Uncategorized

Natalie Evans Some Kind of Brown Podcast Red November MMIW Project

(Ed note: One of the survivors of this project shared this Instagram post and suggested I contact Natalie. While listening to the podcast, I was struck by the fact that we’re both compelled by the statistics to do something. I did reach out, and Natalie provided the article below. I hope you’ll consider listening to the podcasts and supporting the MMIW project in whatever way you are able to.)

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Red November Project

When I started my podcast, Some Kind of Brown, in 2017, it was with the hope of telling the stories of people who were Mixed, Multi-Racial, or a child of trans-racial adoption. I grew up feeling alone, that people didn’t understand the complex situation I was in or the racism I faced from multiple sides. That loneliness of having an ambiguous identity drove me to explore race, ethnicity, and how it can affect all of us.

Throughout the development of the podcast, I began to see a need, a hunger in people who felt the same as I did and craved that feeling of being “seen”. That inspired me to highlight different struggles or cultural events that affect specific racial groups, especially during the four United States National Heritage Months; Black History Month in February, Asian American Pacific Islander Month in May, Latinx Heritage Month in October, and Native American Heritage Month in November. I got to talk to new people and hear new perspectives that I hadn’t explored yet.

Simultaneously, I was reconnecting to my own Native background. This is something I’ve shared with my audience as I became more and more immersed in the community and culture. When you’re widening your circle on social media, you face the fact that you’ve been living in an echo chamber. The more Native people I followed the more I discovered struggles and outright violence against the community that has somehow not made it into mainstream media. I noticed a lot of people using the hashtag, MMIW, and decided to look it up. Thus began an emotional journey that led to the biggest series I have ever created on my platform.

MMIW stands for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. That was the first evolution of the movement from 2016-2017. While the movement always included girls and two spirit people (transgender), the acronym has evolved to reflect the inclusivity, so both MMIW and MMIWG2S are the biggest markers of this movement. The more I read, the more I was absolutely horrified. As a survivor of rape and abuse myself, I was aware of the statistics of violence against women in the US, but these statistics do not include Native women, especially those from Tribal Sovereign Nations. According to the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women, Native women face murder rates of 10 times than the national average and 4 out of 5 women will face violence. Almost every single Native woman will be attacked, sexually assaulted, or murdered. And yet, very few people out of the community have even heard about this epidemic.

Native women live in fear and every time I saw a tweet or a post of a Native woman speaking out and the only people interacting were Native, the more disturbed I became. It became a fire inside of me. If I was going to include my listeners in my rediscovery of my ethnic heritage and remain silent in the face of systematic violence, I would be a hypocrite. How could I ask people to hear me and not give voice to my sisters who have been neglected and abused? So I started Red November. Along with three other Native women and one non-binary person that I’d become friends with through older episodes, we are spending the entire month of November talking about the fear we and our sisters live with and what we can do to both advocate and support Native communities. In addition to the weekly episodes, one of the contributors, Agnauraq “Tristan” Morgan, designed a logo to be used on merch. We are using this opportunity to use 80% of the money raised from Red November Together merchandise to donate to the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women.

So far, the support has been staggering for my small podcast. People outside of the Native community are hearing about these issues, most for the first time. I may not be able to solve the problem through a month long project, but people are listening and our sisters are being heard. This series is something I intend to do annually and am considering expanding into a much larger project. I think the Native community will no longer allow our sisters to be stolen and that the cultural climate in the US has fostered a sense of empathy and advocacy in a certain group of people. These people are listening and they are joining in the movement. They are listening, spreading the word, supporting us by purchasing merchandise and the support almost has me speechless. You, the reader of this article, are also helping us by reading this article. Thank you.

These are the links to my website and the podcast. You can listen to it on Anchor, but it’s available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, and basically all podcatchers.

Website: https://somekindofbrown.wordpress.com/red-november-project/

 

1:4 #24, The Spiritual Healer

(Editors note: TRIGGER Warning. This post has some some of the strongest language and intense descriptions of child sexual abuse on the site to date. Please decide before hand if you are ready or able to read them. Skipping to the 2nd and 3rd questions will avoid the areas of concern.)  

