By Sylvie Griffiths:
Although October is technically domestic violence awareness month, recent events with a dear friend have influenced this blog. When someone we love is treated poorly, it is human nature to want to protect them in any way we can. A lunch out with conversation so they can vent. A bigger than average birthday celebration amongst the chaos. These are many ways to let our people feel loved and supported.
So, what do we do when we cannot improve their situation? Bullies are everywhere; our kids encounter this in schools, our work peers deal with it in their offices, and especially as women, we have had the experience. Abuse can be verbal, emotional, sexual, and physical. It can come from people in our lives whom we trust and care for. I have seen the most influential people become weakened and fearful because of a person who gains power through abuse.
The abusers count on the secrecy that goes along with living in fear and not knowing how to get out of the relationship. Since high school, I have experienced friends, family members, work colleagues, and even my own abuse. The most successful, motivated, amazing people can fall victim to this treatment. Our loved ones can quickly make the mistake of adding their two cents during a time when victims of abuse need to feel empowered and supported.
At times, victims of abuse suffer anxiety, depression, PTSD, and long-term trauma from this abuse. My dear friend and mentor; a well-educated, loving, dynamic woman, had to endure police involvement, personal and professional slander, and literally being forced out of her own home. The point of this information is to give a better understanding of domestic abuse in any form. Anyone can become a victim.
As a woman and a mom, I worry about all my children being exposed to bullies and abusers. As my girls grow up, will they enter into a relationship with an abusive partner? Will my boys experience bullying and hazing by their peers? I doubt anyone is immune to abuse. The sad fact is that many victims of abuse hide their situation from their inner circle for fear of the scrutiny of their predicament equally to the abuser and abuse itself.
Talk to your children about how they should be treated as they grow up. Let your friends know that you love them and support them unequivocally. Take time to chat with a co-worker who seems to be going through a tough time. Think of times in your personal lives that have paralyzed you with fear that causes inaction. We are all human. We all make mistakes. Taking time to reach out to a victim of abuse might literally save their lives.
If you or someone you love is in an abusive situation, be a caring listener, a powerful ally, and a voice of love and acceptance.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-787-3224 ( En Espanol)
About Sylvie Griffiths:
Sylvie is a happily married mother of four who enjoys writing, people and chocolate.
She is an Evaluation Associate and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Behavioral Healthcare-Adult Community Concentration, from the University of South Florida. She holds more than ten years of experience in performance assessment and behavioral health services and is currently enrolled as an MBA student at Springfield College, School of Professional and Continuing Studies.