Friday, November 18, 2011

Things I Know: Speak Out

Today I know that speaking out against domestic violence is something that needs to happen more and more, until the chorus of voices drowns out the noise of people who say it's not a problem, or that it's somehow justified. (I know people of both these mentalities).

Today I know that I feel lucky, privileged, that my own experience of domestic violence has been limited and short-lived; but that even that brief period of emotional / social violence and manipulation was one of the darkest of my life.

Today I know that I'm thinking of three friends who've suffered enormously from domestic violence, one who had to give birth to her youngest child in a women's shelter, fleeing with her children from a violent partner. Her youngest child, that baby born in the shelter, was the child of rape, the last of many physical, emotional and social violences inflicted on her over several years.

Today I know that women and children everywhere - in my community, perhaps even in my street - are hurting from domestic violence.

(And I know that some men are victims, too. To say - and I do say this, emphatically - that women and children suffer disproportionately is not intended to erase those real and painful experiences of abused men).

Today I know that escaping domestic violence can be incredibly difficult and that judging women who stay with violent partners is not only cruel, but counter-productive.

And today I know that if you or someone close to you is in a situation of domestic violence, that I hope you are able to get help. Reach Out is one place to start.

This post is part of Wanderlust's link-up for Speak Out day. If you are posting today on this topic, please join the Mr Linky over there.)

This post is also part of NaBloPoMo. 18 down, 12 to go!


  1. Sorry to hear that this has happened to you before. We have several organisations to help domestic/family violence in Singapore too and like you said, hope that one day more people will be more educated to know that it is NOT ok to suffer in silence or to let it happen.

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

  2. Thank you for sharing your story and speaking out. Love and hugs. Here from the Speak Out link.

  3. An important post - it is important to speak out and encourage those suffering from violence to seek help. I'm sorry you had to experience this yourself, you are brave to speak up to help others.

  4. Such a crucial message. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I'm so glad you escaped your situation and I hope that many more women and children can follow your lead.

  5. Thank you all. I should emphasise that the situation I was in was transient, and that although I (and many friends) recognised it as socially violent at the time (constant teasing and put-downs in social situations, preventing me from seeing my own friends by myself etc), it was only later that I saw there was emotional violence involved too - the threats of self-harm if I left, the threats to reveal confidential or embarrassing things to family and colleagues, the insults etc.

    What still, in hindsight, chills me is that this was an almost 2 year relationship in which these behaviours were absent at the start but grew steadily over time, peaking, in fact, when I ended it. And while the social control behaviours were consistently present for the last year, the emotional temperature waxed and waned, right up until the end, with the person displaying warmth, affection and encouragement sometimes, and their polar opposites at other times.

    I still believe, 17 years later, that the person wasn't a bad person and didn't intend to be violent, but the fact remains, they were.

  6. Thanks for linking this important post up xoxo

  7. What a beautifully articulated message. I'm so sorry for what your friend went through - that sounds excruciating. Thank you so much for adding your voice to Speak Out. x

  8. How awful for your friends to go through this. I hope they are ok now.

  9. Thanks Well. She is OK sometimes; and sometimes the PTSD catches up with her and she struggles. But she takes care of her three small kids (also has an adult son from an earlier non abusive relationship) and she keeps going. Sometimes I think she's the most heroic person I know .