National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Silence is Not The Answer

by Christina Owens

When you’re silent
You’re identifying with him
When you’re silent
You’re telling her that her life isn’t valuable
When you’re silent
You’re condoning his behaviour
When you’re silent
You’re disregarding her
When you’re silent
You’re making excuses for him
When you’re silent
It’s your hand striking her
Silence is not the answer
Silence is the problem
Refuse to be silent

38 replies
  1. Renee says:

    I’m looking for help for my mother. She isn’t being abuse but she helps my brother who abuses women. He has beat up at least seven women and hospitalized at least two of them. Just a few days ago I found out he threw a woman down a flight of stairs and fled the cops, which led to a police chase. He called my mother, as usual, and she went and picked him up from where he was hiding. She has bought plane tickets for a few women so they won’t testify against him. And some she has just pleaded with. When he hit my niece (his daughter) my mother forced her not to testify against him.
    She won’t hear anything bad about him. He built her a nice porch and remodeled her kitchen. To her that makes him a wonderful son that loves her and takes care of her. If I try to talk to her she’ll hang up the phone or leave the house.
    I find myself not liking my mom anymore and it hurts. I can’t look at her without feeling disgusted. I don’t speak with my brother because I don’t like who he is and I’m afraid of him. Due to this I only hear about the abuse third party. My mother tells my father or niece who then tell me. I’d love to tell these women to run, but I don’t even meet them. I met one woman and I wanted to tell her to run for her life, but I was scared of how he would react.
    I’ve been living with this for years and I don’t know what to do. I’d appreciate any advice. I’ve decided to start mailing and e-mailing domestic violence pamphlets to her. Maybe forcing her to recognize that’s what this is. Does this sound like something that would actually help?

    • Malini says:

      ACTUALLY YOU ARE ALSO HELPING YOUR BROTHER’S ACT BY NOT ALERTING THE WOMEN WHO HE IS WITH. I think you should talk to them through phone or make a friend of yours talk to them. If you think your brother might hurt you or hit you please call the police and create an alert. I personally think that your mother is so very wrong in helping your brother get away with his wrong doings.
      Call the police and anonymously tell them that your brother is abusing women and that your mother is helping him out. I think both of them will return to their senses if an investigation starts on them. Atleast things will come to a stop. If you dont report this, you are only making things worse. Even if your brother is arrested and punished there is a chance that your brother might change himself and try to be a good person.
      Remember, you are the only person who can put an end to all these…. Do it now

    • Denise says:

      I am the ex-wife of an abuser who always blamed me for the abuse because I deserved it.I was the one who got quiet when he wanted to talk because he never made it safe for me to talk to him.I tried for eleven years to get help for us even going through a diagnosis of bipolar disorder in my ex-husband.I tried to be supportive and get us help but that did not save our marriage because he did not want to change,but it did save me.I can say there is help for the abused and the abuser out there if you just reach out ot the appropriate places.I had to deal with the police and the criminal justice system and struggle being viewed just as a victum of violence to them and that was it almost as a bad as being with the abuser.The only person who can get help for your brother is your brother but with your Mom please always call it what it is and that is abuse assault and don’t let her get away with calling him a good son because she is condoning and enabling an abuser as she may be doing this because of her past.She is in deep denial of what your brother is doing to thesewomen and maybe you should get some police report pictures and show her what he is doing ti them.

    • Diane says:

      Hi Renee,

      Thank you so much for sharing your voice and concerns with us. I think that it is very courageous of you to want to help these women out. You will not be able to change your moms mind regarding her views on what your brother is doing or what she may think about Domestic Violence. I’m sure it’s been difficult to witness all of this. I’m glad you thought to share your concern here with us because this is a sensitive situation where this is your brother and you want to protect women he is dating. It will take some problem-solving and safety planning about how to do this. It can be dangerous for you to just go and approch these women because he can then turn around and try to hurt you out of anger. I’m sure it has not been easy for you. You sound like a very caring person that really wants to help out. Give us a call Renee and we would be more than happy to help you problem-solve about how to handle this situation. We are confidential and anonymous hotline. Glad you wrote us. Hope to hear from you soon!
      NDVH Advocate

