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The Time Has Come

When you meet someone who has been a victim of domestic violence, what is the first thing that comes to mind? What would you say to this person? Ever wonder what it’s like to walk in their shoes, to live in fear, to live a life walking on eggshells? Probably not. Why would someone want to imagine something so dreadful? Why is it that for something that happens so often and is very prevalent in our society, we barely know anything about or know how to react? How does one go about preparing for a life of abuse?

I remember as a child dreaming of my life when I grew up living in a warm cozy home with my husband and children. Taking family vacations together. Eating pizza and popcorn on family movie night. Laughing together on game night. Braiding my little girl’s hair as she got ready for school. I even had names picked out. Yes, I was going to name my girls Valeria Adriana and Alejandra Veronica and if I had a boy, well they would be named after their father or grandfathers. I imagined a loving man embracing me when I was sad, smiling in happy times, tucking our children in bed and reading bedtime stories to them. I imagined a happy couple providing for a family.

Never did my childhood dream include someone yelling at me, throwing things at me, pushing me, choking me, leaving me without any means to support myself, much less trying to shoot me with a shotgun and burning my home down leaving only memories of the mementos I collected or gifted to me over time which told stories of my life: jars full of seashells from the trips to the beach, boxes full of stuffed animals and dolls from my childhood, the wedding ring my great aunt gave me that belonged to my great grandmother, my ring and necklace my parents gave me on my 15th birthday, my favorite pair of slippers, my pets…I never imagined myself scared of the people I loved or living in fear that one day I was going to have to run and never look back.

The time has come where we need to stop hiding from the ugly truth that domestic violence is real and can creep up on anyone at any time. The time has come to stand up and fight against domestic violence. If we take the time now to educate ourselves how to recognize and respond, if we take the time now to teach our children healthy boundaries, if we take the time now to be a part of the solution to end domestic violence instead of feeding it with avoidance, then together we can end the cycle of abuse.