“Do people speak up when they hear or see violence? Or do they just turn a blind eye and pretend it’s not their business?”
After working in DV for so long, I still ask myself these questions. Despite all the new TV shows, podcasts and social media I’m still caught wondering about how much is actually changing? How often, and how much, are bystanders willing to break the silence?
Recently my friend Suzie rang me and told me a story about what had happened to her, just this week.
She’d just moved in with her partner and one afternoon she was walking to her apartment and was stopped by her new neighbour. He introduced himself and clearly wanted to have a bit of a chat. He seemed friendly and they talked the usual niceties until he asked her,
“I haven’t met your fella yet, is everything okay with you two?”
Suzie was a bit confused, but the neighbour continued talking,
“Last Saturday afternoon, I could hear him yelling at you. Are you sure you’re alright?” She assured him that she was okay, but he pressed on, still obviously concerned.
“Please tell me if there’s anything I can do, are you sure everything is alright? He was definitely making a lot of noise!”
Suzie was thinking to herself harder now – she has a beautiful relationship with her partner, they don’t really fight, and they just moved in together! What is this guy talking about?
And then she remembered!
“Ah no no! I was out that day, he wasn’t yelling at me! He was yelling at the TV. He’s a big AFL fan, and takes football very seriously.”
They both laughed, and were happily relieved, shaking hands and going about their day.
When Suzie told me this story, we both laughed and thought it was funny. But I was also really delighted to hear of this man’s persistence in asking my friend if she was safe. He wasn’t going to stop asking until he was sure she was okay.
This story gave me hope. Hope that maybe things are actually changing.
Written by Tracy
Image by Getty.