This post was inspired by this TED talk: Violence against women—it's a men's issue: Jackson Katz
What hurts more- being abused, or not being protected from the abuse?
You know- I think it is in part by the fact that it is so hard to go head to head with an abuser with all the here-say; but to have a bystander - a loved one, a friend - just say nothing to corroborate said wrongdoings. It just seems like a stab in the back. I can hear it in the back of my mind "You knew this whole time and didn't say anything?! Why didn't you protect me?!"
And the most preposterous part of failing to act (as that bystander, I mean loved one and friend) is that two against one is a hands down victory. How much discomfort are you going to experience by doing the right thing and advocating for someone else? How do you validate this inaction? How do you feel a divided loyalty between one person who is acting anti-social versus one that is pro-social (acting on social contract theory, morals, ethics, good faith)?
To me, (I even mentioned to a loved one last night) I'll be d--ned if I don't stick up for the people who are the underdog, disadvantaged, unable to advocate for themselves. I will not hesitate to make a scene and dare I say- I will make sure it feels uncomfortable. I am not "all bark and no bite." I walk the walk- sometimes to my own detriment. But so be it.
There should be a feeling of uneasiness in a person for not doing the right thing. If you don't, if they don't, they might want to consider where this anti-social mentality came from. It is in these little slips of our moral standards that pave the way to larger acts of violence against human kind. If you see X, Y, or Z it's probably because the person was abused in some way.
From not saying anything to encourage a receiver of abuse (I hate the word victim) to obstructing a person's ability to speak the truth; that is to de-humanize the person. That is the first step that it took for Hilter, Mao, Mussolini to validate killing all of those people of worth and purpose in God's eyes. Teach that deaf person how to sign, how to write, how to speak. The moment you are okay with someone not talking, you might want to think about if you consider them to be on the human level or that of a domestic dog.
To the core, it is a violent form of censorship. It's not just showing dominance, it is stealing the authority to de-valuing a person. I'd rather confuse people with conflicting evidence than let the truth go unspoken. It is up to the upstanding people to cipher what is the truth and what is a lie. It's time to get our hands dirty and give these people a voice, an identity and hopefully a better future.