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ptsd

November 2nd, 2011

water and rocksA thousand years ago, even before Farrah Fawcett starred in the movie “The Burning Bed,” women who had been involved in relationships of domestic violence were deemed to be suffering from “battered women’s syndrome.” They had to call it something, after all, some of these women were murdering their husbands and lovers. (Their captors and jailers, if you want their truth.) These women were not punished severely, at that time, because of the history of violence against them. Their violence was explained as “self-defense” in the sense that they lived with ongoing violence, and feared for their safety. They became so frightened at the “next episode of violence” that they began to “return fire” whenever the opportunity presented itself (even when not being fired upon). ptsd continued »

taking a stand against violence

October 27th, 2011

time

“Now is the time to find the courage, and to stop looking the other way when you see signs of abuse. Whether we are talking about domestic violence or abuse of any form, we all have a responsibility to act, or risk the likelihood that it will happen again,” writes Esta Soler, President and Founder of Futures Without Violence.

“Many have already been doing this and we applaud you. Changing cultural norms, on a college campus, on a playground, or in an office, is the best way forward for a future without violence.”

I  agree with Ms. Soler, and I would add neighbors and friends to this mix.

If your neighbor knows that you are being abused, should she say something? Should she call the police? What will happen if she does? Will the police say: “Your neighbor at whatever address complained about sounds of violence, or the appearance of domestic violence.” Yeah, right. Your neighbor is now heading for the hills or denying the issue entirely.  Nobody wants to be afraid of retribution from a violent neighbor.

So, what do you do if your neighbor is being abused?
Everything you can. Anything that makes sense. Ask to borrow a cup of sugar, then hand her the name and number of a shelter near you. If you can offer her safe passage, tell her that too. Even if she ignores you, believe that you have planted the seed in good faith. It only takes the smallest (genuine) offer of help to make the difference.

Please, don’t ignore the problem. If your neighbor/friend/loved one needs help and doesn’t know how to ask for it; doesn’t believe there is any hope for them; or believes that they deserve the pain they live with, all you can do is try.
But please, try.
Don’t stop trying.



eggshells and lug nuts

October 26th, 2011

soft yellow roseDo you live with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?

Do the eggshells crackle under your feet even when you are being your most careful?

Are you considering actions to free yourself that you do not dare breathe aloud?

Why are you still there?

What is more important than your life? Do you think that the worst only happens to other people?

Women die every day at the hands of men who have them convinced that they are loved. He is just so jealous of her attention, he can’t help himself. He just has so many problems, so many issues with work, or his business, or burying the bodies, that if he, (the darling Dr. Jekyll), loses his temper and beats the crap out of you, you should forgive him, not be angry. After all, it must have been your fault. eggshells and lug nuts continued »

a cry for help

October 20th, 2011

starfire - crop

A dear friend of mine recently learned that sharing sorrows can actually help you to become stronger.

Her happy, beautiful life was turned upside down in a heartbeat. She didn’t want to tell anyone.

She is always such a smiling, sparkling, positive person. She shares her love, not her sorrows. In one night, the kindest, most loving man in the world covered her body with bruises and broke her heart into a million pieces. She was confused and terrified and felt utterly alone.

She finally shared her nightmare with her mother, and little by little, with her friends. Each time she opened her heart to a friend, she got back love. They told her how much she means to them, how much they love her for being just exactly who she is. Each friend gave her love and support. Each one helped her to find more of her own inner strength and power and the determination to go on.

Today she is recovering, and tomorrow she will still be recovering. If you are keeping it in, hiding the truth from the people who love you, think about this. Together we are stronger. Together we can find solutions. Hiding in the trouble does not bring light to the situation. Sharing with at least one other soul will give you strength and courage and help you to recover your self-worth and learn self-love, which are so absolutely necessary for recovery.

