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TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

SILENCE – The Name of Domestic Abuse

“My name is Luka,

I live on the second floor,

I live upstairs from you,

Yes I think you’ve seen me before,

If you hear something late at night,

Some kind of trouble; some kind of fight,

Just don’t ask me what it was...”

~Suzanne Vega, Luka, 1987.

We all know it goes on and we even hear of it in our neighbours. Yet, abuse that occurs within the many walls of the average family home remains silent; a thousand little and large secrets of shame, guilt and familial apostasy that stays put.

We almost have to feel sorry for everyone involved. The victim(s) naturally are devastated in an ongoing fashion. When one is hurt others also feel their pain.

The perpetrators of abuse, trapped either in a hell of others’ making—a form of the dreaded ‘generational curse’—or propagating their own, appear trapped in a world that either knows it’s wrong or sometimes this is so hidden and left buried beneath the surface the abuser is so completely unaware of their fault.

For the latter, this pathology is marked and sadistic. Something tremendously damaging has occurred in this person’s formation. We could say their spirit has been killed. They cannot safely co-habit with other people in the traditional family set-up. They cannot be allowed to maim or “kill” others’ spirits like theirs has been.

For the former, they’re living in a hell of shame. They know they’re walking time bombs and yet they don’t know what to do about it; nothing can change until they admit their weakness, seek support and ongoing treatment. And this may never happen. It takes a world of the honesty of courage to do this; anyone gripped with fear is not in a good place for this sort of turnaround. The odds are untenable. Even if they’re confronted with their issues by outsiders, chances are denial or defence will mark them (self) “justified.”

And justification marks responses in the co-dependents.

Luka is an important song simply because it makes ironic light of the situation of abuse—such as it is known the world over. The co-dependent in the abusive relationship is so often quick to make “good” on the reasons for the abuse, justifying it... ‘I fell into a door... silly, clumsy me... too loud again... I deserved it... don’t ask me how I am... I’ve learned not to be argumentative anymore.’ They, unfortunately, propagate the abuse. It’s not stopping anytime soon.

A form of abuse that’s hardly discussed beyond physical abuse is psychological abuse where the emotions and the spirit of the person are tortured and at many times irretrievably damaged. This is much easier to hide, but is just as devastating; it just kills slower, that’s all.

One thing we must accept in this broken world is there’ll always be abuse.

But, we personally do not need to leave it there. We support and we empower people to get out of the cycles of abuse, if we can. We accept our best as we also accept the horrendous power of co-dependency. We won’t often succeed, but this doesn’t mean we don’t try.

We can only help if we live and interact with a certain amount of acceptance.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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