It was three years ago today that I was introduced to Domestic Violence Awareness. I hadn’t thought much about it before. What I did have in my head (If they really wanted to leave, they would), was the simplistic, naïve, victim-blaming misinformation continues to appease our collective consciences.
Even before May 7, 2011, I questioned the motives behind many actions that I did not understand at the time, often cynical, always having the answer that for some reason the others in the situation couldn’t see. I still can’t believe this was my thinking.
I won’t ask the questions, but I will give you the answers:
All of my earnings were banked jointly.
I worked for my marital partner. He didn’t always pay me.
I sold my car because I couldn’t afford to fix it.
Do I sleep on the street or in the house that I own?
These are just the tip of the pull yourself up by your bootstraps domestic violence skeptics’ iceberg used to justify scorn against the victim. Below the water is the big part; the unseen danger, hidden away from the public eye, shared only if you trusted the person. And after years of abuse from someone you had trusted, how many more people can you safely let in?
Three years ago today at 5:30pm EST (2:30pm PST), I received a phone call from my friend. He was at the hospital with a bullet in his ankle. He said he didn’t know about Brittany and that he’d call me later. In retrospect, I think he did know, but he wasn’t ready to say it out loud and I certainly wasn’t ready to hear it. I couldn’t blame him for that.
Just a few minutes after Noon, California time, Brittany’s ex, who lived on the property, had shot and killed her while she was washing the kettle in the bathroom. He then shot and killed a second roommate and then shot a third (who survived) before killing himself.
Domestic violence awareness isn’t posters or slogans. It isn’t easy solutions or reconciling with your abuser because of children or money or shelter.
It is violent and brutal and needs not to be glorified in music or television or pop culture as it often is.
It is about getting them away from their abusers.
It is support.
It is blaming the guilty – the abuser, and in this case, the murderer.
It is about protecting and remembering the victims.
Brittany would have been thirty in March of this year. I now know her longer in death than in life. As much as I talk or write about the inspiration her spirit has given me. I would have preferred her presence and the positive impact she would have made on my life and the lives of those around her.
Domestic Violence Awareness is looking at a picture of Brittany, her timeless youth a reminder of all that was lost and all that we still must do to help the victims of domestic abuse and violence and continue helping and rescuing the victims. That is domestic violence awareness.
It is keeping others from having a May 7th.
If you or anyone you know is in need of advice or support, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at:
or visit them online: http://www.thehotline.org