Trigger Warning: domestic violence.
We were sitting around the living room, me cross-legged on the rug so that I could type notes onto my laptop as we talked. The cat kept trying to get onto our laps until one friend’s eyes started watering and the sneezes began and the cat was banished outside for the evening.
We meet nearly every week, this group of six – six wonderfully different people that probably would not have been sitting together were it not for our shared dream. It’s a dream of a serving revolution in our city, a vision of neighbours and colleagues, locals and expats, rising up together to help each other, to respond to the brokenness, to celebrate the beauty.
This month we’ve been working hard behind the scenes, meeting with locals NGOs and other volunteer groups, learning about the needs, looking for spaces we could help, opening our eyes to the reality under the near-perfect façade that is Luxembourg.
My friend was speaking, feeding back from one meeting with a group of homes for women and their children needing a place of safety. I know about domestic violence of course, I’ve seen the awareness posters, read blog posts about it, know it’s a hidden darkness in our societies.
But then he started listing off the names of the homes and how many women and children were finding shelter at each one. And my chin dropped open and I asked him to confirm what I was hearing. These are the numbers of women seeking shelter, seeking safety, from violence and abuse at home?
It hit me hard in that moment, and we kept talking and planning and dreaming of how we can bless these women, but my mind was stuck five minutes behind us, in that moment I learnt the truth.
Because if there are this many women already seeking shelter in our small country, how many more are suffering in silence? Trying to make it right on their own? Living daily in fear for themselves and their children but not knowing where to turn or what to do?
Today is International Women’s Day. And today there are millions of women living in situations of domestic violence and abuse. It’s just not ok. And my heart hurts for them. For each of those unique, beautiful women living in fear.
I want to tell each one that she’s loved. I want to tell her she’s beautiful, that she’s valuable, that she’s precious, that she’s seen and known.
I’m hoping we’ll have an opportunity to do just that as we develop these partnerships, as we work together to bring the hidden brokenness out into the light, to repair what is broken in our country. But for today, I remember them.
If you’re in Luxembourg, you can sign up for Serve the City newsletters on our website, our like our facebook page to keep up to date with what we’re doing. Serve the City also exists in other cities around the world – check the international website to find out if there’s one near you. And even if there’s not, commit to being part of the serving revolution with us?
The beautiful artwork is “What warms the soul?” by Moussin Irjan