Last year, I was supposed to give a speech at my friend’s company’s annual convention, because their one philanthropic endeavor was focused solely on supporting shelters for women who leave violent relationships.
Unfortunately, my friend’s company went out of business. And of course, I couldn’t give the speech.
But I’m resurrecting it. I don’t know exactly where I’ll give this speech just yet, but I figure I’ll write it and worry about the logistics later.
When I was starting to work on it before, I asked some women in an online support group what topics they thought I should cover. Here are some of their ideas:
- Why doesn’t she just leave?
- The universality of the experience: domestic violence doesn’t discriminate along class, educational or racial lines
- The myth that it’s not real abuse unless it’s physical
- The myth that it’s not physical abuse unless someone is hitting you
- The myth that there’s some threshold number of incidents before it becomes abuse
- The myth that if someone you know is being abused, it will be obvious
- The myth that you can’t rape or sexually coerce someone in you’re in a relationship with/married to
- “Everyone knows what domestic violence is, so why discuss it?” Wrong!
I think all of those are really important topics for a domestic violence speech.
Something else that has ahold of me is the detrimental effects on our society: all the women whose lives were derailed before they even began (like mine), and they never were able to develop into the person they were meant to be, sharing the gifts they were meant to share, contributing the way they were meant to.
I’ll consider all of these topics and others, and I’ll also plan on reading a few excerpts from my book. If you have ideas on what you’d like to hear from a domestic violence survivor, or if you’re a survivor yourself, please feel free to comment here and let me know your thoughts.