Domestic Violence Awareness Month

I participated in a domestic violence event for the first time in my life last week. I have not stepped into this space because honestly I don’t feel like that part of my life is over. I also haven’t finished processing all the emotions surrounding living a lifetime in survival mode.

My daughter attended this event with me. Regrettably I have not been able to shield her from the terror and confusion of violence inflicted by a loved one. ( to be clear, my home and my husband are not the source of this violence). After a short ceremony we took flowers and walked to the MLK bridge downtown and tossed the flowers into the river as a symbol of the lives touched by domestic violence.

As I watched the flowers sink down to the river I fought back tears. Tears over the pain reflected in my daughters eyes. Tears from the images and memories flashing in my mind. The embarrassment that I felt realizing that as an adult I still flinched every time someone around me raised their hand. Tears over all the years I have spent fighting to protect my children from the one who was supposed to protect all of us.

I wish I had known about domestic violence shelters and programs. Years ago I left with my children and what we could carry. I was criticized again when I ” shacked up with some guy” because I didn’t feel like I could keep us all safe by myself. We moved into Nicks home with next to nothing. I know now that if Nick had been a different kind of man things could have gone from bad to worse. I have a home that I feel safe in, but I don’t know if I will ever feel safe in general ever again in my life. I am also proud of my children who have had the courage to stand up and not tolerate abuse. They know what is a healthy environment and what is not.

If you need help please call the national domestic violence hotline 1-800-799-7233 or visit https://www.thehotline.org/ There is help and hope!

Published by Genevieve Meyer

Genevieve Meyer always felt like a throwaway​ child - a lost cause that no one wanted to invest anything into. "When I was married off at 15 that feeling was solidified. People knew it was going to happen. I even asked for help - a place to live, someone to intervene - but no one rescued me. I was just a 'poor white trash girl' with a difficult, mentally-ill mother and no one gave my being married off to a 42-year-old man a second thought." Child marriage is currently legal in all but one state in the U.S. The repercussions of this reality are real - domestic violence, inability to complete education, lack of job skills - all leading to being trapped in the marriage. Meyer has lived in the Fort Wayne area for 14 years. She recently earned her MBA, following completion of an undergraduate degree at Purdue Fort Wayne. She manages a mental health facility in Fort Wayne which helps children and their families heal from trauma. Driven by her own story of trauma, she works to advocate and educate about the harmful effects of child marriage. She lives in the country with her husband of 12 years, and together they are raising 4 children and several animals.

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