The Social phenomena of victims having difficulty talking about violence and sexual assaults leads to silence that in turns isolates them into the loneliness of a silence community
What it like is to be in this situation?
We often hear from our friends and or an associate who finally have enough courage to tell us about a secret they have kept for a very long time. Some religions have priests to listen to secrets as do lawyers but it’s not often that people reveal their personal secrets. In all cases where the person has decided to reveal their secret it is after they have finally found someone they can trust.
A person of trust accepts and applies the rule that what goes in our ears doesn’t travel to our mouth.
What causes a victim to remain silent?
When dealing with victims of domestic violence or sexual assaults or children that have been abused there are many reason why they keep silent. This can happen before an event happens or after. Children are often groomed by a predator who, are in most cases known to the child, is very kind towards their victim. A parent or relative or a family friend, or a person in a religious organisation or in a school or child minding centre who is loving and caring can persuade a child that what is being done to them or what is expected to them is ‘normal’. In time the child is so radicalised they begin to participate and obey the need to keep silent without question. In domestic violence scenarios the loving couple progresses into a situation where due to many different reasons one of them starts to abuse their partner. The abused may forgive or blame it on alcohol or be encouraged by some other factors including a promise by the offender to not do it again helps reinforce the hope that it will not happen again. Some even blame themselves and attempt to make themselves a better person in an effort to comply with their partner’s new rules and requirements. In some instances they cannot leave their residence and are not permitted to talk to anyone. Eventually they fear for their lives. This is a real fear in that even in Australia which has strong Family Laws at least one woman per week is killed by her partner.
In sexual violence the rape victim is faced with a kaleidoscope of victim blaming social and legal myths plus the failure by prosecuting lawyers to succeed in a rapist being brought to justice weighs heavily on victims. Even reporting the crime has negative implications in that many police have views that it is not rape if the victim isn’t physically injured. Or may have been due to drinking.
The United Nations in its research on the numbers of victims in each country acknowledge that the percentage of non-reporting provides a biased result. For example a country that has progressed socially to enable victims to report is labelled not safe because they report a higher number of rapes per 100,000 and a country well known for the high number of victims who never report are seen to be a safe country
There is therefore in most countries an invisible community whose members never talk to anyone either inside or outside of the community
So what is it like inside this totally silent community?
Our plan is for everyone to feel safe and be safe. Meanwhile what can you do about it?
There is a lot of emotional hurt impacting on the effect of silence and for many people life has not given them the necessary skills to be resilient enough when it comes to loneliness. Human contact was meant to be interpersonal, face to face, touch to touch, emotion to emotion, and community to community.
Apart from being caused by being silent other people are lonely just because they don’t have any family or friends. Let’s start by reaching out
To ease loneliness we as people and communities need to make small gestures of kindness to each other. These gestures may only be small, but will greatly impact those who are lonely. Say good morning on your way to the train. Put yourself out there. Keep an eye out for other people and if you see someone in trouble offer to help. When you notice someone that doesn’t appear well or concerned look at them and say “Is everything OK? Can I help you?”