October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It's important to understand the signs of abuse so you can help someone who may be in an abusive relationship. Abuse can happen in any type of intimate relationship, including marriage, dating, or families with children present. Today I will be sharing my story along with tips on how to help someone who may be struggling with abuse and some encouragement through domestic abuse poems and quotes.
I had posted this on my family blog and thought I should move it over to here because it's going to go along with my next post!I have also decided not to use my family blog and to be more personal with you guys so I will be blogging it all here.
Recently I heard the song 7 times 70 by Chris August and it reminded me about some of the struggles I had faced in my past. While I have put it all behind me now I realized I haven’t spoke much about it. After hearing this song I felt the Lord was leading me to speak about what happened to me years ago so that I might help someone who may be dealing with the same problems or memories of what happened to them. Sharing real experiences. Because where this faith there is hope.
My Domestic Violence Story-
I was abused. There I said it, so now what? I am not writing this to bring up old memories that might hurt my families feelings, I am writing about this because it’s a silent crime, one that sometimes goes unnoticed. No one ever speaks out about it. No one wants to feel embarrassed that this happened to them. Forgive me if I say too much, but I feel that painting the picture and being totally honest is going to make people set up and take notice. I am also sharing the story of a woman, my mom who went through something terrible and a home of joy and love that turned into a house of misery.
I was 11 years old, just a little girl, when my mom married my step dad. He looked perfect on the outside, but was hiding a dark secret on the inside. It didn’t take long for us to find out that he was an alcoholic. My step dad was over 6 feet tall and my mom is a little over 4 feet? There were many different instances I could tell you about, like him hitting me in the face with shoes, holding me against the wall by my neck up in the air and throwing me across the room. Most instances are a little fuzzy as I tried to mentally block them out.
The one I most remember was the night I stood in the darkness of my room with my hands on my Mickey Mouse telephone ready to dial 911 because my step-dad had my mom on the couch with his hands around her neck. You see he had gotten in a fight a few weeks earlier at a bar and was beat up pretty badly so he was on pain killers. What had happened that night is, he got so drunk he didn’t even remember taking the last of his pills and he thought my mom flushed them or something. So he literally was mad at her for no reason. I remember that night my mom wanting to take a frying pan and beat him over the head with it in his sleep, but she was always too afraid that it wouldn’t phase him and then he would come after both of us. He seemed to have a high pain tolerance. I also remember the time he came screeching his tires up to my cousin Donna's house pulled me out of her house and with one swift kick into my back he had pushed me off the porch and down the stairs. All because he said I missed a pile of dog poop in the backyard which was my job and of course dogs stop magically pooping after you pick up their mess right?
The psychological abuse was just as bad. No matter how hard I tried, I was never good enough for my step-dad. He always found something to gripe about and yell about. He would also do mean stuff to mess with your head. For instance (and just one of the many examples I could give) my job was to do the dishes and one day he would say did you wash the cups first? I would say No. Then he would say ”Do all the dishes over again”. So the next day I would do the cups first. He would come in and say did you do the spoons first? I would say no I did the cups first. He would say do them all over again. And I never knew if I would say the wrong thing to set him off. The yelling and name calling can be some of the worst.
The scars from physical abuse heal, but the scars of emotional abuse can linger. This is where it gets scary. A cycle can form where a child can go through this kind of abuse and grow up to repeat the cycle with their own children. Because it’s all they know or all they are used to. This is where we have to help break that cycle of violence. Sure, I could have chosen to yell at my kids in anger when my emotions ran high because it was the way I was brought up. I chose to break the cycle and my faith helped me do that.
Right now you're probably thinking to yourself why didn’t she just leave him. I get it, I could see why you would say that. Let me remind you though, it’s easy to say what you should and shouldn’t do when you're not the one in the situation. People who live in domestic violence live in fear. She was in the hands of an abusive man. The terrifying reality is the way the laws are set up right now is you can get a restraining order, but until the person actually violates it, can something be done, and even then it’s too late. You live in fear of your life. You live in fear of your children’s life. You start to second guess yourself and you start making horrible choices that no one should have to make. Bare the abuse or risk the life of your child. Yes, there are shelters, but that doesn’t protect you when your child goes to school, church, or you go to work. You start to worry about who else will this affect? Your job, your coworkers, your pastor, other family members. There is a false reality that victims can just walk away from their perpetrator of domestic violence but it's not that easy.
According to National Coalition Against Domestic Violence) :
One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.
Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults.