Philadelphia: the whole story

September 26th, 2011

IMG_5001

I have quoted this article many times. I am afraid it will disappear eventually, so here it is, in full:

NY TIMES
Philadelphia to Handle Abuse Calls Differently
By IAN URBINA
Published: December 30, 2009

Responding to a sharp increase in homicides stemming from domestic violence, the Philadelphia Police Department announced plans this week to change how officers handle domestic abuse cases.

While Philadelphia’s overall homicide rate has dropped about 9 percent and all violent crime in the city is down compared with this time last year, there have been 35 domestic homicides since January — a 67 percent increase from 2008. The police say two additional killings are still being investigated and are likely to be added to the tally. Philadelphia: the whole story continued »

my story

September 4th, 2011

IMG_4729My story is all over this site. My two little girls told me that we had to leave, “before he kills you.” – I could no longer pretend they didn’t know after that. So, we walked out the door one lovely morning, headed for their school, and never went back. A shelter picked us up from a neighbor’s home.

That was the beginning of our new life. All of those threats – ” I will hunt you down and kill you ” – ” I will take the children from you and you will never see them again” – they were just threats, he never intended to follow through. He thought the threat would control me. It did, for a long time. my story continued »

more on hydration

August 31st, 2011

Chicago hi-rise

Now that I really think about it . . . I am pretty sure that I was dehydrated most of my adult life. I do not remember ever drinking water as part of my diet. I had not a drop of water for years and years. I survived on coffee and sugary brown liquids. I got terrible headaches, migraines, for many, many years. I NEVER drank water.

My sweet little lady doc called me at 7 p.m. on a Friday night and said: “You are severely dehydrated! Go out NOW and buy a lot of Gatorade, and drink it all weekend and come in on Monday!”

I didn’t know what the significance of dehydration was, but i did as she said. The following day I began to feel better, and better, and the next day I woke up a brand new person. more on hydration continued »

the painful truth

August 15th, 2011

seaandyellowsunset22

Here are a few simple things to think about if you are deciding whether to leave or to stay with a batterer.

. . . domestic violence kills ten women every day in this country.

. . . each year more women are injured by domestic violence than by rapes, muggings and auto accidents combined.

. . . in 70% of the families where the mother is abused there is also abuse of the children.

. . . one of every six pregnant women is beaten, making domestic violence a leading cause of birth defects.

Trauma Stats from Washington State Dept. of Health


life and death

August 7th, 2011

blclogo

My life is a skinny silver thread that has been woven into the tapestry of human kind.

I will die, but I will not disappear.


Husbands and Wives: Faith Trust Institute

July 22nd, 2011

from: Faith Trust Institute

gemini_002_2

What does Judaism have to say about abuse?

Jewish tradition is very clear: it is forbidden for one person to harm another. This includes physical abuse: the Talmud states that it is forbidden to even raise a hand against another;

Sexual abuse: Jewish law recognized the unacceptability of marital rape more than 2,000 years ago;

Emotional abuse: Jewish law prohibits humiliating or belittling another person through word and deed; and,

Economic abuse: the Talmud states that a husband must generously provide for his family (in today’s society this responsibility is often shared by both partners).

my sweet Lou

July 15th, 2011

This morning we put my sweet Lou to sleep. He had a cancer and he was “bleeding out” internally. He was only seven. This is one of the cruelest of all necessities of love. Love them enough to let go. Love them enough to kiss them goodbye.

Louie loved to play with his ball. He would push the ball into the pool, then jump in and chase it until he was exhausted. We would fish the ball out for him and he would push it in again. It was a game. He didn’t care about being exhausted. He was having fun.

IMG_0002Louie taught me to laugh. He had so much joy and excitement just chasing that darned ball. I laughed every time he ended up head over heels in the grass, rolling over the ball, running too fast. The ball was flat of course. Every time I got him a new one he bit into it right away and it would be flat within twenty seconds. I guess it must have been easier to catch that way.

He had the sweetest big brown eyes.  He quickly became a ninety pound lap dog. (The front half of him anyway, the “whole” dog wouldn’t fit.)

