I Survived an Abusive Relationship, But Many Women Don't
This post is dedicated to my online friend Jill Thomas Grant, who was found murdered, December 23, 2013, as well as all the other victims of domestic abuse. I warn you, this post will be long, but it's of most importance you read this and take what I say with heart. October is National Domestic Abuse Awareness Month, but to me, a previous victim, I feel its awareness should be felt around the world on a daily basis.
Domestic abuse knows no boundaries. It doesn't care what ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic standing or religious background you practice. Yes, men can be victims as well, but it seems to be more prevalent for the male to be the abuser.
I will dive into statistics at the end of this post, for the simple reason I feel my story is the one you should hear. It took three years after my ordeal to finally be able to recall it with such fine detail and not to be disturbed by the memories. What you're about to read is a paper I wrote for my English Composition class about the day I put a stop to my abuser.
Before I get into this, let me just tell you a little about myself. Before I met my abuser, I was married for a little over 20 years to a man who would never lift a finger to me. My children's father was the first boyfriend I ever had, and since I was inexperienced I really didn't know what I was getting into. I was 42 when this occurred. I was only in this relationship with my abuser for two months prior to this occurrence. If it wasn't for my children, I'm sure I would have been brutally murdered.
Image: Hibr via Flickr
7 February 2008
“What doesn't kill us makes us stronger.” - Friedrich Nietzsche
Being a victim of domestic abuse, I harbored a myriad of emotions during my reign as a punching bag. My attacker made me feel that I had no self-worth and deserved to be beaten. In his eyes, I was nothing without him; he controlled my entire existence. I was his marionette and he knew exactly which strings to pull. There is a point in everyone’s life when push comes to shove, and the switch finally clicks on in your brain. It was at this point I was given the choice to either succumb to death and be yet another statistic, or muster up my strength and fight to the death.
My point of no return was the moment the frigid vodka made contact with my face. I felt I was being sucked into a giant vortex spinning uncontrollably into the abyss. There was a sensation that thousands of tiny knives were piercing through my eyes, each one penetrating deeper than the next. Shock, horror and disbelief filled my inner core as the man who claimed to love me wrapped his meaty hooks around my neck and dragged me into the bedroom.
Darkness consumed me as I was suffocated by the pressure of my face against the mattress. The weight of his two-hundred and fifty-five pound body made me sink into the fabric, as if falling into a pool of quick sand. Internally my voice was loud; "Get off of me, I can't breathe"; however, no sounds passed, aside from a faint constrained mutter. The tepid stench of his breath against the nape of my neck made me fester in a sweat. Saliva formed in my mouth as bats danced in my stomach trying to find their way out. The thickness of the bile rose in my throat, and then quickly disappeared back to the pit of my stomach. My arms that were held hostage against my back could no longer bare the pain of the bones twisting. At that moment, I knew if I didn't free myself, I would die.
I caught some of his flabby flesh between my nails and squeezed until I heard him bellow in reciprocated agony. Having a free arm, I tried desperately to grab and hit him in hopes he would retreat. My fingers felt something hard under the rumpled comforter. I clenched my weapon, which turned out to be an electric toothbrush, raised it above my head until it made an impact against his skull.
The heaviness re-positioned, and his hands withdrew the pressure against the back of my head. I gasped for air and mutely cried for help. To no avail, my cries were too faint to be heard. I would not surrender to death this way. I would not allow him to cheat me out of the life I deserved.
Something inside me told me to stop fighting and lay limp. He eased up, and at that moment my lungs filled with enough air to yell a blood curling scream for help. It seemed an eternity passed before I heard these twelve beautiful words, "Get your drunk hands off my mother you son-of-a-bitch!"
Alex, my oldest, stood four inches and one hundred pounds less than the monster I let into our home. I saw the fear in Alex’s eyes as the serpent was starting to spit venom from his mouth. Alex stood brave protecting his mother’s honor, while Robert, my youngest, held a knife in his right hand, while on the phone with the police. That was the cornerstone of who I've now become.
After my ordeal I lost who I was; my spirit was broken beyond repair. I was confused and unsure of what I wanted from life. I became unapproachable and resigned my life to becoming a turtle, seeking shelter beneath my armored shell. I kept my distance from men in fear they would all attack and disappoint me. I refused to make eye contact and avoided conversing with men who I didn't know. I thought everyone could see through me and see the shame I was carrying. I lost faith in both love and trust. I knew I would never let my emotions get the better of me, as I would not allow any man to verbally, mentally or physically abuse me again.
In retrospect, as disturbed as this may sound, I’m thankful that this event happened. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a masochist, and getting beat up is not something I ever wished for. It’s taken me several years to face my demons of being a victim of domestic abuse. However, this unfortunate circumstance made me the women I am today: strong, self-assured and not willing to take an ounce of crap from anybody. I’m now willing and able to stand up and protect myself from others. I finally realized I did nothing wrong and I didn't deserve what happened to me. My only mistake was letting the monster in to disrupt my quiet and peaceful existence.
1 out of 4 women experiences domestic abuse
There you have it. If you've ever wondered what a victim was feeling at the time of an attack, here it is. Are you wondering what happened after this? I'm sure you are, so here goes.
The police arrived and while he was being carted away, dumb ass over here kept saying, "Oh wait, let me get his shoes. Oh wait, let me get his wallet. Oh wait, let me get his....." The sad thing is, I never realized I was a victim until I had a knock at my front door from an Investigator from The Department of Children and Family. Since Robert was 16 at the time, they wanted to remove him from my home because it was an unsafe environment. It was at that point when the investigator told me I was a victim. Just imagine how difficult it was explaining this to my children's father. At least he wasn't a complete ass about it. It didn't end there. I had to go to court and get a restraining order (which he violated via jail, several times). When he fought the charges, I had to appear in court. I wasn't going to let this SOB know he destroyed my soul. I stared him down the entire time I was in court. From the moment his shackled body in the orange jumpsuit entered the courtroom with the rest of the deviants of society, my glaring eyes never left this. He must have seen the hatred I had for him, and dropped his claim and plead guilty.
I have you know, I am now in a committed and healthy relationship, and I found trust and harmony with the most perfect man in existence.
- One in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime.
- Women experience more than 4 million physical assaults and rapes because of their partners, and men are victims of nearly 3 million physical assaults.
- Women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than men
- Women ages 20 to 24 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.
- Every year, 1 in 3 women who is a victim of homicide is murdered by her current or former partner.
If this is happening to you, or someone you know, do everything in your power to get out or to assist them in leaving the situation. The abuser may tell the victim they will kill them if they leave or tell anyone, but let's face it, you have a better chance surviving and getting out then staying and surviving.
For more information please visit The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
If you're not sure who to speak with, I would advise calling the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).