How do you make the blind aware?
Today, of course, I can see the signs that I was blind to back then, signs of control that I ignored or passed off for one excuse or another. That jealousy he displayed, then I thought was flattering - the way he always made sure an arm was either around me or he was holding my hand if we were in a room filled with people...how even in a crowd he wanted (demanded) my undivided attention ...always...- I thought as one woman once told me when she witnessed it, "He adores you!"
As long as I convinced myself of that, all those other signs went by the wayside....even the way he treated my emotions, wants and dreams...they always came a distant second ...behind his own emotions, wants and dreams.
Those road signs were scattered along the way of my two decade relationship with my ex. and along the way were the tears I would shed when that empty feeling came along - but despite all of that I remained blind until that control, his insecurities, turned into violence pounding my flesh.
So, as I sit here and read stories and information on October being the Domestic Violence National Awareness Month - I wonder how can a campaign make someone who is blind to all around them, see before the cycle gets out of control and damage is done?!?!
We know most current victims are staying in those relationships for economic reasons, and because they most probably feel isolated. That's something we all, I think, can easily understand....especially given the current pathetic economy we all find ourselves in.
But in every one of those relationships where the violence has taken hold...be it physical and/or sexual and/or emotional...there's a line that was crossed when it went from that feeling of the other person "adores" them to the other person now "abuses" them. How can a campaign reach the people it needs to, before that line is crossed?
The only answer I can think of is promoting self respect from the time a child takes in their first breath - a message that needs to be taught in the homes, and repeated everywhere that child goes as they grow.
Yes, I know that is not an easy task - especially since many of those homes that a future victim/survivor grows up in will in fact be one where violence has already taken hold - one of the puzzle pieces will always be missing in those cases....but a community can still send that message everywhere else that child goes as they grow ...in the schools...the library...the parks...it needs to become woven into the fabric of every community - it needs be to the blanket of comfort that protects our children's self esteem as they age into adulthood...
It's the only answer I can come up with - we, as a society, have to take every step to ensure blindness that a weak self esteem exhibits, never takes hold - then and only then can the awareness before the damage is done, can be seen.
All of us who are aware need to be the eyes for those who aren't - especially the children - it's up to us to show them the way, and it starts with respect....respecting the human we are are, they are - throw away those judgments we may have been taught and realize that unless we have walked in those shoes we may never know what it is truly like - respect that and them - and maybe future generations of victims will never come to be - now that would indeed be a beautiful thing.
Deep thoughts...I know - I've been thinking about this for a week or so now, and it started last week when I was helping a friend out and creating a YouTube video for one of the songs she recorded - The Other Side of Me. The song is song by a very talented woman who goes by the name of Simply JP (JP Olson). The lyrics touch me on so many levels....they bring back the emotions I felt during those tears I would shed while feeling empty and alone within a marriage....and then afterwards, after I found the courage to leave but was still so fragile in so many ways. Remembering the comments from friends and strangers who would tell me how "strong" and like a "rock" I was for all I had been through and survived....and how I would deep inside know I was hiding that other side of me from them all.
I think you will understand what I mean when you view the video:
Needless to say the song touches me and I am sure many women who happen along this blog will feel the same way.
The next day I did another video for her - and again, it touched me because now the lyrics were like the next step in surviving from a bad relationship to a healthier one - It's amazing to me how songs, and sometimes the timing of things, can have such an impact on a life - like it all was meant to be on a road to self discovery....
Anyway...here is that next song...that next step...Two Who Do Believe ....