Domestic Violence – What…?
Domestic violence may consist of threats, punches or sexual force. The abuse can range from verbal harassment to stabbing and shooting. Domestic violence is a serious matter. It HAS often ended in death or permanent physical injury.
Perhaps you are one of the many women looking for a way out. Or perhaps you grew up in an abusive home. Or just the idea of any person being physically harmed by someone who claims to ‘love’ her infuriates you. For any of these reasons, you want to make it -domestic violence- stop.
Each year 1 million women suffer nonfatal violence by an intimate
4 million American women experience a serious assault by an intimate partner during an average 12-month period.
Nearly 1 in 3 adult women experience at least one physical assault by a partner during adulthood.
Most of the victims of domestic violence does not open their heart and talk about the problems they have in their homes, or try to find solutions BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE.
I hope these pages will help you to find your solution and help you and your children to survive from violent situations which may happen. Also I hope you will tell me your story and give me the possibility of publishing it in my pages. “Together we can stop the cycle of domestic violence”
What is domestic abuse?
There are many forms of domestic abuse, ranging from screaming threats to pushing and shoving. Contrary to what many women think, abuse isn’t just physical battering.
Domestic abuse may include emotional abuse, economic abuse, sexual abuse, using children, threats, using male privilege, intimidation, isolation and a variety of other behaviors used to maintain fear, intimidation and power. In all cultures, the perpetrators are most commonly the men of the family.
Nearly one in three adult women experiences at least one physical assault by a partner during adulthood, according to the American Psychological Association in a 1996 report.
Domestic abuse does not discriminate against race, age and socioeconomic background. No specific type of woman is more prone to being battered by her partner, nor is one type of woman completely safe from abuse
What Victims of Domestic Violence Need to Know
The abuse is not your fault
You don’t deserve to be abused
You can’t change someone who is abusive
Staying in the relationship won’t stop the abuse
With time the abuse always gets worse
If you stay, make a plan to keep yourself safe when the abuse happens again
You CAN Fight Back!
Signs of Domestic Abuse
Acts of domestic violence generally fall into one or more of these categories:
Physical battering — The abuser’s physical attacks or aggressive behavior can range from bruising to murder.
Sexual abuse — Physical attack by the abuser is often accompanied by or culminates in, sexual violence.
Psychological battering — The abuser’s psychological or mental violence can include constant verbal abuse, harassment, excessive possessiveness, isolating the woman from friends and family, and depriving her of food, money, clothes, and destroying her personal property.
If you have been assaulted, you can report it to the police
The Criminal Code says that assault is a criminal offence. The Code describes three types of assault and sets maximum penalties (called sentences) for each type. The three types of assault are:
Simple assault (most common assault). Examples are slapping, pushing or shoving, punching or threatening that he or she will harm you or your children.
Assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm. Examples are an assault where you are beaten with a baseball bat or an assault where you get a black eye or broken bones.
Aggravated assault is an assault where your life is endangered or you are wounded, maimed or disfigured. Examples are where the offender threatens to kill you or where your injuries from the assault leave you with a limp or scars.
Warning signs of an Abusive Relationship
Are you frightened of your partner’s temper?
Are you often compliant because you are afraid to hurt your partner’s feelings or are afraid of your partner’s anger?
Do you have the urge to “rescue” your partner when your partner is in trouble?
Do you find yourself apologizing to others for your partner’s behavior when you are treated badly?
Have you been hit, kicked, shoved, or had things thrown at you by your partner when he was jealous or angry?
Do you make decisions about activities and friends according to what your partner wants or how your partner will react?
Do you drink or use drugs to dull the pain or join your partner so he won’t get mad?
Do you consent easily to your partner to avoid angering him?
What are some of the warning signs?
He is extremely jealous.
Wants to know where you are at all times.
Gets upset if you spend time with friends or family.
Holds rigid expectations of male/female or adult/child role.
He expects you to meet his emotional needs.
Blames others and you for his problems.
Threatens you with violence.
