Recently, I became aware of a deep betrayal by a person very close to me. A betrayal that spans the entire relationship with this individual and has been the root of several years of confusion, anger, tears, and anguish. In coming to terms with this, I have discovered that key members of my social group were aware of the deceit and chose to remain silent. When I confronted this circle of “friends,” and inquired why they did not approach me with the information, I was told that they assumed that I knew already. None of them, however, had ever called me before and expressed any concern or knowledge about what they witnessed happening. They stated this was because they didn’t know what to do, to which I responded that I would appreciate, for the safety of myself and my children if they would let me know in the future if they noticed something amiss. During that conversation, I was under the impression that they wanted to be helpful. So it was with great shock to me when this past week, I found out that they have been aiding & abetting the person in question, and even assisting in the lies and betrayal. In light of this new information, the only thing that I can surmise is that they are afraid of facing their own demons of self-destruction if they turn in the perpetrator, so instead they choose to remain complacent.
Here’s the thing, folks: If you see a friend hurting and you have the power to help them and choose to do nothing, then you are hurting yourselves too. We are all here to help one another. It is that basic component of compassion and willingness to act on behalf of those who need help that sets us apart from animals. Those who fail to act are rejecting their own humanity and all that is good in life. Period. Stand up for each other. Do not let fear win, lest you be imprisoned by your own shortcomings and find yourself alone. I think Martin Niemoller said it best:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.”