I started to learn about this since my first days of classes when our professors began explaining to us that we couldn't judge families since each worked in its own unique way and that it is very difficult to understand the circumstances unless you are living in them. But, it wasn't until a couple of days ago that I heard this summarized in the phrase: "We are not here to judge, we are here to help". This lesson was more significant to me during the Active Learning class, when we had a case about domestic violence. I was one of those who couldn't understand how a woman (or a man) could bear being with someone violent. I didn't understand how she could allow to be treated that way, why she wouldn't just leave? In this last case of the semester we watched a series of videos called "4 lives" in which various stories of domestic violence were presented. The one that impressed me the most was about an old couple in which the husband manipulated her wife by harming the lovebirds that she loved so much.
I never thought how much OT could do for this battered women. I thought that my role ended in identifying the situations and informing the relevant authorities. But I'm happy to know that we can do much more; like helping them prepare an escape plan, develop the skills needed to become economically independent, money and home management, parenting skills, and more.
I always imagined that it would be difficult getting out of a violence cycle once you were in, but it wasn't until I got into those four lives that I could understand the specific reasons why getting out doesn't seem like an option. If right now I were in a situation like that, I don't know if I would have the courage to escape. Getting out means leaving everything behind, being in the uncertainty, thinking about him finding you to kill you; knowing that the protection order is just a paper and not a fort. Without mentioning what would happen to the kids, would he kill them to?, would he take them away? Leaving means starting from scratch without knowing where to go. It means to be free, but with a low self esteem and no apparent skills.
I think that, as humans beings, our heads will always be going around getting into hasty conclusions. But I also think that it is possible to get used to think like the saying in my town: "nobody knows what is in the pot, except for the one who stirs it". Only that way, we can learn to admire the courage and resilience of others, and be always ready to help instead of judge.