“With the last blow to my face, I could no longer keep my balance. I felt a warm ooze seep from out of my nostrils as my balance gave out. At that point gravity had won; it was stronger than my will. My body began its way to the floor, but before my knees could hit the matted-down carpet, his knee met my ribs. As the force of his block caused my body to fall to the side, I discovered that the warmth coming from my nose was a thick crimson substance. He had slapped me so many times that my nose started to bleed, and now the evidence ran down my face and onto my shirt.”
That was a memory that I experienced when I was 16 or 17 years old taken from my book, “My First Love, True Love Begins in Him.” I grew up watching my mom getting physically abused by her husband. My mom and I lived out a nightmare that did not cease once we were awoken. I was around 12 years old when this continual cycle begun until one day I fought him back. It was that very day that I would find out one characteristic about myself….I am a FIGHTER.
Some abused victims physically fight back when it comes to physical abuse. But how do you fight back when the abuse is verbal, emotional, and mental?
As a survivor and advocate against Domestic Violence I decided to launch by blog with the topic of Domestic Violence and share the testimonies of two of my friends who are true Survivors of Domestic Violence.
Sonja Speaks: What Does Domestic Violence (DV) Mean to You?
Survivor 1: Originally you think the situation has to be horrible constantly and more so physical. But DV reveals itself in many different forms. I learned Domestic violence can be emotional, verbal, and mental.
Sonja Speaks: What was your experience with Domestic Violence?
Survivor 1: After therapy I found I was going through mental and emotional abuse. I realized it had been going on from the beginning of our relationship. But I “stuck it out” for the sake of our kids. Life was moving along quickly and I would accept his apologies. I found myself in this cycle that lasted 10 years.
Sonja Speaks: What made you realize that the abuse wasn’t going to stop?
Survivor 1: After I had surgery my husband wasn’t helpful. We had been going to marriage counseling but during the last trial he didn’t show up. I however continued going for a period of one year. During counseling my counselor told me that my husband wasn’t going to change and that I needed to make a decision. I had to decide if I was going to stay in the abusive marriage. I decided that I would not continue on with the marriage. The relationship had been mentally, emotionally, and physically draining. Unfortunately since my husband had not been physically abusive, he didn’t think he was abusing me. People would actually see my demeanor and could recognize something was wrong. They’d ask me if my husband was hitting me but I would tell them, “No.”
Sonja Speaks: After deciding to leave the marriage did your husband try to win you back?
Survivor 1: NO, he said, “If you want to leave, leave. You must be having an affair.” He would actually show up at the house, cuss at me and yell at me. There were times he would be standing at the garage waving at me as I was leaving for work. I felt unsafe so I decided to sell the house. The Protection From Abuse (PFA) order was denied because the judge wanted to give him another chance. But my attorney told him to write a letter asking him to stay away.
Sonja Speaks: What would you tell others who are currently in an abusive relationships?
Survivor 1: “We beat ourselves up as women in certain situations. I was embarrassed and humiliated because I blamed myself for staying but it really wasn’t my fault. When I realized I was in an abusive relationship and it wasn’t going to change, I had the determination and I prayed to get out. I want to encourage people who are in an uncomfortable and toxic relationship. I choose not to stay in this relationship but you have to decide if you are going to stay in yours. Don’t blame yourself. I truly believe if you are in any situation that doesn’t give glory to God you need to re-evaluate it. See if that is where your heart needs to be.
During the interview with my friend I asked her this very important question, “Do you consider yourself a survivor?” It saddened me that she answered, No but at the same time I could relate. I was saddened because I remember when I first met her in church and the pastors asked me to pray over her. I didn’t know all the details of her situation I only knew what I needed to know. She was in an abusive situation and needed direction from God. I spoke with her a few times after that in order to encourage her and support her in any way that I could. I saw her transition from a broken woman who had given all her power away to a bold woman full of courage, joy, and strength. She walked a very difficult, long, and frightening journey from bondage to freedom. She went from living in the home her and her husband had together that she was frightened to live in to purchasing her very own home. She truly flourished and I saw her as a Warrior and a true SURVIVOR.
