Up against the wall, trying to catch my breath, and push back the hand that was clenched around my trachea was all I could do to stay calm until he lightened his grip. I didn’t want to disturb my babies that were sleeping at the time but, as quiet as I tried to be, it didn’t matter, my eldest had already become aware of the ruckus. At four-years of age, full of wonder and hope, she was standing quietly with her big bright eyes when she whimpered, “Mommy, are you ok?” My heart dropped at her quiet, yet shaky little voice as the hand around my throat suddenly slipped away.
That moment, lead me to a very profound place. I was going to stop this cycle of abuse that I had witnessed as a child and refuse to allow my children to live in this environment as well. I needed to leave my husband. Now, don’t get me wrong, this did not happen overnight. It took time. Yes, I went through procedures and told myself that we could do counseling and we did. I found a church, a wonderful church, and we started faithfully going as a family. We got involved in groups, served as children ministry instructors, even did a reunion of vows. The sad thing about it was that my spirit was at risk, it was dying slowly and the self -talks that I was giving to myself became passive and meek. My husband wasn’t changing and I began to think, “ This is your life, you are married. Work it out.” I began to think that maybe much of the reasons he was abusive was somehow my fault. I desired to do the right thing. So, the next logical step would be to enroll in a class on “How to Love Your Husband More” through my church.
Two years had passed since that moment in the hallway and I painfully knew in my heart that he was not going to change.
After many more forms of abuse along the way, my day finally came when I stood up and alas had the big almighty “A-HA! This is it, moment! “
Sitting in a circle around a table with many more groups of women, we started our session on how to love your husband more. I would sit patiently until my turn arrived to speak while each woman would share something that happened in her life that week in her relationship that may have caused disappointment with her husband, or ways that she could be more supportive. I listened while one discussed how her husband wasn’t the same religion, and looked down on her. I listened how one woman said that her husband told her that she was fat and lazy or wouldn’t give her any attention. I would listen on how our mentor would say that we needed to pray for our husbands and pray for their heart to soften. Each and everyday I listened! When it finally got to me, my heart was pumping and my soul was wide open and I heard a voice within in me shout out with extreme force that said “This is it, I can’t do this anymore!” “My father always told me to do unto other’s, as you’ll have done to you, and I have always tried to live this way. But, I know, on this day, I can not do well unto others, if I am allowing harm to come to me!” Then, I stood up and said “I can not do this anymore. I am done!”
Of course I shocked a few people in the church that day, as we displayed the “perfect couple!” Matching vehicles, white picket fence;( well brown anyways), two little girls and a dog. We sat with each other in church with my husbands arm around my shoulder and smiled and chatted with everyone before and after church.
When I left, it wasn’t to be mean or weak, vindictive, or unfaithful. It was a means of survival for me, and my children mentally, physically and spiritually. I endured many nights of grief when I took my daughter’s out of that life that we had and I left. But, with faith and a strong support network, I was able to manage through it.
Executive Director of The Compass Center, Patty Brooks, shared that research states that children who witness violence or are victims of violence are twice as likely to commit acts of violence as adults or are twice as likely to be a victim of violence as an adult because of their environment and what they witnessed as a child during their developmental years. She also expressed that in their experience at the center, 80% of the victims had children and more than half of those children witnessed the violence.
“I am a survivor of domestic violence in my first marriage for over 10 years so I truly understand the dynamics of abuse, power and control and the struggle to try and leave a relationship with someone who you were supposed to love and who was supposed to love you. Our agency wants to try and break the cycle to end violence, even if it is just one person at a time.” Brooks said.
Victims can contact The Compass Center by calling 339-0116, through our website at www.thecompasscener.org, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Everything at The Compass Center is strictly confidential and staff and volunteers are available 24/7 for crisis situations.
Domestic violence does not just affect women it affects men, as well. The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that as many as one in four women and one in seven men experience some form of abuse.
Help is also available through The Domestic Violence Resource Center and The National Domestic Violence Hotline:
You can also call: 1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
It has taken me many years to learn how to talk positive to myself. It is a work in progress, but it has changed my life. It has changed the way that I view my self worth and has enabled me to inspire other woman that have gone through this and to share with them the idea that they are never alone. I feel that when you are in the darkest of hour’s you are most comforted, all you have to do is listen and accept. You will be given more strength than you realized that you had and will be armored in self-confidence, awareness, and bravery as you do what you have to do to live and to be happy.
Don’t be a victim any longer. Find the strength that lies within you and listen to your voice. You are never alone.
Love and Light!