There may be many other warning signs; you can phone the nearest Woman’s Shelter for further information.
Do something before it’s too late!
In your contact with any family member, the following observations should be considered clues to the possibility of wife assault.
A history of wife assault or child abuse in his family of origin.
A suspicion of child abuse or sexual abuse in his role as a father.
Abuse of drugs or alcohol.
A history of suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts.
Such characteristics as:
Excessive dependence on his wife
What do we know about abusers?
They try to isolate victims from family and friends
They minimize and deny their behavior
They veil power and control over others
They blame victims
They distrust others
They often have been victims or witnessed abuse
They usually have low self-esteem
They are not in touch with their own feelings
Preparing to Leave
Keep evidence of abuse (i.e., pictures, police reports, etc.) in a safe place that is accessible to you.
Know where you can go to get help; tell someone you trust what is happening to you.
If you are injured, go to a doctor or emergency room and report what happened to you.
Make sure that they record your visit.
Make sure that your children know that it is their job to stay safe, not protect you.
Keep a journal of all violent incidences.
Start an individual savings account and have statements sent to a trusted friend. Acquire job skills.
If you must sneak away, leave extra money, extra car keys, important papers, and extra set of clothes for yourself and children with a trusted friend (avoid family members and mutual friends who may be influenced by the abuser). Include a list of important numbers (insurance numbers, driver’s license, medication, checkbook, credit card numbers, etc.)
Practice effective Self Defense Tricks… just in case
What to do when leaving an abusive relationship?
If you are contemplating leaving an abusive relationship, there are some things you should do that may assist you in the process of leaving:
Make a safety plan
Write down Contact Places in the community for support
Assess your safety and that of your children
Contact a shelter for a safe place to stay
Seek interim custody
Seek a support system from family, friends and advocates
Be prepared, it helps you in a case of emergency.
Make an Escape Plan
Make sure you have important documents
Save money in secret when you can
Keep extra keys and clothes with friends
Plan out all possible escape routes – doors, first floor windows, elevators, stairwells and rehearse escape routes with your children
Arrange a safe place to go such as a friend or relative who will offer unconditional support – or a motel, hotel, or shelter
Memorize the telephone number of a domestic violence shelter or call 911
Work out a signal system with a friend or other family members so that they know you are in danger
Go when he is gone
Don’t tell him you are leaving
Create an excuse to slip away
Avoid arguments in areas with potential weapons such as the kitchen, garage, or in small spaces without escape routes.
When leaving your home, be aware. Your spouse may try to hurt you to stop you escaping.
Start to learn self defense techniques immediately!
What can you do if you have been abused?
You can, and you should talk to someone about the abuse.
You can tell a family member, a friend, or your doctor
You can also talk to a support group in your community. Women’s centres and legal aid offices may be able to tell you of other services which offer help.
You can get medical help
If you have been hurt you can go to your doctor or to the Emergency Department at a hospital.
If your injuries are visible you can have pictures taken. They can be used in court should you decide to lay assault charges.
There are special medical and police procedures for sexual assault cases.
For more information, check the Sexual Assault Department and the law in your country.
You can apply for a peace bond (in the countries where this system exist)
A peace bond or ‘recognizance’ is a paper signed by a person (such as a spouse) promising to keep the peace and be of good behavior. The peace bond may have other conditions such as requiring the person to stay away from your home or place of work. A peace bond may last for up to one year. The judge decides how long it will last.
You have to go to court to get a peace bond. You do not have to be assaulted to apply nor do you have to lay assault charges. You do have to convince the judge that you have a reasonable fear of the offender. The offender will also be in court.
Finding a Place To Go
When an assault occurs you should attempt to protect yourself. One way you might do this is to leave the home. If you don’t have a friend or family member with whom you can safely stay, and cannot afford a motel, there are shelters in your country which will accommodate you in an emergency. The RCMP or the police, if requested, will escort you out of the family home to any safe place you specify.
