Violence. It is pervasive in our global culture, and with the advent of the internet, here in America it is inescapable. As I child, the only violence I was subjected to was skirmishes with my brother; we had some knock down drag outs of which I was both equally the victim and the perpetrator, the butchering of animals and bullying in school, but home was a safe place. I knew I was a beloved child. I knew that no matter what happened outside, I could come home and be safe. My Dad was an Army Ranger, turned professor, my mother a former sorority girl who could skin snakes, butcher chickens and it seemed to me, at the time, deal with any situation. And then when I was 14 my father died. His was the first dead body I would see.
My first real experience with physical violence was at age 20. A car in which I was riding was broadsided by an intoxicated driver and I was thrown out of the back seat and run over by a 3,000 lbs. vehicle. It crushed everything from my left hip down. I was classified as a victim – second degree assault, assault with a deadly weapon. Since then I have been in three war zones, performed CPR on a man who dove headfirst off a parking garage, been bullied by adults and children in person and anonymously over the internet, and sexually harassed.
Not surprisingly I have been diagnosed with PTSD. You might think that this is the result of being in three war zones. It’s not.
The Violence Prevention Alliance defines violence as "the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation.” For me this offers a more comprehensive view than Webster, because I believe that neglect and words can cause violence.
Our government wants us to live in fear, fear perpetrates violence. I refuse to accommodate them. And although I have been afraid in the face of violence, I do not live in fear of it. Why? I believe that the safe space my parents created for me as child and the safe spaces I create for myself as an adult have allowed me to become resilient in a world filled with violence. And God promises a safe place always.
The phrase “do not be afraid,” appears in the Bible 365 times. “Do not be afraid, I am with you. I have called you each by name. Come and follow Me, I will bring you home; I love you and you are Mine.”