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Perspective: I'm sorry we have failed you.

Jason Leung

To everyone we have lost to relationship violence, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for every time we thought “this isn’t my business,” “what happens in the privacy of your home is none of my concern," and “I don’t need to get involved.”

I’m sorry for every time we whispered “if it were really that bad, I’m sure they would leave;” “if it were really that bad, I’m sure we would notice;” “if it were really that bad, I would know.”

I’m sorry for every time you heard the words “well at least they don’t hit you” or “it could be so much worse.” I’m sorry for every time you had to hide because you weren’t sure how we would react. I’m sorry we made you shrink and cower and lie because you didn’t know if you would be believed, supported, and protected.

I’m sorry for every time we blamed their behavior on drinking, mental illness, or stress. I’m sorry for every time we blamed their behavior on you. I’m sorry we failed to build a culture that raises empathetic, caring, emotionally strong partners, co-parents, and lovers.

And to all those we lost whose pictures were not shown on the nightly news and who weren’t given the attention and resources your experiences deserved, I am especially sorry. We have failed you.

We may have never raised a hand to our partner. We may never have acted in violence. But we all have still played a part in creating a culture that is killing our loved ones. And this October, during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I am begging you to not turn away. Pay attention. Feel the pain of those we have lost. And commit to creating a better future.

I’m Lynnea Erickson Laskowski and that is my perspective.

Lynnea Erickson Laskowski is a former resident (and forever enthusiast) of the DeKalb area. Originally from Iowa, Lynnea moved to DeKalb in 2011 to complete a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. She currently lives in Washington DC with her toothless dog.