    • Shirley says:

      I feel sorry for your mom, he’s got her so snowed that she can’t see his faults.
      Please don’t be offended by my question, but was your mom a victum of abuse? Maybe it wasn’t her, but could it have been her mother or perhaps an older sister. It is a proven fact that people who have suffered from other kinds of abuse turn a blind eye when it happens to them or their family.
      If she reads for enjoyment, I would reccomend Piers Anthonys “Firefly”. I didn’t remember the abuse I suffered as a child untill I read that book.
      Blessings to you and yours in this Holiday Season, Lets hope enlightenment comes with the new year.

    • Tina says:

      I was involved in an abusive relationship myself. You never believe it will happen to you until it does. I made light of the situation because of the fact that I am a very strong woman and thought I was on top of it. I was, until he upped it a bit and started getting physically violent and angry over minor issues. At some point I, myself, was forced to press charges, glad I did, he’s still in jail.

      Your brother is sick, your mother is sicker!!! As a woman, how can she condone this. The worse of the worse may happen to correct this problem. I am hoping he meets the wrong woman who can fix the abuse, it does not seem as though your mother will. I would think her actions would make her an accessory to whatever goes down. I am not sure what you can do to fix the problem. If you live with your mom, over 18, and see all of this firsthand it is very unhealthy for you. I would suggest you move out.

      It’s hard for women to believe they’re in danger until it presents itself. We sometimes believe our case is different…. stupid at any rate.

  2. Heather says:

    Silence is not the answer,I will not be silent anymore. My name is Heather,and I escaped my abuser a little over 4 years ago. I still struggl alot with the abuse that has happened with me. He started with verbal and abusing my dog,then he started to abuse me. I feel the shame and the gult everyday for staying with him and allowing him to beat my dog with cable wires. I just cannot believe a person can be so cruel,to me the abuse is ok,but to the dog,its not OK..A dog is defenseless.I try to talk with my family,they say to get over it,I am in therapy and my therapist is no good where it comes to domestic abuse.I just need to scream out I have never really grieved him,been angry with him,(except about my dog)..I don’t really have anyone to talk to becaause of circumstances here with the womns shelter,and if you are not in crisis they do not want to talk to you. Even the domestic violence line,I guess they have to keep those lines open for women who are currently being abused. But,I feel lke no one wants to listen and I am a non person!! Thanks for reading my rant

    • Tina says:

      Heather, you are not a “non person” as you say. You are a person that deserves to be loved, respected, and treated with dignity. What you have gone through is a terrible thing that leaves a scare on you for the rest of your life. You’ve grieved for your dog, now it is time for you to grieve for you. I’m proud to be a woman because we are so very strong. We endure so much because we are born biologically female and we do it over and over again. Never give up is my moto and it sounds to me that you’ve set your mind and your heart on this path. If your therapist is not helping you to understand that what your feeling is normal or making you feel like you are less of a person than you are, then maybe it’s time to change therapists. You are beautiful! You are strong! You are worthy! Look into that mirror everyday for the rest of your life and remind yourself…I AM beautiful…I AM strong….I AM worthy! I’ve been there and I’m on my way to a wonderful life because I know that I AM all of these things and I can do anything I choose to do!!!

    • Arlene says:

      Why don’t you leave him? My little dog is my best friend and if someone hurt her, I would probably hurt them back. She means as much to me as my children do. She is my family. Someone poisoned my other dog, her son, and I cried for over a year. The church I used to go to had grief counseling for people who lost pets. You should gets some counseling before he starts to beat on you.

