That first blog was tough to put out there because that is some seriously personal stuff! However, I have always believed that it is so important to be real and honest about our lives. If we can do that, then we are able to have genuine conversations that are healthy and will breathe life to everyone. Today, I am in a totally different place than I ever thought I would be this far into my life. I am unexpectedly in my first year outside of a thirty year marriage and, truthfully, I am unsure of what lies ahead of me. I have a new lease on life and a freedom that I am not quite sure what to do with. The cool thing is that my adult children are home, for a short time, and I am LOVING just hanging out with them! We are taking time to figure out what our “new normal” is and redefining our relationships in a difficult but beautiful way.
I have often heard people talk about regrets they have and how they wish they had done things differently. When I look back on my life, sure there are things I regret, however, I don’t sit in that thought process because, you don’t know what you don’t know. I didn’t know about things like, “self-care” or “Emotional awareness”. In my early days, I took care of everyone else but myself and was the most emotionally unaware person you could meet!!! Of course, I am different now, but that journey was long and tough. The point is, no matter what bumps were on that road, I kept going and bettered myself and that is all we can ask of anyone. I took what was given to me, picked up the pieces and tried to raise my children better than I was raised. There are certainly things I wish I could have done better, but I was who I was and I did the best I could. My children Love me and we have healthier relationships now than we have ever had. For me, this is a win in my life and I celebrate every win!!!
Because there are many different aspects that make me who I am, I will shake things up and write outside of the main subject-matter of domestic violence and Christianity. Sometimes I will throw a few articles under the title “YCMTSU” (You Can’t Make This Stuff up), “BU” – stories that make my life so beautiful now (Beautifully Unbroken), poetry, and general musings. Most importantly, I will be sharing stories from women who have escaped domestic violent relationships and have come out safely. I will never share their real names, however, what they have to say is of the utmost importance because they are the ones who can give a true insiders perspective on abusive relationships. I will, of course, be filling in the blanks between my broken beginnings to the wholeness I walk in today.
I have been helping victims of domestic violence for over 25 years and it really wasn’t something I had planned on doing. In the beginning, I had no idea of what I was doing and I pretty much flubbed up because of my lack of knowledge. All I knew was that I had come out of a violent situation and I felt very protective of anyone I became aware of that was in one. But as the saying goes, “practice makes perfect”. Ok, so I am not perfect, but I do know a heck of a lot more now than I did then! When I look back, there has rarely been a time when I was not helping someone, at some point, in their escape process. And, somehow, I always met someone new as I was nearing the completion of a process with someone else.
My involvement with these escapes has landed me in some pretty interesting predicaments. In an attempt to scare me, a victim’s husband took me on a 125mph motorcycle ride; Along with the help of a team, I helped another victim escape and that resulted in her husband making me #2 on his hit-list; I saved the life of a friend whose ex got her so drunk that she swallowed 21 pills; and so much more. Eventually, I will tell these stories, but the greatest part of those stories is that the majority of these women have escaped, and have remained free, from abusive relationships. This is where the joy in what I do comes from because, no matter how hopeless a situation seemed, I knew that freedom was attainable for them. For each of them, the most important thing they needed to know was that they had someone they could trust and count on. It has been my utmost pleasure and honor to have been that person for each of them.
Domestic Violence is real and it is terrible for those who are trapped in it. Also, it is not limited to women. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (https://ncadv.org/STATISTICS) published the following facts for Domestic Violence:
- On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.
- 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner contact sexual violence, and/or intimate partner stalking with impacts such as injury, fearfulness, post-traumatic stress disorder, use of victim services, contraction of sexually transmitted diseases, etc.
- 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence (e.g. beating, burning, strangling) by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
- 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.
Domestic Violence has seen a serious uptake that has been directly related to COVID. It breaks my heart to know that victims have found themselves further trapped by abusers who now work from home; or lost their jobs and are even angrier and more abusive than they were before. There are a lot of valuable resources out there and I am hoping to be one of them that pours hope into seemingly hopeless situations. I look forward to the journey ahead!
Until next time…stay safe!!!