****READERS…we had a submission from a domestic violence survivor which I think is an important story to share as I was once in that situation myself with a boyfriend many moons ago…I have edited her submission and obviously we are not sharing her name etc.—- It is my hope as well as hers that this will inspire you and if you are in a situation like this PLEASE seek help from qualified professionals…a website that has resources by state is www.thehotline.org. This is a bit outside of our normal content, however I feel that it is an issue that needs a voice. PLEASE any comments positive and supportive, we don’t do judgment here. Thanks. – Noelle
When you think about a domestic violence victim, who comes to mind?
Is it an addict that couldn’t get away? Is it a woman with 5 kids who has no resources of her own? Is it the girl with no self-esteem? Is it a professional woman that somehow believes she deserves it?
Shockingly… Domestic Violence victims have no stereotype. People don’t plan to be a victim. Many of us turn out to be successful survivors of a less than ideal situation. When children are involved it becomes even more important to have a breakthrough…
Let’s chat a bit about that word – survivor.
I walked into Safe Haven in Tarrant County in June of 2018 as someone experiencing domestic violence. The marks I had were fresh – bruises, scrapes, mental images. I felt ashamed. I hated being seen in public looking like this. To this day I remember what I was wearing – purple sunglasses to hide the facial marks, my nephews t-shirt, and my shorts. I had a giant bruise but had nothing else to wear. I couldn’t go home yet, I couldn’t face my previous life while coming to terms with my new one.
The second I walked through the door at Safe Haven, I began to weep. What had gotten me here? What was I supposed to do? Was I really about to share with complete strangers what had happened happened? Yes. Yes, I was. I had to…something had to change, and I had been through enough, it was time to take my life back!
I threw my shoulders back, wiped away me tears, and went through the intake process with the counselor. As I filled out the basic paperwork, I felt numb. When we got to the paperwork that talked about my relationship, I cried. Was I crying because I missed us? Partially. More than that, I realized all the abuse I put up with over the last year and 9 months, which was an eye opener for me.
Lots of thoughts ran through my head…such as:
I felt like I was to blame for everything, that’s not abuse is it? Our relationship needed so much work because of my faults, again, that’s on me, right? I didn’t need privacy, what was I hiding? Did my past have to do with why our relationship failed? Is it all my fault?! Was I really abused?
Yes. Yes, it was abuse and somehow, I missed the signs, even someone as smart as me…I missed it and got caught up in this crazy mess… If I had seen the early signs, it may not have gotten to the physical abuse part because maybe I would have gotten out sooner. Maybe not. I don’t know.
What DO I know? I know that I didn’t deserve that, nobody does. These things in a relationship are NOT ok. This is dysfunctional and unhealthy. Time to get help and get healed.
Today I am far, far beyond these moments, how did I do it? I had a tremendous support system. Family, friends, the people at Safe Haven… everyone played their role in my transition.
Going to group counseling allowed me to express what I was processing, feeling, all without judgement. This man physically harmed me… yet I still loved him! WHY? Counseling helped me answer questions like this and so much more.
My sister gave me a safe place to call home for a bit. And while she didn’t fully understand what I was going through, she listened. She let me get a shaky sentence out, cry, talk some more. Honestly, just verbally processing it, without judgement, is what was happening and that is exactly what I needed.
My sister let me try to go home, and openly accepted me back when I couldn’t stay there. She never made me feel like a burden, nor did her family. When I was ready, she went with me, along with a couple of best friends, and legally cleared, packed, handed over responsibility of his things, to his best friend. They sat with me in what felt like such an empty hole and helped me move forward.
Now, a year and a half later, I am so much stronger. I am a domestic violence survivor, not a victim, living my life day to day. I hold a strong leadership position in a fortune 500 company and am blessed beyond measure. I am so grateful.
If he would have had his way, I wouldn’t be here. My life would have ended that terrible day when I had enough. I got my second chance, and you can too. It’s hard, but girl, you’ve made it to this point, you can make it to the other side. We will welcome you and help you in ways you don’t know you need yet. PLEASE get the help that you need if you are in a similar situation, every state has resources that will help you.
I have shared this hoping that it may help someone else find their way from the dark into the LIGHT.