I will miss my sweet Lou. Always. He was the best dog ever.  He sat beside my bed for days when the first Pain Management work was done on my spine. He knew, somehow, that I was in pain. He did not move, for days. I don’t know how he did it. But, he was the best dog of my life. I wish, how I wish, that he had not been sick. I could not keep him alive while it would hurt him, but i would have, in a moment, if it had only hurt me.

statistics: domestic abuse

July 3rd, 2011

purple branch 5.4.16statistics from A Safe Place for Help – an excellent resource for safety and help.

•7% of women (3.9 million) are physically abused by their partners, and 37% (20.7 million) are verbally or emotionally abused.
•Every 9 seconds a woman is physically abused by her husband. (The Commonwealth Fund, N.Y. 1991)
•The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that 95% of assaults on spouses or ex-spouses are committed by men against women. (Assessing Violent Couples, H. Douglas, Families in Society, 11/91)
•Domestic violence is a repetitive in nature: about 1 in 5 women victimized by their spouse or ex-spouse reported that they had been a victim of a series of at least 3 assaults in the last 6 months. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 10/93)
•30% of Women presenting with injuries to the emergency department were identified as having injuries caused by battering. (American Journal of Public Health, 1/89)
•Pregnancy is a risk factor. Several studies indicate a range of incidence from 17% to 26% of pregnant women. (Public Health Nursing, 9/87)
•42% of murdered women are killed by their intimate partners. (FBI’s 88-91 Uniform Crime Reports) statistics: domestic abuse continued »

be who you are

June 24th, 2011

Image 23I hope you will forgive my blunt statements, but I am simply beyond dancing around this important subject.

If you are gay, or lesbian, please, just be who you are. Love someone who is also gay, or lesbian. Please do not pretend, cover up, lie to yourself and everyone else and marry someone who is straight and ruin both of your lives.

I am so thankful that being gay or lesbian is much more understood, now, in 2011. We should/must all be what we are. Thank goodness for progress.

We “married in haste” – which, if you know your old wives’ tales – ends in “repent at leisure.” Which we both did. We played the game. Because his family expected it. Because we had two little girls. We had buried our only son. Nothing was ever the same. He should have been allowed to just be who he was. I should have been given the opportunity to decide whether to marry someone who was gay, not find it out so much later.

My point is that if you are gay or lesbian, please, know that understanding and acceptance are part of reality now. Be who you are. Love the person you love. Please don’t love the person you are expected to love. It never works out.

Blessings and love to all


guerrilla warfare in the happy home

June 9th, 2011

used chicago
Do you have a beautiful home in a nice suburb? A sky-high condo? Or a third-floor walk-up? The trappings of success will not protect you from domestic violence.

Maybe you think you are simply losing your mind. After all, how could this be happening to you? You have a perfect life. A charming husband. A great job. What are you are doing wrong? Why do you feel terrible all the time? Why is nothing you do good enough for him?

Does a bit of dust or a dish left in the sink send him into a rage? He “gives” you a beautiful home, the best of everything, why don’t you appreciate him? Why don’t you adore him? He will punish you if he feels he isn’t getting the proper appreciation. guerrilla warfare in the happy home continued »

perspective

June 3rd, 2011

seagull

from: Clarissa Pincola Estes’ amazing book:
Women Who Run With the Wolves

From the introduction: Don’t skip it. Every line of those twenty pages contains amazing insight and truth from deep within the souls of women everywhere. It is a most amazingly beautiful book about the strength of woman-kind. This book is a treasure that is meant to be shared.

“This is a book of women’s stories, held out as markers along the path. They are for you to read and contemplate in order to assist you toward your own natural-won freedom, your caring for self, animals, earth, children, sisters, lovers and men. I’ll tell you right now, the doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.
. . .
“All these stories present the knife of insight, the flame of the passionate life, the breath to speak what one knows, the courage to stand what one sees without looking away, the fragrance of the wild soul. For us the issue is simple. Without us Wild Woman dies. Without Wild Woman, we die. Para Vida, for true life, both must live.”


my sisters, and other sisters

May 15th, 2011

Image 4I have three younger sisters,

they will always be little girls
in my mind

They are in fact,
grown women now
with families and joys and
sorrows of their own.

