02 Oct What Happens when you’re too successful to be abused…
I went on a brief hiatus from blogging. I needed to regroup as I prepare for the book launch (we’re days away!). But, today is the first day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) and I’ve been seeing a lot of articles about domestic violence. Unfortunately, a lot of people are getting it wrong. I read an article about an Oregon politician who implied that educated women aren’t vulnerable to domestic violence or sexual assault. This is, of course, very problematic and dangerous for women because it suggests that we can protect women from violence and abuse by making sure they have more job opportunities and resources. He also suggested that women with better jobs have access to lawyers and can easily make alternative living arrangements — which would only be necessary after suffering from the abuse to which they are supposedly immune. Of course, there also a lot of blame and hopelessness in declaring that their is a class or socio-economic divide between women who are abused and women who are not. Nonetheless, it’s simply untrue.
I remember giving a talk at my alma mater several years back, called “It didn’t hit me until he hit me” and, during the Q&A session, a woman asked how we could help women who find themselves in abusive relationships. She suggested that maybe we could teach women how to balance their checkbooks. I had the best answer for her: “my mom is a CPA and she was abused. It can happen to anyone!” In our society, we have decided that women who are abused are, for lack of a better word, not educated enough to not be in abusive relationships. This is an unfair judgment. The reality is, most if not all of us have grown up with abusive relationships as models of what’s normal. Very few of us have been lucky enough to have been exposed to a healthy relationship let alone to understand what makes it healthy and how we can achieve it for ourselves.
I like to think that I am a pretty educated person. I’ve got degrees and all of that good stuff that qualifies one as educated but, up until about 5 or 6 years ago, I didn’t have any education on relationships — abusive or healthy — and I only got that education because I was working in the domestic violence awareness field. Relationships are critical to our existence as social animals — how can it be that only those of us who elect to work in certain fields will ever be exposed to an education about relationships?! This also means that we have to reach adulthood and choose to join these fields, motivated by our past life experiences, in order to get this education; in other words, if you aren’t exposed to certain things throughout your childhood, teenage years and young adulthood, you won’t necessarily be motivated to enter these fields and to help the people suffering most from the lack of education about relationships.
You can read the article here. Be careful about how you think of the people dealing with this issue. They are from all walks of life — they are from your walk of life. It can (and does) happen to anyone.