It’s no one else’s business

So many times I have seen or heard this. That when a couple fights, it is their business and that as long as they stay together, they should be left alone. That as long as they choose to stay in an abusive relationship, that it isn;t anyone else’s business. To some extent, this is true. Just like with an addict, until the person involved makes that decision to stop, the abused person won’t be able to leave that relationship. No matter about the arrests, the abuse, the arguments. No matter the offers of intervention, until the victim makes the decision to leave, and to stay gone,, the victim will keep going badk. That doesn’t mean the offers of intervention should stop. That just means to aknowlege that the victim has to make that committment themselves.

But I am also not saying to ignore it. Because domestic violence does reach out and touch the extended community in so many ways, it cannot just be ignored.

Sometimes the way domestic violence affects the community is very insidious. But sometimes it  is more overt.

Police responding to a domestic dispute found a woman who said that her finance 46-year-old Thomas Merchant was inside the mobile home threatening to burn it. As the mobile home was in a park, that required that several homes nearby be evacuated for their safety. For 4 hours police were tied up trying to talk to Merchant to get him to surrender. When he didn’t do so, they subdued him with tear gas and arrested him. Gasoline as well as several weapons were found in the home after the arrest.

Had Merchant started a fire, not only would the mobile home he was in have burned, police and fire department would have been tied up for longer, neighbors required to have been out of their homes for longer, but their homes could possibly have been in danger also as fire spreads. If Merchant had fired a weapon, people in surrounding homes could have been endangered as the walls of a mobile home are not going to stop a bullet.

Domestic violence is not a couple’s problem. It is a community’s problem.

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