Not to shed light away from Breast Cancer Awareness, but October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month as well.
Chances are you know someone that has been victim to Domestic Violence. The statistics are staggering. One in four women has been a victim to domestic violence in her lifetime. Did you know that almost 1/3 or the American society say they know someone that has been a victim of domestic violence? You can find more statistics at: http://endabuse.org/resources/facts
For nearly a third of my life, I was a victim to domestic violence. At first it started off as verbal abuse. Here I was this independently outspoken female, being shouted down and demeaned into a corner. Fearing my life with every breath, every wrong comment. I began to disassociate myself from people I knew and loved, I was ashamed, scared that they'd see through the mask I was putting up and see the reality. I was called nasty names, and while all this was going on, I made excuses...it's stress, I provoked things, etc.
I was never able to find an out, I had lost a sense of myself, I was not who I used to be. I was tattered and feared if I misspoke or did something that would set things off, we'd have an outrageous blow-up. I walked rather lightly at times, chose words rather lightly, learned not to push buttons and bite my tongue and turn the other cheek.
I had a son, and things got worse. I almost left, but feared things would get even worse, so I stayed. Continuing to fight a silent fight. Then one day, I found some friends, that convinced me I needed to take action. I began to make plans secretly to remove myself and my son from the situation. And then one night, something I had never expected to happen did. No longer was it only verbal, it became physical. My life flashed before my eyes. I knew I could not leave that night, as it would have been a struggle, but as soon as it was safe I did. My son and I left, not knowing the road ahead.
Sometime has passed since the incident, I have had the benefit of the assistance of close family members as well as very supportive friends. They have lifted me up and made me realize I was worthwhile and can do this. I can be myself. I can be independent, creative again. I often wonder, what if I did not have the support systems that I had, would I still be in that situation? Shortly after the incident, I had a conversation with a social worker, she told me had I wanted to flee to a shelter instead of my Father's, I would have had to wait for three weeks, as that was the waiting list for a shelter for victim's of DV. I was shocked. Three weeks for victim's of DV, could be the difference of walking out of an abusive situation on your own accord, or being carried out on a stretcher or much worse in a box.
I chose to fight, to no longer be a victim, to no longer be victimized, I CHOSE to survive.
I have also had people say to me after the fact, I suspected something was wrong, but did not want to say something. If you ever suspect that someone you know is a victim of DV, be the outspoken friend, lend support and enable and empower your friend or family member a way out of the situation. I did not realize that so many people noticed that I was in a bad situation...but very few had the courage to speak.
Victim's of domestic violence are everywhere. We can be anyone, we could be your corporate CEO, the greeter at your local discount store, stay at home mom, fry cook at your local eatery, the person standing next to you in line...anyone. As a survivor of DV, my goal now is to share my story, with whoever will listen, give a voice to those who need it, and give an exit to those who need one.
Spread awareness. The Purple Ribbon is for Domestic Violence Awareness.