To continue with the rest of her answer about being a survivor. She shared with me why she did not feel like she is a survivor. After her divorce was final her ex husband tried to manipulate her through their children. She tried to be strong and not withhold what he was doing to her from others as she had in the past. She continued to seek wise counsel. The divorce caused her to feel vulnerable and emotionally fragile. But her mom was a tremendous support and would remind her not to let her ex bother her. She said it took a lot of prayer on her part and from others. However she still feels fearful at times because her ex husband’s behavior is very unpredictable. She is grateful that God blessed her with a very supportive and protective boyfriend that is not afraid of her ex. She has moved on and they both plan on purchasing a house together.
God is definitely doing an awesome job at transforming her to a new woman!
Some victims face physical, emotional, mental, and verbal abuse
Sonja Speaks:What does Domestic Violence (DV) mean to you?
Survivor 2: DV is when a man and a woman are in a relationship and they constantly argue or have physical fights.
Sonja Speaks: What was your experience with DV?
Survivor 2: My experience personally to domestic violence was the physical altercations between my ex-husband and I. We were constantly arguing which also caused mental and emotional strain in our lives. Our family members were always involved. There was also an incident when he strangled me. This led me to call the police and press charges.
Sonja Speaks: Do you consider yourself a survivor?
Survivor 2: Yes I consider myself a survivor of domestic violence and my girls also see how strong I am and the fact that I will not put up with the abuse anymore.
Sonja Speaks: What are some words of encouragement that you would like to share with someone who may be in an abusive relationship?
Survivor 2: I would tell people to take a stand. Don’t let it get out of control the first time. Look for the red flags. I have another piece of advice and it may sound inhumane but if a man goes crazy I have to go crazy. Let him know you’re ten times worse than him so he can know you are Not the one to mess with.
Domestic violence is just more unnecessary drama when this world is already filled with trouble. But DV is something I can easily eliminate in my life. My ex-husband just had it in his head that I would be nothing without him. He started coming after my daughters as they got older because I wasn’t allowing him to come at me anymore. When that didn’t work he went right down to my twins. He needed to feel in control when he lost so much control.
God is everything because without God I would not have been removed from the situation. I feel that I’ve learned a lot and I am better and so are my children. And my heart has not turned cold and I have no bitterness or resentment towards my ex-husband. Only God can do that.
END OF INTERVIEWS
For those who may not have experienced the horrid effects of DV it causes different responses and leaves different scars. But one thing tends to remain the same, we all feel hopeless, guilty, and shameful at times. Some of us may feel like we have no power and no strength to get us through another day. We all were wounded in some way.
The wounds that Domestic Violence causes may take others a lifetime to heal while it may take a year or less for others. Regardless of the time we all must walk through the process. I am ever so grateful that I as well as my friends had support from loved ones, friends, and most importantly from God. He graced us, gave us hope, and walked us through the process. It’s when we are in the process that we may question ourselves. “Why am I still afraid of him or her? Why can’t I just be over it already? Why is it taking me so long to stop hurting? Did I make the wrong decision? Did God forgive me for divorcing my spouse when I know God hates divorce? What is wrong with me?” These questions and I’m sure so many more linger in the minds of those who have experienced an abusive relationship. It’s just part of the process. I truly believe if one has left the situation and has begun to start a brand new life, loving themselves enough to see their value and not get into another abusive relationship, you are a Survivor in my book. Recognizing you are being abused is step 1, deciding to leave Step 2, and then actually removing yourself from the situation is Step 3. Step 3 takes courage, strength, and power. That makes you a survivor the rest is just the process. As long as you continue moving forth you will find yourself sensing more freedom and peace in your life. So look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself, “I love me and God loves me. I will not give up. I will not give in. I will walk this walk to the very end because I am Strong. I am Brave. I have Power and I am a Survivor!!!
“Father God I thank you that you love us with an everlasting love. Your love for us never fails, it never ends, and it never gives up. God I thank you that you care for us and your plans for us are for good, they are not evil, and they are to give us a good future and hope. God help those that may have lost hope. God send them help from the north, the south, the east, and the west. If there is anyone in their midst not giving them wise counsel, keep them away. I pray that you would encourage them and give them wisdom to make right choices. God give your son or daughter a safe place to go and where they can heal. In Jesus Name Amen.