I am sadden, mad and angry. A couple of months ago my employer hired a person who seemed to have fulfilled all of our expectations. We were short handed for so long, and we could not keep up with the workload, and when she came on board the workplace was a happy place for once. Well, that ended–suddenly.
It was last Friday, on my shift, that she never arrived for work. It was weird because usually she was the first one in the parking lot waiting for one of us to unlock the door. We went for a couple hours before we started getting very concerned and started making some phone calls to her home and cell phone numbers. None of the numbers had a reply. Later on that day towards noon her boy friend called–I answered–he wanted to know where she was. I asked if I could get his number and we would call him back just in case she called and said that she was in trouble. So he did.
There was no reply. She was declared AWOL.
The following Tuesday I resumed my shift and discovered that there was still no word from her. We started making speculations of what happened, but none of it was based on facts just hearsay.
The following Friday I started my shift; it was now one week later. I asked the Manager what had happened to her, if he had heard any more about our missing co-worker, if there was any word …and he answered. He said that she had fled from her boy friend, left her belongings, her job and her friends to escape the physical abuse from him. She was now staying in another town far away from the Lower-mainland, with a girlfriend who took her in. She was not coming back he said. He went to say that she was very sorry and that she thought that working with us was one of the best jobs that she ever had.
On my way home I was thinking about just how tragic this really was. I was thinking about how many people were affected by this–her leaving, and her silence. The worst part was was that she had “escape” from an abusive relationship and gave up her life. “Where was the justice,” I thought to myself?
When I looked back and remembered all of the conversations that we had, there were hints, but nothing substantial–nothing that would have set off an alarm or a trigger.
Our society forbids us to interfere inside domestic disputes–that the doctrine of Parens Patriae only allows the state to interfere and deal with this tragedy directly. I guess we “still” believe as a society that in a modern country such as Canada that the abusive spouse is a private matter–one that the public eye should not see. No wonder she would not call for help–who would listen to her?
I am sadden that there is a man out there who feels that it is acceptable to assault his partner and treat her as his property. I am angered that there was no way to have caught this before hand and offer help without her sacrificing her way of life to escape. I am angry that so much work and energy was spent wastefully–that she had to give up her way of life to live.
I wish you well my friend, and I hope that you find your peace and freedom that was taken from you. I wish that we could have continued to work together–we made a great team all of us.
Your friend Tom.