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Don’t stay silent

10.7.2009 by André Natta · → Leave a comment

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Some folks may be wondering why I’d be writing as part of a blog-a-thon about domestic violence. Those who’ve followed the history of bhamterminal.com may not be wondering as much, though they may not know why…

There are several reasons. The one I feel most comfortable talking about involves my next door neighbors for the better part of four years back in Savannah, GA (that is despite the fact that I moved six – yes, six – times during those eleven years in The Hostess City).

When I first moved into the house in the ciy’s Twickenham neighborhood, I lived on the ground floor, sharing a fence with a one-level home shared by two couples. Both couples were fairly friendly (and loud), but the one that lived closer to the fence proved to be the one that provided a bigger challenge for me.

Several nights I woke up to the sounds of screaming and other uncomfortable sounds coming from the structure next door. There would be some mornings when I would see the wife with bruises on her arms and face. I’d get a barely unnoticeable smile early on from her as I would head for my car for trips into downtown for class or work. All of us who lived around the house knew what was happening, though few of us wanted to get involved in the situation – and all of us stayed silent for months.

The noises finally got to me one evening, as I opened the door and yelled in the general direction of the house, basically saying (with much more vivid language) that I was tired of the fighting. My girlfriend at the time was wondering why I was trying to interject myself. The husband came out the door, drunk and cursing up a storm. He just looked over again as I asked why the hell all of this was going on. He looked over and went back inside.

I didn’t really know what would happen next. Part of the issue for me has been that even though you know what’s going on, you’re not really sure about how to go about starting to provide the help that is needed or even if you should say anything.

I do know that she moved first, though I have no idea where she moved to. I also don’t know if she ever got the assistance and attention that she needed and deserved. After that experience, I figured out that I wanted to make sure that I would talk up and help out whenever the opportunities presented themselves.

What have the results been? Well, I’ve taken part in road races to raise funds for agencies that provide support and assistance to victims of domestic violence. The launch party event for bhamterminal.com included a collection of cell phones for Verizon Wireless’ HopeLine initiative – one that I hope folks continue to think of whenever they’re thinking of changing out cell phones and one initiative that we’re looking at doing again soon. Then there’s today…

Today, I’m asking you to take a moment and make sure that folks are aware of the Voices Against Violence program of The Women’s Fund of Birmingham and that you’ll consider making a donation to the cause. We need to be able to break the cycle. The organization received the Critical Impact Award from the Council of Foundations earlier today for the program and we need to make more folks aware of what’s going on.

Thanks in advance.

André Natta is the stationmaster of bhamterminal.com.

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