“Now is the time to find the courage, and to stop looking the other way when you see signs of abuse. Whether we are talking about domestic violence or abuse of any form, we all have a responsibility to act, or risk the likelihood that it will happen again,” writes Esta Soler, President and Founder of Futures Without Violence.
“Many have already been doing this and we applaud you. Changing cultural norms, on a college campus, on a playground, or in an office, is the best way forward for a future without violence.”
I agree with Ms. Soler, and I would add neighbors and friends to this mix.
If your neighbor knows that you are being abused, should she say something? Should she call the police? What will happen if she does? Will the police say: “Your neighbor at whatever address complained about sounds of violence, or the appearance of domestic violence.” Yeah, right. Your neighbor is now heading for the hills or denying the issue entirely. Nobody wants to be afraid of retribution from a violent neighbor.
So, what do you do if your neighbor is being abused?
Everything you can. Anything that makes sense. Ask to borrow a cup of sugar, then hand her the name and number of a shelter near you. If you can offer her safe passage, tell her that too. Even if she ignores you, believe that you have planted the seed in good faith. It only takes the smallest (genuine) offer of help to make the difference.
Please, don’t ignore the problem. If your neighbor/friend/loved one needs help and doesn’t know how to ask for it; doesn’t believe there is any hope for them; or believes that they deserve the pain they live with, all you can do is try.
But please, try.
Don’t stop trying.
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