(Editor’s note: I’ve decided to open up the site to do just the stories without photos. I think it might allow more survivors to share their stories. And more readers to see themselves in the stories and know they’re not alone. In the next week or so, I plan to develop a form on the site for folks to submit their stories for publication without photos, with the option for me to do photos if that works for the survivors. When I asked this survivor how folks might see her for the second part of the title, she said “People see me as a person who has beat the statistic. A child that’s survived the storm of a toxic household. People see me as a butterfly. Completely transformed.” )
Please share what happened to you:
I was not personally abused myself by anyone but, I lived in the toxic household of domestic violence. Over a period of eight years I watched my mother be involved in two domestic abusive relationships. I witnessed each time as they as both unraveled and the relationships went through the cycles. They would make her feel like she was the best thing in the world to have ever happened to them. Then it would be arguments late into the night. Followed by the first shove, spit, or slap. Then when she felt bold enough to fight back they would turn into punches. Some nights I’d be to busy trying to protect my baby brother and other nights I tried my best to protect her. During her second relationship she had completed the domestic violence cycle and had become the final outcome. My mother lost her life to the hands of her abuser on June 20, 2007 after she finally made the decision to leave.
How are you now?
I am healing as gracefully as I can. I am not a fifteen year old teen anymore but, now a twenty six year old mother of two. I am digging deep to heal the wounds that had yet to be resolved. Some days I’m in great spirits and feel better than others. An other days I cry for no reason. I carry the effects of my mother’s decision to stay, the wound from the decisions I’ve made to cope with the loss, and the pain of knowing I will never see her again. In my healing though I am growing. Learning that love is not pain and that what I saw is not everyone’s reality or every mans intention. To help with my pain I’ve advocated sites via social media to bring awareness to the cause. I’ve also begun journaling, seeking all levels of spirituality, and inner peace.
What would you like to tell the world about domestic violence?
I would like to say that domestic violence is a vicious cycle. That the victim tends to think that they are the only ones being hurt by physical pain. As a child without a mother I beg to differ. The child faces abuse on a completely different level and it will take them just as long to heal from the effects of it. I would also like to say domestic violence does not have a face, in meaning, no one type of woman OR man is excluded. It can happen to anyone, for any reason, at any time. Know the red flags, get educated, seek help if you think your in danger. Please for the sake of those who love you don’t wait.
I have no words… but I applaud your strength and determination. Hat’s off to you for advocating for others. Wishing you the blessed and peaceful life you deserve.