By: David Vera (Translated by Allison Párraga)
Remaining silent about abuse can be lethal. Dare to be brave and report the abuser
“In that air of nothing, you lose yourself, in that freedom of lies you lose yourself. But one day you will return to your lost crops, to your flights, to the distant days, to the golden olive tree, to the still wind. ”
THE DAY TO DAY
One of the most despised of all acts is gender abuse or violence against women. It is a problem that has permeated our society for many years. The United Nations defines gender violence as an act against a woman that results in physical, sexual, psychological and/or economic harm. This would include attacks on her character, public or private threats, arbitrary threats on her freedom and any negative connotations toward or about her.
In my role as a student and a man, I have witnessed acts of violence throughout my life, from very close friends who have been victimized to the different abuses perpetrated on women in any given scenario.
One day at the train stop on my way home, I witnessed one of these disgusting yet not uncommon acts that women suffer daily. An adult man was harassing a young lady, touching her disrespectfully. I noticed the discomfort on the woman’s face and didn’t hesitate to intervene on her behalf.
Acts such as these are part of daily life for thousands of women who simply wish to go about their business without being bothered. Society cannot allow harassment such as this, which is intolerable, to become normalized.
WORDS THAT HURT
Violence is not limited to physical harm; hurtful words also fall under the same category. Emotional abuse is commonly referred to as a silent assault and its effect on the soul can last even longer.
Anxiety, low self-esteem, fear and uncertainty are some of the negative effects for those who have suffered this type of violence.
And victims often tend to “normalize” the behavior, waiting for the abuser to change, so diagnosing the cause of psychological damage often comes too late..
The key to any successful relationship is communication and violence prevents communication.
We must acknowledge people’s behaviors when they show them to us; when they overtly express discomfort, it should alert us that something is wrong.
YES, I WANT TO BE SET FREE!
Spotting pain early in another who is suffering from abuse can help put an end to it, thus preventing further abuse. When violence is occurring or has already occurred, those of us who know the victim must support her completely. It is not always easy because sometimes the victim is blinded and cannot see an end to the cycle of violence, perhaps she thinks she is guilty of having prompted the abuse or believes she deserves the mistreatment. There may also exist the possibility of economic dependency.
Violence is and will always be the most lethal weapon used against the heart. Regardless of the specific physical and verbal offenses perpetrated, the soul is weakened, is shut down and left defenseless without the ability to shine. Just as a broken mirror may be eventually repaired, it will never be the same. The deep fractures of pain are difficult to erase. Offer a hand of friendship to serve as a ray of light in the darkness.
Offering a line of communication to someone who hasn’t had one in a long time is very important. Separate her as quickly as possible from the situation that is causing pain. Take her and support her with patience and care at each stage of the transition. And, above all, be by her side as the cycle of violence disappears from her life in the present and in the future, for her and for future generations.
Remaining silent about abuse can be lethal. “Dare to be brave and report the abuser”.