Patty Wetterling: Make Abuse Your Business!

Patty Wetterling was the guest speaker at the second annual Taking Steps Against Domestic Violence walk to support a violence-free community in Alexandria, MN, which concluded at Calvary Lutheran Church.

According to the linked article, Wetterling believes that domestic abuse – whether to children, women or men – should be everyone’s business. People should stand up and say no, she said. They should make it their business.

“Nobody deserves to get beaten,” she stated.

Wetterling shared a story of when she was a teacher and how one of her students talked about her family and how she “hated” them. Wetterling talked with a colleague who said the girl had a tendency to lie and make up stories and that Wetterling probably shouldn’t believe what she was saying.

The next week, the girl came to school with a black eye.

Wetterling said she took the girl and together, they walked over to the other staff person and Wetterling said, “I believe what she is saying.”

Another story she shared was when she took a human relations class and a woman talked about how she had been abused and how, at the time, couldn’t leave the relationship.

As she was telling another classmate the story, Wetterling said, “I couldn’t fathom what she was saying. Why she couldn’t leave.”

The classmate turned to Wetterling and said, “I’ll tell you why I stay.”

Wetterling told the group that once again, she was shocked, and just like with her student, questioned why she couldn’t see what was happening around her.

“How could I not see this?” she said of what was happening with her classmate.

Instead of people not being engaged in other people’s lives, Wetterling believes that people need to connect on a deeper level.

People need to rally around all the children in their lives, all the women in their lives and all the men in their lives.

“We need to be vigilant against these types of crime,” she said. “People need to believe in the fact that they are human and don’t deserve to be treated like that.”

Video games, television shows, commercials, movies and the like send wrong messages to children.

Wetterling talked about one video game in particular – Grand Theft Auto – where it’s OK to kill people and to treat women with disrespect.

Unfortunately, she said, video games have a big impact on children, which is why they shouldn’t be subjected to such crude behavior.

At the end of her speech, Wetterling talked about what citizens in communities around the world can do to help combat the issue of domestic abuse and general crime, especially to children.

First off, from a very young age, women and men alike should be told, “You deserve better. Nobody has a right to hurt you. It’s not OK and you need to find help if it happens.”

Community members need to make “it” – violence and abuse – their problem.

People need to become engaged and start paying attention to children more.

People need to become part of the solution, not be a part of the problem.

They should stop using offensive language against women and simply stop degrading women.

Citizens should stand up, not stand by and watch.

And lastly, Wetterling said, “If you are a victim of violence, hold onto your dreams. Don’t give up. Keep up your hopes and dreams and together, we can make a difference – if not in our lives, in the lives of others.”

A huge kudos to Patty Wetterling from me for standing up and speaking out!!! This is what we need – people who will make it their business even when they haven’t had to live the nightmare personally first.

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