Silent Scars of Domestic Abuse
Domestic violence is a worldwide epidemic. It does not have an economic, occupational or educational status, gender, race, creed (a set of beliefs, principles, or opinions that strongly influence the way people live or work) or culture. This social disease has quietly weaved itself into the fabric of our society.
Scars scream abuse
Only when abuse has gone beyond our capacity to understand do we listen, read, and watch how the stories unfold on the news. We hold our breath, shake our heads, and wonder how someone could commit such a horrific crime. Even then, we look for excuses that help us make sense of it all and justify why we should not believe the victim.
Learn the signs of abuse
Consider the recent case of Zach Smith, the former assistant football coach for Ohio State University. His ex-wife, Courtney Smith, made it known that she was a victim of domestic violence. She even had physical evidence to prove her abuse, which many survivors are not able to provide. Despite the evidence, head coach Urban Meyer and athletic director Gene Smith chose to give Zach the benefit of the doubt instead of believing Courtney, and neglected to take action. Like many abusive partners, Zach presented as Mr. Hyde to his colleagues, and Dr. Jekyll to his partner, making it difficult for those who knew him publicly to see him as being capable of abuse. They could not put their personal feelings aside and follow the policy regarding domestic violence set forth by Ohio State University. After details of his mishandling of the case went public, Urban Meyer chose to issue an apology to Buckeye Nation and say he’s “Sorry we’re in this situation,” failing to call out Zach Smith’s behavior or even bring legitimacy to Courtney’s claims.
Break the silence
Unfortunately, stories like these are the norm. Though we express outrage over domestic violence, society tends to take the side of the abuser, especially if they are a public figure, someone well-liked or someone in a position of power.