What happened to me?

I was born in a family with mental illness in their background. My mother was 19 and my father 21 when they married. My mother’s first child born 10 months later. Eight total that included 2 miscarriages. Me being 6th live birth. Between the ages of 3-5 I was sexually abused by my father. I did not know this was happening, nor had any awareness of this until I reached the age of 35 while in therapy. It all started in 1995, two months prior to my third child’s, third birthday. Before I get all into the abuse, let’s go back in time to when I was two years of age.

The following you may or may not find ordinary, but it is a real true experience I had as I recall it vividly and it was a memory I have never forgotten. It was also THE ONE MEMORY that inspired me to push myself forward in life during the many hard times I would end up going through in the years ahead.

One day during my second year of life I was sitting on the kitchen floor of my parent’s home located on Seminary Avenue in Baltimore County Maryland. A Being, a Cosmic Being, as it had a different feel of energy from an Angel or Jesus, felt other worldly. He/they, I knew what I felt, what I saw, and what i heard was comforting, was peaceful, was all knowing. He/They were there to inform me of certain things. One of the things he/they informed me about was that I was going to experience some bad things from the man that was my father in this lifetime. He/They would be there to protect me in ways I didn’t know to understand. Looking back, I think perhaps one of the things he/they protected me from was from a greater harm my father could have inflicted upon me. My father had smoked cigarettes. He also drank beer and hard liquor. He did not burn me with his cigarettes. He did not stick unsmoked cigarettes up my vagina or anus. He did not make drown me with alcohol. So maybe if my protectors weren’t with me, my father would have done these things. What I do remember, as I became more aware of body memories while in therapy as an adult, was that my father did things to me late at night while I was asleep and things that happened when he brought me into the shower with him. At night, I suppose when everyone else was in bed asleep, my father would sneak into the bedroom I stayed and he would wake me up slowly when he pulled my little panties down, spread my legs and looked at my pussy. He then touched me with his fingers, caressing the skin of my inner thighs, my lips, my clitoris. He then spread my lips open so he could see the tiny hole I had. He would look and touch, look and touch, look and touch until I started to awaken. I remember moaning and whimpering and him telling me to be quiet.”We don’t want to wake up your mother.” I was always daddy’s princess. I couldn’t do any wrong. I was the perfect child. I don’t know how many times he did this but it was for sure more than once. When it didn’t happen at night in bed, there was as instance that happened in my father’s bathroom shower. I used to clean homes to earn a little extra money. My parent’s house being one of them. This was while I was still married. I cleaned my parent’s house once a month. On one of these occasions I had an anxiety attack. I do not know what or why it happened. I only knew something bad happened in my parent’s bathroom. Really, my father’s bathroom because I only recall my mom using the bathroom in the upstairs hall. So I took notice of the icky, bad sensation of energy in my father’s bedroom but it got worse as I walked into the bathroom to clean it. And then while I was cleaning. I figured something bad must have happened to me here so I wasn’t so sure about cleaning the bathroom again at the next scheduled time. When I was in the shower cleaning, the bad sensation was worse so I decided to take notice of that too. The next month goes by when my mother calls me to schedule the next cleaning. We scheduled it and I went. My parents bedroom and a shower/bath was last room I would clean. I certainly did not want to start there. Best to end there. And thank goodness I did because on this occasion a full fledge of memories were shown to me of what my father did to me. And I believe it may have been the last encounter of the sexual abuse. So I must have been five at the time. I was naked, standing in front of him, my head at the height of his penis, him standing under shower head, water coming down over him and splashing onto me. He picked me up, wrap my little legs around him (my father was a small thin framed guy no more than 5’9”). He would slide me up and down over his chest and penis, getting his thrills off of it. Up and down I go over and over his chest and penis while he pleasured himself until he released. That experience sent me off into a huge anxiety attack and I had to get out of there! And out fast. I never cleaned my parents house again. But you know what? I am glad that experience happened, that the body memories were shown to me. I’m grateful and very thankful for it because it explained everything why I hated, absolutely hated, getting my face wet as an adult when I showered. It wasn’t until I put the pieces together – me hating to put my face into the water to rinse it off after cleaning, and the sexual abuse shower memory – the two connected. When I had that revelation, every time afterwards when I got showers, the hating of getting my face wet vanished!! It was necessary to come face-to-face with that literally and figuratively in order for healing to take place. In order for any healing to occur we must come face to face with our fears. More importantly, the fears we don’t even know we have!

