Domestic violence is an intimate version of the power plays we see played out in the rest of our daily lives, from Boston to the Middle East, from politics to the grocery store. No matter if it’s in a romantic relationship, in one neighborhood or on a world-wide scale, we’re talking about variations on a theme–violence.
Violence wants us to believe there is some kind of difference between intimate partner violence, where a man slaps his partner, and a loud mouth in the bar who picks a fight. It is still physical violence.
Violence wants us to believe that there is a difference between a Ponzi scheme and that “check” your Grandma got in the mail (the one that’s actually a big scam). The only real difference between a $100 Million Ponzi scheme and that fake check your Grandma got in the mail for $500 is the amount. It is still financial abuse.
Violence wants us to believe the market crash and its ripple effects are improving rapidly as long as we pinch our pennies and watch our gas mileage—as if our single-income pocketbooks could ever redeem the global misconduct of others. Violence wants us to get lost in the details, in the pennies; violence doesn’t want us to be looking at the dollars, the pounds. Violence doesn’t want us to see the big picture.
Violence wants us to get lost in its confusion, in the cognitive dissonance.
Violence wants us to believe there is a difference between a person navigating the toxic, constantly shifting labyrinth of a volatile relationship and that manipulative, intimidating colleague you have who makes you feel like you’re going off the deep end. Do you see how these are two corners of the same big picture? This picture is of psychological abuse.
Violence wants to divide us and conquer us. Keep us busy with the finger-pointing and the blaming and scapegoating. Keep us questioning, trying to decide if violence is different if it’s large- or small-scale, near to us or far from us, if it happened to a family member or “someone else.” Violence wants us to think more-than/less-than, better-than/worse-than. Violence doesn’t want us to see the huge writing on the wall, look it straight in its beady little eyes and call it out for what it is:
Toxic, destructive, and deadly for far too many.
But violence doesn’t get what it wants when we refuse to give in. As we learn to listen to what is said and to what is not said, we tune in to the big picture. We begin to see if someone is walking the walk or just talking the talk. We become more aware and speak up more often. Every time we stand up for what is right, violence loses. Every time we reach out and help our neighbor whose wife talks down to him, we build him up so he can make his own decisions. When we use our religions to serve others, to be assistive in times of need, to share our joys, we pay respect to our neighbors, to our religious communities, to ourselves. We create a different kind of ripple effect.
Our ripple effect now includes technology that allows us to film, to write, to publish, to connect, to network, to support, to learn, to heal. We gather knowledge and courage and get to the root of the issues when we make our voices heard.
Every time we make heard that violence knows no race, no religion, no country’s borders, we spread courage and this has an incredible effect on others. Courageous behavior is what destroys violence at its roots.
Courage also knows no race, no religion, no sex or gender, no country’s borders. Courage knows only how to grow.
In praise of toll-free numbers for victims of Domestic Violence
and those who choose not to look away.
I am a victim of crime, yet my scars are unseen.
I am a victim of crime, and with a phone call you helped me save myself.
My name is your name
and I look just like you.
You are my neighbor, my colleague,
my customer, my boss.
I am the cashier, the mom, the teacher,
the corporate executive degraded in private.
Did you see him call me stupid?
Did you see him complain yet again?
Did you hear me cry myself to sleep?
Your name is my name
and you look just like me.
I am your neighbor, your colleague,
your customer, your boss.
You are the cashier, the mom, the teacher,
the corporate executive degraded in private.
You are a victim of crime, yet your scars are unseen.
You are a victim of crime, and with a phone call I helped you save yourself.
Copyright 2014 Nicole Warner
Nicole Warner is a professional classical singer with an active performing career, having sung solo on 3 continents. In her other life she’s a private instructor for voice and German as a Foreign Language. This year marks her 6th year as a survivor of domestic violence and the 2nd year she’s been human to a handsome orange tabby named Connor. Find out more about Nicole and read her survival story at www.nicolewarner.com.