“I had the gun in my hand ready to take my life. My son walked in the room. He didn’t understand what was happening because he was younger. He gave me a look. The look, he gave, would be one of the defining moments that I realized I had to leave and get out of this situation. Not many people know, but I was ready to take my life in order to get out of it. My son walking in saved my life.”
Many are familiar with October being breast cancer awareness month, but did you know it is, also, domestic violence awareness month? Statistics show that 1 out of 3 women and 1 out of 4 men will experience either rape, physical violence, or stalking. Almost 50% of women and men experience psychological aggression. These are by intimate partners. People that have been victimized of digital abuse are twice as likely to be physical abused. http://www.thehotline.org/stakeholders/domestic-violence-statistics/. Studies, also, show that an average of 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner. 1 out of 15 children will be exposed to domestic violence. 21-60% of victims of partner violence will lose their jobs due to reasons stemming from abuse. http://www.ncado.org/statistic. The numbers of people that experience domestic violence were shocking to read. These are only a few of the statistics. As I was reading, I reflected on the numbers. More than likely, someone, you or I know or could be one of the people that are included in the numbers. My subconscious reminded me it was someone that I knew and someone very close to me.
For several years, my cousins and I get together bi-monthly and have quality girl time. Whenever we are together, we have intimate conversations. We are transparent about things happening in our lives. We encourage, support, and praise each other. During one of the conversations, Claudia shared with the group that she was a survivor of domestic violence. Here is her story.
Claudia was involved in abusive relationship for over 11 years. She knows that is a blessing to be a survivor and share her story. She does not take her being alive lightly because not all women/men are able to get away.72% of murder suicides involve an intimate partner. http://www.ncado.org/statistics.
The relationship did not start as physical. It began verbal, but it was disguised. It didn’t appear as what a person would think of as abuse. It was always questions about what she was doing? Where are you going? Who are you going with? Who was she talking to on the phone? If she didn’t answer any of these questions, it would be an argument. She could not change the location of where she told him she was going. If she did, it would be another argument. I asked her about one of the arguments that she remembered. She recalled a time when one of her maternal cousin’s mother passed away. Claudia told her ex-husband that she was going to her cousin’s house to spend time with her. While she was there, he was, constantly, calling her, but Claudia did not answer. She was focusing and utilizing her time on cousin as she was grieving. When she got home, he was very upset and an argument arose from her not answering.
I asked her why did she decide to go ahead and get married if those things were happening prior to marriage. At the time, Claudia processed it as a way of him showing concern or his way of loving her. The reason he wanted to know where she was because he wanted to make sure she was safe. It made him her knight in shining armor. After marriage, the verbal abuse got worse. It progressed to him telling her she was fat, lazy, or stupid. He played on her emotions and mental state of being. He made her feel that she wasn’t beautiful and that no one else would want her. He played on her insecurities.
After marriage, the physical abuse began. The locations of where she was hit were hidden and disguised. They were strategically placed. The hits, bumps, and bruises were under her shirt or in the head. The bruises were never anywhere that anyone else could see. There would be words of love and endearment followed by words of hate and physical pain. It reminded me of the saying “oil and water can’t mix.” A person can’t promise you love and exemplify love while causing pain. That isn’t the way love operates. There were always promises of stopping. There were promises of changing and doing better. Please understand that a person can not change another person. The person has to want to change for himself/herself.
I asked Claudia to tell me about the time when she knew enough was enough. Her ex-husband wanted to do a family day. Grudgingly, Claudia agreed. Before they left the house, Claudia received a call from a bill collector asking when they were going to pay the bill. After she hung up, she told her ex that family night was canceled because of the call. He wanted her to borrow the money from someone else for them to still go out. She felt paying the bill was more important and refused to ask a friend or family member for the money. His words to her. “I don’t know why I stayed married to your stupid ass. You get on my mother fucking nerves. I can’t wait til the day that I don’t have to be with you anymore. It won’t be much longer.” Claudia asked him to repeat what she said. The light switch went off in her head. Claudia did not want her son growing up thinking that it was ok for a man to talk to a woman nor treat a woman in this behavior. She’d prayed for a sign from God to show her when it was time to leave, and his words were that time. At the moment, they were living with her parents. She had nothing to lose. She told him to pack his things, to leave, and get out. Claudia states her son gave her the courage, and God gave her the strength to leave.
Claudia knows getting out of the relationship has made her a better person, as a sister, and a “damn good mom.” She has accomplished things in life and traveled locations that she would not have been able to do had she stayed. She is thankful for God bringing her through.
Each time I interview someone, I, always, ask what advice would you give a person. Claudia’s advice is this. There are various resources and outlets that provide help to women and men that are in domestic violence relationship. Every person should be happy and feel loved because love doesn’t hurt. Love is kind and unwavering. Anytime your significant other says or does things that hurt, belittle, or make you feel less than what you are, you should get out. Don’t worry about being ashamed or embarrassed because life is more important than temporary embarrassment.
At this very moment, you might not have the strength to get out. I pray for each person that might be in a domestic violence relationship as you read. I pray that God orders your steps and gives you strength to get out of the potential life threatening situation. In my prayer, I will add the the prayer that Claudia prayed. “Lord, lay my path in front of me as clear as a stepping stone.” May God guide you to safety, freedom, and a better/safer life.
Here is the full interview on my YouTube page.