Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Self Portrait 2

Self Portrait 2
Another in my recent self portrait series

How many times have I stood by and watched something from afar that I know I should stop? How many times have I talked myself out of my gut instinct? How many times have I let fear stop me? How many times have I walked by someone struggling and thought, "It's not my problem?" How many times have I not wanted to be nosey so I minded my own business instead of offering help?

Many times.

But not this night.

This night I noticed, I interfered, I had enough, I was nosey, I didn't turn the other cheek, I didn't mind my own business, I stood up for what is right, I pushed through the fear, I didn't talk myself out of it, I didn't turn my head and pretend not to see.

Driving by in Baltimore City, I saw it happen and once I did I couldn't NOT do something. I've been there, where she is, shivering (is it cold or fear or both?) on the corner trying to get away. I've been the negotiator at my own boxing match, trying to get free without harm from someone that was supposed to love me. I've wondered what words will work this time to diffuse the anger that is hurled at me for reasons I can't fathom. I've seen the fear in her eyes from the inside out and remember how the brain and emotions shut off to protect itself...that blank stare. I wonder if she will remember the whole incident or only bits and pieces or only the residual gut ache of fear, desperation, and hopelessness? I wonder if she is already planning how she will respond when he apologizes? She probably is.

I pick up my phone and dial the three numbers...9.1.1.

911. What is your emergency?

I'm at the corner of _____________ and ________________.  There is a male hitting, grabbing, and restraining a female. I need a police officer...

After I hung up the tears came, fast and hot. Why is this such an epidemic in this world? 1 in 4 women will be victims of intimate partner violence in their lifetime. I was that ONE when I was in a long abusive relationship as a teen.

I wish I knew if the police actually showed up. I wish I knew if they made it on time. I wish I knew a way to stop the abuse without putting myself in a deadly situation. I wish I knew this would be the last time she was hit by someone that is supposed to love her. I hope she makes it out. I did. There is hope, but there has to be a rock bottom and a will to move forward. If I could, I would bottle strength, courage, and fortitude and give it to her.  I'd giftwrap it in love and offer it to her like a lifesaver thrown to a drowning victim.  She just has to grab on.


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