Tonight,
I was thinking of my other sisters
the women out there,
across this globe,
where ever they might be
whose lives are not in their control
whose husbands are their jailers
their keepers
whose children are hostages to the status quo.

If you are being battered
I hope that you can find a way out

not in every country
will you be stoned
by men (or women) who feel they have done no wrong

not in every country
will you be mutilated
in order to be marriageable

not in every country
will you be expected to bow your head
and submit to a husband who is your master.
my sisters, and other sisters continued »

expectations

May 11th, 2011

IMG_6527

Broken hearts and shattered dreams
are the stuff of expectations.
they are the trouble after all
if only this . . .
if only that . . .

Daydreams and wishes are wasted hours
today is all we have,
this very moment,
right now
is all that we can truly
call our own
the rest is stuff,
and expectations.

If you must love,
don’t spend it
on the one who hurts your heart
and walks away . . .
that is not love

save it
for the one who will find you
when you are not looking
and for now,
get a dog.

dogs know how to love

the charming man

May 7th, 2011

DSC00090(he always is, you know)…

The charming man will always have an excuse, always find a way to make it your fault.

If you confide in anyone who knows him, they may not believe you. He is just so charming, funny, happy, etc.
He loves his mother. He seems like such a good husband/father/boyfriend, etc.

Here are some things abusers have done, which you may believe if you like. Or not, if you are afraid to:

- punching holes in walls, doors, large pieces of furniture

- throwing things (toward walls, windows, furniture, persons)

- throwing childish fits and violent temper tantrums which are “your fault”

- alienating you from your friends and family by any means possible including lies and threats

- preventing you from eating, by threats, violence, and spending the grocery money on “more important” things

- gambling, using drugs, selling drugs, drinking to excess, staying out all night, staying out all the next day, and various other extra-curricular activities which do not end well for anyone concerned

and of course: it’s your fault!

I was such a fool. I thought I was protecting my daughters. I thought that they didn’t know the whole truth. What an idiot I was.

Yes, I actually lived up to his expectations. I was a stupid woman who couldn’t do anything right.

But today, I am alive. I am okay. I can do anything that I try to do. So, please: Don’t let him get you into that place where you believe him . . . don’t do it! He is lying to you. You are not the names he calls you. You are a perfect human being, a beautiful soul who does not deserve this treatment. Run. Get away. Leave. He will never change. He will never stop. It’s all up to you….

I hope you can believe this, and just run away, rather than letting it get to the point where he might actually kill you, which, yes, they also do.

broken trust

May 3rd, 2011

Mtry Purple Flowers

What do you do when the trust is broken?

For the battered one, the sweet, fresh trust of love has been violated with the first punch. Nothing the batterer can do will ever bring that back.

In the many long years I have been on this planet, I have never seen broken trust repaired successfully. I have come to believe that God (whoever She is), may be able to forgive and forget, but most humans are simply not up to the task. broken trust continued »

into the night sky

April 26th, 2011

moonshadow

Today is the first day of the rest of my forever. I will cherish this day, and this night, and be thankful for the days I have had, both good and not so good, and whatever tomorrows will become part of my history.

I am beginning to believe that we are all just learning to become who we will be in the next million years or so. I am no longer a young person, thank goodness. I am past the point in my life where I will tolerate abuse, of any kind. I don’t have to listen to anyone who has a negative tone. I can walk away, and I will. into the night sky continued »

Women Who Run With the Wolves

April 25th, 2011

WWRWWIf you want to know who you truly are, that secret woman you hide from others… if the woman you wish you could be runs through the trees at night and howls at the stars and the moon: read this book!

Women Who Run With the Wolves – Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by: Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D.

