I am a survivor of domestic violence.
Sometimes it’s not the easiest thing to admit. It’s not easy saying, “I’m a victim of domestic violence” or even “I’m a survivor of domestic violence.” Sometimes individuals will question it by saying, “But, he/she isn’t mean all of the time. Just sometimes. And it’s really my fault, anyway.”
We all have that little voice in the back of our minds that whispers to us in the darkest of times… saying, “This isn’t right. Something is wrong.” And what is it that makes us ignore that voice?
I won’t go into too much detail about my situation. But I will say that I feel fortunate to have a current husband that loves me unconditionally. He treats me well and takes care of me because he wants to. Because I know what it’s like to be in an abusive relationship, I never take my current husband for granted. Because I know what it’s like to be inches from death, I never take for granted the beauty of life and everything in it.
I was in an abusive relationship for about a year before I left. There are many women and men who stay in these relationships for months, years, decades… and there’s never one reason for staying. It’s a collection of reasons and it’s not as simple as some might think. I do not tell my story to many people and I have never written a blog about it because the past is the past and I try to forget about it. However, I continue to find myself battling my own mind against triggers that tend to frighten me; triggers that bring the bad memories rushing in like unwelcome rapids; triggers that I can’t explain to people who ask because “it sounds so silly to be afraid of alcohol” but you weren’t the one whose (nearly) last breath of air was a whiff of putrid liquor and rotting teeth.
No matter the severity, no matter if you’re a woman, man, elder, teenager… there are NO excuses for this violence. If you are reading this today and you can relate, please know that you are a beautiful soul and you deserve to be treated as such. If you are a survivor and are trying your hardest to work through those trigger moments, please know that it gets better. It doesn’t get better overnight. My situation wasn’t as severe as some other cases (after all, I’m still alive), and I still have triggers after being out of my situation for 7-ish years.
If you, a friend, or a loved one has experienced or is experiencing domestic violence, please take a moment to continue reading for some helpful information.
What defines domestic violence?
The following examples are from http://domesticviolence.org/definition/
- name-calling or putdowns
- keeping a partner from contacting their family or friends
- withholding money
- stopping a partner from getting or keeping a job
- actual or threatened physical harm
- sexual assault
What are some warning signs of domestic violence?
Check out this chart from http://domesticviolence.org/violence-wheel/
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
|On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year.[i]|
|Nearly 3 in 10 women (29%) and 1 in 10 men (10%) in the US have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by a partner and report a related impact on their functioning.[ii]|
|Nearly, 15% of women (14.8%) and 4% of men have been injured as a result of IPV that included rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.[iii]|
|1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.[iv]|
|IPV alone affects more than 12 million people each year.[v]|
|More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.[vi]|
|Nearly half of all women and men in the United States have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime (48.4% and 48.8%, respectively).[vii]|
|Females ages 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 generally experienced the highest rates of intimate partner violence.[viii]|
|From 1994 to 2010, about 4 in 5 victims of intimate partner violence were female.[ix]|
|Most female victims of intimate partner violence were previously victimized by the same offender, including 77% of females ages 18 to 24, 76% of females ages 25 to 34, and 81% of females ages 35 to 49.[x]|
Statistics are from http://www.thehotline.org/resources/statistics/