Voices of Violence: It Could Happen to Anyone

Mar 30th, 2012 In: Voices of Violence By: Comments 2

VOICES OF VIOLENCE includes anonymous stories submitted by readers of the Sin by Silence Blog. Click here to submit your story!

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I am a survivor of domestic violence. I am an educated, professional woman. If it could happen to me, it could happen to anyone! The reason women are silent about what is happening to them is because it is so humiliating. People always wonder “why they stay.” They stay because they are brainwashed, feel trapped, and love the “good side” of their abuser. Friends, family, even law enforcement and the legal system need to learn about domestic violence, and how it affects the women and children impacted by it. Women are further victimized by their families and the system by being blamed for their own abuse!

When you are in the cycle of abuse, there is an overwhelming feeling of despair, hopelessness and powerlessness. The abuser does all he can to encourage these beliefs. I was actually arrested for battery for spraying my abuser in the face with mace to protect myself! I am not saying that women in a violent relationship have no responsibility. I am saying they are not the primary aggressor and should not be treated as such. The laws need to change, the system needs to change, our collective attitude about domestic violence needs to change. It is human nature to defend yourself against potentially lethal force!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

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2 Responses so far.

  1. Lana says:

    I am also an educated, professional woman and a survivor of domestic violence. The humiliation and shame that I have experienced is huge. I did the right thing and went to a Domestic Violence shelter with our 2-year-old to protect her from exposure to anymore violence. I lost my home, security, all of my possessions–and I mean ALL except a diaper bag. My losses were not legal or ethical. While in the shelter my name was taken off the title of our home, all of the equity was taken out and stolen by my ex so that I was stuck with splitting the debt. (Legally,no assets are allowed to be touched when a spouse is in a domestic violence shelter….but it was done.)

    There were NO consequences to my violent ex. I have permanent hearing loss, back/neck injuries and other permanent ailments from the head trauma his violence inflicted on me in addition to being strangled to unconsciousness on several occasions. (How embarrassing to admit, but case in point–it wasn’t enough to bring any consequences to him or to protect me and our daughter!!!!) This is often why we wait so long for the concrete evidence to be built up…and in my case, it wasn’t enough. He was able to torment, torture and leave me penniless with no negative consequences to him. Our daughter and I have lived on the run ever since with absolutely NO support in protecting our physical address. (He has always had an address /P.O.Box to contact us with, but always chooses the route of finding our physical address so that he can catch us alone…without witnesses.) In spite of a restraining order against him through 2099, I STILL am unable to keep my physical address off -record. In spite of my requests and the life-threatening consequences of my physical address being used…, my physical address confidentiality has been violated again and again and AGAIN. I have learned the hard way that there is no way to protect one’s physical address–ever!

    So often in the news a woman will get a black-eye and the perpetrator will go to jail. For the real violent men, like my ex husband, they go to years of domestic violence classes (what I call “training” on how to do it better) and come out even more skilled at beating without leaving obvious marks–like head and back injuries–NEVER facial bruises as that is so ROOKIE!!

    For more than 8 years I have tried every route I could to write letters and contact ANYONE who wanted to hear my story as I think it could show what REALLY goes on in the world of non-famous good mom’s who attempt to keep their children from exposure to violence. I did it because it was the right thing to do. Shame on society for misleading me into thinking there would be legal, and moral support out there for those who do the “right thing”. Okay “society”, you want to know why women don’t leave? Someone out there ask me… I have been told by many in the system that I have the worse case of injustice, as in “how it really works” that they have ever heard of. Women are legally slaughtered by their abusers. Helping women leave without providing legal help is…leaving them exposed to abuse and trauma that makes beatings look like a cakewalk….really. I dare anyone to respond to this. I am for real…. and really tired of wasting my breath on this topic. Truth is, we are NO BETTER off than we were in the old days of leaving with your suitcase and running. Now, I got to leave with a diaper bag AND pay $70,000 for an attorney to abuse me all over again by allowing my criminal ex to rob me of EVERYTHING and empower him to leave me running for my life with our daughter. Our poor daughter has been victimized all over again by having a father that beat and violated her mom, abandoned her and lives in the nest and life that her mom created for her. While we struggle to stay safe and are continuously looking over our shoulder… well, my confidential physical address was misused again this week–AGAIN after 8 years of violation…and I’m trying to teach my daughter to be strong. Our rights are violated again, the abuser gets rewarded and our daughter is victimized again as I live in unprotected fear for our lives. I dare anyone to talk to me and ask what happened… My facts are worthy of shedding some light on… Ask me why women continue to be killed?