Back track to the age of me at 19. It’s the year I met the man I would mary. He was 23, a marine, an expert riflemen, and later a brown belt in Ishinryu karate. Both Roman Catholics, we met in church. We dated for one year when he asked me to marry him. After only dating three months he tells me he loves me. I did not respond back in the same. Rather, I told him I needed to see an ex-boyfriend’s mother before moving forward with him. It just felt like the right thing to do. That night, on that date my boyfriend tells me he loves me, I walk outside with him as he gets into his black Ford Bronco 2 truck and I’m looking into the clear star filled dark sky and I audibly hear God. And I mean, I HEAR God speak to me! He said,“This is the man you will marry and bare children with.” I was like, ‘okay’. But I most certainly did not tell anyone this. Not the boyfriend. Not my mother. Not any of my siblings. Not the priest. No one until 2012 when my first published work about my life came out. The tile is ‘Angel Works: Soaring From Abuse to Love Forgiveness. and Enlightenment’. So I went to my ex boyfriend’s mom and told her I found someone that really likes me and likes me for me and I wanted to pursue it. I asked for her blessing. I told her I was sorry it didn’t work out with me and her son. She told me I was good for her son.

A year goes by and my boyfriend asks me to marry him. We went out to dinner at a restaurant. But oh no, he forgot, he left the ring in his truck so he asked me after dinner when we were back sitting in it. I already had known this was going to happen. No surprise to me because God had already told me, and I’ve seen things happen in spirit before it happens in physical, like all of my life! Anyway, I said yes. Another year later in 1986 we married. Our first baby born in 1988, second baby born in 1990, 3rd baby born in 1992. I was 27 with three babies. I noticed red flags after first child was born. I even remember looking up marriage counselors when our first child was about two months old. I called a couple of them and they said that one of us would have to admit to having a mental illness! I thought, ‘That’s stupid!’ and just very odd. Why would one of the two of us have to admit to a mental illness? I was looking for marriage counseling! So that was the end of that! After each baby things got worse. My husband; he wasn’t a wife beater. He was a great manipulator. Controlling through manipulation. He wanted to control everything! My words had zero value. Although he claimed my words would have value. He said a lot of things of how he would treat me that my words would have value to him, that he’d listen to what I had to say, that he wanted my input. But when it actually came down to the real truth of the matter, when I would decide to act courageously and brave enough to speak, all he did was put me down or tell me things like: ”But maybe what you really mean is……” Or “No you don’t,” saying it sarcastically. Or “Yes, you do know! There’s no such thing as I don’t know.”

Actually, there is such a thing as I don’t know if memories are blocked or when someone chooses to block memories. He accused me of all sorts of things. When his superior at his job told him he wasn’t performing at optimal capacity (he was a nuclear reactor operator) and offered him a buy out package, he accepted it. We used that up. He had a 401K that he took money out while he wasn’t working to do AMWAY full-time at supposed full force so we could live the dream life. Well it lasted one year and at the end of the one year he blamed me for putting our family into this position. He directly said to me at my face, “If it wasn’t for you we’d be homeless.” Anything and everything that was wrong or supposedly wrong was always somehow my fault. I was a stay-at-home mom. He was the working man. Me, the non working mom, (but we know moms have the hardest most rewarding job) blaming the stay-at-home mom, that it’s my fault he’s not bringing money into the house??!! I’ll never forget paying for our families food on a credit card! That was sooo humiliating. He threatened me with things such as: ”You’re not a real wife. Real wives have sex with their husbands.” He took advantage of my body. We were asleep in bed. I remember waking up and looking down at my body and saw him there by my pussy. It looked like he was investigating my pussy like a Dr would. He had my legs spread, touching and looking at me. I was angry. It felt very weird. I thought: ‘I’m not a body for you to just use when you like.’ On another occasion when I was asleep he sexually abused me. I fell asleep on the living room floor. Here I am again asleep and he’s down on me by my private parts. He had pulled my bike shorts off and was performing oral sex on me. I awakened startled and kicked him. I yelled, “Get the hell off of me!”

