Mother's Day should be a happy day, but this Mother's Day, my first thoughts will be of the mother of young Yeardley Love who was recently killed in a horrific act of domestic violence. This young woman actually had her head bashed in against a wall, by a monster.
They found her in a pool of blood. You might think it cruel to mention that this bastard literally beat her head but I don't, I think the world should know what he did. And I hope he rots in hell.
I've learned more than I care to admit about domestic violence over the last couple of years, I have seen victims stand up with tremendous courage, under enormous pressures, facing their abuser and shining the light on them.
I have learned about the real dangers of abuse, the impact on women and their families and the bizarre societal pressures around abuse and the tragic acceptance of abuse.
I've learned something else.
Someone knew. Someone always knows. Someone saw this bastard yell at her, scare her. She told someone about the previous problems. She reached out to someone.
Some women do suffer truly in silence, but it is very rare for a woman to have never told anyone. I found out that someone I know well shares a domestic violence counselor with the late Nicole Simpson. Nicole Simpson reached out to someone.
Someone sees the rage in a man's eyes towards a friend or a sister. Someone is there when he calls her a "piece of shit" - someone sees the bruise.
Someone calls and hears her voice shaking, quivering. Someone always does.
The question is and I know first hand it's a hard question to answer, the question is if you are that someone, what do you do?
Far too many people walk away. Or condone the activity. Or remain silent themselves and that's what the abuser is counting on. The silent complicity of the ones who know. We also are far too forgiving of men who commit abuse. No matter what your station is in life, or what reputation, if you are guilty of abuse against women, or you are complicit in the covering up of abuse, you should be shunned by society.
It's easy to remain silent and self-ignorant. It's easy to say it's not any of my business. But it is.
The victim of abuse who told you she was being abused, that took all the courage she had. Then it's your turn. Yes it sucks. Yes you get dragged into someone else's hell and usually we all have enough chaos in our own lives to deal with, but into the vortex you must go. You can end up being part of the chaos yourself, sucked into it, and called out on it, but into the vortex you must go.
Call a Domestic Violence Hotline for her, with her. Get her a lawyer and some support. If you have to go grab her and get her out, get her out. If you are in a situation where you feel you need to do that, get professional help - situations like that must be dealt with carefully.
I know Yeardley Love's friends loved her. I know they are heartbroken. I also know that if they were writing this post, they would tell you - please do something, please just do something. You can start if you wish by signing a pledge of respect here, part of the Give Respect! Campaign.
If you have a friend and your friend is being verbally, emotionally, physically abused, you can stand silently by now, or you can stand by silently at her funeral, closed casket I am afraid.
Here is a list of hotlines in all states. Yes, there is one in Virginia Yeardley.