Violence against women does not discriminate. Victims of violence come from all walks of life, all cultural backgrounds, all gender preferences, all religions, all financial situations, all everything. And as more and more women come forward with a story to tell, we often see in her, ourselves.
But the thing we need to also pay attention to is the fact that perpetrators of violence come from all walks of life as well, and the men who abuse women are not always obvious.
Just because a man wears an Armani suit, it does not mean he is less likely to strike his wife behind a closed door than the man who wears work boots and dirty jeans. And just because he works as a pastor in our local church, it does not mean that he is immune to fits of rage. There is no such thing as a certain "tell" for an abuser, and often, the women who fall victim to these men are completely blindsided by the violence that is directed at them the first time around.
So who are these abusers?
The truth is, these men are often our friends, neighbors, teachers, brothers, uncles, dads and maybe even our sons. And too often, when an abuser is someone we know intimately, whether we are male or female, we have a tendency to minimize the level of the abuse these men dish out, and in some cases, dismiss it altogether. In order to protect and defend them, we try to rationalize their behavior, even going so far as to blame the victim for the violence that’s being directed at her. And this needs to stop.
Because no matter what, no one deserves to be made a victim.
Guys, when you see your buddies being jerks to their partners, the most unacceptable thing you can do is laugh, fist pump him and proudly shout out, "bros before hoes!" What is that? Why would any decent human being think this is okay?
And ladies, when you see your brother slap his wife/girlfriend around at a family function, the worst thing you can do for her is remain silent about it.
If we ever hope to eradicate violence against women, we must get involved. We must be more that just a bystander.
If we are compelled by fear to stand back and do nothing, to not intervene in the moment, the least we can do is pick up a phone and call the police, even if it is after the fact. We must put ourselves in that victim's shoes and ask ourselves what we would want someone to do for us if that were happening in our lives.
We absolutely must speak up for these women...before it's too late.