I’m guilty of keeping Domestic Violence on the hush-hush as much as the next person. My excuse is that I’m afraid people will find out that I’m a Survivor. I’m afraid they might ask me questions about my experiences or give me the “sad face”. That said, I’ve decided to share some of my survival story in hopes that it brings some awareness to how close to home it has lived to all of us. We have to stop treating it as though it is supposed to be a secret. We can’t be afraid to talk about it.
I’ve experienced violence since a young age and it became part of who I was. Those who inflicted violence on me told me that it was how the world worked, that if I was “better” it wouldn’t happen to me and that it was my fault it was happening to me and I believed them. It created an accepted and horrific norm for me that could have killed me and I was one of the lucky ones.
The worst experience I ever lived through happened almost 21 years ago. I was pregnant but did not know it yet. He came home after being gone for three days and I would not leave him be. I wanted answers and he would not give them to me. I kept poking at him in his sleep and he snapped. Fists flew and I cowered underneath the blankets. I was familiar with what it feels like to have my brain rattle around in my skull, but it didn’t stop. I didn’t think it was ever going to stop. I remember my mouth frozen in a scream that never left my throat and I could not open my right eye. The ringing in my right ear persisted for nearly a month. The knots on my head were visible through my hair and the bruising on my face took on a spiderweb pattern. I did not seek medical attention or get the authorities involved, in fact, I stayed for another three years. He never beat me that badly again, but always reminded me that I was one more action, word or decision away from it.
I left when my son was two and he asked me, “Mommy, why you cry? Daddy hit you ‘gain?” I will never forgive myself for letting him live in that environment for so long that he though it was normal. But, the fact of the matter is when you are in it, when it is your life, it looks so different. It isn’t as easy as why didn’t you leave? Even after my son asked me that haunting question, it took me six months to plan our departure. Even after all of my careful planning, his dad kidnapped him for three weeks and I thought I would never see him again.
Abuse. Domestic Violence is verbal, it is physical, it is psychological and it is debilitating. It disables all of the common sense you were ever given and you start to believe that you need this person and situation and reality ceases to look real anymore. I want us to be able to talk about it. I don’t want it to be a secret anymore. I want people to know that it happens to our neighbors, friends and family members. I also want those that suffer to know that you can get out. When you are ready, there are people and places that can and will help you! We can change the cycle one situation at a time. Thank you for listening to my story!
Here is a facility near me: http://abuseintervention.org/. If you or someone you know needs help or someone to talk to, reach out. The YWCA has always been a great resource as well!