Monday, January 17, 2011
Your silence will not protect you.
I learned after the murder of an officer's wife that she had been reading the blog and trying to get her family to read it too - but she never reached out to anyone else. Of course, that is haunting. I always wonder now who is quietly watching, afraid. I would say to the quiet watchers that nothing protects you for sure. You might die trying to get safe, you might die without anyone knowing that you were living in fear, OR you might live. No one can say. But silence is not a sure bet. I need you to know that so you can make the best decision for your life.
When I was little my mother told me that when I see a dog on the way to school, to freeze. Hold perfectly still. As a woman faced with my own dangers I'd catch myself automatically deploying that same plan when I wanted to feel safe. Without thinking, I'd fall back on mama's words on how to survive. But people are not dogs, I'm no longer a child, and the dog had no personal interest in me - a stranger. My mother's dog advice was intended for how to get past random loose pets - not for how to survive targeted domestic abuse.
Freezing in your steps, being still and quiet, does not work when a person is stalking you or has let you know that they hate you, will kill you, or in any other way has let you know that you are their prey. Such people delight in fear and become emboldened.
It doesn't work if the person is posing a danger to you specifically, abuses specific people, is drunk, going crazy, or loves their own brutal power. It doesn't work in breaking up or protecting your children. It doesn't work when they are suicidal, believe themselves to be better than you, or better off without you. With people who scare you, the dog plan is ineffective - and just might be the most dangerous plan of all.
Consider reaching out. (That listless exhaustion of not caring whether you live or die anymore because you just can't conceive living this way forever - step over that.)
[rant police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence (IPV) abuse law enforcement public safety fatality fatalities lethal murder surivor survival]