Did you know that October is not only National Breast Cancer Awareness month, but Domestic Violence Awareness Month as well? For me, this topic is emotionally charged. In fact, I will most likely be teary the entire time that I write this. Yes, I'm a very compassionate person, but there is more to my story than just a big heart. I lived through physical & emotional abuse.
I cannot begin to explain to you how that statement is not only bold, but also terrifying. The abuse that I have felt and witnessed was never reported, and the marks you may have once found have long since faded from my body. I've debated on publicly stating this, as it may upset some people in my life and because I was not the only one to suffer. Protecting these people is one major reason why I will leave the details vague in most instances, although I would speak openly to those who have sincere questions.
Not everyone will believe this as the truth, because the person who abused me has a bag full of wool to pull over people's eyes. It's been proven to me in more than one case, and although it feels like I've been punched in the stomach in some instances, it doesn't change the truth. There are some who will not be shocked. I've been more vocal in recent years with old friends and it's surprising how many people have reacted with little surprise themselves. Without knowing anything for certain, they seem to have felt that something was not right in my life.
Lately, I have heard people who have passed judgement upon the victims of abuse. When you research the "typical abuser" you will often find, or should I say not find anything outwardly unusual or wrong with that person. No matter what form it comes in, abuse is often hidden by the abuser and the victim(s). Why would the victims hide such a thing or not leave the situation? Well, they feel as though they have no choice, are ashamed, that nobody will believe them, that they deserve the abuse, fear, and many other reasons. Some even attempt to leave, but are forced or persuaded back to their abuser. You will find that many abusers not only deny any wrong doing, but they sometimes blame the victim as well.
I recently read a Dear Abby advice column titled Badgered wife doubts her sanity. When I read the letter, and Abby's reply, I felt compelled to do something to help the woman and her 2 boys. There was no mention of physical abuse, but abuse of another kind was evident. If Less Than Zero in Illinois was reading this now, I would tell her this... If you cannot leave for yourself, leave for the sake of your children. They do not go unaffected.
I am a very lucky woman today. I'm grateful to God that I ended up with a husband who loved me enough to help me heal. He helped to knock down walls and strip away the illusions that had been placed in my mind. C encouraged me and supported me when I stood up for myself, only to be told that I was "making up a line for a future talk show," among other things. I'm a better and stronger person partly because of my husband.
There have been friends who have also helped me to leave the excess baggage in the nearest dumpster. One in particular that showed me I could forgive and move on. It will always be a part of what made me who I am, but it is the past and I have a bright present & future. A major part of healing for me, came from singing Mama's Song that was written by a friend. It helped me to understand that I am not alone, and that others have had to climb the same mountains I faced.
In this process of forgiveness and release, my strongest feelings regarded breaking the chain. I knew in my heart that I wanted to be a mom, but not just a mom. I vowed that my kids would know love, kindness, and support without fear. When I was a child, my own mother was amazing, even through her own heartaches & suffering. I learned to love and have compassion from her. Through all of the chaos, she was the only true solid person in my life. I wanted my kids to have 2 parents who loved and cared for them and would protect them with a fierce intensity. There was no doubt in my mind or heart that the chain of domestic violence would be broken in my home. I never understood how someone could hurt the person they loved, spouse or child. When I held my boys in my arms, I couldn't fathom ever harming them and would protect them from anyone or anything that tried. My husband & I are not perfect parents, nobody is, but we are good parents. As much as I doubt myself, like every mom I know, I know that much is true.
Hopefully, speaking out and sharing this portion of my life with you will make a difference in someone's life. To me, this is a chance to take the negative and turn it into something positive. I know I have felt a sense of relief when I hear about other's who have triumphed over struggles similar to those of my own.
Did my story make a difference to you? Do you know someone who has suffered from abuse? Is there someone in your life who has abused you? Do you know someone who is in an abusive situation now? If so, please encourage them to call this National Domestic Violence Hotline:
Help is available to callers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Hotline advocates are available for victims and anyone calling on their behalf to provide crisis intervention, safety planning, information and referrals to agencies in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Assistance is available in English and Spanish with access to more than 170 languages through interpreter services. If you or someone you know is frightened about something in your relationship, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224.
For more information, go to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence website, any of the following websites, or Google it:
Until The Violence Stops
The Domestic Violence Awareness Month
What Kids Learn From Domestic Violence
A Blogger's Soundtrack