In the twilight, I stop outside the front door. I focus in on the flowers, purple clusters cloaked in dusk. I try to quiet my thoughts, let the petals remind me that the world is full of beauty.
For 19 hours this week I've sat in a room with 25 other people. We listen. We watch. We learn. We speak. After reading stories of unspeakable things, we cry. We admit how much it hurts to imagine that people can do such things. I choke up explaining that my heart hurts because it affects the survivors, but also creates a world in which women are frightened.
Our group is a ragtag bunch of college students, males, females, a probation officer, people big and small, mothers and daughters. Different as can be, but united by one single attribute - hearts too big for our chests. Urges and desires to reach out, to support those who cannot support themselves.
In the car on the way home after hearing about domestic violence for three hours, I think 'people are fucking fucks'. It's not a change in my views. Just how I am feeling at the moment. I live, I believe, that people are inherently good. I choose not to be afraid, not to worry about the worst of things, because what would be the point to life then?
I am overcome by the feeling of not knowing. How is it possible that people could treat one another this way? How is it possible that in our "progressive" society, a woman is battered every 12 seconds? How is it possible that in this world where women have supposedly come so far, 7 of of us die every day at the hands of someone we trust?
I cannot comprehend it. Then I realize that I don't need to. I will hold my head high. I will be there for you. For you who need me. One at a time, in the moment, providing what I can to help healing begin.
I feel weird saying I feel called to do this. I have never felt this way before about anything in my life. In the past, I've been the kind who would get that tinge of 'that's weird' upon hearing someone talk about a calling. Perhaps until you hear that call, you cannot understand it. I am nervous, but not afraid. I know that this is somewhere I am supposed to be. I hope that one day it might lead to an actual job beyond volunteer work.
I am sure.
Next week, I will be an advocate for Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Services.