Where did October go? I feel like we’ve approached the last months of the year so fast… In the month of October, I posted about Breast Cancer Awareness. Today, before we completely dive into the month of turkey and pumpkin pie, I wanted to hand the keyboard over to someone very brave who has a story to tell in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness.
“Courage, dear heart” – C.S. Lewis
One in four. That’s the statistic of how many women will fall victim to domestic violence. I never thought that I would ever become a statistic, one in four. I never really understood the subject or honestly cared to know because I swore I was better than that. I swore it would never happen to me and I felt confident about that.
We met in what seemed to be a scenario straight out of your typical cheesy romance flick. On vacation with your best friends and you met a handsome local who shows you all the best his city has to offer. We were inseparable & by the time you knew it we were traveling hours on end just to get time together. As you can imagine things got serious fast. Eventually it got to the point where we couldn’t stand being apart anymore.
He was rough around the edges but had what seemed to be a sweet soul. I was his protector and at the time thought he could be changed. Things moved fast & I had already experienced the first signs. The first time is one that stays fresh in my mind.
He always had a temper and was to get very jealous. The fight started over giving directions, which escalated to him yelling and exchanging some unkind words. I have always been someone who finds its best to give things and people space, especially in situations like this. After meeting back up I learned that giving him space didn’t help, in fact it enraged him even more. Trying to keep my cool I get in the car and try to ignore him but that doesn’t work either. After hitting me with my purse, he threatened to throw it out of the moving car. Then I began to freak out inside and start crying which pisses him off more. I hung my head out the window and tried yelling for help. But in a moving car in the mountains of Reno, Nevada, no one could hear me. I still wonder to this day what the cars passing by thought I was doing. By the end of this fight I was left in a car, clothes torn off and crying. He had taken my phone away from me during the fight so I wouldn’t call for help. After that night that wasn’t the only thing he took from me.
I still don’t fully understand why from there I didn’t seek more help or try to end things. Though every time I did it was like he was a new and improved version of himself. He would become my knight in slightly shining armor. It never lasted long though & before you knew it he was back to his old ways. Days turned into months and the fights got more frequent and violent. I will admit near the end I began to fight back, I was tired of being treated like garbage. That doesn’t excuse my actions. I’m not here to give you a detailed log of everything I encountered, that’s not the point of this.
I’m here to tell you that it does happen. One in four could be you. It could be your coworker, classmate, friend or even a family member. Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate. You can be male or female, of any color or culture. What it does do is change you. How you think, how you act, how you are, all of that changes. I didn’t think anyone cared or could help me but really I was too scared to even help myself. There is only so much others can do for you before you realize you have to do the rest yourself. It may be very cliché to say but it’s true, “what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.” I don’t regret what has happened to me because I am stronger. I was broken but I’ve learned more about myself now than I’ve ever know before. Only because I had to put myself back together again.
I don’t hate my ex nor do I hold ill feelings towards him. We all have inner demons we are learning how to cope with. I was so embarrassed and scared of what had happened or what would happen. Then I realized tomorrow offered me a new beginning and yesterday’s struggles gave me strength to move forward. Life is filled with positives and negatives. You just have to learn how to flourish through the negative and bad situations, just like flowers grow from dirt.
No one but you has the power to keep yourself down or distinguish how you should feel about yourself. No one has the right to make you feel unworthy or low. If there is ever anyone in your life that makes you feel less than yourself, that isn’t right because love does not hurt.
To all those out there who have become victims of domestic violence. Know that you are not a victim but a victor and now one in four can be victorious.