When it comes to domestic violence, please think before you comment

By Lulu Henderson

As I sit and watch the women on the television recount their experiences of domestic violence, tears begin to stream down my face and I turn the television off. I cannot take the pain that is surging through my body as I relive my own past.  As a child I watched my mother being abused by multiple men in her life. I also had my own experiences. The heartbreaking part is the comments I see on Facebook and posts from those who take the issue so lightly. They joke about continuing to support the man.  They blame the women who are reporting the crimes years later.  As one comment said, “We all was fast and tried being with an older man.”  They blame the parents of children who were molested.

Is this what our society has come to that we start blaming the victims instead of the aggressors? I vividly remember my mother’s boyfriend standing over my mother’s lifeless body screaming “Where the f*** are you going? I’ll kill you and the kids before I let you leave.” To this day I am terrified of men when they start using a loud voice. I start to go into panic mode, crying inside, trying to find that safe place within myself. It took me three years and some professional counselling to realize that I was suffering from post-traumatic stress.

I’d also like to address the people who blame parents when their children are molested. “Where was the parents?” they comment.  One of my most heartbreaking memories is my father crying when he found out I was being molested and had been molested over a period of time.  Like most parents, both of my parents were protective and very selective about who I was around. They would have never thought the person they trusted with my safety would expose me to this predator. I didn’t say anything because who would believe a 16-year-old talking about a man who was well known in the community? He had groomed me to believe that I had seduced him, and that it was twisted act of love he was showing me by doing this to me.

We need to be more sensitive whenever someone tells us about an incident that occurs to them and not blame them. I have gone to support groups and met many others who had the same experience I did. They were assaulted by someone prominent in the community or who was respected in their circle.  They were groomed to believe that no one would believe them, and that they would have no place to turn to for help.  And when they finally told their story, they were not believed.

When are we going to start taking these accusations and reports more seriously and stop with the victim blaming? Sometimes our financial ties and status get in the way — no one wants to be seen as too liberal or too vocal.

When groups such as social clubs start frowning on the behavior of these predators and start taking it seriously, then we can start healing those being victimized. Then we give them a platform to voice their concerns. All too often we strip the voice of the victims and they become silent. My hope is that we will do better and try to support these women rather than victimize them again with comments and ideas that do not help their healing. We make a positive difference when we stop and educate ourselves about what’s really going on rather than commenting and speaking out of ignorance.  

Louise Henderson has four daughters — one at Texas A&M (Elizabeth), two at University High School (Rachel and Naomi) and one at Cesar Chavez Middle School (Rebecca) — and puppy named Rico. She and her family have lived in Waco for six years and are very active in our community. She is a member of the Junior League of Waco, NAACP of Waco, and Waco Knight Riders.  She graduated from McLennan Community College with an Associate’s Degree in Child Development and is working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Child and Family studies at Tarleton State University.  She loves Taco Tuesday at Rosas Café and volunteering in Waco.  She is the founder of the Central Texas Divas, a social club for women and young girls to empower and educate about them about self-improvement and our community.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.

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