  2. Tina says:

    Dear Lana-

    I am so sorry for what you are going through. You and your daughter deserve so much better. I “get” your story. My abuser, when we divorced, did similar things. He ran up a $64k credit card bill (after warning me he would) so that I would have to pay half–we live in a no-fault divorce state. He was using the credit card to get cash which he then used to pay child support! (Of course as soon as the divorce was final he took steps to stop paying child support and alimony–which he never paid.) Ah, and the friend of the court? What a horrific organization. The only people they help are the abusers! They totally disregarded testimony from me and my kids that my ex was abusive and they focused on his “rights.” Of course his “rights” gave him many opportunities to continue his abusiveness towards me and the kids. And how about family support? My family sided with my ex. I grew up in abuse and my mother always blamed me for the abuse. She and the rest of my family spend their holidays with my ex, and keep up a relationship with him…nearly 10 years after our divorce. Family has helped him over and over again. His mother gave him money to live on and during the times he “had” to pay child support she paid is rent (which was twice as much as his child support!). I was on the run with three kids and no education, no job, nothing! My family nor his helped me one bit! People wonder why women don’t leave? I think many know they will end up like me–alone, poor, vulnerable to their abuser. My ex even threatened to prove me an “unfit” mother! (Not that he “wanted” our kids–he just knew taking them would be one more way to hurt me terribly.) When you leave your abuser you run the risk of ending up like many of us–completely alone with no resources or support. SafeHouse was great…but that is a temporary support. I live in a progressive area and there are no support systems for those who left abuse and are still suffering the consequences years later. My kids ended up living with their dad, who painted me as a monster and told my kids all kinds of lies. While they lived with him, he didn’t supervise them or have any rules for them, so all three ended up dropping out of high school, getting into drugs, etc. My youngest was arrested for felony theft at age 13 and finally the system figured out there was a problem with his dad. The court placed him in my home though my son didn’t want anything to do with me. It took a year-and-a-half before my son realized I wasn’t a monster and actually had his best interests in mind. The only thing on my side during that time was his probation, which forced him to stay with me by law. (Though the verbal abuse he learned from his dad was a matter I dealt with on a daily basis during that time.)

    There are two good things that came from my leaving:

    One, even though I lost my kids for a while, two of them have come around completely, now seeing their dad for what he really is. They are so proud of me and we have worked hard to learn about abuse and how to have healthy relationships. These two children finished high school and are attending college and working. They are doing great! My middle child got his GED, but when it comes to understanding his dad and abuse, he isn’t there. I’m trying to be hopeful.

    The second good thing is that I have been going to school part-time and working full-time for the last 10 years. This semester I will get my associates degree and I have been promoted at my workplace five times in seven years. I finally make enough money to pay my bills AND buy groceries! We don’t live in plenty, but our needs are met and we even get a little “want” every now and then.

    My abuser lives less than three miles from me, so I am never fully “at ease.” I take all the precautions I can and make sure I’m watching my back during times when I suspect he may be escalating. I will never fully feel safe. But I am much more fortunate than many others, in that I am not on the “run” all the time. I’m so sorry for those still in that situation.

    My health has suffered. I believe it is from the many years of abuse and stress. I have major depression, PTSD (which I thought would be better by now, but it rears its ugly head now and again), teeth problems, and a suspicious mass in my leg that I went in for this past week that is being checked to see if it is cancer–it behaves like a cancer.

    I think people mistakenly believe that if an abused woman merely leaves the relationship, she and her children will then be fine. That is so far from reality!!!!! I have met other women who, like me, left their abuser some time ago and are still reeling in the abuse their abusers continue to inflict. And there isn’t the level of support and resources that some would like to believe there is. It is incredibly hard to leave. And even harder to stay gone. Take a look at me and my life. And yet, I would never go back–never, never, never.

    My only hope is that my leaving shows my kids how much I was willing to put up with to get away from the abuse. I hope they live in a way that shows genuine care and respect for all people, they included. I hope they never are abused and I hope they never become abusers. If these hopes come true, then all the pain and suffering of leaving is worth it.

    And Lana, I hope someday you can be in a place where you can feel safe enough to do some nice things for yourself–you deserve them. In the meantime, keep fighting, dear warrior. Do whatever it takes to keep leaving; keep protecting yourself and your child; keep breaking the cycle. When you need to stop and take a breath, do so. Then get back into that battle. It is tempting to give in and go back. It is so incredibly hard to keep on fighting when we don’t feel like we have a chance at winning. I don’t know that we will ever “win” this battle, but we must keep trying. At least until we can get to that place where we say with confidence that we would never go back, never, never, never.

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