I’ve been struggling to find a way to share this.  A way that honours my story but also respects and values others. October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.  I’ve waited until the end of October because I was hoping that the urge to share would go away. It hasn’t.

The campaign for October has been #1Thing I can do to end domestic violence. The suggestions are fantastic and my hope is that anyone reading this can take away something but also put actions toward it. I found two images on instagram tonight that sum up my intention of this post.

Awareness, action and change. That’s it. I’m going to try not to be ranty, I’m going to try to not personalize this post and I’m going to try to respect that sharing this makes others uncomfortable and potentially unhappy with me because maybe they don’t want to hear about it.  Maybe they’ve moved on from it. Maybe it paints a picture that they don’t want people to question or see. But I strongly believe that we need to be accountable for our actions no matter how uncomfortable and messy that might be.

So here are my #1things (yes I’m going to share more than one) on the topic of Domestic Violence.

When you hear about it, domestic violence, you don’t get to decide if it was a “big deal” or not. You’re not the judge of the severity of the incident. In fact you don’t need to weigh your opinion on this. You can listen, you can provide relief and support, you can talk about it because hiding it makes it shameful and we need to take away the shame. Also know that likely if you’re hearing about it, things have gone on before this. It likely wasn’t a one time incident but even it was, it still holds the same level of seriousness.

The circumstances surrounding it do.not.matter.  It is absolutely unacceptable for a human to physically harm another human. That’s assault and that’s illegal .

Walking away “graciously” when you’ve physically hurt someone when you could have “blown it out of the water” because revealing details that paints the survivor in a poor way does not make you a stand up person. That’s victim shaming (see above point) and you need to be held accountable to your actions.

If a survivor wants to keep it quiet they get to decide. If they want to tell every single person they’ve ever met. The also get to decide. You don’t get to share their story or squash it.

If you’ve ever become so angry that you have physically hurt someone you know it’s about you right? It’s about whatever issues you are dealing or likely not dealing with. Of course people can make you mad they may have done things that go against all of your core values. You maybe are at your boiling point and you flip your lids.  But it’s not okay and you need to be accountable for your actions. Get help, talk about it and talk about where you went wrong and what you are doing to make it better. It takes a ton of personal growth and strength to stand up and say yes, this is what I did. I own it and here’s how I’m fixing it.

It’s easy to ignore. To walk away. To think it’s none of my business what goes on between them. It’s easy to turn a blind eye. After the fact it’s easy to pretend it didn’t happen. To want to stay neutral because what you’ve learned about your friends or family is shocking, messy and uncomfortable. It’s hard to take a stand. To support a survivor and not put your personal judgements onto them. It’s hard to look at your friend or family member and say what you did is not okay. I’m going to support you but I’m absolutely going hold you accountable for your actions.

But you have to.

We need you to.

Only through awareness and action will change happen.

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