On Wednesday, April 18th the Aboriginal Friendship Society and the Revelstoke Women’s Shelter teamed up for the Violence Against Women march that began at the secondary school and made their way to the downtown core.
This small walk is a large gesture. Drawing awareness to not only violence that many women deal with on a daily basis, but also to recognize the dangerous situation for many indigenous women in British Columbia.
As a 34 year old relatively privileged male, I pondered how I could cover this story. What could I possibly offer to such a deep topic, and a topic that I truly don’t know much about. To the best of my knowledge, I do not know anyone that has suffered abuse or been in an abuse relationship.
Marlene Krug from the Aboriginal Society had a thought provoking speech and she said one thing in particular that really stuck out to me.
“Abusers can come in the form of someone that is well respected in the community.”
That statement allowed me to take a step back. I kept think how much of a shock it would be to hear of some well received man that most know and all respect that were to be abusive to their partner. Then I thought, I can’t be right. I am absurd if I can’t think of someone I know (or love) that has suffered abuse.
Then it dawned on me. Someone I know (and truly care about) was abused. It was not physical, it was not a financial choke hold, it was emotional. I could not believe I had forgotten about this individual and what they went through. This individuals partner used her love she had for him to control her every move. It was to the point that the decisions she made were purely based on the rules he set for her and did not deviate from them. That is surely a form of abuse.
The rest of the day, old memories of past friends began to roll in and more and more scenarios of abuse arose. While not all of the scenarios were physical abuse, some were. I had simply forgot.
Perhaps today was a reminder for me, a 34 year old fairly privileged male, that abuse is around us, even if we don’t see it, feel it or remember.