If there are no shelters for you in the vicinity, the Salvation Army may be able to provide temporary assistance. It might also be worthwhile to check with the local Crisis Line or Help Line which may be able to provide a list of the organizations that can help during a crisis.
National Domestic Violence/Abuse Hotline
TDD 24-hour-a-day hotline staffed by trained counselors ready to provide immediate crisis intervention assistance to those in need. Callers can be connected directly to help in their communities, including emergency services and shelters as well as receive information and referrals, counseling and assistance in reporting abuse.
This is a vital lifeline to anyone – man, woman or child – who is a survivor of domestic violence, or who suspects that someone they know may be the victim of abuse. Calls to the hotline are confidential, and callers may remain anonymous if they wish.
“Cut the cycle of silence”
“If I can survive, so can you.”
“Be Aware and be prepared”
I Am A Survivor
In the summer of 1996, I met a guy and we knew each other for about three weeks, and then he moved in with my son and I. And he was good to my son and I, he bought me cards and flowers every day and this went on for three months. One day I went to the grocery store and I had been gone about an hour and when I got home Eddie was furious with me. Eddie slammed me down on the couch, causing me to hit my head on the piano.
Eddie told me that when I go to the store I only had ten minutes to do the shopping and get home. When I would go visit my mom and dad I could only stay for ten minutes. I couldn’t go have coffee with them in the mornings like I always had done. When I was gone longer than ten minutes Eddie would start pushing me around and he would grab my upper arm and drag me to the bedroom, that’s where he always would start beating on me. Eddie would bruise my arm every time he grabbed me like that.
I had this bowling activity one night a week and it would take two and a half hours to bowl and I had to get home right after I was done. Well one night I was a half hour late getting home because I went over to see my mom and dad and when I got home Eddie grabbed me by the arm once again and off to the bedroom, he threw me down on the bed and held me there and then he started head butting me. This happened several times. Eddie always told me I’d better not ever hurt him. I bent over backwards for him so he wouldn’t beat me up. But it was never good enough for him. Eddie was never happy unless he was beating me up. As time went on things got worse. When I would go to work Eddie would call my place of work several times during the day to check up on me. Eddie told me I wasn’t to talk to any of my co-workers. On day Eddie come to pick me up from work and I was talking to my manager, and it was a guy. When we got home he started knocking me around again. Every time he got done with me he would always say he was sorry and he would never do this again. Eddie always begged me for another chance and I would. When Eddie would go to work and I had the day off I had to sit by the phone, I couldn’t go visit my parents, because he called every five minutes to see if I was there, and if I wasn’t he would leave work to come check on me. Eddie would make up stories just so he would have a reason to beat me up or call me names when he got home. Eddie called me one day and asked me what a blue truck was doing in my drive way and I no idea what he was talking about so when I told him there was not a truck in my drive way he would start beating up on me. Eddie always called me a liar, a slut and a bitch. Eddie always told me he had someone watching my every move, and when I would come home and he had told me some of the places I had been that day I really thought someone was watching me, and then I really began to get scared. Eddie always accused me of cheating on him and when I denied it he would slap me around again. One morning I got up to go to work, Eddie got and started a fight with me, and when I left for work about ten minutes later he called and said he cut his hand and had to go to the hospital, I asked him how he cut his hand and he wouldn’t tell me. I told him I couldn’t get off to take him to the hospital then he hung up on me. About fifteen minutes later here comes into my place of work demanding I take him to the hospital so I gave him the keys to the truck so he could take him self. When I got home from work I found out how he cut his hand, he the mirror in the bathroom and broke it.
Eddie also always told me If I hurt him he was going to take my truck and drive off of Dead Horse Point, National Park. Eddie told me I would have his mother to answer too, as to why he drove off of Dead Horse Point. Eddie told me it was my fault for him beating me up. As time went on I was getting really scared for my life and by this time I was really so far in that I was afraid to kick him out. I talked to my sister and she told me if I was to kick him out to call the cops for back up, and I told her that he would never hurt me, that was not the truth because he had been hurting me all along.
