Imagine walking into a complete strangers office and one of the first questions you ask is: "Am I the only one?". What circumstances must have occurred for this to be one of the deepest burning questions on your heart.
While it can be complicated to answer a question like this, the short answer is "NO", statistics show that about 1 of every 4 women experience abuse at some time in their lives and that relationship abuse is most common between the ages of 16-30 years. Millions of theories are floating around about why, but the reality is that this means everyone reading this blog probably said "hello" to someone today who is experiencing abuse right now.
What disheartening news for someone who thinks abuse is a horrible thing that few people experience, but it's powerfully comforting to the person tearfully asking the question to know they are not alone.
Now, what can we do about it?
We might consider investing in millions of bubbles to reduce direct human contact, maybe then we could eliminate the annoyance of people misusing one another. The practical side of me knows this isn't even a possible solution, but it does make for a fun visual.
If you want to help reduce the abuse epidemic here are a few ideas to help:
1. Don't abuse others
This seems so obvious that it shouldn't need to be stated. However, social media is crawling with comments and statements that people would likely not say if they were face to face. So, it remains something that needs to be said; Don't act like a jerk even if you are hidden behind a computer screen.
2. Remind the victim that they matter to you.
One of the reasons many people won't get help when they are experiencing abuse is due to the controlling dynamics that are fueling the abuse in the first place. Abuse works best when the victim is convinced that they are lucky to have the relationship. You can make a difference by reminding a victim that you are glad they are part of your life.
There are many other things you can do to help, but these two are things we can each do without much effort. If we all do it, we will make a major impact in ending the abuse epidemic in our society.