by Valdeen Shears
A palm tree once saved my life.
I watched him behind the wheel, his face distorted by anger..no rage. A smile masked my fear..as I prayed, hoped he would see beyond the "red" and remember in that split moment the love, the children, the dreams we shared.
Thank God for sturdy plants..lol. I can laugh now.
Then, it had hurt something fierce, when the front fender connected with my thigh... and I fell. I curled myself into a ball because I knew I would probably be kicked. He had never kicked me before..but I knew it could happen one day.
I thought for sure he was going to kill me.
So I begged...I cajoled. I got into the same car that should have been my COD and cajoled some more. Of course, it never ended there. He was one that had to vent until all his venom was spewed. This was often in the form of more lashes...cussing...or breaking things. It didn't matter that our children were there.
I did get cut that night and a busted head sometime after, numerous cussings, a few lashes through the years.
I was told of all the ways he would hurt me and it bred a fear in me so great, I was afraid to even stop speaking to him, even when I ran. Even while at a shelter.
Fear wreaks havoc on your mind. Up until recently, I lived in fear for most of the last 22 years of my life and marriage. I am 41. I remember being naively in love and feeling cherished when in the first few months into our relationship..he said.."If I doh jealous, I doh love yuh".
I would be lying if I didn't say I loved my abuser..I did...couldn't see my life without him at one time..even when I nursed seven stitches to my forehead from a headbutt and aslight limp from being knocked down by that car.
I became a mind murderer and killed him several different ways in my mind. Did you know you can actually Google.."How to Kill your husband and get away with it!!??"
His hold...Lord..his hold on me, mentally, emotionally, physically was amazing. Then after nights of tears, some bottled up inside...and months of pretending...of keeping on my mask. My release, deliverance.. it finally came, through untold personal pain. It nearly scarred my children for life. I can't elaborate because it's before the courts.
He is in prison..but was placed on bail.
I refuse, however,to live in FEAR anymore.
I am proud of myself for not taking his calls anymore...even when I felt fear boil in the pit of my belly. I am proud that I have decided that God is my protector and that "no weapon formed against me shall prosper, even while I knew he could be plotting.
I refuse to sit idly by while...I am sure..as sure as I breathe..that another woman out there..women, children, men continue to live in that same crippling, instilled and damaging FEAR.
Please, please, people we NEED to see, find, invent ways to better protect each other. Be the whistle-blower, be that voice, be that sisterhood, be that organization...but do it with faith, believing and investing your all.
Those ideas can save a life. Can possibly save lives.
And The All 4 Bracelet Alerts (ABA) Movement was born.
I saw a mother in the US, who through her grief, lobby for this and saw it realized after the death of her daughter. Its called the Amber Alert. My country, Trinidad and Tobago and the region, need this device. Our statistics continue to mount yearly. Often the New Year starts with, murder, or murder/suicide domestic violence-related incidents.
The ABA Movement is saying, survivors are saying, A PROTECTION/RESTRAINING ORDER, IS SIMPLY NO LONGER ENOUGH.
We do not have a registry of repeat offenders or convicted abusers. The GPS tracking bracelet alerts can automatically provide this, as well as act as a deterrent.
Would this not send a red flag to anyone who may unsuspectingly enter into a relationship with another, who out of a previous relationship had been mandated to wear one? Wouldn't abusers think twice about being branded, that others can see them for who they really are?
The introduction of the bracelet alerts would come with proposed reformation from within the nation's schools. The need for re-educating children, teens and young adults on the different types of abuse.
I did not know there was financial abuse until I was bullied, coerced or manipulated out of my salaries.
Control is 95 percent the reasoning behind abusers..often its persons who were themselves abused, who abuse.
I am pleading with all and sundry, even those who don't know my country..who may have never visited this "dot" on the map. To rally for The ABA Movement and all other domestic violence NGOs in my around the world, who see the need for this device in their own country, to say Let's take a Stand.
This isn't about who does it...it's about survivors, families of victims, the memory of loved ones, the children of mothers beaten, killed before their eyes.... saying its time we "Empower the Abused".
Time to assist with even empowering the authorities to fight this scrouge that continue to take and maimlives around the world.
THIS is My Story...This is #MeToo.