SOAPBOX: It only takes one person to speak up about DV
IT ONLY takes one person to notice and speak up.
Often the tell-tale signs aren't as obvious as a bruised arm or black eye.
Sometimes, it's in the subtle body language - a shoulder grasped hard or pinched, or a not-so-gentle pull of the hand away from a group. Sometimes, it's a belittling remark - about an inability to cook or clean - or a joke at her expense.
Just like we've come to ask "Are you OK?” at least one day a year for people we suspect are doing it tough mentally, we need to notice the little day-to-day warning signs of domestic violence among our friends, family members and colleagues. No one knows what happens behind closed doors. But when the victim walks into the light of day, we need to follow our gut feelings when things don't quite seem right with them.
A dear friend I have known for many years told me only last week she had been one of those victims. I had no idea.
But she had endured abuse on several levels from a "well-to-do” husband, and just put up with it. It had taken one friend-of-a-friend to notice at a barbecue and say quietly to her: "You know, you don't have to put up with that” for her to finally find the courage to leave him.
Many women stay. Years of physical, psychological, emotional abuse conspire to make them feel they can't run away. Financially, socially, they would be ruined. Children only compound the dilemma in a woman's head.
Last Thursday, I woke to news on a morning TV show that seven women had been killed across Australia in the previous eight days, with the majority allegedly killed at the hands of men known to them.
One of the commentators rightly said that had that been the death count from a road toll or similar, governments would be throwing money at the problem. So why aren't we for DV?