It’s been about fifteen years and several thousand miles since I last saw the Domestic Violence Monster. Fifteen years of anonymity and living with one eye open always. I still have panic attacks sometimes when I’m home alone. I still have trouble sleeping and wake up in a cold sweat. I still have a baseball bat nestled between my bed and bedside table. I still do the occasional internet search to find out how far away he is from me. Those things will never go away, at least, not as long as he’s still out there.
Fifteen years ago, he was as close to killing me as he had ever been. He would have succeeded had a good Samaritan not intervened and called the police. The cops could only detain him for public drunkenness. The next morning, I went to the courthouse along with all the other bruised and bloodied women and got a restraining order. Fortunately, I never needed to use it since he fled the state. Unfortunately, because he fled, he was never brought to justice for what he did to me. He’s still out there. Fifteen years later and he’s still out there.
My story is just about as violent as it can get without the end result of death and without the involvement of deadly weapons (unless you count his fists). He beat me for years. He gave me black eyes, knocked out a tooth, split my lip and gave me strangulation marks around my neck. I lied about it. I wore scarves around my neck to cover the strangulation marks. I bought bandages from the drugstore to hold in broken ribs. I bought stage makeup to cover black eyes. I wore long sleeve shirts in summertime to cover bruises. I said I tripped over the cat and knocked my tooth out. I invented a car accident to cover the really visible bruises towards the end. I covered it all up for a very long time.
I lied because I didn’t want to admit that I was a victim, not to anyone else and not even to myself. I couldn’t tell the truth because he had convinced me that I couldn’t live without him. He persuaded me that I was worthless and that I should just die. I wanted him to kill me because I couldn’t fight anymore. I didn’t want to fight anymore, but for years, he refused to end me. He just kept pushing me to the brink of death and snapping me back because I was his favorite plaything.
It was bad. If he didn’t kill me, I thought I’d have to do it myself. Fortunately for me, help came before it got to that point, but had it gone on much longer, one way or another, I would not be alive today. I survived. I never thought I would, but I did.
Now, fifteen years have passed, and while I still wear the emotional and physical scars, my life isn’t about abuse anymore. My life isn’t about fear. I am not a victim. I no longer think I’m worthless and that I should just die. His influence and power over me is gone.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, I share this so that you might know that there is always hope. No matter how bad it gets, and it will get worse before it gets better, you can survive this. You are not worthless. You can thrive without him and you don’t have to do it alone. There are so many of us and we will fight for you. Please, get help. You have options. You can do this.
If you are in danger, please call emergency services, your local hotline, or in the United States, call The Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY), or visit TheHotline.org. Be safe.
- Domestic Violence Can Happen To Anyone (fishofgold.net)
- Bringing Awareness of Domestic Violence (deliberatedonkey.wordpress.com)
- Domestic Violence Awareness Month (behindthemaskofabuse.com)
- I like October, I like October… Who Am I trying To Fool ? I Hate October ! (isurvivedamurderattackmyfamilydidnt.com)