It’s become a rather awkward topic of conversation of late – the sort-of square-shaped slightly smaller than a playing card-sized purple bruise on my right arm just about half-way between my wrist and elbow. It’s not helped by the fact that I have quite a few smaller bruises on the rest of that arm. Human nature being what it is likes to jump to the worst possible conclusion. Everyone who sees it thinks it’s the result of abuse – and since abuse victims are the first to deny that they’ve been abused then saying that it isn’t only more firmly convinces them that’s the case. Should I cover up or conceal the bruise, the people who already know it’s there would think that I had something to hide, perhaps abuse. So I have little choice but to let people see it, to let people ask about it and let people assume the worst because that’s the only way to prove that’s not the cause and the character of my loved ones is impeccable.
It doesn’t help that I’m extremely pale and bruise easily as it is. Awhile ago, I realized that I had a mysterious series of bruises. I eventually figured out that sitting cross-legged while wearing shoes was the cause – something having to do with the combination of my own weight pressing down into the edges of my shoes. As for the bruise on my arm – my guess is that the likely suspect is that my dog has figured out that if he sits on his human then she can’t get up or go anywhere and he can always be sure of where his human is at all times. He’s a seventy pound gentle giant and putting some or all of that weight on my arm would be enough to cause it.
Of course, the other point of consideration is despite so much suspicion of abuse, it all falls under the category of “not my business” and that’s the limit of what people will do in the face of their suspicions – ignore them. I know that nobody wants to be the bad guy, the tattle-tale – but it’s still pretty sad that those who actually endure abuse can pretty much expect that you’ll ignore the evidence of your eyes and your gut instinct just in case you’re wrong. People don’t like to think about the unpleasant reality that they’re right and that their silence just makes it that much easier for the abuse to keep on happen to someone else they know.
I’d much rather that abuse was taken more seriously, that people would take a risk and report it and investigate it so that people who need help but won’t ask for it can get it. Everyone deserves better than to mark it under “not my business” and go on with their lives. What’s so wrong with being wrong, anyway? Wouldn’t it just prove that one’s associates are honorable? Isn’t that better to be right and silent? Given time, my bruise will heal – but my faith in humanity has a more serious wound.