Three-Part Series: There’s Nothing and Everything Domestic at Work
Part 2: Hidden in Plain Sight
Did you know that 1 in 4 women who suffer are in DV and silent, isolated, and in fear because of this abuse? These women look professional--like everything is under control--and that they have it all together.
I was that woman. I held it all together with precision because to look otherwise would be considered weak. I thought that if I looked weak then I would be judged and could lose my job. My job was my financial freedom to live and I was never going to lose the ability to care for my family.
I could keep my five children, three with autism, dressed, fed, and ready to get in the van to head for work and school--and arrive on time. I dove into any teaching position and support position that they wanted to show my loyalty and to guarantee my position.
I was going to hold everything together for my job and not this opportunity slip through my hands. I had been in severe financial abuse for 9 years and I was finally making a living wage. I was not going to lose my job to abuse. Meaning no one was going to know that I was in danger at home because I felt that that could threaten my job.
You may know of someone you know and love who is in this abuse. You are that co-worker. You are NOT the victim but you know a victim and you think about her during staff meetings, during lunch hour, and let your thoughts wander wondering thinking, how is she are doing--really? I know that there is something I could do. I wish I could help. She is hidden in plain sight.
Help...you as the co-worker feel helpless to know what to even do. You can make a power-decisions when it counts, you can get the work done and meet your deadlines, yet you don't even know how to approach your fellow co-worker to let her know that you care and that you are worried about her.
Others at work are suspecting that the same co-worker is in trouble but again, you don't know what to say or do so you say and do nothing. Until that one day, she doesn't report for work. Then She misses the next day. You leave a voicemail and think, I hope she comes in tomorrow.
But, on your way into work you here reported over the local news, a story about someone that matches the profile of your co-worker. You heart stops and you have a lump in your throat! The report continues, she was attacked in her home stabbed to death, her children hurt and now in state care, and as you turn into work you know that she will never return to work.
You think, "How? Did this happen? She was smart, gifted, and talented. She was quiet at work but did great at her work. I should have said something! But now, she is gone.” You never knew the depths of the danger she was facing because she was hidden in plain sight! Another statistic added to list of DV.
Why should you care? Why should businesses and corporations care about anyone in Domestic Violence or Intimate Partner Abuse? It’s something that happens at home. It’s not happening at work. There are many reasons why you should care. Look back on the statistics from part 1. The numbers are staggering. Here is a Bar graph to give you a quick ready reference.
The second reason to care, As an employee you might be asking, “What does this have to do with me?” You might be the lifeline to someone’s life. Literally. Do you know what to say? Do you know what to do if you suspect that your fellow employee is being abused? Do you know how to help the victim? No?
Not surprising, not many people do. I created a quick quiz survey asking 10 questions. And only 17% of the people polled had the skills to know what to do if someone is in an abusive situation. I’m on a mission to change that because at work, they are hidden in plain sight.
In Part 3 of “There’s Nothing and Everything Domestic at Work” you will learn about the training program I developed to help Employee Assistant Programs/ HR departments to train their employees on how to truly support someone who is in an abusive situation that will give them the best chance for getting out. If you need immediate assistance please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.