On day 30 of Blogtober, I want to talk about a serious topic, domestic violence.
It’s a subject I became too familiar with at a very young age.
A few years ago, I wrote about my experience as a kid witnessing domestic violence in the home.
The incidents I witnessed, while I was only three, and can still remember most details vividly, from the abuse to the day we left, shaped who I am to this very day.
It shaped my attitude towards men, how I demand to be treated, and how I view police based on the encounter we had with them the one time I remember my mother trying to seek help. It shaped my No, I Don’t Have To, and I WON’T attitude at an early age.
October is domestic violence awareness month, and if you’re in an abusive situation-physically, verbally, mentally, or emotionally- you don’t deserve it.
From the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:
Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) evolved from the “Day of Unity” in October 1981 observed by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The intent was to connect advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children. The Day of Unity soon became an entire week devoted to a range of activities conducted at the local, state, and national levels.
The activities conducted were as varied and diverse as the program sponsors but had common themes: mourning those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrating those who have survived, and connecting those who work to end violence.
In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. That same year marks the initiation of the first national domestic violence toll-free hotline. In 1989 the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 101-112 designating October of that year as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Such legislation has passed every year since with NCADV providing key leadership in this effort. Each year, the Day of Unity is celebrated the first Monday of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
— Adapted from the 1996 Domestic Violence Awareness Month Resource Manual, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
From my experience and the people around me, many cases of domestic violence don’t start with physical abuse. It begins with control, mental, and emotional abuse. Despite what they told us about sticks and stones when we were children, words do hurt. Words from a person we love and claim to love us hurt even more. Being told you’re not worthy or less than or undeserving, or being blamed for everything under the sun has to be a draining and defeating experience. No one deserves it.
I decided to share my mother’s experience and the effect it had on me because to help someone. I wanted women to know you could get out. My mother did it with two small children. I also wanted women to see the effect it has on your children, no matter how young they are. When I was a teenager, I finally told my mother all of the things I remembered, and she couldn’t believe it, yet she knew they were my memories. I was the one in the apartment with her watching it happen. I was the one in the motel room with her being held hostage with a knife.
Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, witnessing those things by the age of four shaped my views on relationships. It also shaped my tolerance (or lack thereof) for people and their stuff. I knew and stood by, not staying with someone who showed an ounce of controlling behavior. But this experience also stunted my emotional availability to people for many years.
If you are in a physically, emotionally, or mentally abusive relationship, please know that you don’t deserve it.
You are beautiful.
You deserve happiness.
You deserve peace.
You deserve love.
You deserve kindness.