Auhea wale ana ‘oe…please, pay attention…
This blog is not intended to be one which touts the benefits of feminism. No, this blog is about the human side of having a dream in life and having the desire to see it to fruition. With that said, I would like to address those in our midst who are in law enforcement, who wield the judge’s gavel, who are meant to be the hero in the middle of the night. I am calling out to those who are in the position to shape young minds, and I am calling out to those very livelihoods depend on their ability to bring together creativity and knowledge at one time. I am calling out to those who work in the local hospital emergency rooms, and I call out to those of you whose livelihoods depend on a knowledge which is specialized and meant to be the salve of the wounds we all suffer, literally and figuratively.
I want you all to think about your own daughters, your own stepdaughters who are actually daughters which you were blessed with the gift of helping to raise. I want you all to think about their safety and what they see everyday in their own homes, and I want you all to think about the men who are influencing their young minds and lives and beliefs. I want you all to know that right now there is one of you whose daughter will become someone else’s victim, and that someone else will live in the same home as her, might share children with her, and this person will have her safety in their hands. Now imagine that this person decides that he will control her subtly, at first, and then with full and forceful intention that she will obey him, or she will have to endure a bit of suffering, and yes, it can and has a great chance of getting physical. Now think about these things that your imagination are telling you are wrong, and think about the point at which your daughter came to you and told you that she was being abused…and now…think about the fact that if someone didn’t prod her to go and tell someone the very moment she could no longer bear the emotional pain she suffered, let alone the constant fear of being in the very line of some other parent’s kid’s sight and is now his or her abuse victim, that no one would ever have known without getting the phone call from the ER, the sheriff’s department, or worse than that, the coroner’s office.
Think about it in terms of your own emotions, and how you recall her when she was a little girl and she was scared and how awful it was to hear her cry – about anything, so imagine this same child who is now older, and in some cases, still legally a minor, being afraid of someone who she has come to trust, and even though her fears shake her to her core, she still cannot imagine how this happened, and how it happened, or that it happened, and she cries because at this point, she believes that she is stuck. She makes excuses and then one day someone sees it, and it is bad, and she, your daughter, is now more afraid…because no matter what you tell her, she is going with him, not because she loves him and will take his abuse, at least that is not the reason anymore, but more, because she knows that one way or the other, she will be found, and when he finds her, he will coerce her family and they will buy it – they don’t know better, and she goes, out of fear, not only for herself, but also for the people who she loves and depends on the most. Then imagine that she leaves and goes back and leaves and goes back, and it keeps happening, and her reason for staying is still the same – it is safety, not love, which compels her. (I Promise). Now, and you can say to yourselves, “No, we would NEVER do that, ” but I promise that it happens, and did happen, yes, even to your loved ones. And you turn them away because you can no longer bear the pain yourself.
And this goes on, in some cases, for many years…far too many years, and it is all out of fear. It is scary when someone tells you that they are going to hurt you, and horribly terrifying when you think about the things that you have been through and seen and know, and you wonder how you made it this far without being put into the hospital for a while…you wonder. You wonder if you are ever going to be normal, because you know that what you go through is not normal because it feels like it is the very most opposite thing from normal.
While I will not elaborate about what else has happened in my own life, I will now make the call to everyone and anyone who is willing to read this, to share this and to pass it on, because there is always going to be someone who needs to know that everyday our daughters are being put into harm’s way, and it is all for the Love that we are all meant to want in this lifetime. Yet Love is not meant to hurt or scare us. It hurts when we grow from it and hurts only for a little while, but this is a hurt that needs more attention paid to it. And it does not only affect teen girls and women, but also men, and that is the biggest hurt of all, because men are taught not to hit women, but they are not taught how to deal with abusive ones. This is the crying shame that is the reality of abuse, not just in this country, but seriously, this goes on everyday right in your own neighborhoods. If what I have shown you here makes you mad, then it will make you more mad to know that the laws are not adequate enough coverage if those who are meant to enforce them at all levels are only doing the barest minimum. If you are only going by the book and not getting creative with the power you hold and wield, and you are not doing what you can in order to not only make it more severe for the attackers than to make it less-scary for those who are being abused.
Please, I beg you, listen to the things that you are hearing and ask questions. The power of the words we use, and the power of the written word carry more weight than you know, and it is in the power that you hold in the lives of people in your community that can be of more and better service to those people who call your towns home. Our daughters already know that it is hard to be a kid, let alone a girl in the world, and really, for all of our toughness, we still need your help and we still need you to listen to us when we talk to you. We need you to know that it is hard for you all to imagine that when you leave us at the ER, the safehouse, our relatives, that these abusers are going to come and look for us, and that while your job with that victim is over with and the paperwork signed and attested to, that victim still has to return to that house to get her things, or his things, and they still have to depend on the words written on a piece of paper, which, even as it does what it is meant to for the most part, there is still always going to be that one person’s daughter….
I was that one person’s daughter. I was that minister’s daughter who paid attention in church and got decent grades, had lots of friends and loved her life. Then one day this same girl had to grow up over night…
I had to.
My life depended on it.
It is not okay that domestic abuse still happens, and regardless if it is physical or emotional or both, we need to be more aware of these things and we need to know and believe that this is happening, but more than that, we also need, more than anything else, to believe that even though we might never stop it all from happening, we can, instead of making it less-scary, easier to help victims become survivors. I know what these people go through, because I am a survivor, and I am concerned that there are already too many people on this planet who would be able to say the very same thing.
Unfortunately, there are also as many, if not more, whose voices have been silenced by what they were told was the sacrifice we are expected to give for love.
I am pretty sure that dealing with the toilet paper roll not rolling out the paper the right way is a sacrifice. No one’s life needs to end, no one’s voice needs to be silenced in the name of sacrificing ourselves in the name of Love.
…but for real…
All of it…all true…
Please ….please pay attention…
Auhea wale ana ‘oe….
I Love You All !
Rev. Roxanne K. Cottell is a book author, healer, Spiritual Consultant. She is a public speaker who advocates for victims and survivors of domestic violence and emotional abuse. She is the Co-founder of The Sisterhood of the Soul and the creator of the Na Hula O Ka Wahine ‘Ui healing with hula program. To contact her regarding booking speaking engagements, to inquire about writing for you or for creative coaching sessions for business, “Corporate Soul Coaching” or for guidance to any of the Fires of Life issues, please contact her via email by clicking here
(c) 2013 Roxanne K. Cottell . All rights reserved.