Sunday, January 19, 2014

Putting a face on poverty series

It's always amazing for me to read the posts every year for stop domestic violence.  I say this because, short of the courts placing abusers in jail for being the criminals they are, I always wonder: just how do you think you will stop domestic violence?  I can say this from first hand knowledge.  I lived with an abuser, we had five children and I know there will be those of you who will judge, because it's what you do best.  But judgement aside, are you swooping in to households to rescue the abused person, or people?  I laugh at this the most because not only will you, nor anyone else swoop in like some super hero, most in our society, including Social Services workers, will and do turn a blind eye to it.  Why do they do this?  Because no one really wants to get involved.  Most will make judgement calls galore, shaking their head saying: Stupid person, they should have left.

Far too many cops, especially in small towns, will be reluctant to even arrest the abusers.  I suspect this is due, partially, to the fact they are most often, white males and I suspect some of those cops are going home to abuse their own partners.  Domestic violence knows no boundaries no social boundaries, money boundaries, nor professional boundaries.  It happens often in homes you'd least suspect it to happen.

Let's address the 'should have left' part of this judgement call.  They should leave and go where?  I lived in a small town that supposedly had 'safe houses' but those are in the boonies.  Most abused women have no car to get supplies in town.  No car to find a job, no car for child care if she does find a job.  Abusers leave them with no money and no vehicles, it's the pattern of abuse, it's the control all abusers seek.  There are no shelters in small towns, no one in small towns wants shelters in town because small towns like to think this shit does not happen in their town.

I have five kids.  I called many landlords only to hear: "How many of you?  Oh no, that's too many."  So I wondered: OK. too many.  Which of the five kids should I give away in order to not be 'too many?'

I went to Social Services only to be given lectures, to be scolded at times, to be made to feel shame that I was abused.  Judgement is not their job, but they simply make it their job anyway. I was told I should get a HUD apartment, only to be told by landlords that 'five kids is too many.'  

You as the general public are not about to 'stop domestic violence' because even the abuser's own family will not recognize they are abusers.  I got no help from the abuser's family nor from my own family.  Some of them are the very ones who like to post the 'stop domestic violence' on their Facebook pages too.  Indeed!  Americans love to judge and it's usually the victim of abuse they like to judge the most.

When I finally did get help from Social Services, I was given food stamps only to then be judged by people in the grocery stores.  They liked to look in my cart to see what I was buying.  I usually bought the same items they bought, but somehow, they usually felt I was not entitled to buy the same foods because I suppose they felt using food stamps to feed my kids made the same food tainted.  Hell I'd often be judged and lectured by grocery store clerks who felt superior for some odd reason.  I even ran across one clerk who made it her personal business to make using food stamps as difficult as she could.  The world becomes 'food stamp cops' when all you want to do is feed your kids, just like those judges do.  People like to become Judge Dredd when you use stamps.  

Now domestic violence is one face of poverty.  So stop turning your heads in your neighborhood, stop judging and stop waving the 'stop domestic violence' banners if you know darn well it's no more than a slogan to you.