This should be called #WhyIStayed and why he had to go. I’ll refer to him as “P” which seems appropriate for this past perpetrator of domestic violence. Why I was with him is a paragraph for another post but was it love…
I don’t remember what led to the first incident but I do vaguely remember “P” throwing an iron my direction. It missed or perhaps he intentionally missed seeing as I did physically still resemble the female who had years before hit him with a car. Nothing serious; just a low speed tap to demonstrate my apathy with regards to his safety and well-being. Maybe that memory was there but it didn’t remain long as the thrown iron was followed by shoving me into the bedframe, the TV stand knocking it down, and then managing to pin me to the ground with his hands around my neck.
With this first instance I didn’t see myself as a victim. I still don’t because I acknowledge the part I played in allowing “P” to treat me as he would in time. The harder thing was trying to do the right thing and suppress my own violent tendencies. I thankfully put down the chair I was poised to hit him with. Yet when the police arrived I was told it appeared I was the aggressor due to him bleeding from where I scratched him while he was choking me.
I made him leave but ended up taking him back primarily because I had no intention of being a single mom especially when I didn’t even want to have the child. Also in trying to do the right thing by a higher power it meant not abandoning the marriage at the first sign of trouble.
Over time the abuse became more verbal, psychological and emotional. This combined with my own pre-existing issues with depression made me feel increasingly trapped and alone. Why I finally left is the last instance of physical violence which left me with a fractured wrist, a blown eardrum, body covered in bruises, lacerations inside of my mouth and having been sexually assaulted.
Domestic violence is a solvable issue that has to share a month with breast cancer and is often overshadowed due to that fact. That needs to change.
Women shouldn’t have to get to the point I got to in my past situation before realizing it’s time to go. There’s a private shame that often accompanies domestic violence that prevents one from speaking up and seeking help. Also the issue is rarely covered unless there happens to be a high profile case that takes over the news for a time.
We all need to work towards not only raising awareness, as was done with the hashtags #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft, but also to addressing the underlying issues that lead to abuse, which are often a combination of psychological and environmental. We need to support the local agencies, often not-for-profit that help domestic violence survivors. The local agency I support is Hubbard House. Find your local agency and help out.
Let’s End the Cycle of Violence!