We were in counseling during this time. He had already known about the sexual abuse my father did to me, yet he was doing the exact same thing my father had done. He was blaming me for not being a good, proper wife. Like what he did to me he had every right to do based solely on being my husband??!! That’s bullshit. What a lowlife he was. I could not believe he was going there. No woman is going to want to be physical with her husband, for one: when she is in the midst of counseling for sexual abuse and number two: when he himself is committing the same act. He didn’t see it that way. Wow! He had every right to be mad, angry, livid at me cheating on him but for him to go further with abusing me was uncalled for. He started demanding I not wear work out clothes outside OR inside our home. Well, I didn’t follow that! I’ll be damned if any man tells me what I should wear in my own home. It’s not like I was wearing low cut tops or dresses that cleavage was hanging out. Not once, not ever was I that type of girl.

Another occasion my husband fixed the car I drove so it wouldn’t start in order to keep me home. My husband told may one day to bring the clothes I wore on the night I cheated on him down to the basement where he was. He demanded it of me. I went and got the clothes because I was scared. I could have grabbed a pair of clothes I didn’t care about. But I grabbed the clothes I wore, went downstairs in the basement where he was standing by the coal stove. He is said to me,“Put them in there! You are going to put those clothes in there and watch them burn.” I thought, ‘Well okay. I am going to have to do this.’ I put them in the fire and I feel my husband’s hands on my back pushing me closer to the fire. Some of my hair got singed from the fire. I guess I was lucky he didn’t push my head all the way in and kill me right then and there. No, he wouldn’t do that. Because he had to stay his ground and come across to the outside world that he is a Great Christian Family man. What bullshit those so-called Christian Family men play. That is a game. They like to look good to the outside world but they are demons on the inside. Some will play to a certain extent they are good guys on the inside so his children, at least physically see, he’s a good dad. I don’t know why our daughter idolizes him? Have I made mistakes in my parenting? Sure, we all have. My mistakes don’t make me a bad mother or a monster in which he attempted to make me look like to our children and the court system. He also punched holes in walls in our house. Tore down our bedroom closet wall, punched a hole in our bathroom door, broke a calculator in half and threw it towards me. He would bang the phone hard on the kitchen countertop. He scared me. One time while he and I were traveling southbound on I-95 heading to Virginia for an Amway convention we were talking about dreams. I mention to him one of my dreams about moving to South Carolina. At that time I was working out to The Firm tapes. Their main location was in S.Carolina. I love fitness. Always have and always will. My husband attacked me with his words, accusing me of wanting to move there because in his head I had a boyfriend waiting for me there. I’m like,‘Can I have ONE DREAM where he’s not attacking me?’ He did kind of attack me almost physically. It was the one time I actually feared for my life. That I thought he really doesn’t care whether I live or die. I say this because what he did physically was punch the passenger’s side windshield. I was sitting on the passenger side. He was driving. And not just driving but speeding. Thank GOD the kids weren’t with us. I went silent. I don’t remember if I went silent before or after he smashed windshield. Does it really matter when? NOPE! That day, after that incident, I really really really thought he was going to pull over then leave me for dead. I imagined a rapist pulling over, getting out of his car, coming after me to rape me and then order me. But my husband didn’t pull over. We drove in silence for awhile. As we got closer to Baltimore we stopped at a hospital to ask for help. And oh my god, my husband raises his voice to the first person he sees that works there saying, “My wife cheated on me. We need to talk to someone now!” We did and I could not stand the woman who asked us questions. She was disgusting. I think she got off on wanting to hear my answers. I stupidly answered because I was, you know, the perfect girl. So I had to be honest. I could have just said,’What Is the use of me in answering such questions?’ But no, I had fear of my husband. I felt like I was obliged to answer. Well, thank God I know better now. That day was the beginning of hell for the next several years before all hell broke out on April 26, 2001. It was the day my husband manipulated and controlled the system and me. Two weeks prior he had been out of character. He was extra quiet, snooping around the house looking for something. I asked him directly,“What are you looking for?” He didn’t reply. He ignored me. I knew something was up. I just didn’t know what or how bad it was until later.

