At one time, they were close enough to run to in a time of need. But now, Constance Hall wants nothing to do with her former friends.
As the blogger, author, and mom wrote on her Facebook page, people are beginning to learn more about the reality of domestic violence and abusive partners. However, Hall wants to talk about the bystanders and how their belief (or lack of it) perpetuates the problem.
Hall wrote that when she was very young, she was abused by her partner. She ran away to stay with a mutual friend, who took her in.
However, it wasn’t long before that friend’s expressions of support turned into equivocation:
It wasn’t a week until the very believable denial of my partner got to our mutual friends and everything went from, “don’t go back,” to, “well we don’t really know what happened that night.”
Hall also dislikes the current trend of refusing to take sides when a relationship breaks up. When abuse is part of the equation, she questions how the fence-sitters can call themselves friends:
The going thing to do in a relationship breakdown is not take sides. But when one person has been abused physically, emotionally, financially or repeatedly cheated on … how can you not take sides?
The experienced mom of five notes that it’s common for abusers and manipulators to try to win over others and minimize their behavior: “I can’t tell you how many abusive people have tried to charmingly win me over when their partners left them.”
Her answer to those people, however, is extremely simple: “If you spent half the energy you put into a your ‘reputation’ post marriage into your actual relationship you wouldn’t be here.” In other words, “Just f**k off.”
As far as Hall is concerned, there’s nothing wrong with taking sides. In fact, that’s what a good friend would do in a case of abuse:
It’s ok to pick a side in a relationship breakdown. Especially when one person has invested in their children and family for years while the other has invested in drugs and cheating, abuse and compulsive work
And that’s why Hall has no time for the “mutual friends” who withdrew their support when she really needed it. She wrote that they’ve tried to connect with her many times, but she can’t forget what happened:
Those mutual friends that I ran to that night? They have tried so many times to get back in with me … and all I see when I look at them is, “well we don’t really know what happened that night.” Yeah because young emotional women tend to bash themselves, don’t they?
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, within their lifetime, one in three women and one in four men have been victims of some kind of physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner. Women aged 18 to 24 are the most common victims of abuse, and domestic violence has been linked to suicide, depression, and addiction.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline says that it’s important for friends and family of someone who is being abused to offer support and help empower them to make their own decisions. That can include helping to develop a safety plan, being non-judgmental of their decisions, and acknowledging how frightening and difficult their situation is:
Let them know that you are available to help whenever they may need it. What they need most is someone who will believe and listen.
Constance Hall wants the bystanders, the false friends, the enablers, and the non-believers to understand one thing:
Look at yourselves, you are a part of the problem, it’s OK to say, “F**k off, we don’t stand for this shit.”
And for anyone who has been through the same pain she went through, Hall has a few words of comfort. She wrote:
“To any women who have left domestic violence and abuse and have lost friends because of it … you haven’t lost me.”