Violence UnSilenced

18 Feb

Today I was doing my customary web surfing, blog reading, etc., and I came across a really kick ass site on one of the blogs I read reguarly. She started a web site dedicated to telling the stories of domestic violence (Violence UnSilenced). This is kind of ironic because for the past couple of weeks, Chris has been bugging me to write my own story down, he says that if I share my story, maybe it will help someone else. Well, maybe it will. And I’m SO not ready to write the great American novel, but I was ready to share my story on this website. There is only 1 story posted there as of today, but there will no doubt be hundreds and thousands more shared. I don’t know if all submissions are posted or not, but either way, I feel really glad that I shared my story. In case it’s not posted there, you know, like if my worst fears came true and this nice lady was all, God her writing sucks ass, there’s no way people could stand to read that garbage, I’ll post it here as well. Once again, I’m noticing my $5.99 a month is paying for itself since I can do whatever I want on my own website. My brother was right, being a tech geek (or at least enough of a tech geek to have your own web site) has it’s perks. Anyway, here’s my story.

Because everyone tells you, smart girls don’t get into trouble like that…except when they do. Everyone tells you, pretty girls from good families with good values don’t get into trouble like that…except when they do.

I was 17 when it started. He was older, 19, tall, dark and handsome. When he was good he was wonderful, but when he was bad, he was a monster. The first time we had sex, he wrapped his hands around my neck, and smiled while I tried to squirm away. He whispered that he knew I liked it rough and laughed when I told him he was hurting me. The first time I disagreed with him, he slapped me so hard my lip split. I never knew what would make him so angry, or what would set him off. Once we had seen a friend of his at the movies, and I’d somehow “embarrassed” him. I spent the ride home crouching on the floorboard of his truck, fielding kicks and punches while he told me how disgusting, unworthy and stupid I was. As the cliché goes, he never hit me that he wasn’t sorry afterward.

My parents were clueless, they didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, and I certainly didn’t tell them. I stayed with him because they disapproved of him, my friends were jealous of me, and no one was going to tell me what to do. I stayed because I was too proud to ask for help and too proud to admit I’d made a terrible mistake and was in serious trouble. At times I think I honestly loved him, at times I hated him, but a part of me believed that he was right. I was worthless, and I deserved everything I got. I spent the next 9 months using makeup to hide bruises, wearing long sleeves and turtlenecks in the summer, and hating the person looking at me in the mirror. I hid until I couldn’t hide anymore.

My parents had gone away for the July 4th weekend. He and I were supposed to go watch fireworks. We were laughing and joking, it’d been a good day. I was looking at a pen he’d won at work. He told me to give it back, I playfully said no, and put it behind my back, playing keep-away. He seemed so happy, I thought everything was ok, but it wasn’t. I can’t remember everything that happened next, most of it was, and still is, a blur. I remember him picking me up by my ears and throwing me against the wall. I remember covering my face when I saw his fists coming at me. I remember him choking me so hard I lost consciousness. When I woke up, hot angry tears were streaming down my face, stinging on their way down. I was humiliated, I was furious, I was completely broken. I came clean to a family friend who told my parents. They never said anything about the bruises when they came home that Sunday afternoon, but their eyes told their story. They were filled with sadness, regret, and pity.

I’ll be 30 in 2 weeks, and even though the bruises are long gone, I’ll never forget what I felt that night on the kitchen floor. The person I have become is nothing like the girl lying on the floor all that time ago. I am strong, independent, and un-breakable. Even though I wouldn’t recognize that girl anymore, I can’t forget her. For my daughter, I can’t forget her. I have to remember, and I have to tell her story.

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