My mom is the best person I know. She gives no weight to what others think about her, yet she is so sensitive and loves people so much. She has always been wise and has always loved me, even in my most incredibly unlovable moments (and there were more than a few). My mom would give her last morsel of food to help someone without regard to herself. My mom is very patient and caring and yet still will fight tooth and nail for what she believes to be right.
So, when my mom told me she had breast cancer, I was pissed. I was pissed that it happened to her. I was pissed that she was going to have to go through so much. I was pissed that she was going to have to fight her own body to survive. I was pissed at the trauma she endured. I was pissed that there were signs that were missed by people in the medical field that could have prevented her from losing so much. My mom was pissed. She was sad. She went through a plethora of feelings. But she never lost her faith or her beliefs.
My mom went through surgeries and chemo and radiation. It was year of pain and sadness for her but also of a rebirth, I think. She began to speak up more for herself. She had to learn to let people know her needs. She had to be okay with reaching out. She had to learn that self care was important. If she was tired, nap. If she hurt, she had to figure out the best way to manage her pain. We started saying I love you more. We all cherished every bit of time just a little more. But the cancer was hateful and mean and cruel. And I HATE cancer.
Now, knowing what I think about cancer and when I start with the next bit,...you will know that I am not insensitive to those with breast cancer...or any other kind of cancer.
But, do you want to know what really gets me in October....the lack of awareness and support people give to Domestic Violence Victims. It is still a dirty little secret. It is still something that is minimized and brushed under the carpet. It is something that is out of site and out of mind. Do you know what the likelihood is that you know someone who is in an abusive relationship is?? It is really actually pretty high. According to thehotline.org, on average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner. They also site that nearly 3 in 10 women and 1 in 10 men in the U.S have experienced rape, physical violence and or stalking by a partner and have reported a related impact on their functioning. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men aged 18 and older in the US have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
These statistics are probably worse than that, because a lot of women and even more men are unlikely to report.
I have experienced my own abuse. Which, if you have read this blog at all is of no surprise to you. I can relate to the feelings of shame, guilt, FEAR, and abundance of other feelings that come about when you are a victim of abuse. I have sat with women, children and a few men who have been through hell and back at the hands of someone they believed loved them. I have seen them have to relearn how to function in healthy relationships. I have watched as the have tried to put the pieces of their lives back together and gain some normalcy in their lives. Most had to leave everything they were familiar with and start over. I have seen children look at their mother and breathe a sigh of relief while touching her bruised face and say, thank you mommy.
Where is the acknowledgement from society that this occurs? Where are the people ready to support? Where are the purple ribbons or the purple lights? Where are the donations? Where are the helping hands? Where is the compassion? People are quick with advise to victims trying to become survivors. They just need your ear. They just need some compassion. They just need a chance to realize that they are NOT all of those things their abuser convinced them they are. They will have really damaged ways of thinking and even behaving but you would too if you were constantly in fear for yourself and or your children.
I'm not asking you to forget about PINK. I am definitely not asking you to stop supporting either. What I am asking though is, if you can spare a towel, or a bag of apples, or some body wash, bring it to me or take it to the shelter. We are lucky enough in this area to have a wonderful organization that intends on helping and supporting victims into survivorship and then into thriving community members.
Donn't turn your backs on those who need a hand up. Whether it be they have cancer or are abused, they are victims. They need support and love not judgement. I've heard a few people say, well, abuse victims chose that person, now they have to live with it. That is an ignorant statement. No one would choose abuse. Learn about the cycle and understand that most of the time, those abusers are great at showing one side in the world and are a monster behind closed doors. We don't go around blaming cancer patients for their cancer because that is ridiculous. It is also ridiculous to blame abuse victims for their abuse.
Please, if you can help. Lend a hand.
Blessings of life and love to each of you!