I think it’s safe to assume that each and every one of us has been touched by Domestic Violence in one form or another, whether we realise it or not. Even if the experience happens to be “the sister’s boyfriend’s best-friend’s wife’s sister”. At some point, you come face to face with it. As a child, I remember being shielded from people my parents knew who were involved with it, as a teenager, I saw it among my friends, and as an adult I experienced it myself. I may be unfortunate in the frequency with which I came in contact with it, but I don’t think I am alone.
Intimate Partner Violence is a widespread and much denied issue. Those directly involved can’t face the truth, and those just on the outside are afraid to broach it with their loved ones. Too often, fear and loneliness lead to the death of someone close to us. Someone we wished we could have helped, if only we had known how.
Even if that is not your experience, even if you think you are free from the reach of IPV, I urge you to think again. Because sometimes the signs are not what you would expect. Sometimes it is simply a matter of a question asked too frequently or a reaction to something benign with inexplicable anger and rage.
In the case of Anna Lynn Hurd, many people stepped up after her death to say they witnessed the toxic relationship between Anna and the boyfriend and were either unsure of what they were seeing, or were just afraid to step in and help. The result, in her case, was an untimely death that everyone agrees was a shock. The story of I Trusted Him: The Story of Anna Lynn Hurd explores the days leading up to Anna’s murder in an intimate way.
Smartphones, social media, and the Internet has exploded the number of ways our young people are exposed to violent behaviour. Anna’s boyfriend would send multiple text messages to her a day asking her where she was, who she was with, and what she was doing. And because of the “private” nature of text messages and social media accounts, research is beginning to turn up indications that this is the primary method abusive partners use to control. And while we can’t in all good conscience “spy” on our neighbours and friends and children, we can be alert for signs of trouble.
The second portion of I Trusted Him: The Story of Anna Lynn Hurd explores all the statistics surrounding Intimate Partner Violence and provides tips and resources on how to spot an abusive relationship, whether your own or someone close to you, and places you can turn to for help.
While most toxic partners may never get to the point of murder, there are many other equally horrendous acts that can occur in a relationship that we need to be cognizant of. Setting boundaries early and learning how to talk to a partner in respectful ways is an important skill, but also knowing when someone needs professional help and exiting the situation safely is the best and only option. I Trusted Him and the countless organisations out there can help.
Paradise Publishers is happy to have been a part of this project and we urge you to read it; if not for yourself, even if not for someone you know, for Anna. The more people who know her story, and are able to recognize the signs of abuse, the better off we all will be.