Let me tell you a tale, all too common. It starts somewhere near where you live with once upon a time but doesn’t end in happily ever after. Because as the statistics overwhelmingly prove, the epidemic of domestic violence in our country – and probably yours too – is beyond crisis point and only getting worse.
Yesterday was the one year anniversary of my escape. I had to flee because he made it the only choice I had left. I had to sacrifice so much of what I loved and built and belonged to on the altar of safety. What haunts me most days is that I keep opening the news to read of yet another woman murdered by a man who professed to love her and a society that still justifies his existence.
Cue the reaction in horror. The blame game starts. Feral euphemisms emerge and implied responsibility is shamelessly laid at the dead feet of the victim, who can no longer protest the society and its systems that failed her. Hypothetical debates ensue. Nothing changes. Because no matter the individual horror, the problem is entrenched. Casual misogyny and rampant violence against women are two sides of the same coin.
What sits at the bottom of this ugly swamp is one of the most galling aspects of all. Nobody believes you. Domestic violence is just too uncomfortable – for everyone else. It is constantly minimised or marginalised. Glossed over or polished into something more palatable. Reframed or ignored.
As your fear rises you are labelled hysterical. As your blood boils and you try to fight back you are called mad. Quick to gossip or roll their eyes but still nobody hears you or helps. Not the police who you were raised to think would come to your aid. Not the laws that were written for them to enforce. The “drama” of domestic violence is dismissed so no one has to be inconveniently horrified by its full spectre. The blame is laid back at your feet. Toes curled because you are one of the lucky ones that are still here.
The horror doesn’t go away but the hiding does. So hey not all men and the women that love them. I’m wondering where the bloody hell are you? Cross your fingers and count your blessings. Statistically you know someone suffering. You can help. Please listen.
If you need help and no one is listening, in Australia you can call 1800 RESPECT
Words c. Kerrie Basha 2020