Many of us have been brought up to consider silence golden. As the old saying goes: “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. However, this can’t be applied to all areas of life. In fact, staying quiet in the face of problems or wrongs can prove highly detrimental not only to yourself and your own safety, happiness, and well-being, but to others too. So, how do you know when is the right time to speak out about something that is bothering you? Well, the short answer is: always. You should never feel ashamed to stand up for what you believe in, wear your heart on your sleeve or tell the truth. This, however, can be a particularly daunting thing to do. After all, even those of us who aren’t all too sensitive find ourselves worrying about the possible outcomes or repercussions of our actions and words. What’s most important is to stay strong and stand up for what you think is right or what you believe in, no matter what opposition you may face along the way. Here are a few situations where you may find yourself wanting to speak out, and how to go about it.
Abuse can cover a whole range of behavior, both physical and emotional. This behavior is categorized in different ways. From financial or material abuse to physical abuse, neglect, acts of omission, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, organizational abuse, domestic abuse, and even modern slavery. While we may not have time to tackle each category in full here, it’s important that if you think you are experiencing abuse at the hands of another, or you witness another individual being abused that you report what is going on. There are laws out there to protect you. Find a specialist lawyer for your individual case, as different attorneys have in-depth knowledge of specific areas. For example, sexual abuse is best legally tackled by a sexual abuse attorney. If you are struggling to work out where the abuse you’ve experienced or witnessed falls, contact authorities such as the police who will then be able to advise you on what to do and who to contact.
We would have thought that by 2017, prejudice would be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Prejudice based on an individual’s race, religion, beliefs, ethnicity, class, age, gender, ability or disability, sexuality, and various other characteristics is still rife. This can make people’s lives a misery. This isn’t only in terms of experiencing bullying or being made to feel uncomfortable. Occasionally, prejudice can affect people’s ability to lead a fulfilling life. They may be refused work or entry to certain venues or events for example. Not only is this illegal, but it can seriously impact the sufferer’s confidence, happiness, and general standard of living. If you witness someone being prejudiced to another, it is important that you voice your opinion. Sure, you may not think that it is your place. But consider yourself in the victim’s position. Surely you’d want someone to object to the way you were being treated.
These are just two areas of mistreatment that you should never stand for. Always bear Desmond Tutu’s quote in mind: “to stay silent is to take the side of the oppressor”.