We had two cats. I worked out at home like I mentioned earlier. I had some dumbbell weights from 3 to 25 pounds. One day my daughter was playing in the boys bedroom and one of the cats scratched her. She called for us. Her father said to her, “Take one of mommy’s weights and throw it at the cat!” What a dick my husband was. Our daughter would never follow through with something like that anyway. She would never hurt an animal. I spoke up that day and said to my husband, “So, you are an animal abuser too!” That was a me saying indirectly, letting him know I know he is abusing me. He never acted that way before which is why I said it was out of character for him. I didn’t recognize that was he was doing was wanting to purposely piss me off to get me to retaliate.

Another week goes by. This time he does or says something to purposely piss me off. I don’t remember exactly what happened. I just remember being pissed. If anyone remembers beanie babies, our kids had lots of them. So me and him are standing by the steps. He’s 6’2”. I’m 5’2”. He towers over me at that height. Whatever he said that pissed me off, I picked up a beanie baby off of the floor, raised my arm above me towards him as if I’m going to throw the beanie baby at him. As soon as I had that thought, I thought further and said to self inside my mind, ‘NO! YOU WILL NOT BOW DOWN TO HIS LEVEL. PUT YOUR ARM DOWN.’ IT WAS like God speaking to me again. And so I obeyed. I don’t think my husband liked that I put my arm down. I think he wanted me to hit him.

Next week goes by. It is now April 26th, 2001. The absolute worst and best day of my life! It was the ultimate day of hell and salvation. It was the day of his ultimate abuse. Oh, BTW, he said to me once, “I promise you. I swear on a stack of Bibles, I will never take the kids away from you.” It was the same day I asked him, “So, is what you really want a bare foot and pregnant wife with 12 children?” He said, “YES.” I told him, “Well then you need to find a new wife because it’s not going to be me.” I’m not going to go into details as to how the entire day of the separation happened. It’s in my book. Let’s just say he did everything in his power to not only manipulate me but also manipulate my parents, my family and the court system. He did everything he could to make himself look like some God and me the abuser when in fact he was the abuser. Some would characterize him as a narcissist. I suspect he has 7 out of the 9 personality traits. His first lawyer was very well known for representing perpetrators of domestic violence. Every single professional I saw and explained how that day went down, 100% said he set me up. Some of these professionals were lawyers. He truly made me out to look like the bad guy. Luckily for me I had been actively going and engaged in therapy for several years by that time. I currently had been in therapy at a domestic violence shelter for one full year. Before April 26, 2001 went down, my therapist had let me know my one year was close at hand. That night I stayed at the shelter. Next day I saw my therapist explaining the situation. Being the severity of trauma, it allowed me to receive another year of free therapy. To come so far in my therapy to then have the separation scene go down was VERY traumatic! However in hindsight it gave me the strength to do what I needed to do to protect myself. I called my mom and one of my older brothers. He was a lawyer. After telling my family what happened they all then said to me, “I knew he (naming my husbands first name) was a fake. That he wore masks.” I have this to say about family members NOT speaking up when they can see possible danger in their sister’s fiancé. By GOD tell her! Even if she doesn’t like it, tell her anyway. NOT saying anything is being a stupid fool. Not saying anything isn’t what loving or helping a loved one looks like. So get off any high horses you’re on and make your concerns known.