A dear friend told me about it years ago. I wish she were here right now. I would give her a giant hug. I loaned my copy to another friend as soon as I finished it . . . And I just bought it again recently. This book is AMAZING.

Please! Get it. Read it from cover to cover. You will find yourself in Wild Women. You may find your life there. Or a new life. Dreams. Intuition. Perception. The Wild Woman is not to be denied.

“They know instinctively when things must die and when things must live; they know how to walk away, they know how to stay.”

This is not a book you read and forget. This is a book that will live in you; for years to come.

the counting of tears

April 20th, 2011

bottom of the fallsWikipedia:
Jewish views on Marital Harmony:

Marital harmony, known as “shalom bayit,” is valued in Jewish tradition. The Talmud argues that a man should love his wife as much as he loves himself, and honour her more than he honours himself; indeed, one who honours his wife was said, by the classical rabbis, to be rewarded with wealth.

Similarly, a husband was expected to discuss with his wife any worldly matters that might arise in his life.

Tough love was frowned upon: The Talmud forbids a husband from being overbearing to his household, and domestic abuse by him was also condemned. It was said of a wife that God counts her tears.

The Talmud: Selections, by H. Polano, [1876], at sacred-texts.com p. 286
PART FOURTH.
PROVERBS AND SAYINGS OF THE RABBIS, LEGENDS, &c.

“All the blessings of a household come through the wife, therefore should her husband honour her.”
“Men should be careful lest they cause women to weep, for God counts their tears.”


lost baby

April 14th, 2011

lost baby

This little one decided it was time. Flying/flopping/falling from the nest, and flapping, bumping, jumping down onto this window ledge. Eventually this first-out-baby hopped down and bounced across the patio, out onto the grass, and under a bush. He wasn’t easy to spot, since his coloring blended with the lower branches. I heard him chirping. He was afraid. My heart was broken for him.

It was surprisingly easy to gather him up, oh so gently, and lift the little one onto a low hanging branch. It wasn’t long before this baby started really yelling loudly. Mom came running. She comforted her baby, offered some food, and then flew away.

I hoped that she would come back, but I felt like, if I watched, I would jinx the process somehow. I try not to interfere with Mother, because she can be finicky, but ten minutes later the baby was no where to be seen and I could not hear it crying. I dared to hope. Some things just should turn out right.


rushing through life, or not

March 30th, 2011

hammock IMG_6889

Today, I was thinking about rushing, while I was taking my time getting ready to go out the door. Call me old fashioned, but I don’t go anywhere, even to the dry cleaner, looking sloppy. Today, I moved slowly. I was comfortable in my own skin today. Taking my time. I’d been thinking about really, truly smelling the flowers. Taking the time to enjoy my life is something I had rarely done. I was always in a hurry. Always watching the time.

When I think that my oldest grandchild is already a teenager, I wonder where the time has gone. But now, I know. It went into watching the clock and hurrying. Why was I always in a hurry? Who knows? It was in my genes? Did I get it from my mom?

Louie (the older dog) knows when I am going out. He waits for me while I am getting ready . . . when he sees me come out of the bathroom he rolls over and gives me that “please come over here and rub my belly“ look.

I used to think that I was too busy to rub his belly every time he asked, but now, I take the time. What do I really have to do that is more important than to give this creature some pleasure? rushing through life, or not continued »

surviving survival

March 23rd, 2011

golden sunset mtry

Here you are, a survivor of domestic violence. You made it out, you are safe. Life may not be perfect, or even easy, but you are finally free.

So now what? How do you start your life over? You might need to learn a skill or brush up on your current skills, then you will need to look for work, but first you need some decent clothes to wear, oh, and you need to buy a car, and then you need to find a safe place to live after you leave the shelter, find good schools for the kids, and the list seems endless.

