Today, the Pittsburgh Steelers released Cedrick Wilson. The wide receiver was arraigned today on charges of simple assault, harassment, and disorderly conduct. Wilson allegedly pushed and punched his estranged girlfriend, Lindsey Paulat, at a restaurant yesterday evening. He left the restaurant but was later arrested at his home. After his arraignment today, he was released on bond, according to KDKA 2008.
Most of us have been touched in one way or another by domestic violence. It is rarer to see it in public like the alleged incident between Wilson and Paulat. It is much more likely to occur within the confines of the home. However, I am sure that some of us have seen these incidents in public, albeit not to the above extent. The public seems to have been made well aware of the problem of domestic violence, yet it continues to occur. The statistics are unreliable because many times this crime goes unreported, in many cases out of fear of retaliation.
I watched as my sister went through this cycle of violence. I could see it progress, like a cancer. It first her husband seemed a little controlling, but as a high-level executive in a major corporation, this might be expected. Time went by and I thought little of it until I saw the first bruise on her face. She gave me a typical excuse, “I slipped and fell.” I bought it. It was winter after all, and things had been icy. A year later after her emergency room visit, I stopped buying it. When I confronted her and she finally admitted to the abuse she begged me not to talk about it. She was worried for her daughter, and other repercussions. So I sat mum. Just a few weeks later, the police were called to their home after a report of screaming coming from it. Luckily, after this, my sister came to her senses, and left him. In this case, her husband did obey the restraining order, so no further action was necessary.
If you are having concerns about a loved one in an abusive relationship, or if you find yourself in this dilemma, here are some things that you must keep in mind:
1) It will not get better. Do not think that things might go back to those wonderful first months with this person. Anyone can control themselves for a time. Without serious intervention and therapy, the situation will only escalate.
2) Do not allow yourself to become isolated. Often the first thing an abuser does is try to isolate you from family and friends. These people may later become your lifeline. Stay in contact.
3) Be prepared. Find the numbers of abuse shelters, and if possible call them ahead of time. They can become another great source of support.
4) Do not be afraid to call the police. In most jurisdictions the police are required to arrest anyone accused of abuse. Moreover, while the abuser is in jail, it is now your chance to leave.
5) After you leave, DO NOT CONTACT the person again. Many are the horror stories of a person being convinced to return after apologies and promises, only to end up in a body bag.
Do not be ashamed, what is happening is not your fault. Do not wait to get out of the situation. Many people out there are ready to help. There are millions of people that have been in your shoes. If this sounds like you, the time to end it is now, today.
KDKA. 2008. http://kdka.com/steelers/Cedrick.Wilson.arrest.2.681278.html.