While everyone will be wearing pink and talking about Breast Cancer during October (totally great, not knocking that), I wanted to change the game here and talk about something I feel strongly about. I want to talk about Domestic Violence. In addition to Breast Cancer, October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Fortunately, I have never experienced any form of domestic violence. However, I know several people who have. Chances are you do too. You just may not know it.
That is perhaps one of the most frightening aspects of DV. Victims tend to blame themselves and often times don’t speak out. They think they will be ok or they can fix the situation. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Some people are just fucking assholes. Plain and simple. If this is too blunt, then you don’t want to hear what happens next. The following statistics have been pulled from The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV)…
- 1 in 3 women have been victims of some form of physical violence from a partner
- 1 in 4 men have been victims of some forms of physical violence from a partner
- 1 in 4 women have been victims of severe physical violence from a partner
- 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence from a partner
- 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men have been raped in their lifetime
- 45% of rape cases in women were carried out by a partner
- 29% of rape cases in males were carried out by a partner
- 1 in 15 children are exposed to domestic violence
These statistics aren’t even scratching the surface. Honestly, it is pathetic that people resort to violence on someone they claim they care about. I have no tolerance for anyone who resorts to that and treats people like livestock. It is evident those people have the mental capacity of a goldfish.
With that being said, I have an anonymous open letter written by someone close to me who has survived domestic violence. I urge you all to read it.
An open letter to my abuser:
Never in a million years did I ever imagine that I would become a statistic because of YOU. Never in a million years did I guess that I would become so tangled in the complex, yet misunderstood, web of domestic violence. Never in a million years would I believe I would become a woman who would fall victim to physical, verbal, & emotional abuse. Never in a million years would I accept that I have woken up with a man on top of me without my consent, that I would be pushed into a busy New Orleans street with traffic, that I would be struck in the face with your fist, that I would be lifted off of the ground by my neck in the corner of a bathroom, or that I would become pregnant by my abuser. Never in a million years would I believe that I would be woken up by my abuser trying to break into my roommate’s home. Never in a million years would I imagine that I would be sitting on a street corner with a New Orleans Police Officer who would console and encourage me to turn in my abuser. Never in a million years will I ever be okay with you dragging me down a hallway on my pregnant belly. Never in a million years would I dream that during my first pregnancy, that I would have to schedule an emergency appointment to make sure our unborn child was still alive following physical abuse. Never in a million years did I think my strong, independent personality would fall victim to a master manipulator, a charismatic narcissist, a man who would literally and figuratively suck the vibrant, social life out of me. Never in a million years would I dare say that my life would be altered and forever changed by domestic violence. Yet, here we are. Nearly 10 years later, and I am alive. I am a survivor.
The last time you abused me, I left. I packed all of my things while you weren’t home and I left. I left with our child still safe inside my belly. My solid rock, my unwavering support system was waiting with open arms. They were prepared to welcome me back after years of isolation. They’ve loved me all along. The last time you physically abused me, I decided I wanted better for our child (and myself). I made the conscious choice to leave to ensure that our child would have a better life. While crying one night in the shower, I promised our unborn child that he or she would never grow up thinking that that type of toxic and abusive relationship is normal. I promised our child that he or she would grow up in a loving, stable home. I promised our child that I would do everything in my power to shield and protect him or her from being exposed to your history of domestic violence.
Unfortunately, I failed. I failed to protect our child from domestic violence. Rewind. I take that back. I refuse to blame myself. I’ve escaped your powerful grip and you can no longer control me. I will never allow you to make me feel guilty for YOUR actions. YOU failed to protect our child from domestic violence. YOU physically assaulted your wife (our child’s step-mother) in front of our child. YOU choked your wife in front of our child. YOU, with bloody hands, punched out windows to your home. YOU verbally abused your wife in front of our child. YOU had police at your house because of domestic violence. YOU failed to set a good example to our child about how a man should treat a woman, or how a woman should expect to be treated by a man. You. Failed.
Despite the hell you’ve put our child and I through, thank you. Without your abuse, I wouldn’t have found a strength inside of me that I never knew existed. Without your abuse, I wouldn’t have realized my worth. Without your abuse, I wouldn’t have made the promise to our child and myself that healthy, loving relationships are effortlessly possible. Without your abuse, I wouldn’t be the mother, wife, woman, friend, sister, daughter, or person I am today. Without your abuse, I wouldn’t have the greatest gift that could’ve ever come from the darkest time of my life, our child.
To my abuser, never in a million years did I imagine I would be alive to write this letter to you.
ONE of your victims
P.S. To any victim or survivor of domestic violence: There is happiness at the end of this nightmare. If you’re willing and open to accept it. There is love in your future. If you allow yourself to heal. There is such a thing as a healthy relationship. If you don’t become tainted by your experience. I urge you to “find your reason to leave.”
To the brave person who wanted me to share this letter, good for you. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there even without a name on it. I am truly happy you have made it through the darkest time in your life and came out a stronger person for it.
Like this person said, to anyone who is a victim of domestic violence. You are not alone. Allow yourself to heal and get the help you deserve. You are worth it. You do matter. You are so much better than your abuser makes you feel. All you have to do is believe it.
If you are reading this, I know it is hard to understand right now that someone can love you because your absuer makes you feel worthless, but I promise they do. I never stopped loving the person that wrote this letter. I can assure you that your friends and family have not stopped loving you either.
Please help yourself and get out. If you are scared to open up to someone you know, please call the domestic violence hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
I hope things get better for you.