In the time it took me to reverse out of my garage this morning, I was confronted with the news of the deaths of two Australian women as a result of domestic violence.
I was so shocked and saddened and shed more than a tear or two. You see, in less than 30 seconds, I learnt about a man being charged with his partner’s death. Katie Haley was bashed to death with a barbell bar by her partner because he was worried that she would leave her. Her only crime was telling him that she was “over it.” Their 11 month old baby slept in the next room. That child will now grow up without a mother or a father. An entire family shattered and indeed an entire community.
Then I heard about Preethi Reddy who was stabbed to death, shoved into a suitcase and left in the boot of her car. Police had questioned her ex-partner only a day before he died in a head-on collision with a truck. Police believe it was deliberate. More lives, more families and more communities shattered.
A community in pain
My heart is so heavy right now, not only for the people directly affected by these events, but perhaps even more for those women who are currently living through this hell – for the women scared in their own homes and for the ones in hiding.
I know this news is heart-breaking for all who hear it, but for those of us who have experienced domestic violence and stalking and death threats, it is absolutely shattering. Perhaps it hits a little closer to home and can be more than a little triggering. I can’t help feeling just a little guilty when I appreciate the fact that myself and my family were just some of the lucky ones, but really, it can happen to anyone and the whole community suffers.
“There, but for the grace of God, go I.”
Ironically, this news comes on the eve of International Women’s Day, and one must wonder, how far have we come really? We might have achieved so much in so many areas of our lives, but what’s it all matter when we can’t feel safe in our homes, from people who once professed to love us and take care of us, and in whom we once placed so much trust.
Certainly the attitudes and culture that has created this problem aren’t the same as we need to solve it. The men in our communities are broken and suffering, as we see by the rising rate of suicides as well as domestic violence. It’s so easy to be angry, disgusted, even fearful. It’s so easy to point the finger…but this is clearly not fixing anything.
We tend to forget that, in carrying out these heinous crimes, men not only ruin the lives around them, but also their own, as they spend many years languishing in the prison system….or worse.
I don’t believe any of our sons grow up with the ambition of hurting their partner and family, or to end their own lives. I don’t believe any of our daughters intend to enter an abusive relationship. I certainly don’t believe any of us can possibly foresee a future of domestic violence and abuse, as we stand with our partner on our wedding day.
Where to from here?
So, what do we do? Where do we go from here? Can one person make a difference?
Yes, I believe that one person can really make a difference but I believe the problem needs to be tackled on three levels.
- Crisis care for those who are currently at risk. Reach out to family, friends or anyone you think might be doing it a bit tough. Check on them. Keep in mind that many women in this situation aren’t ready to talk about it, let alone leave the situation but you can always let them know that you are there for them, no questions asked. Also, consider donating your time or resources to women’s shelters and community causes.
- Support and healing for past victims, family, friends and communities affected. Join me for my webinar, ‘Inner Resilience DV – practical strategies to cope with current events’.
- Support, training and education for our men and boys. If we have any chance of solving this problem, we need to tackle it at the source. This is certainly an instance where prevention is FAR better than the cure.
A wonderful organisation that is tackling the problem at the grass roots level is White Ribbon Australia.
There’s a sadness and a heaviness seeping throughout Australia as we are confronted with still more deaths from domestic violence. All of us are hurting. We’re feeling heart-broken, hopeless and even fearful. But this won’t help to tackle the problem.
There is a time for grieving, for sadness and for regret but there is also a time to rise above these negative emotions.
This is a time for love and for compassion but mostly, this is a time for strength – to increase our resiliency to be better armed to tackle the problem in front of us.
This webinar is for everyone – those who have experienced domestic violence, their families and friends, support workers and simply all members of our community who care.
Join me as I take you through three simple, scientifically-proven strategies to improve emotional resilience and to build positive emotion.