As I started to think of the YWCA’s Week Without Violence, I was trying to imagine what a world without violence would look like. While I was trying to imagine this world, I was distracted by the alerts coming through my phone… deaths from a bar shooting, a food delivery person shot while working, unexplained dead bodies found in an abandoned car, teachers charged for sexual assault and the list goes on and on. These are the traumas that happen to victims we don’t know personally, yet the stories leave us sick to our stomach because the world is such a scary place. We wonder how did the world become such a scary place to live where kids are bullied and beaten for being ‘different’ or unique, a woman being abused by her husband or the person assaulted and raped at a party. The violence leaves them bloody, bruised, physically broken and exposed for the world to see. Maybe in a world without violence, these violent acts wouldn’t occur and I would have alerts on my phone for how the stock market is doing, who won the Giants game on a Sunday or the Yankees winning a playoff game.
Then we have the thoughts about violent events afraid of what could happen to us or the people closest to us. In a world without violence, it would be a woman that could walk to her car without rushing and having her keys in between her fingers, just in case someone approached her. That same woman wouldn’t have to immediately lock her car doors in fear she missed something or someone. In a world without violence, a woman could go running with music playing in her ears buds, without worrying she is running alone and without having to bring a can of mace with her. A world without violence would allow people to go about their day and their activities without always the fear or anxiety of being on high alert, looking over their shoulders and having some sort of weapon on them just in case.
Violence isn’t always visible to the eye. For me, violence is my five-year-old self that was molested by my babysitter who was a family friend. There wasn’t any blood or bruises that people could see. It was a secret I carried around for many years ashamed and embarrassed. In a world without violence, it would be a world that would allow me to be a mother where I drop my son off at daycare or sports without always ruminating about the what-ifs of someone hurting him. It would allow me to not have to contemplate that when he has had a bad day at school there is a possibility that someone assaulted him the way someone assaulted me at a young age. In a world without violence, you can trust people that are there to protect you rather than them abusing that trust and hurting you. Oh, what a wonderful world that would be.
Amy Weiner is an accounting executive and CPA with 20 years of experience in both public and private accounting, as well as learning and development. Amy received her Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Lehigh University. Since joining the Board of Directors of the YWCA Northern New Jersey in May 2018, Amy has taken on various roles including Treasurer and participating in the Time is Now Action Council. She is passionate and committed to being a change-agent in the community with a focus on supporting sexual assault survivors, women’s leadership and women’s empowerment. In addition to the various roles Amy has, the one she is most proud of is being a mother to her nine-year-old son.