“You fat thing! You’re so fat, if you fell down, you’d just roll around! What if I roll your fat ass up in a piece of carpet and stuff you in the trunk of my car. Nobody would even know! What do you think about that?”
Those words were said to the thin, frail neighbour of the family I have been staying with for the past two months. It was her son-in-law saying those words to her. He said them just outside my window…very plainly, very clearly. I’ve heard him say more than just that over the past two months that I’ve lived here. I never heard any physical abuse. Never any loud pounding or loud shouts…just many, many terrible sentences filled with terrible words. What did the police say when I called them? Without physical harm, nothing can really be done. What did the 96 year-old neighbour say to the policeman when he asked if she was ok? I’m fine, she said. My son-in-law is very nice to me, she assured him.
What is it about this picture that I’m not getting? What is it about women, that some are not able or willing to let men go out of their lives when those men are abusive to the women around them? Even standing up for this neighbour, a person I don’t even know, has won me a backlash of reaction from the woman I am staying with. What more do we women have to do to lead other women out of abuse and into freedom?
What a strange coincidence: the last time the verbal abuse began (just an hour ago), I was sitting at my computer taking a look at a TEDx Talk by Natalie McNeil about the state of women around the world: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDIdnlJHJCQ&feature=colike As I was sitting there listening to Natalie’s inspiring words, I had to interrupt to make a call to the police and to go outside and tell the abusive son-in-law I could hear every word he was saying to his frail, 96 year-old mother-in-law.
I don’t really care that my action in turn brought verbal abuse on myself. Basically, I just feel sometimes totally alone being a true leader. For me, being a leader means sometimes having to have the courage to do things others simply don’t have the courage to do. And in that, you just sometimes feel alone. Maybe I have stopped some sort of verbal abuse tonight. But I’m not sure I’ve even made a small dent in the future of that thin, frail 96 year-old neighbour.
This is not a blog post against men…it is a blog post FOR women. If you want to do something to help women around the world, there are many programs doing just that. I encourage you to pick just one and make a pledge. Or, go to Natalie McNeil’s TEDx Talk and take action on one of the programs she discusses. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDIdnlJHJCQ&feature=colike
Or check out Natalie’s website for information on being a female entrepreneur: www.shetakesontheworld.com