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!