The two events I ended the last post with are just two personal examples to illustrate how society almost singularly fails itself. I say “almost,” because there are instances where witnesses do come forward and help when it is so desperately needed. As a general rule, I tend to avoid commenting on stories surrounding celebrities and domestic violence. I feel that, as they have no true, measurable amount of privacy, the fact that it plays out so publicly and given the suffocating amount of coverage extended to us by the media, there is no reason for me to comment. There are plenty doing that already.
This is not to say that things in particular don’t fill me with rage, hurt, and disgust. In Rhianna’s case, too many people are pointing the finger at her as though the way she dresses or her attitude (or anything else for that matter) are the true culprits behind the beating doled out to her by Chris Brown. You stand there with your hands on your hips, fingers waving in our faces, and spewing garbage about how this is her fault, and then turn around and have the gall to ask, in some cases demand to know, how “she could be so stupid for staying. For going back.” The truth is, those attitudes assist in us being trapped in the cycle for as long as we are. You can never know the amount of stigma attached to being a victim of domestic violence, the amount of criticism, accusations, jokes, and mockery we endure at your hands. And you never know the chaos and danger we face when we try to make our way out.
Yes, I usually keep my silence. She has been ripped apart, analyzed, scrutinized, and judged more than any one person should endure in her lifetime for just this one thing. I usually keep my silence, hold my tongue, and pray to Jehovah for patience to endure your ignorance and unholy lack of compassion and love for your fellowman. Until late last night, when I saw the article published on ABC News. I have not followed the story too closely, I have to admit, but when I saw how long this was allowed to go on in public unabated, I felt myself becoming enraged. At who? At the employees of Scott’s. At the other patrons who must have been mumbling amongst themselves. At the passersby on the street who do, unless they have allowed this fact to slip their minds while obsessing about their caramel macchiato and their I-pod playlists as they tramp down the street, have the ability to see through glass. The beauty of glass: it’s transparent! You can see through it almost entirely unhindered! Yet you are so blind, afflicted with your tunnel-vision and narrow minds that you somehow fail to see a woman with a man’s hand wrapped around her throat.
Mostly, I find myself pondering over how the photographer, who, as we all can see by the photographs published in the Sunday People, had an unblocked view of the event that unfolded for an entire twenty seven minutes without stepping in to intervene on Nigella’s behalf. His excuse is that he is paparazzi and hated. Yes, you are, Jean-Paul, but you showed us all your character. You are willing to give every last bit of your humanity, I would dare say just about anything short of your life, to get the money shot and cash in at anyone’s expense. In this case, you allowed someone to be abused in public. You stood by and did nothing, just like the so many people who witnessed what Kevin repeatedly did to me.
It rehashed all those feelings of futility and lack of self-worth that I have tirelessly fought to escape and never revisit. For how can we victims of abuse, whether we are male or female, young or old, feel any comfort or trust in anyone to come forward and ask for help, when we see all too often people condoning and allowing by inaction the abuse to befall another human being? If only you would look at her and see your mother, sister, aunt, daughter.. instead of a stranger, if you took it upon yourself to shed that callous slough of dead skin around your heart and feel hurt and fear for the victim and be moved by urgency and compassion to perform an act of protection… Then maybe our faith and trust in others would be nurtured and encouraged instead of snuffed out by doubt and fear that we will be rejected, that we will not be believed, and that we will be thrown vulnerable and scared back into the lion’s pit to helplessly await our destruction. Maybe more would come forward sooner. Maybe more men would feel less ashamed to report abusive female partners. Maybe there would be more accountability and less criticism and mockery.
So in the end, the daring boldness to escape rests on our shoulders and those among us who do not hesitate to act and assist us in our flight from the claws of the monster by which we find ourselves trapped. In some areas of the world, this is far harder than it seems. Some nations lack the laws and have long-established cultural doctrine that make it impossible for the victim to ever make a complete break without bringing tremendous stigma and “dishonor” upon themselves. It becomes necessary in the face of this obstacle, then, that someone stand up and answer the calls and cries of those desperately pleading for help in finding a way out to safety. Fortunately for me, survivors were already there ready and waiting to be my support and give any assistance necessary to protect me. And now I have made my way through the maze to do the same. Not out of compulsion. Not out of some burdensome feeling of obligation or duty. But willingly, happily out of love, mercy, kindness, compassion. For we all should be able to live a peaceful, dignified, happy life free of violence.