How are you doing now?

Well, it’s been 18 years since the separation and 16 years since divorce. I have remained single the entire time but I do want to get married again. Marriage is still something I value as sacred and meant to be treated sacred within all parts of it. After all this time, I finally believe my time is now as it comes to having a real relationship. A real commitment and yes marriage. I know my waiting is worth it because I needed a lot of time to learn to be independent and then be independent. A lot of internal growth has happened. I am so much stronger in self. I know I am worth it. I think people who go into relationships too soon after divorce haven’t spent enough time for recovery, learn about themselves, as a woman, as a parent if they have children, and as a friend. I’ve had a few boyfriend but no one serious. So I AM ready for the right man. Not just any man, not a male, but a real man that wants to know ME! Past and present and be there with me, together in the future. And most definitely not one that is looking for sex before marriage. Chivalry is integral to have. I love me. I have gone from a 15 year stay-at-home mom to living with my parents from almost Ground Zero to now owning my own business, all on my own, since 2006. From April 26, 2001 to 2006 I was living in my parents home. I rented a townhouse from 2006-2010. Became a homeowner of a townhouse 2010-2018, to owning a single family home September 2018. I also outrightly own two high end vehicles, debt free, except house. I did all of this by myself without the help of a man. I am humbly proud of these accomplishments. I am now ready to share my life with someone special. I have a lot of love inside of me it’s ridiculous. But be forewarned, I don’t nor won’t put up with someone else’s shit. They will have to be able to look within their own self and be aware of what they need to work on and be willing to be open about discussing all subject matters of the heart. The work I do revolves around Spiritual and Emotional Healing. Trauma informed care. Body work. Massage therapy. Life and Relationship Coaching. Couples Coaching. Couples Retreats. I AM ALL THINGS HEALTH: MIND BODY SPIRIT SOUL. I have transformed my life. I have transformed my body when I competed. I have transformed other peoples’ lives whether it was through me personal training them or in helping them release traumas out of the body in the bodywork I do. I can do it because I’ve lived it and have done it for myself! I walk the talk. I say what I mean and I mean what I say. I teach others on how to better communicate. I take my work seriously and would love to have someone by my side in support of my work. One of the things I do in the bodywork I offer as a massage therapist, is in assisting others be released of trauma(s) that gets imbedded into the physical body. It’s my specialty. For men, women, and couples. To see my work and all I do please click here http://www.thespacebetweenthethorns.com.

What would you like to share with the world about domestic violence?

YOU ARE WORTHY of REAL LOVE. As soon as you have been subjected to abuse get out. If it is emotional abuse and you’re not sure but your internal instincts are telling you something is not right call the domestic violence center close to you and ask them what you can do to prepare. Such as putting aside money in a safe place. Prepare mentally by saying to self you are strong. If you have children with your abuser get out now! And I mean now! There are safe places you can go to. Call 800 – 656 – HOPE and/or go to rainn.org If I had known about them when I was going through my hell I would have called!!! When I reference abuse and get some help, I mean anyone going through abuse, male or female. There are a great many men out there who have been sexually abused as a child but go through greater shame than women do. It’s a lot harder for them to speak about it. May you be Blessed and never ever ever stop dreaming. They’re there for a reason. A GOD given purpose especially made for you. Life Love and Light, Barbara

1:4 #23 The Hippie Chick

Editors Note (The survivor sharing this story chose to do so without using the photo option. Kelly said I should use her name, but I chose not to publish her last name at this time)

Please share what happened to you:

