One woman is beat by her husband or partner every 15 seconds in the United States. I was one of those women and I want to tell you’’ My Story’’
When I first began gathering thoughts about how I would tell my story, I started feeling like the victim again instead of the conqueror. Although I’ve left the past behind me, I still revisit it. Moving forward is always a conscience effort because I will always remember….
Maya Angelou once quoted, I learned a long time ago, the wisest thing I can do is to be on my own side, be an advocate for myself and others like me. This quote explicitly describes my purpose which is to help serve others that have been victims of domestic violence and share my story. I hope my testimony reaches the souls of many victims whose identity has been shredded due to violence and abuse. My prayer is that it gives them courage, hope, and determination to stand strong.
It is a fact that children who witness violence at home between their parents display emotional and behavioral disturbances as diverse as withdrawal, low self- esteem, nightmares, self- blame, and aggression against peers, family members, and property. As a child, I witnessed a lot of verbal abuse between my parents. My dad was also physically abusive to my mom. As a result, my emotions were wounded and I became a target for men to do the same to me.
As a young teen, I was a girlfriend of a neighborhood high school drop -out and wanna- be- pimp. Although I grew up in a middle class neighborhood in Chicago, I liked to hang out in the streets with the wrong crowd. My parents didn’t like my boyfriend but they had so many personal issues with one another that they couldn’t get a grip of me. When you’re young it was common for boys to hit girls in a playful way and this occurred in my teen-age relationship but it really got out of hand. I felt that the hitting and punching was a way my boyfriend showed me he cared.
When I went away to college, I called this opportunity a “fresh start.” What I didn’t realize was that the abuse I saw as a child between my parents and the on-going abuse in the relationship with my ex-boyfriend only prepared me for the worse, more abuse.
I met my first husband in college and he was verbally abusive. After building up strength to leave him, I continued the pattern of having relationships with abusive men. All the relationships started out normal, where there was compassion and respect. Then the abuse exploded and it became a never ending story.
Before I reached the age 33, I had experienced two abusive marriages. I tolerated the physical and verbal abuse because I thought my mate would change. I was hit, beat, punched, and called every name imaginable but each time I actually believed it wouldn’t happen again. This cycle continued in a third marriage and other prior relationships. I eventually left and moved on with my life working every day and raising my two daughters. I didn’t leave when the abuse initiated because I was humiliated. I felt as if I made the wrong choice and my pride kept it a secret until I couldn’t take it anymore.
My self-esteem was destroyed and my depression caused me to turn to drugs as a way to medicate myself thinking the hurt and pain would go away. My drug addiction lasted for 13 years and I lost everything but my job and my life. After seeking help and talking to others, I realized I was not alone. Talking to others gave me a sense of hope because there were so many women like me.
I didn’t realize the statistics of domestic abuse was so high. Generally more than 12 million women and men are abused over the cause of a year. I’m a survivor and I thank God, who is my healer for giving me strength and a chance in life to love Him first and love myself. This life-long change has made me a whole and complete woman again. I have to keep the attitude to never regret anything that has happened in my life. To accept the things I cannot change and thank God for giving me wisdom and understanding. Domestic abuse is never forgotten.