I’ve written about domestic violence before, somewhat vaguely. I guess even, somewhat apologetically. And I feel, even now, somewhat apologetic in doing so again. This, after all, is a trends and marketing blog – not a personal one. Most of all – if I’m completely honest, I’m worried what people will think of me professionally. How embarrassing this will be. How unprofessional. How childish. But then I keep on thinking… one in five. One in five. One in five. One in five.
And how I wasn’t helping them.
Because it really, really matters to me. And what’s more, unfortunately, it is a trend. Not just because the video below of one brave, brave beautiful woman is trending today, but because domestic violence happens to one in five women in Ireland at some stage.
One in five women, regardless of class, age, working status, what school you went to, how lovely your parents may have been, how ‘tough’ you normally are, how professional you are, how in love with them you are, how confident or independent you were, how many friends you had, how rich, how poor, how kind, how loving. In fact, especially if you are kind. Especially, if you are loving.
So thinking of your females friends, colleagues, family and chances are you know a few people who have experienced it. Who are, right now, experiencing it. And if you’re female, perhaps it’s you. And before you dismiss what I’m saying because you’re thinking ‘Not my friends, not my sister/best friend’ or not me. We’re not like that, we’re different!”
Well you’re wrong.
Because you do know at least one – me.
For two and a half horrible years at one point, I was one of those women.
For two and a half horrible years, I adhered to every single cringing, cliche of a victim. And I’ve lived with the embarrassment – the shame of it – for years now. I don’t want to get into the details. It doesn’t do anybody any good.
I simply wanted to state the fact because what that women posted on Facebook today is the bravest thing I’ve ever seen and I don’t want her standing on her own.
Because if there’s one thing that makes you stay it’s feeling totally, and utterly alone. And if there’s one thing that permits you to finally, really leave, it’s having the knowledge that there is someone, anyone, there to catch you when you jump.
To tell you it’s OK.
To tell you it’s not what you deserved and you are loved and important, and worth it. Even if that’s just one person.
And to urge anyone else, who can do so safely, without fear of their lives or for the lives of others, to come forward too.
And to make a point again, about how there aren’t enough services in Ireland for women in this situation. Not because of the facts and numbers I’ve stated before, but because (as I will now say), I tried getting support myself. And failed. I tried emailing, ringing… and ringing. From payphones, from internet cafes, at all hours of the day.
But nobody ever answered.
They simply don’t have the capacity to answer.
The police don’t know how to deal with it either.
The doctors don’t know how to recognise it.
Your family and friends don’t understand, or know how to talk about it.
And each time, the odds of one of those people being that one person slips away. Each time, the chance of saving someone, slips away.
It’s time to face up to domestic violence.
It’s time to end the shame. It’s time we recognised we have this problem and start talking about how we are going to fix it.
And thank you, Emma for your bravery.
Addition: I would like to categorically state that nobody involved at the time or since has or will be named, at any point. Thanks.