Social media has been in an uproar surrounding domestic violence and women abuse over the past couple of few weeks. This societal ill that is rampage in our communities has not only left a bitter taste in people mouths but it has started conversations that have stirred people’s emotions and even left others angry and shocked.
Sometimes it is hard to know what to say when someone makes an inappropriate statement about women or behaves inappropriately towards a woman. Try one of the following tactics.
- If you are with friends and someone says something that makes you uncomfortable or that you feel is wrong, you can say: “I’m not sure what you mean. What did you say?”
- Sometimes people forget they are talking about a real person. To remind them and change the conversation, you can say: “What if this was your sister/daughter/son?”
- Give your opinion to show your disapproval: “I believe abusing a woman is wrong.”
- If you are with a group of people, you’re probably not the only one feeling uncomfortable. Let others know they are not alone and encourage them to speak up by asking: “Am I the only one uncomfortable with this?”
- If you talk to someone you think is violent to women, they will probably tell you to mind your own business, make excuses or deny it.
- If you see violence and abuse, and you feel safe, talk about the behaviour you have seen: “You are my friend but I think the way you criticise and intimidate her is wrong.”
There isn’t a one size fits all solution to abuse, its growth is validation that more needs to be done. The first step is to have this conversation with your friends, family or anyone close to you that may be abusive towards their partner. Truth is perpetrators have friends, family and are not isolated to the community. Half the time people sit back and ‘mind their own business; however imagine how many lives could be saved by simply letting the perpetrator know that what they’re doing is wrong. Perpetrators often thrive in secrecy and believe they can get away with the abuse since nobody knows and their victim is helpless.
The dynamics of abuse are quite vast and I can’t say I know how to stop it or what needs to happen in order to stop it. However the conversations must be had and we can’t ignore what we see happening right under our noses anymore. These are our sisters, our daughters, our friends; there is nowhere to hide anymore.