    • Shirley says:

      Silence doesn’t work! I was the victum of mental abuse for years, I didn’t know there was such a thing untill I gave some voluntary time at a womans shelter in Idaho several years ago. I understand about the womans shelter not taking time on their domestic hotline, but perhaps you could talk to someone associated with the shelter and see if they could organise a group for survivors and women who are in abusive relationships now.
      There is strength in numbers and it is easier to seek help and get out of an abusive relationship if you know you’re not the only one and you have the backing of a group of women behind you.
      THERE ARE NO NON PEOPLE!!!!!!!!! You are not the only one, not in America, not in your state, and probably not in your home town if it’s of any size. People need to have someplace to talk all the time. If your DV shelter can’t help, organize it yourself! Know that this group would be there for all its members, and it might give someone else a chance to talk about what’s happening to them.
      Remember that words can hurt worse than kicks because they stay with you your whole life.
      Please grab your bootstraps and drag yourself up out of that relationship.
      When I read your comment I saw several tale tell signs of an abuser.
      Please get help. He is isolating you from friends and family, hurting your dog(someone you love) and making you feel worthless. YOU ARE NOT HIS SLAVE. YOU HAVE RIGHTS AND HE’S VIOLATING THEM. Please seek help now.

  3. Heather says:

    Thank you for all your lovely comments..I appreciate them all! I will start to look for a new therapist and start to say those things in the mirror to myself. Thanks you once again.

  4. sally says:

    I have been in a relation for 2yrs and recently got married to this guy, after the marriage he has become a defferent person. Now he want me to stop my church, he want me to stop talking to my relatives, when i am on the phone he will be be questioning me to know who i am on the phone with. He has become so possessive and i dont know what to do.
    He is the one who takes care of me and occassionally my uncle come and give me some money to support him. He always has to see me in the house after he close from work or else i have an explaination to give. It was not like this when we were dating so i am finding it difficult to belief if this is an abuse. I therefore told a friend about it and when he heard it, he fled and has since not return home for 2weeks now. Please can you help me? i am so scared of what he would do later.
    yours sincerely,

    • mina says:

      This is abuse it will get worse there is NOTHING you can do to change this . get out if you dont have money go to a shelter talk to friends and family…Do it now do not listen to him he will fill your mind with lies…

  5. Kathryn says:

    Sally, it sounds like you need to contact the NDVH hotline so that their advocates can assist you with various resources in your area.

    Anytime your safety is being compromised it is certainly time to reconsider whether or not to stay in the relationship. It sounds like you have some concerns that are certainly identifiers of being in an abusive relationship, such as the alienation and isolation that this person has attempted to do to you as well. If you go to the GET EDUCATED tab on this website, you can also find the power and control wheel, of which the alienation and isolation is a marked item on the wheel.

    Please feel free to call the hotline and talk to one of their many advocates at 1-800-799-7233. They are there 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week.

  6. mina says:

    who knows the answer ? I called 911 this time I did get a restraing order but he broke it no one did anything about it. He tied me up beat me with a flash light tore tendons in my hand choked me and said he was going to kill me. Lots of court dates he missed alot of them nothing happened to him a 3 week trial and one jury person wouldnt talk so it was a miss trial. Then long story short he pleads to a mistaminer and walks away…its been one year 10 months of my life, people say just move on…. Well what Im very thankful for is this amazing career Mary Kay, I wouldnt of made it with out it…….

    • Diane says:


      Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. There are many times that justice does not prevail as you have experienced. At the National Domestic Violence Hotline we offer alot of resources where you could get support as far as counseling or support groups that you may find helpful. I’m glad you are safe and that you have a great career to fall back on. Please know you can contact us anytime, we are a confidential 24 hour hotline.

      NDVH Advocate

    • Kathryn says:

      No is no is no, no matter if you are married or not. It is your body and you have the right to have control over your own body. Remember that please.

      The National Center for Victims of Crime states on their pages a little more about the history of the spousal rape crime on, if you would like to read more about that subject matter.

      Feel free to call the hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and an advocate can give you information about the nearest rape crisis center to your area that you can talk to and/or obtain counseling from. Someone is answering those lines 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week.