Almost insurmountable. Depressingly insurmountable. surviving survival continued »

smoke and mirrors

March 11th, 2011

winter sun

It was years before I realized that he had arranged some mirrored pictures on the walls so that he could easily watch my every move in the kitchen from his favorite chair in the living room. I was stunned. All the tears that I thought I had hidden behind that kitchen wall, every one had been seen, and probably laughed at. It felt like such a betrayal, as if battering wasn’t enough, spying on me felt even worse.

The last time he came at me, I could see the hatred so clearly in his eyes and his mouth, even the stretch of the skin over his nose and cheek bones showed violence. I had never seen such naked hatred. I had never felt such total fear. I knew he wanted me dead. I didn’t know if he was capable of killing me, but his face sure looked like he could. I melted to the floor and screamed to the angels in heaven to save me.

They did.

He swung at me and twisted around and fell over his own feet into a heap in the tiny space of the hallway. He was drunk/high/or both. He would wake up in a few minutes. I walked around him. It was time to pick the girls up from school.

Our escape wasn’t long after that. We did it together. We walked away one bright sunny morning and went to the shelter instead of their school. My two little girls. They expected me to have the courage to leave. So, I did. We did.


Bible scholar on abuse

March 2nd, 2011

IMG_9855

Here is a link to an article by Bible Scholar, Dr. Claude Mariottini.
This is the conclusion:

It is clear that this reading of Judges 19:2 does not presuppose an act of conjugal infidelity by the Levite’s concubine. This translation points to the fact that husband and wife had a fight and in anger, the woman left her husband and returned to her father’s house.
. . .

The fact seems to be that husband and wife had a big fight, that she probably was afraid for her life, and that she tried to find security and protection in the house of her father.

The end of the story seems to demonstrate the basis for her fear. . . His selfishness demonstrates that in the end, he loved himself more than he loved her.

. . . Today’s generation of Bible students need to know that this unnamed woman was not a whore nor was she unfaithful to her husband. Only by rereading the text will today’s readers discover that all the accusations lodged against this woman were false. May this rereading of the text vindicate her reputation.

Rest in peace.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

forever, or at least until next week

March 1st, 2011

Image 26I was a child of the Cold War years, (you know, The Bomb; dog tags with name, address and religious preference; hiding from nuclear annihilation under our plastic school desks) . . . We were ten years old and the end of the world was our future.

We had no tomorrow. We didn’t even have the next hour. We had this moment. That was it. That was most of my young life. I never really thought past right this minute.

I never thought about next year, or even next week. I didn’t make plans for the future, at least not past Saturday night.

I kept having relationships with abusers. Words. Fists. Money. It’s really all the same. Abusers control you with their power. If you want control, you have to have the power. I thought I would never be happy. Never find a good, peaceful relationship. I was, however, making “less bad” decisions over the years. Slowly, I learned self-respect. I didn’t rush in with self-love at that point. That took much longer.

I did, finally, find enough love for myself to require good treatment. I found that I did want to love, that I wanted to be loved. I wanted to have a relationship that would last forever, or, at least, until the end of the world.

The lesson here is that if it hasn’t happened yet, don’t worry about it. And don’t fail to plan for tomorrow. Live your life. It’s the only one you have right now. Tomorrow is a question we do not have the answer to.

cheating as domestic violence

February 22nd, 2011

amazing pinkWhen dealing with an already emotionally charged and violent relationship, cheating becomes just another crack in the mirror. The in-your-face, “I’m going out and you are powerless to stop it” kind of cheating is abuse. Don’t think it’s not.

When violence is already present, and degradation and humiliation are part of everyday living. The abused person has no self-respect left, does not feel worthy of demanding or expecting anything (including fidelity) from the relationship. The absolute choke-hold that exists is almost impossible to understand or explain. She feels and believes that she is utterly alone. The abuser has bludgeoned her with excoriating comments until she feels completely worthless. Her family has or will desert her, her friends don’t really care about her, she has no one to turn to but him. There is no hope for her outside of the small circle of his “love.” cheating as domestic violence continued »

run, don’t walk

February 11th, 2011

DSC00102He drove up just as I was walking to my packed car with my baby in my arms. He was furious. I was terrified. I ran back into the house and slammed the door and locked it. He pounded on the door. Someone called the police. My dad kept him outside of the front door until police arrived.

