Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Can I inspire you?

I happened upon a link to a new site called "Violence UnSilenced". I am hoping that I can inspire however few readers I have to click on one of the links on my blog and visit this site. I am in complete awe at how this tragedy has been pulled out of the closet to get the awareness it needs. Too many of our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends and lovers have been victims of domestic violence. Domestic violence knows no boundaries: male/female, gay/straight, rich/poor/, old/young, religious/agnostic/atheist. It's victims are often bombarded with shame and guilt and anxiety. I encourage you to visit the site and learn what you can to recognize the signs that one of your friends might be a victim, because I know personally how hard a victim tries to hide the truth. Most of my readers (if I do have any) do not know my past and those that do, do not know the details. "Violence UnSilenced" has inspired me to open my closet and release my past, because truly, it's part of who I am. I am a better mother because of it, but nobody should ever have to live as my daughter, BB and I did.

A cracked rib. Skinned knees. A broken couch. A scar from where a hanger went through the back of my thigh. A wrist that still sometime hurts from a torn tendon. The memory of a miscarriage from the second rape. Memories that still surface from time to time. I try to keep the same doctors but this year I moved and I have to explain the medical history all over again. My brain is now 34 and, unfortunately, can only remember the list of injuries by remembering how they happened only to have that still lingering question of WHY? It doesn't help that our daughter BB is that man's child and he actually made the effort to see her the Christmas before last and she was receptive to the idea. He's been remarried almost since I divorced him because he got a Honduras teenager pregnant while we were still married and the Army he works for were planning to ream his ass if he didn't do something. That was six years ago, his mother says he's a great dad to that kid, sad he couldn't do it for us.

A cracked rib - week after Thanksgiving 2000. I was sitting on his lap on our couch in the living room of our apartment kissing him under his chin. My affection earned me a shove off his lap and a swift kick in the ribs, no words. This was late in my relationship with him and the only time I ever hit back. He left me there and went to bed. When I could breathe again, I got up and went to our bedroom, climbed onto the bed standing over him with one leg on either side of his body. With all the strength I could muster, I balled up my fist and punched him in the back of the ribs as hard as I could. Before I could blink, I was under him on the bed with my chin pressed into my throat, unable to breathe. He said, "Now we're even," and went to sleep. I could only think, "you have no idea how uneven we are."

Skinned knees - April 1999. We were driving back from his mother's house, I think it was Spring break from college, heading back to my parent's house. There was an argument about something and I asked him to let me out of the car at the mall. Instead, he undid my seat belt, pulled over, opened the door and pushed me out with the car still moving. I was three months pregnant with BB. I still married him in June.

Broken couch - sometime in 2000. Living in Ft. Polk, Louisiana, he had developed an addiction to video games. He would sit at the computer all day, I had to serve him lunch at the desk, never a word to me, never played with BB. I timed him once, 16 hours! The only way to get him off the computer was to sneak through the other side of the kitchen and unplug the phone cable, run quietly back to where I had been while he cussed that the server disconnected. After two or three times, he'd get off the computer and talk to me or play with BB. One time, I got caught. My punishment was several punches to the top of my head (because my hair would cover the bruises) while he had me pinned to the couch. When I tried to get up from the couch, he threw me down on it so hard that I went through it. One of the boards had broken as had one of the long steel springs.

The Hanger - my ex was very possessive. I was timed whenever I went to the store or to do laundry at the laundromat and I was never allowed to take the baby with me because then he knew I would always come back. If I was ever late, I was grilled with questions about who I saw, what did I say? He would pick out my clothes for going to the store: a drab green dress that went to my ankles. It had at one time been pretty but age and washing had made it a "house dress" only. If I was wearing make-up when he came home, he insisted on knowing why. I would tell him I was trying to look pretty for him but he would grab one of his swords and poke into each and every closet in the house looking for whomever I was hiding. One time I told him how silly he was being which got me pushed into my closet. There was a hanger on the floor between the shoes. I fell on it and the hanger became embedded in the back of my thigh about 1 1/2 inches. To this day, I hate seeing hangers on the floor.
To be continued....

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