I will say the emotional effects have been really hard to shake. I am very self conscious and I don't trust a lot of people. When people/friends do things to hurt me it can take time to get over it. Because I feel like I finally opened myself up to them and they took my vulnerability and crushed me from the inside out. Abuse isn't just from family or a partner but it can also come from friends. There will always be people out there who will tear you down because they need to feel better about themselves. Being a bully goes hand in hand with abuse and I have had plenty of people online in my circle who have dished that out as well. And sadly I have had friends who never came to ask me what happened because those who tend to be silent in their struggles tend to be easily tagged as the person who is wrong and those who tend to be the loudest get the most attention.
Something I have struggled for years with is forgiveness. How can you forgive someone who can do something like that to you. But like the songs says above, you gotta do what it takes to make it right for yourself. You have to understand it’s not your fault and though you thought the pain is here to stay, forgiveness will help pave the way to loving yourself and your life once again. It will help you heal. It's the ONLY WAY I have healed. Through Jesus and his forgiveness, mercy and grace.
Something else I have learned about forgiveness, I have been learning to forgive those who would, well I think Matthew 5:44 sums this up very well.
Matthew 5:44- But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; Forgiveness has been a huge boost for my mental health.
I have learned to look at those who may strike against me or my family. Take a step back and wonder what could be going on in their life that could cause them to hurt so bad that they strike out against others. I mean no one knew what was going on with me whenever I was going through this. I hid it very well. There were a few times in high school when I thought about confiding in a friend of mine. He still probably has no idea to this day how close he was to getting a phone call in the middle of the night. So I pray for them.
Without my faith I don’t know how I would have gotten through all of this. I know you always hear me say everything happens for a reason. It’s True. I think God has made me a stronger person through all of this. He has helped me grow as a person. I also look at it as a test of faith too. While the bad memories and emotional pain peak up from time to time, I find strength in what I went through.
If you know someone who is going through something like this through hands of a partner I urge you to speak to them, pray for them. If you are reading this and you are the person going through this. Please know you are not alone.
Deuteronomy 31:6 says – Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
When I turned 18 I left home as a way of escape and my mom immediately filed for divorce. This was the last time he would put his hands on me.It was like a weight was lifted. I am very thankful that I did not suffer any sexual abuse as it could have been worse. God has blessed me with a wonderful husband now and a great father to my kids. There is hope for you. You deserve more. There is someone out there who will love you and take care of you. You probably don’t even know you already have someone waiting for you. You just have to let him in. (God)
Domestic Violence Isn't Just on Women
Domestic violence is an issue that affects both men and women. It's not just the woman who is the victim, but the man as well. Society needs to be educated on this topic so they can see what domestic violence looks like for both genders. The numbers for men are staggering. In fact, 1 in 4 men will be a victim of domestic abuse in their lifetime.
How Can I Help Someone Who is Being Abused?
It's hard to know what you can do if you see someone who is the victim of domestic violence. I'm not talking about how to stop an assault, but rather what your responsibilities are as a bystander. It should go without saying that you should call the police; however, there are other things that you can do too. You could offer to be present or even help them get away from their abuser by driving them somewhere safe like a friend's house or shelter. All of these might seem daunting and for good reason- without training it can be difficult to know where to start! We all have the power to prevent domestic violence, and it starts with talking about what is happening in our communities.
Domestic Violence Awareness Event & Support
Another way to heal is to look for domestic violence awareness events in your area where survivors of domestic violence get together, empowering women and work towards the elimination of violence. You can access support to help stop abuse today through the hotline. Another great way to support yourself is taking a self defense class. The life of abuse can be traumatizing and overwhelming. Seek help today. Contact the helpline through the NCADV (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence) at (800) 799-SAFE to receive assistance. Your conversation will remain confidential. Talk to your pastor they can provide you with counseling that can help you heal. You can also check out some of our domestic abuse poems below.
Sandra Horley CBE is the chief executive of Refuge. The domestic violence charity Refugeis the only national charity in England and Wales offering specialist support services and a safe place to women and children experiencing domestic violence. Refuge provides safe, high quality accommodation for women and their children who are fleeing an abusive partner or family member, as well as emotional support, information on legal rights, employment advice, financial assistance with budgeting and childcare costs. Refuge also operates a 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline which offers free-phone confidential help to anyone at risk of abuse from a partner or ex-partner by providing access to information about how to keep themselves safe. On any given day Refuge supports more than 6,000 women, children and men. Natasha Saunders is a survivor of eight years of domestic abuse who proud ambassador for Refuge.
