Saturday, August 11, 2007

PART 1: My Story of Domestic Violence

Less and less do I think back to the days when my life was not so good. It's funny how when you find peace, love and happiness, painful memories slowly fade away, like the colors in an old quilt that's been left hanging in the sun. This is a good thing, and a God thing. It's his way of healing. Healing fear,torture and terrorism. Erasing the scars of Domestic Violence. I have color in my life again, and I am healed.

This is painful to write, but I'm writing this because statistics say that most women that are physically abused usually never tell. Some never live to tell, and most never leave. I don't want to be one of those statistics. If one woman reads my story and it saves her from the throes of hell that I lived in, it will have been worth it to have told the world.

To those that read this blog that know me well ..... you know. To those that read this blog that know me well, but don't know the entirety of my past, have no pity ... for I am healed, and I am happy, and I have been blessed.

In the fall of 1979, I met the man that I married and was married to for twenty three years. The man that I bore four children with, and lived with, until the day I turned my back and walked away. I took a deep breath, turned away and walked through the door. I knew that I free. If I lived. If I lived through the rage that was surely to follow. Occasionally the words I said continue to haunt me. I still can hear them ringing through my head, like the echo of an old church bell. "kill me now if you want to, but you'll only kill me once."

Within two months of being married to him, I knew that something was wrong. That he had a temper. That he was deeply bothered. That he was severely depressed. Yet I was co-dependent and I blamed myself and I tried to do better. I tried to help him. I vowed to stay and not leave him alone. I believed him that he was sorry. I believed him that he would never hit me again. I wanted more than anything in the world to believe him. So I stayed. I stayed home for almost two weeks while the bruises on my face healed and the black under both eyes faded. I listened to him tell me he was sorry, but I shouldn't have pushed him. He had warned me. I hadn't listened. I was young. I was 22 years old. I should have ran, but I didn't. ... and I was embarrassed.

"So the cycle goes .... like an old wringer washer that turns and turns and turns, and never stops until you pull the plug, and drain the dirty water from the tub. It spreads out onto the ground and soaks into the dirt, and disappears. Once dry, it's gone, until the next wash day." - Tanya S.

He didn't get along with his family. He felt like his Mother hated him. He hadn't seen his real Father in almost fifteen years. His last memory of his Father was of him shooting his dog in front of him when he was a little boy, because the dog killed a chicken. His Step-Father worked him like a animal on the farm. He says it had been this way since grade school, since he was a little boy. He said they made him plow the fields at night and go to school in the day. If his rows weren't straight or he got into the next field, he got beat with a stick. He was made to work in the garden during the times he wasn't in school or working in the fields. His lips would blister and bleed from the sun and heat. His sister verified this. I have now come to believe that he told the truth. I believe that his Mother did hate him because he was the reminder of his Father. I also believed that he had no one except me, and I stayed. His parents have both since died. His Father died without really ever getting to know him, and his Mother died without ever telling him that she loved him. He's estranged from a sister that suffered sexual abuse from their Father, but he came to form a relationship again with his other sister.

His Mother was adopted when she was nine years old. Her only memory of her biological Mother was walking down a highway carrying a suitcase and holding the hand of her little brother. She never saw her Mother again after that. She remembered being in a courtroom and playing with a typewriter. She said that she remembered being in a orphanage and sitting on the front step and seeing her younger brother taken away in a car. She never saw him again. .... and she remembers being adopted. By a cold woman that told her that, "We only got you to do the work. You will never replace Janice." Janice was their daughter that had died. She said her adopted Father was good to her .... and she took care of him until he died. But her heart never softened. She never loved her husband or her children. I don't think she was capable. She died of Liver Cancer thirty days after she was diagnosed in 1993 at the age of 64.

My first son was born in 1981. I can't remember many times during that period that he hit me. I had learned early on not to provoke. To be quiet when he was in a rage, and to always do better than what he expected of me. I got pregnant again a few months later with my daughter. During this time, money was tight and things were tense between us. Nothing I did could make him happy. A month before my daughter was born in the summer of 1982, I remember him being very upset one day. I remember saying the wrong thing to him, and an argument escalated into a fight. I remember him opening the front door and literally throwing me out into the yard. I remember the fear as I landed, the fear for my unborn baby, and I saw my 13 month old son standing in the doorway. I remember the kicks to my back and the kicks to my stomach, and I remember being curled into a ball to protect my baby. Mainly, I remember his cries of sorrow for what he had done to me, and I remember the pain. I'll never forget the pain.

Click here to read part two, and here to read the conclusion.