Let’s Talk About Domestic Violence

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*TRIGGER WARNING*

As some of you know, I was in an abusive relationship prior to my current one. Like many others, it started out normal enough. I met a guy, who seemed very nice. I was just a kid, not even old enough to drink, but unfortunately old enough to get married. Our relationship was pretty normal at that point, nothing spectacular, but before I knew it, we were at the courthouse, with him pulling me by my hand towards the courtroom where a judge was waiting. I specifically remember the hallway, and passing the cheap-fake-wood doors, trying to slow down and think.

I was too chicken to back out.

A few weeks later, I found out I was pregnant. I was happy, nervous but happy. Life went on.

Then one night, I was about 8 months pregnant. We had gotten into a fight, which was ever so normal by then. After a little while of yelling and screaming, he grabbed my hands. He proceeded to drag me out of the bedroom… literally drag. I had tripped, big belly and all, and he dragged me on the ground. He threw me on the ground, grabbed my shoulders, and threw me back again, bouncing my head off the ground.

While I lay on the ground crying, he went and grabbed the cell phone and house phone, took out the batteries and then dropped the empty phones by my head. I remember him walking outside, without a care in the world.

Eventually I ran downstairs to my neighbors house, where they consoled me and tried to convince me to call the cops.

Over the next year and change, the cops were at my house numerous times. I had my bruises photographed, and answered so many questions from officers. Each time, I was too scared to follow through. I kept thinking, where would I go? How would I support my daughter? (Who towards the end of it was almost 2.) What would he do? I was also deathly ill, I had undiagnosed Crohn’s Disease, and had dropped enough weight to not be able to function. How could I care for someone so small, when I couldn’t even care for myself.

I relied on a couple of friends coming over, to help me function and keep me safe. Eventually, I was lucky enough to get a diagnosis of what was wrong with my health, and soon after a hospital stay, started a drug regimen that put me into remission for long enough to plan.

I started college, I bought a house (under my name, not his). He eventually lost his job due to drug use, and I had found one. It was time. When my daughter was almost 3, I kicked him out of the house, and went to file for divorce.

The day after I kicked him out, after being up all night with a phone ringing off the hook, and threatening messages, he shut off the two things that were still in his name. The phone, and internet (and therefore my alarm system). I found out my internet was disconnected when a comcast employee showed up to disconnect. While he was there, my phone turned off. I was scared, and the tears started to flow.

What if I couldn’t do it? The comcast guy figured things out pretty quickly, and he called his manager and explained the situation, they left my internet running so I could establish my own account, and at least have my alarm running. In the meantime, I ran next door to call the cops.

I had done it, now I needed to be safe. So I stood in the road crying, telling this officer what my life had been like, that I finally had walked away, and that I had no phone to call the police if I needed them. I needed a restraining order. This officer, basically informed me, that since I had been too scared to show up at court to face my abuser, I couldn’t do anything. I was out of luck, and since we were still married…

… even though the house was in my name…

… he could still show up whenever he want. Which he did. All hours of the day, I started having people sleep on my couch, hoping it would deter him. Which it didn’t, one time, he ran in the house at 2 am screaming. The next time, he texted me an entire conversation I had had with a friend.. which he had heard from outside my window.

I eventually went to the courthouse and broke down. Someone finally listened to me, and showed me how to get a restraining order.

Time moved on, I was divorced, he skipped the state, without more than 2 phone calls to his daughter (which is fine by us). Years later, I have a stable life, with a lovely daughter, and a great boyfriend. He’s gone, and I’m healing.

.. and I have a strong distaste for anyone who hits a woman (or man for that matter). Over the past years, I’ve met women who were battered by their husbands, boyfriends, and sons. I’ve met women who were too scared to leave, too scared to report to the police, just like I was. I’ve met women who had survived and moved on like I did. I’ve also met several men, who have hit women. I’ve met men who beat their girlfriends, who beat their children, who beat their mother, who beat their sisters. I’ve met men, who thought it was justified. ¬†I’ve met men who told me, it was a mistake, they’d never do it again, even though the last time, wasn’t the first. I’ve met men, who were “too drunk to know what they were doing” and I’ve met men who deny and hide their past.

I get it. Everyone has a past. I do. However, if you hit a woman, regardless of the circumstance, you do not deserve my respect, nor do you deserve anonymity. Fortunately for me, no matter how far you run, your past will always follow you, convicted or not.

