My keynote talk for Independence House’s annual community breakfast on Cape Cod Friday was sandwiched by two very powerful events.
Survivor Jeanne Merritt in a knocks-the-socks-off talk made a rallying call for a national registry for domestic violence like they have for sexual abuse: “These guys who act so tough don’t want everyone to know that they beat up women.”
And then, in front of life-size cut-outs of the 10 women, one male, and three children domestic violence homicide victims in Massachusetts this year, each life story was read, and a purple candle lit.
At noon, CJ Kenna and I took the ferry to Nantucket for a weekend retreat to work on Phase Two of Finding Our Voices.
On a (not quite around the island) bike ride this morning I stopped at the Old South Market for a coffee. In the outdoor foyer, next to a bulletin board with business cards of yoga instructors and auto detailers was one of these very cut-outs.
Inside, the cashier had on a yellow T-shirt with the words “Be Kind”.
I complimented her on it. She told me she had the T-shirts in various colors. I assumed she liked it so much because it was an admonishment to her customers. “Oh no," she said. "It’s to remind me that no matter what kind of day I am having, be kind to people.”
When she finished checking me out she said, “Bye sweetheart, have a great day.”
As I got back on my bike I thought, “That’s what this — domestic abuse— is all about."
They are kind, or they are not.