  7. Melissa says:

    I had 2 sons with a man who continously abused me, physically, and mentally. At one point it was so bad that he beat me up outside my apartment complex in front of like 20 on lookers and NO ONE stepped in, I thought it couldn’t get any worse until one morning I was met with him kicking my door open and smashing my head with an industrial sized pipe wrench!! At that point I decided to press charges and have him thrown in jail. You think it would have stopped then and there, but it did not I ended up marrying a man with a gun obsession and more often than not I had a gun pointed at me. I would laugh and make jokes through my fear and say things like”you wouldn’t do that to me, you know what I have been through” and would be told not to sleep that night. Well this went on for 4 years until one day he pulled put his gun and demanded that I shoot him or he was going to kill me!! I was ordered to sit down and shut the “f” up and take the gun, when I stood up he took the gun pointed it at my head and pulled the trigger, I was able to get away from him but not before he tried to shoot me in the back as I ran out. I was forbidden to have friends who were attractive or of the opposite sex, I was accused of slepping with ALL of my co workers and neighbors and also forbidden to go to school. At this point I had 3 children and I was given a choice (THANK GOD) by my mother either him or my children. I chose my children and he went to jail. I can honestly say that if my mother had not stepped in I would be dead or still a prsioner in my own life. I would hope that all woman or men being abused can see thier worth and if you have no one to reach out to call the hotline and take back your life befor someone else takes it for you. ~ Thank you ~

    • HotlineAdmin_dp says:

      Hi Melissa,

      Thank you for sharing your story with us. Your situation was very intense and dangerous. I’m glad you are out of that situation, if you are interested in any kind of support services please give us a call at the National Domestic Violence Hotline, we are a 24 hour confidential hotline.

      NDVH Advocate

  8. Jackie says:

    Growing up, I lost my mother at the age of 13; she was 32. I immediately stepped into the role of mom for my younger sister and step siblings. Life wasn’t easy, but I didn’t know any better. I wish I could say the same now.

    Looking back, I never would’ve dreamed I’d be one to allow someone to physically, emotionally and verbally abuse…but boy was I wrong! I saw my mom fight so hard to live and I feel like I’ve given up. I’m so ashamed. I’ve put up with the same man for 20 years (half of my life).

    Over the years, I’ve figured out some of the actions that seem to trigger his rage…but lately he’s been so unpredictive. He has so much more anger and I just want him to leave me alone.

    After dating off and on for 10 years or so, he demanded I move in with him. I ‘obeyed’ and moved right in – even though I knew it was a bad idea. I lived with him for 4 years and it was horrible. I was constantly being blamed for everything – often times resulting in abuse towards me. I eventually got up enough nerve to move out while he was at work. He has no idea where I live, but I still continue to see him because I worry about him. I know, as I type this, I must sound absolutely crazy, but I’ve been like this so long – I’m not sure how to think sometimes.

    I’m so isolated from family and friends – even though I don’t live with him. I’m scared to death to miss a telephone call from him because I know I’ll get in trouble – which again, will lead to some sort of violence.
    I’m so very tired of this life. I want to be happy and adopt a child – but certainly cannot do so with him in my life.

    Lately, I’ve told myself I need to get out of this relationship, but as you know it’s not as easy as it seems. I found a survey online and the results were sickening to me. Of the 17 signs of abuse, I answered yes to all. I’m so ashamed I’ve put up with this for so long.

    • HotlineAdmin_dp says:

      Hi Jackie,

      Thanks for sharing your story with us. It took alot of courage for you to move out of the home you shared with your partner. When you are in an abusive relationship, it can be very isolating and lonely. Many times friends and family do not understand the dynamics around Domestic Violence and want to help or reach out but don’t know how. Please feel free to call us and we would be happy to problem solve with you and provide resources to support services like Domestic Violence Programs that provide individual counseling, support groups and legal services. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a safe and confidential 24 hour hotline.

      NDVH Advocate

  9. shauntiana says:

    I need help I am only 17 and I am in ollege! I been with this boy for 2 years and he has humiliated my life. He hits me slaps, chokes me while im driving! Im just scared he said if I leave him he is going to get his people to kill me! I am scared for my life! He made me drop out of school! He said that I aint going no where without having his baby! I am not ready to commite to having a baby! I can’t have friends he doesn’t want me around my family! the only people that I told is my cousin, step dad and cousin isaiah! I just am afraid I wont see light again

    • Clementina says:

      Dear Shauntiana,

      I feel so terrible for you. :( Do NOT give in to his demands to “having his baby”. What you are describing is an abusive relationship, and the best thing for you to do would be to break this relationship off before he can get any more control over your life. Please, dear, do this. And tell another person you trust to help. Couldn’t your cousin or stepdad help you? In any case, please remember the National Domestic Abuse Hotline is always open for you. I hope for all the best in your life.

