Depending on which source you are looking at, between 1.2 and 1.4 million women suffer domestic abuse each year. About 4000 women die each year as a result injuries they sustain at the hands of their abuser who typically profess to love the women they savagely beat and verbally berate. People don't like to talk about domestic abuse as it makes them uncomfortable. The general population has an extremely difficult time understanding how or why a woman or for that matter a man, could allow themselves to be abused in any way. Why they wouldn't run at the very first hint of such behavior. But I know why. You see I spent the better part of my life living with domestic violence and saddest of all at the hands of more than one abuser.
When I met and married my second husband I was only twenty-four years old. He came into my life like a knight in shining armor kind, attentive and gentle and never did show even a hint that he was anything other than what he professed to be. In less than a year we were married. The first two years were relatively pleasant and stable although he had problems holding jobs and getting along with other people. Then right before our second anniversary his estranged mother passed away and it marked the turning point in life as I knew it and it was not a gradual change, but rather swift and immediate. The next several years my life was lived precariously from one day to the next not knowing what I would do to set him spinning out of control in a verbal tirade or physical fit. One minute all would be calm and the next I would be ducking vacuum sweepers and flying fists. I never knew what would set him off however he was always able to convince me the consequences I suffered no one's fault but my own.
As I neared my eleventh year of marriage to him I was at an all time low in life. On top of being physically and verbally abused, I was over worked, emotionally drained and terribly ill from unresolved female issues. One summer Saturday I was driving home from the horse barn and I remembered he had told me that I needed to wash my truck so wanting to avoid any excuse for confrontation I pulled into the car wash and did as I was told. I remember leaving the car wash and naively thinking crisis averted.
I could tell as soon as I walked into the house that he was in a foul mood. After questioning me as to why I was late, he told me I needed to get outside and wash the truck. To this day I don't know why I didn't just go outside and wash the truck again rather than tell him I stopped at the car wash on the way home. He went ballistic and I remember him screaming at me for wasting $3.00 rather than doing the job for free at home. The next thing I knew he had picked me up and literally threw me across the living room. I will never forget the sound of my bones cracking as they shattered when my body landed on the floor. I laid there for a few minutes before I tried to get up and then I realized that I couldn't move. He started yelling obscenities at me and ordering me to get up off the floor and I kept telling him I couldn't move. I argued with him and he became angrier by the minute because I was not doing as I was told. And then I could take it no longer and I just screamed at him to shut up and call 911 and to my surprise he listened.
It's funny how you mind works when it is in crisis mode because I remember the show Alf was popular when this happened and he was wearing shorts and running back and forth trying to figure out what story the emergency responders should be told. Despite the fact I didn't know if my neck was broke or what was wrong with me, I remember thinking his legs looked like Alf's. And then I remember being brought back to reality as I heard the sirens getting closer and closer. The next thing I really remember was laying on the x-ray table and the man who had taken my x-rays whispered in my ear that my neck was not broke, by body had just gone into shock from the injury. Then, still whispering he told me my parents were in the waiting room but I couldn't see them until some people from the hospital came to talk to me. I asked him what was wrong with me and he told me my collar bone on the left side was shattered. He told me they knew it was not an accident that caused this and he pleaded with me to tell them what really happened.
Several people came in to me that night doing nothing short of begging me to allow the police to be called. I know I frustrated them to no end because the more they asked the more I refused. I was more afraid of the police being called than I was to go home with the monster that had done this to me. Sure call the police, lock him up for the night, but then what? Put everyone I loved in harms way most of all my grandma? The man was a certifiable monster and I didn't know if there were any limits to what he was capable of doing.
It took two plates, a bone graft from my hip, two pins and nine screws to rebuild my collar bone, trophies I will carry with me until God calls me home. People ask why I write about such personal, unpleasant matters and while I admit it is not easy to relive memories like these the answer is simple, I have to. If there is one person out there this reaches who is a victim of domestic abuse or if one of you reading this suspects someone you know is a victim and reaches out to them and saves them from harm my momentary discomfort is a small price to pay. It is unrealistic to expect that anyone who has never been in an abusive relationship to understand the mindset of a victim and I wish I could explain it. But I can tell you it takes many years for a person to loose all self esteem and to feel so alone and unlovable that you allow a person to harm you and convince you that it was your fault. My prayer is all the victims of this silent crime hear the call of Jesus and know that no matter how alone and scared they feel there is always a way out, that they do deserve to be loved and that there is someone always holding their hand.
Until we meet here again, I pray God bless you and keep your loved ones safe.