The power of caring

Ashley - West Chester, Pennsylvania
Entered on December 4, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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A woman found in a creek after being brutally murdered by her husband is the top story in the news. People read about it, say it’s a shame, and then continue sipping from their morning coffee cups. Since it doesn’t apply it simply doesn’t matter. I believe that it’s hard for people to care about something until it happens to them. For me, I knew that domestic violence existed but like many others I selfishly disregarded the topic because it had nothing to do with me.

I remember when I first witnessed domestic violence. My ex-boyfriend’s father took the back of his hand and smacked it across his wife’s face so hard that she fell to floor. I expected my ex-boyfriend and his brother to take action and defend their mother against this monster they called father, but instead was forced out of the house to a movie as planned. Domestic Violence was a part of their lives that they believed was natural. It wasn’t long before I was able to take a walk in the shoes of a victim of abuse as my ex followed in the footsteps of his father. Before this violence became a part of my life I was extremely uneducated about the topic. All the signs were there, I just didn’t know what they were at the time. It greatly impacted my life as a student, physically as I gained weight becoming the thickest cheerleader at my high school and at home as depression took its toll on my life. I confused abuse with love. Our relationship ended with legal manners after a talk with my grandmother about what was happening. Being a victim of domestic violence herself, it brought tears to her eyes to hear what was happening with me and she gave me the strength to say enough was enough.

I came to the conclusion that if I would have cared about the topic a long time ago I could have avoided two years of heartache. Along with my high school counselor I proposed a program about domestic violence to educate my peers on the topic and most of them ignored it until a friend and I decided to tell our stories. We made them listen. Many of them thought that they were too young to ever feel the effects of this type of abuse but I think to see young women their age discussing the matter really made them care. It is now an annual event at my high school.

When it comes to life there’s no exceptions. Education is the key and I think all people should be educated on topics such as domestic violence which is so powerful it not only affects the abuser and victim but children, family and everyone associated it. It only takes one person to make a difference, and that could change a life.