We always think it’ll never be us, don’t we? We’re sure we’d walk out, we’d protect ourselves. Suddenly, we’re victims of violence and filled with shame, alone in our suffering. This submission comes from a brave woman who found her way out, and I am so glad she did. She now works to support those who help others avoid domestic violence situations.
If you are experiencing any kind of abuse, please, please do not feel ashamed. Please reach out.
At age 27 I realized I was dating an abusive man. He only hit when he was drunk, and he was often a raging alcoholic who got angry. I got the brunt of that anger. We had been together for three years and it was rocky; filled with arguments, drama, and his alcoholism.
I attend Al-Anon; I loved him. I thought we could overcome it. He had not hit me recently. He gotten angry, he’d go on benders. He even did a stay at an addiction clinic. It did not help.
I told no one — I was ashamed.
The night I left, he yelled at me for paying the phone bill. I had paid the wrong bill. I stood up for myself as I often did and he chased me. He kicked me down, kicking my mid section and in the process broke two of my ribs. I grabbed my jacket, my file case with all my relevant documents and left. A friend took my call and picked me up at a corner phone booth (this was 15 years ago).
I think we went to the ER first and then the police station. It’s a blur after 15 years and I am thankful for the lack of details in my mind. I no longer have panic attacks due to the anniversary of the day or am even reminded of the events by smell or touch — it has faded.
Our detective was a 55-year-old experienced man who had been doing “domestics” for years. He sat and took my story. They photographed the bruising and recommended I find a safe place to stay. Once the police knew of evidence, they told me the charges would be laid. Legislation let them charge the perp if the victim recanted in fear. It meant they had more ability to help victims who were scared and in shock.
I was assigned a crown attorney who prosecuted the case. I was grateful for the strong women at Victim Witness Assistance Program who talked me through it during the months that followed. I was scared and he was still in contact with me. They told me to stop talking to him and their message finally hit home. I stopped.
The day of the trial, we went to court. He was charged with Assault causing bodily harm. He plead down to regular Assault (if we did not have to go to trial). I accepted the offer because it was a good one. It would be on his permanent record, no trial spared me the experience of testifying.
I was brave the day I walked out.
I was brave the day I charged him.
I was brave the day I accepted the charges in court he plead to.
Now I run a success business and support organizations who help women like myself get out of the cycle of violence. I educate people that you do not have to be low income for this to happen to them.
I also support them to be brave.
The #ShowMeYourBrave Project asks people, “What’s the bravest, scariest, or most intimidating thing you’ve ever done?”. The idea of the project is to share stories of everyday bravery and human resilience to bring us closer together. In sharing, we not only find our voices, but we find support, allies, and others who have faced similar challenges. If you would like to submit your story, we would love to feature your bravery here.