In college, I befriended an industrious young man named John*, who I admired because of his entrepreneurial spirit. By the age of 22, he had already started several businesses and was paying his tuition with the profits. John was popular on campus, not only because he employed several students, but also because he was affable and fun to be around.
John hired me as a writer for one of his publications. Since I also worked for the campus newspaper, I became his source for trends that appealed to college students. We spent several hours together in his makeshift office writing, editing, and selecting graphics for the magazine. It was during these late night working sessions that I discovered John’s darker side.
John had a girlfriend, Jane*, who worked at the school paper with me. Jane was quiet, meek, and kept to herself. I was actually a little surprised when I found out that she was dating John, a guy with a huge personality and ego to match. John often stopped by the newspaper’s office and greeted Jane with an affectionate kiss. They seemed like such a happy couple. But it was all a facade.
One day, I noticed that Jane’s face was bruised. I didn’t think much of it at first, but I started to connect the dots as I spent more time with John. He would periodically ask me about the guys at paper and wanted to know if Jane was talking to or interacting with any of them. I’d also overhear their arguments that grew increasingly louder during the time I worked with John.
Jane finally admitted to some of the female reporters that John was abusing her. At first I was shocked, but then it all started to make sense.
I was so angry with John. I felt that he betrayed me. My own history with domestic violence only fueled my anger. I wanted to give him a taste of the pain he had inflicted on Jane, but I knew that violence was not the answer. Instead, I did nothing like so many people do because they don’t want to get involved in other people’s business.
I realize that I was a coward for not directly confronting John. Now that I’m a father, I’ve decided never to be silent about domestic violence again. Men must take a stand against domestic violence. If we don’t ,more women just like Jane will continue to be abused by men just like John.
BMWK – Have you ever turned a blind eye to domestic violence because you did not want to get involved in other people’s business? Do you regret that decision? What could Fred have done in that situation? Have you ever helped a friend in this situation?