We’re about three weeks into November, which means it’s been that long since Domestic Violence Awareness Month ended.
Sexual assault and domestic violence are issues above all others that should receive more recognition, more attention, and more respect than just the month of October can provide. That’s why I’m bringing it up again, only three weeks out.
Because even with the fantastic and comprehensive awareness efforts to educate people on these matters, coordinated by Wheaton students, faculty and staff, things slip through the cracks. A great many of us can resume our daily lives claiming to support, claiming to advocate for, the victims/survivors of these criminal acts. But even with the best heart in the world, it can be hard — as it is within any systemic societal norm — to look outside the box of a system that inherently protects abusers from answering for their actions.
Two of my closest friends in the world are victims/survivors, and there have been sobering times where my advocacy has faltered, or even failed. Humans — even editors — make mistakes sometimes, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t recognize that mistake, shouldn’t apologize, shouldn’t vow to do better.
I vow to do better. We must all vow to do better. Any change to the unjust system I have described requires constant vigilance. And from this point forward, I, for one, will be prepared to be much more vigilant. Let us not relegate our awareness of these issues to a single month on the calendar, but keep them in mind, forever and always, as reminders of what must change. I know I will, and I hope you’ll join me.