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When Is It Your Business?

corleyI like to think of myself as a man who minds his own business. But, as I was minding my own business about a year ago on a typical Thursday morning, I realized that I could not ignore what I was hearing.

On that morning, I talked with a customer by phone regarding his dissatisfaction about a bill.  At the same time, his wife, “Sara”, had shown up at the office regarding the same situation, so I was talking with him on the phone while she waited in the conference room for the resolution.  Something about my conversation with the husband didn’t feel right.  And I noticed something about “Sara”. She seemed frightened.  She would not even look me in the eye. So, I did something I have never done before. I asked her about it. I said

“Ma’am, this is none of my business, and please don’t be offended that I ask – Are you safe?”

She immediately started crying.  Then, she told me her story.  She had worked in a corporate environment and been very successful, confident and strong. Soon after she married the man of her dreams, he started manipulating her.  He abused her and controlled her – physically, verbally and emotionally. He checked the mileage on her car and monitored her phone call history.  In a few short years, she had become a shell of herself. The previous night, he had forced her stand in the corner of their bedroom, refusing to allow her to sleep until after she collected money back from our company…which is why she had walked into our office that morning.
I asked “Sara” if she had considered leaving.  I told her about Safe Harbor and offered to help her get there.  She wasn’t ready.  He would find her.  He would hurt her.  She could not get out.  I decided right then to refund her money; her safety was more important.

Along with a full refund, I gave her a card with the phone number for Safe Harbor.  She hid it behind her cell phone cover and gave me a big hug.  Before she left, she asked why I was doing all of this for her.  “It’s the right thing,” I said.  “If someone knew that one of my sisters was being treated the way you are, I would expect them to stand up for what is right.”  She smiled, and then she left.

A few months later, “Sara” called me at my office and asked if I remembered her.  How could I forget? She said that her life changed the day I made it my business to ask about her safety and to offer her a way out. She did call Safe Harbor, received free counseling and shelter and was finally safe.  I can’t imagine what might have happened to “Sara” if I hadn’t stepped in. Domestic violence is not a “women’s issue” or a “family issue”. It is my business, and it is your business.

I believe in investing in issues that impact my community. One of those issues is domestic violence.  South Carolina ranks as the #1 state in the nation for women killed by men at a rate of over 2 times the national average.  I donate to Safe Harbor because I know the difference it makes to not only provide immediate help for women like “Sara”, but also the impact that Safe Harbor is making in the community to work on solutions to this complicated problem.

It is my business.  And it’s your business, too.  Please join me in generously donating to Safe Harbor so that when someone like me (or you) reaches out to someone like “Sara”, she can find help and hope right when she needs it.  Her life might truly depend upon it.

Troy Corley
Corley Plumbing, Air and Electric

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