As I sit in the hospital waiting to be seen, I try to figure out the events that led me here. The blood rushes down my face and my nose and head throb. I am lucky to be alive, and I pray that I will be okay. I am grateful that I left my house when I did. The nurse walks in and asks if I can hear her. When I look up, I can see the outline of her body, but the details are blurry. She tells me to follow her back to triage. She pauses, turns back, and looks at me, “Don’t worry you are safe.” The hospital is on lock down so that no one can come in or go out. I sigh with relief. I walk into my hospital room, crawl onto the bed, and close my eyes. My mind automatically begins to recall the events that brought me here.
Earlier that day I went home after work, and my boyfriend was in the kitchen, pacing around the kitchen table. He had a glazed look in his eyes as if he had been drinking. Apparently, someone that I did not know had made comments on an old photo of me. I walked away from him to avoid conflict. He then chased me up the stairs as if to attack me. I ran into my bedroom and locked the door. He kicked in my bedroom door. I then ran into my bathroom. He kicked in that door as well. He then pulled me by my hair and threw me into my bedroom. He then started to punch me in the head. He did this several times. The final blow to the head he broke my glasses and they cut into my face and blood went everywhere. I begged him to stop I was barely conscious. I begged him for ice he said go ahead and get ice. He closely followed me and watched my every move. He then told me I could hit him. I said I Just want ice. He said I will get a knife and you can stab me. As soon as he turned his back I ran to my car and drove off. As I was driving I called the police and they arrested him.

How are you now?:

If this is published use my name. I do not hide. I am a domestic violence survivor. I am know an advocate for domestic violence. I publicly post and write about domestic violence to help people. My attacked happened a year ago. I had to leave North Carolina and move back home to Herkimer, New York. He threatened to kill me and still harrasses me. I write to help heal myself, and when I speak out about this it helps as well. I go to two different counselors still to help me through this. Each day gets better.

What would you like to tell the world about domestic violence?:

I just want people to know that don’t you ever be afraid to step forward. Calling the police saved my life. So many people die from domestic violence. We need to stand up for ourselves. The more people to come forward, the stronger we are in numbers. Know that you are not alone. Please if you can’t walk then crawl just keep moving forward. If calling the police is to much for you at least call the Domestic Violence hotline. Please reach out. I know what it is like, I felt shame at first. I do not know why because my ex is the one that hit me. Maybe it was because I was embarrassed that this happened. Just know you will reach a point where you are done with hiding and you want the world to know what happened so that you can spread awareness.

Submitted Poem “Just Keep Struggling” by Lyndsey Collison

(Ed note: A few weeks ago I was at a first Friday Art Show in downtown Dover, Delaware when a poet came in and did a reading of her spoken word work about domestic violence. I was impressed with Lyndsey’s bravery at sharing such deeply personal work in person and face to face with her audience. I was blown away and asked if I could publish it here. Lyndsey has graciously agree to do so and it’s below.  Bravo Lyndsey!)
Just Keep Struggling
I woke up this morning with a lot on my mind
Last night I ignored the warning 
For the thousandth time
Boy I know, I know
That your toxic love is killing me
So why do I deal with one more blow
Why don’t I just let you go
I just keep struggling with these misconceptions 
Thinking one day you will change
Why do I keep playing your mind games
Even though it drives me insane
You keep telling me
To give you more time
To show me you’re mine
That you’re going to treat me right 
I keep telling myself
This is our last fight 
As I listen to your words
I know they sound absurd 
But yet I still hang on every word
I wish someone would rescue me
Take me out of this world
This is swallowing me
Take me far out to sea
Where I can be free 
Free to be me
Without these chains
That enslave  me
Lyndsey Collison
Choose to be a survivor 
Choose you

 

A new way to share your story!

I’m excited to announce that I’ve finally created a way to share your story without requiring folks to have their photos taken too. There is a link above to share your story anonymously. I do ask that you provide your name and email so that I can contact you if needed,  but those won’t be published. If you’ve held off sharing your story because you didn’t want to do photos, now is a chance to help yourself and others by sharing your story and experience. For every post I’ve done, folks have contacted me and told me how much the story they just read helped them.
If you want to do photos too, great! We can make that happen. If not, then text alone will make a world of difference for someone. I hope you’ll consider sharing your story, your truth, with the world.

If you have any questions or comments, please let me know!