I couldn’t go to my family about what was happening because he told me he would go after them if I ever told them what was happening. So to save them I had to keep quiet.
Eddie cut me off from my family and my friends and I didn’t know why at first, then I figured it out, Eddie was afraid I was going to talk about what was really happening to me, this was a threat to him. Eddie was afraid I was going to find out about his past and get rid of him. Well I did find out about his past after he nearly killed me. I was out side talking to my neighbor and I had been out there for about thirty minutes and Eddie came out and told me
I had a phone call and I told him I didn’t hear the phone ring and he made up some story as to why I didn’t hear the phone, so I went in to answer the phone and I get in the house and there was no one on the phone, he told me they hung up. Eddie used this type of stuff to get me away from anyone I might confide in. One day Eddie called me at work several times and I didn’t want to talk to him. My managers told him I was busy and I couldn’t talk, well he got mad and walked down to my place of work and when I saw him coming I told my boss I didn’t want to talk to him and my boss sent me to the office. Eddie stormed in and demanding my boss to come get me. When my boss told him no, Eddie stormed back to the office, and my boss followed him and told him to leave but he wouldn’t. Eddie got in my boss’s face and threatened him. Eddie wanted the keys to the truck and I wouldn’t give them to him and he got madder and madder so I gave him the keys so he would leave and leave me alone.
On October 31, 1996, I was dressing my son up to take him out trick or treating and Eddie kept asking me how long are you going to be gone and I told him I didn’t know. Eddie told me not to get in a car with my mom, he kept telling me she would have me put away so I couldn’t be with him and I told him no she wouldn’t, but he said it so many times he had himself believing it. My mom and I took my son out and we were gone about and hour and a half. So when we got home here comes Eddie out from no where he was really really angry and demanding to know where I was, he saw me getting out of my mom’s car. I told him we had taken my son around to some homes. My son had just gone into the bowling alley before all of this started taking place. Eddie had hit the hood on my truck he had been calling my parent’s house the whole time we were gone. Eddie said let’s go home now. My mom had asked me if I was going to be all right and I said yes I will be all right and I will call you in a little bit. Eddie hated it when I would talk to my parents he was really nervous about me telling what was really going on in my house. Eddie would never talk about his past then I was really scared of what kind of person he really was. Eddie would go through my mail, I had no idea what he was looking for. Eddie is a real possessive and jealous person and very very controlling.
In November of 1996 my dad bought a bus ticket for Eddie and bused him down to Texas to get him out of my life, because my mom and dad knew he was really going to hurt me and I was blind to it. Eddie called and said he bought a bus ticket to Colorado and asked me if I would pick him up and bring him back and I did, little did I know what was going to happen. I thought some time away he would change but it didn’t the beatings started again.
On February 10, 1997 I got up and went to work, normal every day routine. When I got to work everything seem to be cool. To my knowledge there were no phone calls and I went on about my work. When I got home every thing seem ok there to. At 7:00 p.m. I got a call from my dad and he asked me to come over to his house because we had to talk and I told him I would be right there, I hung up the phone and Eddie asked me who that was and I said it was my dad and he asked me what he wanted and I said he wants to talk to me, and Eddie begged me not to go and I told I had to go talk to dad. Eddie told me I better be home in a half hour and I said ok. I got over to dad’s house and dad told me Lori who was my general mngr. said Eddie called my place of work that day ten times. And Lori was going to have to let me go if I didn’t take care of this situation, my job was on the line because of Eddie. Well I wasn’t going to choose Eddie over my job so I told my dad I was going home to kick him out. Well I had been there for a half hour and the phone starting ringing off the hook, and I just about jumped out of my skin and my dad could tell I was nervous so when we got done talking I had gone over to the bowling alley to visit my friends because I knew what was going to happen when I got home. I told my sister I was going to kick him out and she said I better call the cops and I told her I would be all right. It was 8:20 p.m. and I went back over to the house to tell my dad that I was going home. Dad asked me if I wanted him to come over with