  10. HotlineAdmin_RE says:

    Thank you for contacting the Share Your Voice blog. It sounds like you are in a really difficult situation. Leaving an abusive relationship can be the most dangerous time, so if you are considering leaving, it is important that you take every measure to keep yourself safe. He has no right to put his hands on you. There are local programs that might be able to offer safe shelter if you are concerned he will try to come find you. You can always contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE. There are advocates available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and everything is anonymous and confidential.

    NDVH Blog Admin

  11. carole g. says:

    I don’t know what to do! I’m stuck. I haven’t been physically abused in about 15 years, but for me, the emotional abuse is MUCH worse. I don’t know how much more I can take! I cry every day and he’s got something new to yell about every day. Now we’re stuck on things that happened 30 years ago before we were married. I don’t have a job and of course I don’t have any close friends to help me. I grew up in a foster home and therfore don’t have any family to help. I don’t want to drag my adult children into this as I don’t feel its fair to make them take sides(even though they all know whats going on).
    Does anyone have any suggestions? I know there are shelters out there but those are for women who are physically abused and need to be safe. Thats not true in my case. The only thing I’m really in danger of losing is my mind if this torture doesn’t stop soon. Please if anyone has ANY suggestions, I would be most grateful for them. I just have this feeling if I don’t get away SOON, I’m gonna go quietly insane and then be at his mercy forever.

    • Sandra B says:

      Carole G,
      I just started reading this blog, and my heart goes out to you. The mental and emotional abuse is sometimes worse than the physical abuse. Being financially dependent does make it even worse. Call hotlines, call shelters, ask for help. Don’t try to do this on your own, because you aren’t alone. Start going to a counselor, just to have someone to talk with about it. I do care, and do understand. I went through it. Just remember you don’t deserve it, no matter what he or anyone else says.

  12. HotlineAdmin_KL says:

    Hi Carole,
    I am sorry we are not able to respond immediately on the blog, but we are available 24 hours a day on the hotline at 1-800-799-7233. I can hear how much of a toll your husband’s emotional abuse is taking on you. Emotional abuse can be as bad or even worse than physical abuse. Like you mentioned, it can be difficult to get into a shelter if you aren’t experiencing physical abuse. There are options! I encourage you to call the hotline and talk to an advocate about the emotional abuse. An advocate can help you safety plan around it, and also help you find counseling referrals. Thank you so much for contributing to the blog community.
    NDVH Blog Admin

  13. Louise says:

    I feel your pain. I too have a similiar situation and have always remained silent. This time my husband decided to have a fit of rage, my daughter heard all the yelling. In the past neighbors would offer me keys to their house if i had to leave, This time he went too far and the whole family is aware of what iss happening. They have all encouraged me to take action this time.

    He is the principal wage earner – we are both retired and on pensions. last month he maxed out my credit cards and refused to pay “what do you expect of me”?

    After spending two days in the hospital from heart symptoms, I have decided to contact our local resources.

    Perhaps your adult children would assist you to do the same. You are under unreasonable stress and time is not on your side. Please act now.