“He Hit Her”: A song by one of the Survivors

ed note: (this post is a little different from the usual posts we do)

I had a very moving experience recently when one of the survivors on this site created some powerful art against domestic violence. Judy is a talented singer and performer that I know from attending some blues Jam’s at a local club. She opened up and told her story as 1:4 #12 on this blog. At the time she chose to do the post anonymously for reasons in the post. She has come to believe that one way to change the domestic violence culture is to step out into the light and share her experience and work against it more publicly. Part of that belief is in sharing her art. Judy and her band wrote the powerful song below, and performed it for the very first time in public at her CD release party for their first CD! Now, to be clear , this song wasn’t on the CD, however the band plans to record it at some point in the future. Anyways, Judy announced on Facebook that  she was going to announce something at her CD release party that had not many people knew about. Judy asked me to come to the show to hear the song. I was 10 feet away when she told just a little about the song and how being on this blog helped inspire her to creat the art and come forward. I could tell she was hesitant… but she did it. Then they played the song below. I was blown away by 1) her bravery 2) the song and 3) the idea that we can make art that makes a real difference. I may have choked up and had some dust in my eye.

“He Hit Her”

He hit her,

he hit her with looks, they pierced her skin like razors and sharp little hooks.

 

He hit her,

he hit her with words,

She turns away hoping nobody else had heard.

 

Why, does he mistreat her?

Why, doesn’t he care for her?

 

He hit her,

he hit her with fists,

in the very same place that five minutes ago he had kissed.

 

He hit her,

he hit her with force.

She reasons he love her but he knows no remorse.

 

Why, does he mistreat her?

Why, doesn’t he care for her?

 

He hit her,

he hit her to the ground,

She prays no one saw as she looks around.

 

He hit her,

he hit her again,

she cowers and prays her pain will come to an end.

 

Why, does he mistreat her?

Why, doesn’t he care for her?

 

She shot him,

she shot him down.

After all it was her neck his hands were wrapped around.

 

She shot him,

she shot him to live.

The only thing she had left was her soul to give.

 

Why, does he mistreat her?

Why, doesn’t he care for her?

Why, does he mistreat her?

Why, doesn’t he care for her?

He hit her……..

 

1:4 #22 , The Butterfly After the Storm

(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.

Powerful Podcast About Abuse from a Survivor

I’ve been listening to a powerful podcast series by Jennifer Gulbrandsen that starts here Second Skate.

Jennifer is smart, funny and painfully honest about the trainwreck she somehow made it through. And is still trying to navigate, really.  People that are top performers in some arenas might be going through something you have no clue about. She talks about “blowback” and the fear of it at the end of the podcast and it really struck a chord with me. She goes into a lot of detail about who shouldn’t listen to the podcast at the beginning. Trigger warning: She went through some serious abuse of every kind. She doesn’t go into too much detail, but, it’s not for kids, or those still struggling with abuse and the aftereffects. The episodes are long, but, she has a lot to unpack…

 

Fighting Back Against Domestic Violence: An Academic Guide to Aid Victims of Abuse

I was recently contacted by a representative of the Frye Education Institute, an organization dedicated to the higher education community and information sector. She pointed out a great resource at Rutger’s University. She said :

I came across your website and resources that speak on domestic violence, abuse victims and violence prevention. Because of this, I wanted to bring this Rutgers University academic resource to your attention. This extensive guide highlights the prevalence and various types of domestic violence in America and how to understand the signs of an abusive relationship. Additionally, the resource provides victims with a list of groups, organizations and hotlines that can help them escape abusive situations, rebuild their lives and recover from the mental health impacts of abusive trauma. Our goal is to use education and awareness to promote social change and eliminate domestic violence while providing victims with the necessary resources to seek help and create a safer environment for themselves.

Rutgers University Domestic VIolence and Abusive Relationships Awareness

It’s a great resource with lots of valuable information with minimal fluff. It might save folks a lot of time on Google to just go the the Rutger’s link above.

I can see this information helping those in the abusive relationship and/or the folks trying to understand abusive relationships and help others they know in bad situations.

Thanks Frye Education Institute!