I live in a little seaside community – we probably number about 10 000 people -so we are hardly a bustling metropolis.
And if a trip to the shops doesn’t involve at least two unplanned encounters with people you know then when you get back home you wonder where everyone was.
There are many advantages and disadvantages!
One of the disadvantages is that everyone knows your business.
One of the advantages is that everyone knows your business. No, seriously. We all look out for each other. We have a brilliant neighbourhood watch who are forever organising operations that result in a high police presence and we feel nothing to look over somebody’s wall and ask them if they are ok, because we heard a funny noise.
Just this last weekend a gentleman – and I use the term merely to be clear on his gender – was seen driving along in his car and at the same time shouting at his female companion. Not only was he shouting at her, he was also bashing her head against the passenger window. Multi-talented bastard, isn’t he?
The lady that witnessed this posted about it on our local Facebook page, with the man’s vehicle registration number! How cool is that?
Within minutes the community had identified him and informed him very loudly and very clearly what they thought about him. On Facebook.
The problem with domestic abuse is that very often the victim is unable to speak out.
I know – for 10 years I was married to an abusive man and told no-one.
So, while I didn’t actually tell anyone there were many people who witnessed his abuse. Including his family. And no-one said anything. ‘Friends’ who visited with us would, at the end of their visit leave and the wife would whisper to me how sorry she was.
Our doctor would ‘tsk’ and ‘tut’ while treating me but never said anything to him – as far as I know. And now that I think of it he, our doctor, also never said anything to me! Not even a you know you can leave, right?
And maybe, just maybe, if someone had said something I would have been encouraged to leave long before I did.
So, my request to you today is to speak up. Don’t let abuse of any sort go unnoticed. Don’t worry about whether you will be able to stop it or not – just speak up. Say that it’s wrong.
For all you know it is just the encouragement that somebody needs!