Jess Shut Up
Sometimes you are just so proud of someone. I was Saturday, when I saw all of a local girl’s hard work and dedication come to a conclusion. Or maybe it was just the beginning. A walk against domestic violence seems like a simple thing to throw together, but it’s not. Just ask Charli. She has been working on this for months in honor of her sister. Not to mention she got into UW (Go Dawgs) and was a Gates Scholarship winner. As much as I would like it to be, this column is not about Charli and how inspirational she is.
It’s about violence.
My family and I were sitting around before the walk and we were talking about how violence and/or domestic violence had touched our lives. Those images we thought of or those people we thought of, that’s who we were walking for. We have all seen it and been close to it. I worked for Emergency Services for most of my working life. I have time and time again seen children and women and even men that had been beaten up, abused and hurt badly by a loved one. I also have been touched personally by this epidemic. No I’m not talking about gun violence, that’s for another column; I am talking about physical and mental abuse by a parent, spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend or anyone.
How many times have we turned the other cheek? I mean in public we see a mother grab her son by the arm violently and swing him to where she wants him. The child flinches with tears running down his face. This could be a kid that deserves it. Yep, I have said that and walked away. I’m betting so have you? I have also been driving down the freeway and watched a man driving in front of me slap his girlfriend in the passenger seat. I have heard yelling matches down the street from neighbors. And done nothing.
But I have acted. As a teenager twice I tried to step in and make someone leave. I have called the police, and once in a shopping mall I stepped in when a man was beating his girlfriend in public. I am not tooting my own horn, either. Because unfortunately, I did not act many more times than I did.
So why am I writing this? Because I think we can all make a difference, just like Charli did. Now, we don’t have to have this great event (although feel free to do that if that’s what you think you need to do) but we can become more concerned. Don’t be afraid to call 911 and report what you’re hearing and seeing. There are programs out there that you can volunteer at or assist. And I know what your thinking now too. “I volunteer enough, I wanna just mind my own business, I don’t trust the po po.” Well I thought that too.
Then Charli told me the story of her sister and how she died. I thought of my sister and daughter; what if that were them in that situation. Would I want someone to mind their own business? NO! They better speak up, they better do something. Could I understand that they were too busy doing other stuff? Nope. They better do something. So let’s do something. Lets start by not letting another second slip away. If we think someone is being abused, we need to reach out to them or get them help. We can’t be afraid to step in and let people know this isn’t right, and we are not going to let someone be destroyed emotionally and physically in our neighborhood. Lets become Knight Walkers. It ends today. It ends now. It starts with you.
In memory of Colette Jo Peone, 1986-2009.
If you or someone you love is a victim or needs help please call 1-888-826-3221.