As I flew backwards through the air on December 13, 2004, there was a split second that life as I knew it was suspended. I did not know when, where or how I would land. Would I hit my head on the brick fireplace behind me? Would I be dead? Paralyzed? Would I bounce back without a scratch?
Suddenly, a thought ran through my mind- “Thank God, what a relief”.
“If I live through this”, I thought, “at least NOW I can say enough is enough. At least now, there would be no more reason to pretend. Of course, I would leave him. What more do I need to have happen?” I had spent three years living with this person who raped me in my home on a regular basis, who belittled me and took my money, my pride, my sense of self. At least now, I could justify walking away.
Well, I landed on the ground. I had not hit the bricks. I was bleeding, but I could not find the source. I could barely move. Suddenly, the phone rings…..
”Are you okay? You landed pretty hard”.
“I don’t know, I can hardly move. Will you come help me?”
“I shouldn’t…..there was a cop around the corner. I don’t know what he saw”.
“Please……I need help, and I am too ashamed to call anyone else”.
And so it began again……
I am very happy to say that, on February 12, 2005, I finally told my dear friend Kim the truth of my life. She helped me to be honest with myself, and helped me to finally end this abusive relationship. The next several years would begin a path to understanding how I found myself in this situation, and how would I begin to forgive the person who did this to me. Most importantly, I would find a way to forgive myself.
Growing up, my father and my grandfather brought laughter and color to an otherwise gray childhood. The only price I had to pay was to ignore the reality of the verbal, emotional, and physical abuse that plagued all of the women in my life. My mother’s father belittled and verbally abused my grandmother constantly. My father suffered from the constant guilt of beating his crippled father after he found his mother beaten to a pulp at his hands. My father’s daily struggle with guilt was confounded by the fact that his father later committed suicide and blamed him for his circumstance. He developed a belief that women were weak and manipulative….and that they can drive men to do terrible things.
I believe that domestic violence is a detriment to all members of society…men and women, girls and boys. Most of the time, the simplistic view of victimizer and victim does not tell the full story….and actually perpetuates the problem. I do not believe that boys want to grow up to be abusers any more than girls want to grow up to be victims. As a third generation “experiencer” of domestic violence, it is time that we do something to change the circle of violence for the sake of girls and boys who depend upon us. By developing programs that educate and provide alternatives to violence, the United States can lead the way towards showing young people that there are better ways to live. By learning new ways to address our individual relationships, we can extend this knowledge to our relationships within local and global communities.
Wendy L. MD, AAHIVS
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