Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Refuse to remain silent August 26, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 7:00 PM
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I AM SO TIRED of it. The headlines. Another woman murdered. The court records. Another man charged with domestic assault. The close-up personal experiences that twist my gut.

An edited snipped of a Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women banner.

An edited snippet of a Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women banner photographed during a recent The Clothesline Project display in Owatonna.

Earlier today my heart raced when I heard the raised voices, the “let me go,” watched the young woman pull away from the young man’s grasp.

I hesitated for a moment. And then I was at the front door in a flash, yelling across my busy street, “Hey!” Her head pivoted toward me. “Are you alright?”


“Are you sure?”


Her response seemed genuine.

Yet, I continued to watch as she crossed the street and headed up the hill, barefoot, shoes in hand.

I’ll likely never know her story. But the behavior and words were enough to concern me, to pull me into action, to speak up.

It’s not the first time I’ve refused to remain silent. Twice before I’ve phoned the police when women were being abused. In my neighborhood, in the open, along a busy busy street. Once I should have called 911, but didn’t. I won’t make that mistake again.

It’s been an interesting day, one which started with a “pop” that sounded like gunfire, followed by a second pop around 8 a.m. That got my attention. It is unnerving to look out your window to see police vehicles parked across the street and two policemen standing in a neighbor’s yard. Turns out they had been dispatched to shoot a sick raccoon.

Shooting. A TV reporter and cameraman in Virginia are dead today. Shot while doing a live broadcast. Just doing their jobs.

I am tired of it all. The violence. The craziness. I don’t blame the media for reporting these stories. It is their job to report the news. They don’t make the news. But sometimes they do.

On days like this—when shots are fired in your neighborhood and at Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia—it is easy to feel unsettled and to despair.

But then the opportunity arises to speak up, to yell across the street and ask, “Are you alright?” And you feel the power in your voice, in perhaps making a difference because you chose not to remain silent.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


24 Responses to “Refuse to remain silent”

  1. Littlesundog Says:

    I had a bit of a heavy heart watching the news today too. Domestic violence is prevalent in Oklahoma. I grew up with it, and back then not many people did anything about it. Even our neighbors kept quiet and minded their own business. I am thankful today that people have a voice, and other’s are often led to step in and take action. I have a voice too now… and I am sure to ask if someone needs help and I’m more than likely to call the police when in doubt.

  2. treadlemusic Says:

    I am 100% with ya on that. I am under total conviction that, as a Follower, and can not/must not remain silent about what is right and the Truth!!! I thank the Lord that He gave you the words to intervene/diffuse a questionable situation. We, who know the Truth must speak……….the days’ numbers are growing smaller. Hugs…….

  3. Marneymae Says:

    Bow of respect to you for speaking up, reaching out.

  4. Your post gave me chill bumps. Good for you in speaking up and checking on her. I cannot sit back and do nothing because I have been on the receiving end and good, kind people as well as law enforcement were there to help me. I may not get in the middle of something for my own safety, but if I am able I will call for help. Every little bit of help, care, concern, etc. makes a difference. I took a moment of silence this morning. Take Care

  5. daniellajoe Says:

    Totally agree with each of you!! Excellent post!!

  6. Sweet Posy Dreams Says:

    Good for you, Audrey!

  7. Jackie Says:

    Thank you for your bold example to NOT be silent, we all need to keep our eyes and ears open, you never know when it might save a life!

  8. Thanks for spreading the word.

  9. Sue Ready Says:

    The best response to this post that mirror yours are using Malala Yousafzai’s words…
    “I raise up my voice-not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard.”

  10. Thread crazy Says:

    Kuddos to you Audrey for speaking up. Each of us must do something to help someone each day and you did a great thing. Just by calling out, you let that young man know that others see him and will intervene. What happened to the news reporter and camerman is ludicrous. When is this barbaric action going to stop? When we’ve had enough and speak up I say…so let’s start speaking up and maybe, just maybe, we can help someone and save a life.

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