Domestic Violence Poems
A domestic violence poem is a piece of poetry that can help victims and survivors cope with the aftermath of a violent relationship. These domestic abuse poems are often written by survivors themselves. These chilling poems will take you through the poetry of abuse and show the fear of violence through it's victims.
Domestic abuse poems can be both beneficial for victims and survivors to show their feelings through the written word. They provide a way to release painful emotions in this therapeutic manner. They can express their pain and suffering to give a voice to all those silenced by domestic violence. As domestic abuse poems provide an outlet for these emotions, they can be used as a means of coping and healing through abusive relationships. It's essential in the journey towards regaining your life back. Thank you to these brave survivors who shared their story through domestic abuse poems.
One of the most popular domestic abuse poems is Domestic Violence. One of the many domestic abuse poems written by Eavan Boland
It was winter, lunar, wet. At dusk
Pewter seedlings became moonlight orphans.
Pleased to meet you meat to please you
said the butcher's sign in the window in the village.
Everything changed the year that we got married.
And after that we moved out to the suburbs.
How young we were, how ignorant, how ready
to think the only history was our own.
And there was a couple who quarreled into the night,
Their voices high, sharp:
nothing is ever entirely
right in the lives of those who love each other.
In that season suddenly our island
Broke out its old sores for all to see.
We saw them too.
We stood there wondering how
the salt horizons and the Dublin hills,
the rivers, table mountains, Viking marshes
we thought we knew
had been made to shiver
into our ancient twelve by fifteen television
which gave them back as gray and grayer tears
and killings, killings, killings,
then moonlight-colored funerals:
nothing we said
not then, not later,
fathomed what it is
is wrong in the lives of those who hate each other.
And if the provenance of memory is
only that—remember, not atone—
and if I can be safe in
the weak spring light in that kitchen, then
why is there another kitchen, spring light
always darkening in it and
a woman whispering to a man
over and over what else could we have done?
We failed our moment or our moment failed us.
The times were grand in size and we were small.
Why do I write that
when I don't believe it?
We lived our lives, were happy, stayed as one.
Children were born and raised here
and are gone,
As for that couple did we ever
find out who they were
and did we want to?
I think we know. I think we always knew.
SPEECHLESS is a chilling poem through the eyes of a child. This domestic abuse poems was written by Kyra Lee:
My name is Sasha.
My sister is Leigh.
I am six,
And she is three.
Our dad's always mad.
He screams and he yells.
I don't think he likes us.
It's easy to tell.
Mum's only kind
When dad's not around,
And when he is home,
She hardly makes a sound.
Mum's always out,
Dad's always drunk
And always alone.
As soon as we hear
Those jingly keys,
We run and hide.
We run and plea.
We find a place
And curl up tight.
I hold her hand
And she holds mine.
And soon enough,
Dad then walks in.
Don't make a sound; don't say a word.
I pray inside, deep within.
But Leigh, she cannot help herself
For the pain is just too much.
“Oh God,” she yells,
“Why are you so mean?”
He doesn't like what she has said
And beats her even more,
And with one last hit,
Hard and strong, he pulls away and watches.
She takes one last gasp of air,
Our hands still holding,
Then falls to the ground where I sat
And doesn't move a muscle.
I stare at him ,
My eyes so blue.
He looks at me
And yells, “O you!”
“How dare you.
Make me so mad.
This is all your fault
Go cry be sad!”
My name is Sasha.
My sister is Leigh.
I am six,
And my beautiful sister was only three
That day my Daddy
My best friend,
She was my world.
We stuck together
Through thick and thin,
But now she's gone.
I'm lost within.
When I was six, my sister three.
My Daddy murdered Leigh.
Since that day I have not spoke,
For it's speaking that made her die.
There are many inspirational quotes on domestic violence. However, these are just some of the most powerful and thought-provoking quotes on this issue that spoke to me.
“At any given moment you have the power to say this is not how the story is going to end.” ― Christine Mason Miller
“I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” — Brené Brown
“And here you are living despite it all.” — Rupi Kaur
“Don’t judge yourself by what others did to you.” — Cody Kennedy
I really hope that by sharing my story that domestic abuse victims know they are not alone and that there is hope and a light end of the tunnel! I also hope that by sharing the awareness of the impacts of domestic violence and that it is affecting women and men. We would love for you to share any of your favorite domestic abuse poems or quotes. And if you feel brave enough feel free to share your story in the comments. You never know who you may help.