I see an article like this about three times a week. Sometimes it’s even local (Surrey). I read about these events so often now that I don’t even bat an eye. It’s become “common practice.” Something that happens every single day in some part of the world that has practically nothing to do with me.
I want to feel anger. I want to feel indigination. I want to feel horrible for the people whose lives are changed forever because of tragedies like this. And I do, but not enough to become an activist over it. Why? It’s the over exposure. I feel desensitized.
And I feel ineffectual. If I had a friend who was in this very situation, I would help. I would do whatever I could. Provide shelter. Call social services. I can do those things because it’s happening around me, within arm’s reach. Sure, Surrey is relatively close to me–but most people here are under the general assumption that domestic violence stays domestic. No one talks about it until it’s in the local news paper. So and so was shot by her father for being too Canadian. You only ever get to hear about details beforehand if you happen to be a close friend of the family.
So an alternative is to start support groups, or group shelters. We assume that if the facilities are available, the victims will come pouring in. Except that they don’t. How many Chinese Canadian kids got beat with all sorts of household things and never said a word–at least until they were old enough to laugh about it? I do.
When I was younger, I used to envision what life would be like if I had just said something. I would become a file number. I’d have to deal with civil servants who are complete strangers to me. Open up to these people about how I feel. Or maybe I’d have to go into foster care, forced to live with people I just met. Being a kid, the life you know is always better than the life you don’t know. You already know how to deal with the bad things in the life you know, and the alternative would be full of unknown questions. Sure, there would be social workers to walk you through it all–but they don’t know you like your family does. They don’t know how to talk to you. They don’t know how to help you understand what’s happening. They don’t know what hurts you and what helps you feel better.
The media coverage and the government funded programs are failing. In some way they do more harm than good. People keep getting hurt, or killed, and nothing is changing. It’s time for a different system. A better system that encourages personal responsibility rather than social dependence. Each individual should feel empowered to change his or her life–and heavy social interference is, well, interfering.