They took him aside, and talked for a while. I thought, of course, that they were telling him that it was not nice to beat up his wife, (especially at her parents’ home). Wrong.

He was immediately more calm – he wanted to work things out. The “nice” policemen encouraged us to sit down and talk it over. I couldn’t really say “no” to them. My dad would be of no further help, I knew, because he didn’t want the violence in his home, he was trying to protect the two kids he still had living there. run, don’t walk continued »

paycheck abuse

February 4th, 2011

Muir woods This was originally a comment, but I talked Julia into posting it.
This is much too relevant to hide in a comment box. Julia Wasson is my sister. She has an online magazine at blueplanetgreenliving and I am extremely proud of her.

Thank you Belinda, for reaching out to everywoman and everygirl, spreading your message of hope.

As someone recently said of your blog. “Belinda’s message is for anyone who is struggling in a difficult situation.” It is, truly. You show us there is hope on the other side of fear and frustration.

I used to work with a verbally abusive boss (more than one actually). I often wondered what I would do if I could find the courage to leave my job. I was afraid of staying, but more afraid of not being able to survive without a paycheck. I walked on eggshells around him, afraid of making him angry. I worked hard to make him happy, but the rules kept changing: I could not please him, no matter how hard I tried.

Finally, I quit. I gave my notice, then started figuring out what in the world I was going to do next. paycheck abuse continued »

she is still me

January 30th, 2011

purple flowers --

I love this photo. The god-speak thing that I hear says something like “you can’t even imagine” – and, truly, I can’t. However, I will always respect what I can never understand.

At times, it is hard to “confess,” even here, in this safe place, that I was a battered wife for a dozen years. How does anyone stay that long in that situation? I don’t know. I didn’t leave and come back. I only left once. I was half dead, and certainly not in my right mind. I lost my baby son to SIDS when my little girls were just two and four. I could not go on, but I had to.

All of that was years and years ago. I did survive. I did recover. I am strong. I am very strong. I will never get over losing my son, but today it is alright for me to carry that rock in my heart. I wouldn’t put it down if I could. she is still me continued »

food for thought

January 16th, 2011

seascape detail

At some point the progression of battering leads to hatred. At first, it is called love, then protection (aka jealousy), then control, and manipulation; which of course leads to guerilla warfare; and finally, into hot, red hatred.

The more I fought back, the more he hated me. When I stopped fighting back, he hated me even more, and the war was escalated to the next level – the basic necessities of life.

The last time I took a plate of food, he emptied a bottle of salad dressing on my head, my face, my hair, my plate and the chair I was sitting in. After that, when I cooked, I tasted. One bite here, one there. But I did not eat.

The drama of control extended to every area of my life, every particle of my being. My critical mind was gone, battered into submission. The violence and hatred had taken its toll over the years. When we escaped, I was a walking skeleton. Every rib could be counted. I am sixty-five inches tall and at that time I weighed one hundred two pounds. Not even two pounds per inch. Nothing in my life was normal. food for thought continued »

the devil you know

January 15th, 2011

DSC00046It is a sad fact that many of the women
in domestic violence shelters,
at any point in time,
will go back to their abusers.
(yes, it is true)

In fact, a large percentage will go back.
and many will go back more than once.
that means, of course,
that they leave and go back and then
find it necessary to leave again
and go back again
and leave again

because the devil she knows
is not as terrifying as the devil she doesn’t know
the devil you know continued »

grateful

January 1st, 2011

Image 19The old year was a good year for me.