I wish we lived in a world where violence didn’t exist, but that is not the case, nor will it ever be. Just know that there are people out there like me, and millions of others. Women who endured, women who escaped, and women who have stood for others. We can help others, we can stand up and tell our stories, we can protect ourselves, we can demand justice and nurture courage. We can stand up for what we believe in, and we can stand up for ourselves and others.

A man who hits a woman, is not a man.

If you are in an unsafe situation, please call 1-800-799-7233 or visit http://www.thehotline.org/

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Calm the FUCK down, even though it’s hard.

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I’m practically ready to turn off the news permanently lately. ¬†There have been so many shootings, both at schools and on city streets, that it makes me edgy. ¬†Horrible things keep happening and in the middle of it all there is the gun-debate. ¬†Even more importantly (at least to me) N. Korea is boasting about attacks against us. ¬†The world is currently a shitty place, but unfortunately for us, I believe it’s only slightly more shitty than it used to be. ¬†We just happen to have the internet and such so we are¬†aware of almost everything.

Am I scared? ¬†For myself? ¬†Kind of. ¬†For my child? ¬†As a parent? ¬†Oh HELL yes. ¬†The year before last, the local PD closed down the road right outside of my daughters school looking for an armed fugitive. ¬†I’ve had those panic stricken thoughts and anxiety. ¬†Each and every single time a new news story hits the networks, I cringe and hope, no PRAY that it’s not anywhere close to my munchkin. ¬†So far each and every time I hear of something horrible that happens, I sigh in relief that my child is safe, then I feel horrible to those parents out there who just lost a child.

However, this is our world. ¬†Our country. ¬†Despite all the horrible shit that is going on, we still aren’t as bad as some countries are right now. ¬†Because shootings are rampant (or at least seem rampant) doesn’t mean we should try and shelter our children from everything. ¬†I understand that it’s scary, I do, but keeping our children out of school or away from after school activities, sleep overs ect does nothing but keep them from what makes life worth it. ¬†I’m right there with you, I don’t let ANYONE I don’t know around my daughter, and I keep up on what happens at her school and the schools she will be going to. ¬†She isn’t allowed on sleep-overs unless I personally know and trust the other set of parents, and I willingly meet other parents so they feel comfortable letting me watch over their little ones.

In order to survive letting our kids out into the world, we have to trust in other people and we have to have faith and hope nothing happens.  To keep our kids from living or even thriving is wrong, instead we should be letting them enjoy their world yet teaching them how to be safe.  Stranger danger, inappropriate touching, and what to do if (god-forbid) something happens at their school.  We have to be prepared but I honestly do believe that sheltering our kids to an extreme point is more harmful than anything.

More importantly, what’s going on isn’t really about us. ¬†It’s about our children’s safety. ¬†We all know it’s hard, and we all know each other is scared. ¬†It’s not about us. ¬†What has me irritated today, is that a fellow mom I know has been weeping on facebook about how she doesn’t want to let her kids out of the house, she doesn’t let them play outside or on play dates, she’s thinking of switching to home school (more power to home-schoolers, I have no problem with it, but if the motivation is only to save yourself anxiety then you might want to re-evaluate). ¬†It scares me, and it irritates me. ¬†It’s become less about her children’s safety and quality of life and more about how hard it is on HER. ¬†The support we all have given her in choices in schools, helpful babysitters and recommendations for her kid’s sports in environments the rest of us trust have gotten us no where but ridicule. ¬†We’re the horrible ones for wanting our children to continue on in their schedules and lives. ¬†We’re the horrible moms and dads who trust *gasp* strangers (public schools/private schools) with our children’s safety. ¬†It’s become all about her. ¬†The tragedies of late have turned into an online whinefest about how uncomfortable *she* is.

I get it. ¬†Like I said, I do. ¬†However, after a couple of weeks it seems more selfish than for her children. ¬†So this is my plea to the public, to the other moms and dads out there. ¬†We live in a world where there ARE bad people. ¬†Instead of running from the horrible things we can’t seem to prevent (even though we try), we should try to make life more safer. ¬†We should educate our children, we should make wise choices. ¬†We should do our best to make the world¬†better¬†instead of more lonely. ¬†Just my thoughts, I apologize if I upset anyone, but the state of everything our instincts to hide our children from the world make it hard. ¬†I think we can do better.