me and I said no that I had to do this and he said ok. It is now 8:30 and I got home and when I crossed this street with a four way stop I look up the street to see if any cars were coming and I saw Eddie he started walking down to my parents house and when he turned and saw me on my way home he was here in less than five minutes. He asked me what we talked about and I told him and he said my boss was a fat lying bitch. Eddie then said to me what are you going to do about it, I told him I wanted him to move out. Eddie then grabbed my are like always and dragged me to the bedroom and threw me down on the bed, and then Eddie went to the kitchen and I heard the drawer open but I didn’t know what he was doing and by this time I was really scared so I picked up the phone by my bed to call my dad and I just as I started to dial the number and Eddie came back into the bedroom and looked me in the eye and said (I quote) I told you to never hurt me and when I turned around he was standing there with a knife. When I tried to get away he swung the knife down-wards cutting me on my left chest and I turned my back to him and I felt the knife going in, after Eddie stabbed me he went out the back door and threw the knife over the fence and at this time I had a chance to call my dad and I was so hysterical I didn’t get to tell him Eddie stabbed me, dad hung up and he and my sister were there in about five minutes. Eddie came back in and said let’s call 911 and I told him to get the hell away from me and to never touch me again. Eddie went out the front door and I followed him out so I could see which direction he was going to run. I stepped out on the porch in a bloody white sweat shirt and my dad fought Eddie to the ground and the cops arrived at that time. Eddie used a 10 inch boning knife on me. The cops called for an ambulance and then I was transported to the hospital, I arrived there at 9:00 p.m. and they had to stitch up the wound on my back, and then they had to put a chest tube in, I was in ER for an hour and a half they had to take pictures of my wounds and doctor all of the wounds. The hospital staff told me they had to air lift to a hospital in Colorado. At 11:30 p.m. Air Life flew me to Colorado and I arrived at that hospital at 2:00 a. m. I was in there for a week. I was released on February 14, four days later.
Eddie was sentenced to no less than 1 year and no more than 15 years in prison, he served nine months and then he came up for parole, I wrote letter’s to the Board of Pardons and I also appeared at the hearing. Eddie got two years. In the mean time Eddie messed up and he got another year. Eddie was released from prison on February 13, 2001. I asked the Board of Pardons to banned Eddie from the town I live in. I also requested electronic monitoring, and was paroled to Texas. I Still track his case, I know in my heart the more interest I take in keep on top of things the more support I get from the Board of Pardons and the Law.
UPDATE: Aug. 9, 2003
Eddie is now back in prison, parole hearing was on July 30, 2003 Parole was denied and in 30 days Board of Pardons will have a decision on what they will do with him.
I’ve always wondered what goes through the head of a domestic violence offender. Are they remorseful, do they want to change, or do they even care? This morning, I came across “The Long Narrow Path” blog. It is the story of an offender who is currently serving time and his journey out of domestic violence. Below is his introduction. I hope that you find it as compelling and educational as I have.
I’m not sure I will be able to cover everything that has happened to date that I need to, but I will at least attempt to start.I am a convicted felon serving a sentence for crimes of domestic violence. I make no excuses for my actions, nor do I attempt to diminish the severity or seriousness of my crimes. I have no prior convictions, not even a major traffic violation. I do not have a history of violence. The crimes I am convicted of were the first I ever perpetrated against my wife in our 13 years of marriage. I am filled with remorse and sadness for the manner in which I reacted to the situation I was in. Wrestling with the guilt and pain for the events of the past few months is a daily struggle.With this journal, I hope to effectively share my experiences and memories. I will record my thoughts on current challenges and openly dig and sift through the past to perhaps expose the events and circumstances that brought me here.If anyone happens upon this blog, I am sure I will be read by visitors with both disdain and doubt, perhaps even a few with empathy. Regardless of the comments or review, I will always be truthful, open and sincere in my writing. This is my opportunity to learn from my mistakes, capture the journey and hopefully end up with an expansive document I can always reflect on. Maybe a reader will learn something about themselves along the way and correct their own course.