I have loved the moments of this year
my goodness,
what blessings I have in my life
I should count them up more often

None of this would be even remotely possible
had the batterer in my life
been allowed to continue to degrade and destroy me
little by little
piece by piece

I was ready to die so many times
I wanted to die,
It was the only way to escape

I am so grateful that I was wrong.
so very grateful that my two little girls had the courage
to help me to stand on my own two legs
and walk out the door with them.

but, I love him

December 13th, 2010

Image 3He’s a “bad boy.”

He beats you . . . but you love him. . . you forgive him.

He beats you, but you “love” him, because after he batters you, he cries? You love him because he is confused, and hurt, and his mommy didn’t love him, so he beats you, and you call that love? I’m sorry, but this is NOT LOVE!

Get a grip woman! You are not in touch with reality. Love is NOT battery. Love is NOT bloody noses and broken bones. Real love is kindness! Real love is peaceful, or at least accommodating.

Love may mean enjoying every minute of every day together, it may mean many things to many people, but it certainly does not mean violence. but, I love him continued »

warning signs

December 9th, 2010

rocks and storm

This is the speech I prepared for my class. I fell apart in the middle. I hope I will do better the next time.

Philadelphia Deputy Police Commissioner, Patricia Giorgio-Fox made a comment a while back that found its way into the New York Times. (Here is the link to the article.)

Philly police have changed their response to domestic violence calls, due to an increase in domestic violence homicides:

“… because domestic violence homicide is a crime where there are often warning signs . . .”

She added that 21 of the 35 domestic homicide victims in the study had made a total of 178 calls to the police, and that some of the callers had restraining orders against their killers.

Twenty-one women called the police one hundred seventy-eight times. They are all dead. warning signs continued »

common knowledge

November 25th, 2010

Image 5

Many years ago, when I was finally divorcing the father of my children, I phoned a former neighbor to get a statement corroborating my “story” of abuse for my attorney. My neighbor told me that the abuse was “common knowledge.” I thanked her, and hung up the phone, and broke into a million pieces.

Why hadn’t one of those kind neighbors come around to ask me if I needed help? Why hadn’t someone called the police? Why did my beautiful daughters, just children really, have to tell me we had to leave before he killed me?

We were stuck, in our own private hell. At least, that was my perception at the time. There was no Google then, no one even had personal computers. But I wonder if it is much different now. Anyone who wants to can find where you have been on your computer, your cell phone. If you try to contact someone to help you, it will show up somehow. I understand that fear. “He will find out, and then he will hurt me again.” common knowledge continued »

leaving too soon

November 22nd, 2010

colorado springSome women leave too soon.

How can that be?

Because, they go back.

If you are not ready to leave your “stuff” – it’s too soon. If you still love the bum, stay with him, eventually he will convince you that he is not worth loving. However, the price you pay may be your life, or your sanity. If you still believe he can “change” – you are truly kidding yourself.

When is it time to go?
When you are thoroughly sick and tired of being battered;
When you no longer have hope for reconciliation;
When you have finally realized that God will not change him for you;
And/or when you finally no longer care about leaving your “stuff.”

Until then, I suggest that you stay until you are serious about leaving. The shelters are full of women who will go back. If you aren’t serious, don’t take up a bed in the shelter. Somebody who is really ready to leave may need that bed. leaving too soon continued »

Steve’s story

November 18th, 2010

happy home

Steve: domestic violence survivor: Looking back I can see that it was a slow process that I wasn’t even aware of, it started with a dig about something I was wearing or something I had said. Then it progressed to belittling me in front of his friends and work colleagues. Eventually when I didn’t have any confidence the beatings started along with the threats and being told that it was my fault for looking at people on the bus or in a pub. I got to the stage where I couldn’t go out at night alone or use the internet. My mobile phone and email were checked everyday. As he is in IT he made me believe he could find out where I was and if I deleted things.

This comment appeared on http://www.broken-rainbow.org.uk several months ago. I copied the text because it so clearly said that the male-female relationship is not the only relationship with violence issues. Frankly, it had never occurred to me that gay/lesbian relationships could have the same problems. So, I’m still a dope – after all these years. Steve’s story continued »