I'm still working on the reproductive technology series, a post on surrogacy will be coming out next week. If you have specific questions or thoughts on surrogacy, let me know!
I'm writing this post because the theme for this week seems to be domestic violence. I don't mean an official day to raise awareness or a special month, I just mean that it seems to be coming up over and over again in my work life.
And you know what? I'm irritated. Do I really need to write a blog post about this? Doesn't everyone know that hitting people is wrong? Based on my experiences this past week, a lot of people aren't getting the message. So, I'm going to break it down for you.
It's not OK to hit your partner.
Even if they lie to you.
Even if they cheat on you.
Even if they didn't lie to or cheat on you but you think they did.
Even if they "set you off."
Even if they "disrespect" you.
Even if you're drunk or high.
Even if the baby has been crying and you're stressed out.
Even if you lose your job.
Even if they spend more money than you think they should.
I could go on, but I think you're getting the drift. It is not OK to hit your partner.
(Exception, because this is the internet and someone will bring it up, if you or someone else is in danger and you're acting protectively that's a different story).
Now, let's move on to topic #2. It's not OK for your partner to hit you.
Even if you lie to them.
Even if you cheat on them.
Even if you didn't lie to or cheat on them but they think you did.
Even if you "set them off."
Even if you "disrespect" them.
Even if they're drunk or high.
Even if the baby has been crying and they're stressed out.
Even if they lose their job.
Even if you spend more money than they think you should.
If you have been hit, slapped, shoved, punched, choked, or thrown, you need to get out. You need to seek safety. If you have friends or family that you have been cut off from, call them. If you don't feel like you can leave, call the police. If you don't think you can trust the police, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline. They can help.
What if the abuser promises it will get better? Wouldn't it be worth sticking around to see if everything gets better or goes back to the way it used it be? No. It isn't. Maybe he says he's sorry. Maybe she promises she'll never do it again. You know what? They will. It will happen again, and again, and again. Are they seeking counseling? Are they taking steps to protect you? If not, then it's just empty promises and assurances. It will happen again.
Are you a victim? You've been hurt, yes. Physically and emotionally. I know it's harder to get out and leave than it sounds. So much harder. You know what? I believe in you. You're strong. You can do this. When you do it, when you take that step, you're not a victim anymore. You're a survivor.
The first step might be telling a family member you've been cut off from, it might be putting a number for a shelter in your shoe, it might be mentally cataloguing the items your kids will need when you leave. As soon as you take that first step, everything changes. You regain control of your life and you decide what happens next.
Will it be hard? Yes. Will there be days you wish you had stayed put? Possibly. The opportunity to live a life free from pain and fear will be worth it. I truly believe that.
If you could do me a favor, a huge favor, it would be this. If you're being hurt by someone else please seek help. Be careful, I don't want you to end up in worse shape, but find help. Find it now. I don't care whether the first time he hit you was last night or whether it's been happening for years. Today can be the end of that life and the beginning of a new world full of possibilities.
Now, let me address the person who is hurting someone else. You need to stop. I don't know what is driving you to this. Maybe it's addiction, depression, metal health challenges, or poor coping skills. Perhaps you were abused or witnessed abuse as a child and you don't know anything else. Whatever it is, it's not an excuse. Separate yourself from the people you're hurting and get help. If you're the breadwinner don't stop caring for them, but tell them you're taking a step back until you can come home without the risk of hurting them again.
The burden of change is on you, the abuser. Your victims are not responsible for acting differently, being more careful, or managing your emotions. Step up and own responsibility for your actions. Commit to changing your behavior and get the help you need to make that a reality.
What if you're not being hurt, or hurting someone else, but you see it happening? Step in. Have a conversation. Don't just say, "Well, it isn't any of my business." It is. If you see it happening and don't try to stop it then you're as guilty as the abuser.
Offer help to the abused if you can, and follow through if they take you up on it. If you see someone who is losing their temper with their partner and acting inappropriately, talk to them. You could stop a problem before it starts.
It's been said a million times, and maybe you're rolling your eyes about another post on domestic violence. But, it needs to be said again.
If you're being hurt, get help. You deserve it. If you're hurting someone, stop. Step away. Make their safety your priority. If you see it happening, or see indications it may begin, intervene.
If you're not in any of those categories, share this post. Maybe you'll encourage someone else.
Do You Need Help? Here are Some Resources