In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which starts this weekend, I did a poll on my facebook to gauge how many of my facebook friends had been assaulted or experienced domestic violence/abuse.
The majority that answered were not cases I already knew about, so you’d think that would be surprising. Perhaps I have become jaded and cynical, but finding out someone I know has been abused has ceased to surprise me.
The thing is, I used to think I was alone in all this. I used to assume that what I would have to deal with was a normal part of relationships and it would surprise me more in the intimacies that did not have it occur. I was struck dumb when an older friend of mine who had had at least as many relationships as I had had said she never even had a man speak harsh words to or threaten her, let alone anything else along the abusive behaviour lines.
Prior to that I had been taken off guard when other women, especially ones that I knew in some capacity, would reach out and tell me about their experiences after I started to share mine publicly. Yet, as I immersed myself in my projects, and made online connections to other women like me, it became less and less startling that people I knew personally also have dealt with it.
Out of my nearly 400 FB friends and followers only 6 responded so far. Though, to be honest I already knew of 12 others – female and male – that didn’t respond to my poll. Whether they didn’t see the posts, or chose not to respond, I don’t know… But that makes it clear to me that the responses I did get aren’t a conclusive number. There is also one other old friend that springs to mind who was abused so badly she had to drive herself to the ER (with broken hands) and be off of work for 10 weeks after… and she and I aren’t FB friends anymore…So of course she couldn’t respond.
Who knows how many I still don’t know about? I also wonder if there are any who don’t recognise a relationship for what it was – maybe they think it was normal, like I did. Maybe they pushed the thoughts and feelings down like I did and they are currently in the middle of their denial phase. Maybe there’s some that don’t want to admit it to themselves or others – like I did for 16 years.
So, now I know at around 5% at least of my current acquaintances have experienced abuses against themselves. God willing there are no more of my friends and family in the count, but as I said earlier – I’ve become cynical and I believe there probably are.
I’m hoping to get some stories from these friends to be able to relay to you over the coming weeks, so that I don’t have to bore you with Wyatt and David stories further. Let’s be honest though – I’m sure I will find a way to bore you a bit more with that. Haha, nah… I’ll try to make it interesting at least. We’ll see how it goes.