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How Some Members of Congress Are Like Abusive Husbands

As horrific as the siege on the nation’s Capitol was last week, there is one scene that stands out uniquely: the image of members of congress, locked together inside a room, fearful for their lives. When they were asked to put on masks, apparently several republican congressmen not only refused to do so, but they also mocked those colleagues who had made the request – several of whom now have covid and are at risk for serious, long-term illness – and even death. So much of domestic violence flies under the radar. We think in terms of physical violence – but the control, the forced isolation, the threats, the refusal to let another person care for themselves and others are devastating as well, sometimes more so. Too many abusers are afforded a level of privacy they don’t deserve. We don’t want to “get into someone else’s business;” we hope people will “just move on and do the right thing.” That doesn’t work with abusive partners; and it doesn’t work with congresspeople who intentionally put their colleagues and fellow citizens in harm’s way, who refuse to tell the truth, and who are a threat to our democracy. We need to say their names, we need to stand up for those who have been silenced, and we ourselves need to be agents of change.