Family violence is not OK, but it is OK to ask for help.
A simple enough message.
Our community abhors family violence, yet it still exists, because it survives within a culture of fear. It is the worst type of bullying, victims are terrified to speak out, neighbours and family members are too scared to intervene.
The reasons that women stay with violent partners can be complex, but it is common for their self confidence to have been eroded to the point that they are too scared to leave, that they may never find someone else. What erodes their self confidence? Verbal and physical bullying.
If we think someone is being abused, it is a weak excuse to say "it will sort itself out, I don't want to say anything in case the victim gets hurt".
What happens if we don't intervene?
Victims will stay victims unless someone speaks up.
And if the victim is too terrified to speak up, isn't that where we come in?
Studies have apparently shown that people concerned about a potential family violence victim are more likely to intervene if children are involved. We have, it seems, a well meaning sense of "what about the children!". But what about the mum!
It is OK to ask for help is a message that needs to be communicated to everyone connected - no matter how directly or indirectly - with a victim of family violence.
Because if you know about family violence and you don't speak up, then the bully wins - fear has stopped you speaking out.
Who wants that? There is no place in society for bullies, whether it be in families, in work places, or in sports teams.
Calling 0800 456 450 or visiting www.areyouok.org.nz is the first step to opening the box of tools that will help someone overcome family violence. Opening that toolbox is as easy as calling an 0800 number - what's frightening about that? As the website says, don't be a cardboard cutout, find out what you can do to help.