Isn’t it wonderful the way people come together at Christmas time…. not my family though! As this festive time approaches, I am reminded of how I was shunned for exposing domestic violence.
I feel this speaks volumes for the nature of domestic violence – why it’s still a silent killer of so many and how society is able to turn a blind eye to it. Let’s face it, it’s still such a taboo topic which no one is really sure how to bring up. Even the victims themselves don’t feel confident enough to seek help with, even though today we have more support services than ever before
How can this be?
How can something so preventable still be of epidemic proportions in a society that knows better?
This year marks the second year that my family has been ripped apart by domestic violence and I’m not even the one on the receiving end of the cowardly act!
No, I am the family member considered to be the ‘whistle blower’, the one who raised the alarm and alerted the police to the violent acts being carried out on a family member when she came to me fearing for her life and asking for help.
My family and myself are outcasts now, no longer able to attend Christmas with the rest of the family, whilst the perpetrator enjoys himself at the family Christmas Lunch which my Mother-in-Law always works tirelessly to put together.
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He is welcomed with open arms, because according to culture, he didn’t bring shame to the family. In fact all of the family members who knew of the violence and brutality, yet stayed silent, are all able to celebrate together as one big happy family. They were after all able to stand by and watch without ever assisting the victim when she begged them for help. Their silence ensures acceptance!
I was her last resort.
Without any proof, and only under the assumption that I am the only family member capable of getting assistance for the victim, they were able to hold it against me and exclude us from their lives.
Is this a glimpse of what society does?
Do we live in a world where we are all just expected to look away from unpleasant things which no one in their right mind wants to even admit is happening?
Of course, everyone would love to live in a violence-free society. No one wants to believe that anyone is capable of hurting another living being for their sadistic enjoyment.
But it happens. Whether we want it to or not. Whether we choose to see it or not. Whether we help or not… It still happens!
What if instead of turning a blind eye, however, we offered to find help, to find resources, to encourage and empower individuals to not enable or accept this violent and dangerous behaviour as their fate.
What if, instead of living life in fear of shame, or by not following cultural beliefs or traditions we encourage perpetrators to seek rehabilitation.
What if instead of turning our backs on the people who are completely against violence we embraced the concept of helping people and chose to stand against it together whilst also helping the perpetrator through their times of bad judgment.
As a mother it breaks my heart to have to try and explain to my children why their relatives want nothing to do with us. But I’d much prefer it be the way it is rather than ever having to explain to them how an Aunty had died at the hands of her husband and I did nothing to help her to safety.
If people are capable of being the best version of themselves, especially at Christmas time, then maybe it could also serve as an important reminder that violence against anyone is never acceptable.
Everyone deserves to be given a chance for love. That, of course, includes people who are willing to genuinely stop hurting others. I’m not necessarily suggesting that we have to turn our backs on violent individuals and not include them in our lives… after all my family and I know exactly how isolating it feels to be excluded. And we never even did anything wrong.
Stand Against Violence!
This Christmas, every Christmas, make a pledge to stand against violence. Because until we are willing to see it, accept that it really does happen, and work towards ensuring a future where it no longer exists, nothing is going to change.
It truly is one of the greatest gifts that we can ever give our children, and all it costs is a little integrity!
Seek Help For Domestic Violence Now
1800 737 732
24 hour national sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling line for any Australian who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault.
13 11 14
Lifeline has a national number who can help put you in contact with a crisis service in your State.
Anyone across Australia experiencing a personal crisis or thinking about suicide can call 13 11 14.
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