Thursday, September 30, 2010

Victims of Silence

A couple of days back, Tabitha Bird wrote this post - This is Why I Write. I cannot even start to comprehend what she had gone through in her life, and it must have taken her enormous courage to put her story up on a public forum. I want you to read what she wrote- reading it will only take a few minutes, but it is unlikely ever to leave you.

And on the same note, here is something I witnessed a few months back, and which I have put down in words only today. Silence is not always the option. Sometimes, we have to speak up, sometimes we have to interfere.

Rush hour. One woman decided another had invaded her personal space. She picked up an argument.
"How dare you kick me?"
"I didn't. You stepped on my toes, I pushed your feet away."
People watched, fascinated.

"God will punish you."
"If your god has nothing better to do, let him."
"How dare you!" 

Her station arrived. She slapped the other woman on the face, and got off.

Helpless, the other woman burst into tears. Everyone rushed to comfort her. Told her they were on her side.

She cried even more. Not for herself but for the other victims of silence.
And I do know that for a fact, because that woman was Me.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.


Margot Kinberg said...

Rayna - Tabitha's post is, indeed, very powerful, isn't it? Folks do please read it.

And thanks for this wonderful Drabble. It really is a wonderful reminder of how dangerous silence can be.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Margot - that was the first time I realised how dangerous silence could be. Sometimes you are so focussed on being 'correct' you don't interfere in what you consider doesn't concern you. But you do need to.

Holly Ruggiero, Southpaw said...

Freaky. The hostile woman and the bystanders who probably didn’t think it would escalate into violence. Freaky.

Jules said...

Yes, Tabitha's post broke my heart. Yours is beautifully sad and yet uplifting. It is a strong soul who cries for those not often seen.

Great Drabble, Rayna
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Holly- the worst thing is that they were all well-meaning people who encouraged the bully through their silence. If even one had spoken up, she would have backed down.

The slap didn't hurt. I know, because the woman was me.

@ Jules- till that day, I never realised how dangerous silence could be.

Melissa said...

Ugh. I hate things like that, when people don't speak up. You captured the moment well.

Hopping over to check out Tabitha's post.

Dyche Designs said...

What a horrible thing to experience, people carry so much anger in them.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Melissa - silence actually encourages the bully. I realised it that day.

@ Katheryn- they do, don't they? How can anyone slap a stranger?

Mary said...

Oh Rayna, if we only realized the heavy price of silence.
Beautiful drabble.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I sympathize with you.. It feels terrible - especially as people only sympathized with you AFTER the other person left and not during the tirade. We have to stand up - I wholeheartedly agree!

Michele Emrath said...

Rayna! You are so strong. You are really amazing. You are someone I look up to and respect.

Thank you for sharing. May we all look out for the silent.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

What an awful little incident!

Faith said...

This is a wonderful reminder for us that we can't afford to stay silent in situations like the one you went through. It's simply wrong.

I'm going to read Tabitha's post now...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I read Tabitha's post yesterday.

And she slapped you!? What was wrong with that woman? Hope she doesn't have kids if that's her answer to everything.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

What a powerful post. Writing does have such a healing power to it--and so does reading. She makes such an eloquent post against book banning.

As far as the woman on the train...I'm with Alex. Hope she doesn't have children.

PK Hrezo said...

Wow, Rayna! Thanks for posting that. My eyes welled with tears reading Tabitha's post. Just heart breaking.

I don't blame you for crying in the subway either. What a mean lady! People like that make me embarrassed I'm a human.

Clarissa Draper said...

Wow, what a touching post. I read Tabatha's article and was deeply moved by that as well.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Rayna, that's terrible! I'm glad those on the train sided with you, but too bad no one took the woman to task for her behavior.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Your drabbles are always moving, Rayna, but this is powerful stuff. i do a lot of character education with my students and much of it deals with the dangers of silence. You're right about the need to speak out.

Patricia Stoltey said...

That's a very powerful drabble, Rayna. Silence is not always golden, but sometimes it's very hard to speak up when we're accustomed to keeping our opinions to ourselves.

Now must go read the Tabitha Bird post.

Tabitha Bird said...

That is a most powerful drabble today. And thank you so much for posting it and linking to me. I am humbled and deeply moved that others care so much :)

I agree. Silence is so sad and so damaging.

I am so sorry about that woman you met. I can't believe she slapped you! Gosh! Hugs to you and thank you for your courage in posting.

Theresa Milstein said...

I was moved by Tabitha's post as well and shared it today.

How sad the woman decided she knew what God would do. Those types of accusations often come from the least peace-seeking, angriest people.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Tab's post is so powerful, and so is yours. Silence doesn't make hurts go away. If anything, it helps them grow.

Ellie said...

So powerful; I am glad you shared it!
We really don't know do we, what is the underlying current of silence, til we see acts of violence, people who go and shoot at random. Was it really random? Silence can be scary!
Great read, off to check out Tabitha~

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Mary- totally. We do care, we do sympathise, but we are often too polite to "interfere". Except sometimes, we have to.

@ Fiona- precisely. They were such a lovely bunch of people AFTER the incident. But, why did they all watch during? But I have learnt a lesson, the next time something like this happens, I am going to challenge people to take sides.

@ Michele- but I am ashamed of myself. I should not have stood and cried. I should have got down, and reported the woman to the police. But I didn't because I had the kids to pick up from Daycare, and couldn't afford the time. Which was what she was counting on.

@ Debra- made me almost start questioning human nature. But by the end of the week, I was actually feeling sorry for her. How unhappy must she be to have been driven to slap a stranger.

@ Faith- precisely.

@ Alex- she did. Which was so unexpected, I still wonder if I imagined the whole thing. Maybe she is a victim of domestic violence and that is the only language she knows?

@ Elizabeth- Tabitha's post does make you think doesn't it?

@ PK Hrezo- absolutely. How could anyone slap a stranger?

@ Clarissa- Tabitha's post has refused to leave me.

@ Diane- siding with me after the incident actually made it worse. Why couldn't they have spoken up when the woman was bulling me?

@ Shannon- silence, I am now realising is almost as bad as doing the wrong thing. I do hope I am able to convey that to my kids too.

@ Patricia- we tell ourselves we shouldn't interfere. But sometimes we should. I know that now.

@ Tabitha- THANK YOU, Tab. Your words refuse to leave me, and I promise you I will never remain silent again.

@ Theresa- precisely! Who is she presume to tell God what to do? The truly devout accept, not dictate.

@ Tricia- true. Silence only increases the pain.

@ Ellie- to have so much antagonism towards a stranger that you want to hurt them physically- I can't start to understand such people. All I can say is they must be terribly unhappy to have so much negativity iin them.

Jen Chandler said...

Hello Rayna,

I found your moving post via Tabitha's facebook.

Thank you for speaking out. I, too, read her post and was moved beyond words. I've been thinking alot this week about silence and it's danger, about why I write and what it is I have to say.

Thank you for having the courage to SPEAK.


Rayna M. Iyer said...

Thank you for dropping by, Jen.

Tabitha is an inspiration, and her post still haunts me. I wonder how many crimes I have perpetuated by remaining silent.


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