Help to Break The Silence
About the Campaign The “Break the Silence, Make the Call” campaign was launched in October of 2002, at the Texas State Capitol. The campaign was designed to inform victims of domestic violence that they are not alone and there are resources available to help them. The National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH), 800-799-SAFE, 800-787-3224(TTY), is included on all of the campaign materials. When victims call NDVH, advocates are able to connect them to available resources within their area. Through the support of the Texas Attorney General’s office and many others, the campaign has been able to change and save lives.Results of Statewide Survey
Know the red flags
Red Flags is a project of the Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) especially designed to help young adults form healthy relationships by learning to spot and deal with the warning signs of dating violence. NDVH also runs the NationalTeen Dating Abuse Helpline. For more information on TCFV, please visit www.tcfv.org or learn more about Red Flags on our MySpace profile.Things like controlling behavior, jealousy and insults almost always get worse rather than better over time, and can lead to physical violence. Everyone deserves to feel safe, respected and equal in their relationships.
Posters and public service announcements are now available for your local dating violence prevention and awareness efforts. The posters are available in three colors, and there are two television PSAs and one radio PSA. Please call TCFV if you’d like free copies of any of these materials or assistance in using them!
After I had left my abuser, I found it quite hard to communicate how i was feeling. Mainly because unless you have had a been a victim of domestic violence, there honestly is not an easy way to affectively convey all the emotions, the flashbacks, the nightmares, the guilt and the emptiness that we face afterwards. Understandably though, no one can really know what it is like to have a loaded gun staring you right in the face unless you have been there. I was confronted with this situation just today.
I had a telephone conversation with the TDCJ (Texas Department of Criminal Justice). They were explaining to me my rights as a victim and the programs that are offered through the Victim Services Division. These two programs made me wanna reach through the phone and give her a hug.
Victim Offender Mediation/Dialogue (VOMD)
It is not uncommon for states to have victim offender dialogue programs for nonviolent offenses. The uniqueness of the TDCJ program is that it has been developed for victims of violent crime. The VOM/D process can only be initiated at the request of the victim, and offender participation is voluntary. If an offender chooses to participate, he/she must admit guilt and take responsibility for the offense. Either party may withdraw from the VOM/D process at any time. Participation in the VOM/D program is not expected to affect the offender’s prison, parole, or community supervision (probation) status. Therefore, it is assured that offenders are not participating in order to enhance their chances for parole approval. Through VOM/D, the victim may receive answers to questions, which may facilitate his/her healing and recovery. It provides offenders the opportunity to take responsibility for their actions and to be accountable for the pain and suffering those actions have caused.
Victim Impact Panels (VIPP)
A victim impact panel typically consists of 2 to 4 victims/survivors who are willing and who may find it therapeutic and healing to share the details of their victimization with others. This program was designed and implemented within the division in 1999 specifically to assist victims with their recovery and healing process. The Victim Services Division also utilizes victim impact panels regularly in conjunction with many of the division training modules.
Historically, victims have been excluded from the criminal justice process, which only served to compound their confusion, frustration, pain, and anger. Speaking on a victim impact panel provides victims with an appropriate forum in which to express their feelings and talk about their victimization. Victims who have participated on victim impact panels have reported a sense of empowerment and healing as a result. Many panelists have requested to continue speaking on subsequent panels.
An additional benefit of victim impact panels is the heightened victim sensitivity and awareness that an audience gains by hearing the devastating and long-term effects of crime from the victim or a survivor of a victim. Various audiences include criminal justice professionals, victim advocate groups, offenders, and others. In FY 2007, there were 51 impact panels conducted statewide with 126 panelists participating. Over 750 individuals witnessed these panels. If you would like to learn more about the state of Texas Victim Services Division, you may contact them at 1-800-848-4824 or email firstname.lastname@example.org I have also added this page in my links.
