In the midst of a lunch meeting last week, somehow we got to discussing sports and the Olympics. One of the ladies sitting across from me started asking, "Who's that female soccer player?" "Didn't she get in trouble for something recently?" "What was it for?" When my colleague and I asked if she meant Hope Solo, and she said yes, we said she was in trouble for domestic violence. "Oh, I thought it was something more serious...like a DUI." Excuse me, what??? Without going into a complete rage and rant, I looked at her and said, "Well, I think that domestic violence is pretty serious. Actually, I think it's very serious" The conversation didn't go much further from there, as I did not feel it was an appropriate situation for me to educate the woman, because I was at work.
But as the conversation carried itself back to business, I thought, when is it ever "appropriate" to talk about abusive relationships? Domestic violence in and of itself is inappropriate, because we shouldn't be okay with the fact that 1 in 3 women will experience abuse by an intimate partner in her life, and 1 in 6 men will experience abuse by an intimate partner in his life. It's inappropriate to blame the victim. It's in appropriate to expose children to such hostile environments. It's inappropriate on so many levels my blood boils just thinking about it. It will only be an "appropriate" topic when we no longer have to tell people how heinous a crime domestic violence is--how serious it is.
I mean, I was completely dumbfounded and fueling, and yet not entirely surprised, because I know much of society today would react the same way as she did. I think I just couldn't imagine how someone could actually say that out loud. I'm still baffled. It's like when one of my exes called me a masochist, because I had stayed in an abusive relationship for the amount of time that I did--what he could not see was that I had gotten out, changed my course in life, and have become who I am today because of what I have experienced. What he could not see was that short of physically abusing me, he was not much better than that ex that dared hit me. When people say things like that woman at lunch did, or like my ex did, I just am completely befuddled that they could mean what they say. I either feel embarrassed for them or I wonder if they are victims of abuse. I have to do a double take, and sometimes I refuse to believe they mean it, until I've relentlessly and to no avail hammered them for some kind of cohesive reasoning or miswording in their statement.
There is something very seriously wrong with our society if there are people out there who think that abusing an intimate partner (or anyone for that matter) is not serious. Domestic violence and sexual assault are not easy subjects to talk about, but until we get comfortable, we're only helping it persist in our society.
BIG LOVE & HUGS