  14. Georgia says:

    I have been married to a person who severely emotionally and verbally abuses me for almost 10 years. I could write a book about all I’ve gone through, but in short I will say that he cycles from hating my guts, criticizing me, cussing me out and calling me names to loving and adoring me. It keeps me off balance and very depressed. He says I’m a horrible mother to our 2 children, that I’m crazy (I have anxiety/panic attacks – likely due to all I’ve gone thru with him), that I am incompetent and don’t make enough money. He refuses to work and has been voluntarily unemployed for over 3 years now. He gets into altercations on every job he gets and gets fired or quits in anger, putting us in dire financial straits. We had a business together and he used that business as a tool for control and abuse, constantly screaming at me that I was not doing the work right and blaming me that the business was failing. He would not even answer the phone and had me doing almost everything. I would like to leave, but since I have not been hit or physically abused, I can’t go into the local shelter. It’s true I make all the money, but whereever I go, he’d find me and make my life a living hell. I also really fear him killing me and/or the kids because he does have a gun. He is full of anger and always threatens to leave me and take the kids. He would also come to my work and likely cause me to lose my job. I am monitored on the internet, my phone records are checked and I would not be surprised if he recorded me on the phone or in the house. He takes me to and from work so I don’t have much access to the car. I hate my life and get more depressed by the day. I have no friends as I can’t be positive and upbeat like the women I work with who are always talking about their fun holidays they have planned, their great family lives, etc. I am ashamed of what I live and have to go home to, but I keep a brave face and act like everything is OK. It helps to know there are other women like me out there.

    • HotlineAdmin_dp says:

      Hi Georgia,

      Thank you so much for reaching out and sharing your story. It sounds like you have been through so much in this relationship and that your husband’s abuse is escalating. Someone who is abusive will always try to put you down and make you feel worthless but don’t believe it. You are none of the things he says you are. It takes so much strength to endure what you have endured from him. You don’t deserve to be treated this way and with him having a gun, it makes this situation that much more dangerous. Please know that you can call The National Domestic Violence Hotline 24 hours a day, the hotline is confidential and anonymous. We can help you problem solve around this, safety plan and provide resources where you can get help and support. You are not alone.

      NDVH Advocate

  15. kkrastin says:


    We really have to caution on giving advice for someone to leave. Leaving can be difficult and every situation is a bit different; definitely something that we hear a lot about on the hotline. It’s so much easier from a perspective of one looking in that they are in an obvious choice to leave. We find that sometimes, if we ask, “What are some of the hurdles in you leaving?”, we can find out a little more about their situation and not be so quick to judge on what the obvious choice(s) could be.

    It is true that, if one is 18 years old, they do have the option to legally leave their parents, but they might not have transportation, they may not be able to work, they may have some form of a disability, they may have many different things that might be happening – so we must take a step back and find out what it really happening in their situation.

    Oftentimes, here at the hotline, we have many resources, free of charge, for victims of domestic violence; sometimes, the same resources may be good for family violence victims as well. Just saying. Be cautious how you are advising someone to up and leave if you haven’t found out the underlying road blocks that the victim may perceive that he/she has.

    It is good that you were able to get out of your relationship and it certainly can be a great story of encouragement for others; however, just keep in mind, every situation is very different and may have to be treated and approached with kid gloves.


    NDVH Hotline Advocate_kk

  16. Sandra B says:

    I refuse to be silent. I blog about my 21 years of abuse. In spite of pleas to stop from my children, I keep posting. As long as I am able, I will tell my story. Silence condones the abuse. I refuse to condone it. 

    The abuse never stops, it only gets worse, and it passes down through the generations. My younger son (now age 24) has already been arrested for domestic violence against his girlfriend. She went back to him. He refuses to allow me to see my grandson because I speak out against the abuse. I refuse to stop.  

    I have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder. My Dr suspects I may have brain damage such as Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (also known as boxers brain damage), due to repeated head trauma from the beatings I received. The tests for it continue, as do my nightmares, anxiety attacks, increasing problems with short term memory loss, and other physical problems directly related to the abuse.

    I am a survivor with a very loud voice. If I could I would shout it from the rooftops. I only wish there was some way to bring assault charges against him.  

    Do not condone domestic violence, do not be silent.  

  17. HotlineAdmin_RE says:

    Thank you for sharing with our community. Telling your story helps others in similar situations know that they are not alone. You have been through alot and you have the right to talk about it. If you need to talk to someone for support or want to find a program to get involved with on a local level, you are welcome to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline. We are here 24/7 and all calls are confidential and anonymous.

    NDVH Advocate RE

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