By Susan Danielsen, See the Triumph Guest Blogger
Unless or until it involves celebrities, politicians, or athletes, domestic violence seems to get very little national attention. Of course, there are some well-known folks who make this topic their platform or cause célèbre; and, by connecting their names to the issue, domestic violence never really leaves our consciousness.
Yet, despite the (seemingly) more frequent news splashes about someone-famous-we-have-never-heard-of-before-this making headlines about abuse, and the omnipresent lists of celebrities who are domestic violence advocates, the topic of intimate partner abuse still seems very distant to so many people.
They don’t get it.
‘They’ are the people who have certainly heard about domestic violence (who hasn’t?), but who have never been affected by it. ‘They’ have never been involved in an abusive relationship, or don’t think they know anyone who has. To ‘them’, domestic violence is an ugly – but abstract-- condition that affects only other people. To ‘them’ the stories of domestic violence are remote and disconnected from ‘their’ world. After all, the faces of famous victims or abusers that reach them through their televisions or mobile devices or computers are pixels on a screen. They are images of people they know only through the media; people who live vastly different lives than they do.
‘Those people’ – the celebrities, the athletes, the politicians, - are not ‘them’ – the teacher, the clerk, the small business owner, the-person-most-would-consider-ordinary.
But, you, local survivor of an abusive relationship, are ‘them’. You are the person who lives next door, the person who works hard for a paycheck, the person who seems to blend in to everyday life. You are NOT the person who has national fame, or an Oscar, or a Heisman. You are just a regular person.
You are not ‘those people’. You are ‘them’. You are…..Just. Like. Us.
We see ourselves in you. We don’t see ourselves in the million-dollar-an-episode-actress, or the world record holder, or the six-term politician who couldn’t figure out how to find the canned soup in a grocery store without a forming a committee and doing a study on the most effective shelf displays.
And THAT is what makes your story of your journey out of an abusive relationship so very, very powerful. You are real. You are us. We are you. We can relate to you. Domestic violence is not so distant anymore: you are the face of someone we know. You are someone we have seen, spoken with, or maybe even touched. Your circumstances, your pain, your courage, are REAL. We know you.
You will still be a part of our lives long after the rich and famous have their news splashes, court case, and any made-for-TV movie. Because we see you in us, you MUST tell your story. And you must tell it often. And tell it loud. And tell it with pride. For your voice is powerful to us than any celebrity’s.
Susan Danielsen is the Public Information Officer for the Greensboro (N.C.) Police Department.