a victim.
Many took her side, others felt he was treated unfairly because he, too, had been injured.

I, as many people, took the side of the battered woman. What most people probably wouldn't know it's because I have seen abuse up close and personal.

I have not been a victim of abuse, but my sister has. Not once, or twice, but several times, at the hands of two different men.

Abuse isn't pretty, it isn't something people want to talk about, it's something people whisper around and pretend isn't happening. I refuse to do so anymore.

I have seen the results of physical abuse. I have seen my sister battered and bruised, and worst of all, ashamed because she felt maybe it was something she did. I have cried with her and stood up for her.

But there are other types of abusive relationship. When most people hear about abuse, they picture a battered woman, bruises and blood. Most never think about emotional abuse, and how prevalent it is in today's society. Most of us go on about our lives without ever thinking about it.
Most people think the abusers are usually uneducated men, unemployed, minority men, or simply trashy people. I'm sure many fit that pattern but many don't.
Many aren't minority males, many are not poor , or uneducated. They may be the doctor in your town, or the lawyer down the street.

For my sister this time around, the abuse is more than just physical. It's emotional. Funny thing is we all saw it coming but it wasn't until we were staring in the face of it that we realized what we were looking at.

It's not easy to see how someone can abuse another emotionally.
I have seen a confident beautiful woman lose her self esteem. I have watched her give up a successful career simply because he wanted her to. I have watched her lose herself, and her ability to stand up for herself.

The signs the abuse was happening were subtle. At first it was about her job, then it was about her not spending enough time at home with him and the kids. Before long, her family wasn't allowed in the home unless he wasn't there, or unless we had prior approval. And we were ever there and he came home, we knew better than to hang around.
She became isolated, always saying that's just how he was. He is eccentric and wants her undivided attention when he is around her.

I'm sure she isn't the only woman in this situation right now. The statistics are clear. 5.3 million women are abused every single year. 5.3 million.
Those women are someone's daughter, sister, mother. Most of the abuse is at the hands of a domestic partner. And most of the abuse goes unreported because the victim feels ashamed of what happened.

If you are lucky to have never been around someone in an abusive situation, count your blessings and offer a prayer for those who are in an abusive relationship.

If you have seen the ugly truth of abuse, then you know how helpless one can feel when a loved one is in that situation. There is nothing you can do to remove them from that path unless they are willing to get out. And most abused women are afraid to move on.

So say a prayer for all the women, for all the men, for the children who have witnessed abuse, for the families who have to sit helplessly while trying to find a way to help the victims.

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