Needless to say, the thought of possibly being able to confront my abuser totally stoked me. Then the opportunity of being able to serve on a panel that helps to assist in the education of domestic violence and the effects it has on the victim…well that was just icing on the cake. Filled with the excitement of my voice actually being able to be heard, I called my mother. Afterall, she has been my rock through all of this. She held me at night when I cried. When my body was consumed with paranoria, she would stay up with me til I fell asleep. She was there, every week for a year, while the MHMR Counselor came for house visits because I couldn’t leave the house. Most of all, she was there in the courtroom when I was refused my right to speak and all he got was five years probation on an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Which he then violated and finally was sent to the pen. Given all of this, you would think she would be happy that these options where available to me. Well, this is what she said:
You’ve moved on..I don’t really see what good it would do you to conjure up old wounds. Why can’t you just volunteer at a shelter and just leave the past where it belongs?
I immediately hung up the phone and began to cry. Had she not been paying attention? Why can’t see she that, even though it has been five years and my life is totally different from how it was then, that the scars never heal..IT NEVER GOES AWAY!! So, once I had dried my eyes, I called her back. I explained to her that this is my chance to show him that he did not defeat me. It may sound strange, but I want to thank him because without this life experience I would not be the person I am today. I also want to give forgiveness..because in another strange way..by me saying to him “I forgive you” it’s like telling myself..I forgive me.
She still didn’t seem to grasp it. That’s okay though. This isn’t about her ….. it’s about me!
You are so stupid..can’t you do anything right!
I used to hear this saying everyday…24/7. Whether it be washing the dishes, doing the laundry or cooking dinner. Hell! As far as he was concerned, I couldn’t even shit right! You know the ironic thing is, at first, I didn’t believe him. But slowly, after the first 100 times, it starts to stick in your brain. You begin to believe it. Gradually, the strong, confident, independent woman you were when you met slowly disappears. You look in the mirror trying to catch a glimpse of the woman you used to be. As you wipe away tears, you think to yourself “Tomorrow will be better. He really does love me and he only says these things cause he wants me to be better.”
The last time he called me stupid was May 31, 2003. Since then, I have graduated from school, moved into my place and even bought me a car all by myself. Where is he? He is sitting in a prison cell somewhere in Texas. Who’s the stupid one now?
Lydia Pappas has so beautifully written every emotion the DV survivor goes through as she is trying to rebuild and maintain her life. When I read this poem, It touched every fiber in my body. Thank you Lydia for showing us that we are not alone.
He Can’t Hurt You Anymore
Those ghosts of the past
How long do they last?
Their power over me lessens
But they’re still there
Filling me with
Terrors of old
And taunting me by saying
That when I’m old and greying
There will be no one to love me
Because I’m too scarred inside
Too broken by all his lies
And all the torture
He put me through.
But I have to remember
That I don’t have to be ashamed
Of what the past has done to me
Of my limits and fears
My unwept tears
Of those woes
Of long ago.
And I no longer have to be afraid.
Instead I can say:
He can’t harm you today.
It was yesterday
That you were struck down
By that foolish clown
Who hurt your children
Before your eyes
And stole your money
With clever lies
Who laughed as he said
“I wish you were dead.
But until that day
Do as I say
Or I’ll bash in your head.”
Those days are over.
He can’t hurt you anymore.
Be as kind to yourself
As you can be
And where this self-love leads you
Remains to be seen.
Don’t shut out love
When it comes your way.
Don’t be so afraid it will go away.
Try to stay close to yourself
And to your feelings too,
Even the feelings
That make you feel so blue.
Five years ago, by the hands of God, I was saved from a life of domestic violence. I had always told myself that I would be strong enough to just walk away. Unfortunately, that was not the case. When you love someone you try to see the good in them no matter what and you want to believe that they would never intentionally harm you. Since leaving my abuser, in 2003, it has been an up hill battle for not only myself but for my daughter as well. Now five years later, I can honestly say that there is “Freedom from the storm”. If you would like to hear my story, please click on the corresponding page link to the right.