Facing a situation seeming out of their control, someone was once found yelling, "Somebody do something!!" in the middle of a conundrum. Some of us are gifted at finding situations needing attention and some of us are gifted at jumping to action to solve problems.
Sitting in a courtroom the other day observing, I saw a woman in jail and her attorney arguing for her release. She'd been arrested for damaging property, presumably not hers. She was in a relationship of some sort with a man who wanted her to leave and she refused to go. He eventually tied her hands together with rope and shoved her in a car and locked her inside. When the police arrived they released her from the car, she had already undone the ties on her wrists. As soon as she was released the police say she went out of control - went onto the property and began throwing and breaking things. So she got arrested. He remained free and uncharged.
Why wasn't he arrested? Certainly when trying to evict someone from our joint home we can't resort to vigil anti behaviors. Her attorney did their best - arguing that he should have been arrested; that this woman was a victim of her roommate and again victimized by a system that threw her in jail.
My experience living domestic violence and working with survivors told me the attorney was correct. He remained calm cool and collected, but she lost her shit and looked like a crazed, "hysterical" woman. That's to be expected when someone is living in a power and control relationship. The person in power always looks in control. Destabilizing the victim is the name of the game.
Alas, the attorney's pleas fell on def ears. Her reasoning was ignored. And perhaps, rightly so - there had been a break in action and in front of police the woman broke things, so probable cause exists. But as the attorney looked out into the sea of an unkind system, she had that look on her face that said, "Somebody do something!!"
And so, a call to action. What can we do? What can I do? Is bearing witness enough? Can we as a society ever make equality a true reality? The last state in the union codified marital rape as illegal as late as 1990, so the vast majority of Americans were raised in a system that allowed men to beat and rape their wives into submission. How do we continue to change those attitudes?
How do we raise our sons and daughters better?
How do we eradicate anger and violence?
Am I a somebody who can do something?
Is it doing something just to give it a voice?