At my job, many of the people working out in the field would normally carry radios as a means to communicate with those who worked in the office. My abuser had been one such person who used a radio on a daily basis. Because we normally worked opposite shifts, I would often reluctantly agree to meet my abuser before work so, according to his wishes, we could discuss union business. On many occassions, my abuser would become angry with me for a vast amount of reasons; according to him, I was to blame for many unresolved union issues, as well as for starting an endless amount of issues in our personal relationship. No matter what, I came to work every night fearing for whatever words would come out of his mouth. One afternoon, for reasons I don't remember, my abuser became so enraged that he threatened both physical violence, as well as the threat to throw me out our house. Shortly after the threats, my abuser received a phone call from one of the higher-ups...his violent words and threats were heard over the company radio. Of course, my abuser had blamed me for purposely sitting on the radio so that I "could get people to feel sorry for me." He claimed that once we were both home, I would pay for making such a huge mistake. Of course, we had both unknowingly made the mistake to be overheard, but I had hoped and prayed that someone would finally ask me if I was ok, offer me some help, or even confront my abuser about his terrifying behavior.
I felt absolutely humiliated walking into the office for the start of my shift. Immediately, upon my arrival, I could feel the cold stares of my coworkers and the deafening silence of those who had overheard the incident. I had only hoped that once my abuser went home for the night, that someone...anyone would approach me with concern. Time went by....days went by; yet no further mention of this issue was ever brought up to either me, or my abuser ever again. Yet the consequences of this very public argument would eventually play out in the privacy or our own home...
This was the only incident that had been so openly "broadcasted" to the entire workforce, however every night, I would go to work with the constant dread of harrassment. Since I worked in the office and was responsible for answering the phones, my abuser would normally call anywhere between 5-10 times a night. Sometimes, the phone calls would be pertaining to business, sometimes the calls would be nice, but most of the time, my abuser would scream at me over the phone for any reason he could think of. Knowing that I was sitting in an office full of people, my abuser also knew that I had no way to defend myself against his attacks. Basically, no matter if I was at work or at home, I just could not get away from his endless attacks.
This story has great significance because it never ceases to amaze me how often the cries for help, or the very obvious attacks on a victim of abuse, go completely unnoticed or ignored in our society. On a daily basis, batterers are overheard or witnessed attacking their victims without being called out. This ultimately gives abusers the illusion that they can get away with harming their victims without any reprocussion whatsoever. More often than not, victims are left almost completely isolated from anyone outside of their abuser. In addition to this isolation, victims tend to keep their silence because they constantly fear that their abuser will act out their threats of violence. There are many times when an abuser's threats are carried out into actions. No matter what, the words of abusers should always be taken seriously. So I am writing this today to encourage anyone who witnesses or overhears a threat of violence to speak up; be the voice for a victim who has lost their own freedom to speak freely. Don't give an abuser another chance to sweep an attack under the carpet.