“Silence hides violence.”
When I logged into the Centre County Women’s Resource Center’s Pinterest account for the first time, this was the phrase that caught my eye. Silence hides violence. So true.
It is a natural reaction for many of us, I think. If we don’t talk about something bad, if we ignore it, maybe it will go away. Maybe we won’t have to deal with it. Maybe it will be as if it never happened. Life doesn’t work that way, however.
Silence hides violence. The reality is that the things we don’t talk about — child sexual abuse, rape, domestic and dating violence — do not go away when we don’t talk about them. Instead, they continue to devastate lives, keep people from accessing resources and keep perpetrators operating without consequences. Silence hides violence.
Earlier this week, the staff of the CCWRC had the opportunity to meet with Denise Brown, whose sister, Nicole Brown Simpson, was murdered after years of domestic violence. Brown toured the Sylvia Stein Shelter and talked about her journey from grieving sister to passionate advocate for victims of domestic violence. She recounted that it had taken many years before she found her voice and the courage to speak out about domestic violence, and now she educates about it wherever she goes. Brown also spoke about her sister’s silence, her years of suffering abuse and telling no one. Perhaps she did not know help was available, didn’t know where to turn, didn’t realize that she wasn’t alone. Silence hides violence.
Too many victims of domestic and relationship violence still believe that they are alone, that no one in the community will believe them or care about what they suffer. Too many perpetrators of violence still believe there will be no consequences and no one will hold them accountable for their behavior. Too many communities still believe that “it doesn’t happen here.” Silence hides violence.
We must set the record straight. We must talk about domestic and relationship violence and the damage it does to families and communities. We must be clear that domestic and relationship violence are never the victim’s fault. We must share with our families, friends, neighbors, co-workers and everyone else we know the resources that are available in our community to provide assistance and support. And here’s an idea: Every time we watch an NFL football game, let’s make it a point to talk about domestic and relationship violence, how to respond and how to prevent it. We must not be silent.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time dedicated to understanding the devastation of domestic and relationship violence and remembering those who have been victims. This month, speak out, take a stand and learn about what domestic violence is and how to help. Call the Centre County Women’s Resource Center for more information or to find help at 877-234-5050 or at www.ccwrc.org.
Silence hides violence, so let us raise our voices together and speak out for victims and survivors, for our families and for our community. Let there be no more silence.