She Survives

A member of my family was recently involved in a domestic assault. 

And I don’t normally write about this very important topic, because to be honest, before last week I hadn’t had a whole lot of experiences of it firsthand. 

But I write a lot about my personal life and the things that I care about.

So this is written with passion, and within the parameters of what you would expect seeing on this blog.

Approximately 1 in 4 women are victims of domestic abuse in the United States[1]. That number just absolutely blows my mind because I have five sisters and I can unbelievably say that two out of those five women have been physically abused by a partner. 

It leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

I received the call from my sister and my blood boiled hot. I told her to calm down and that I’d be there in one minute. I hopped in the car while dialing my boss to explain to her I had an emergency to take care of and that she needed to clock me out for the day. She understood and asked no questions.

I wasn’t sure what I was in for, so I called my aunt. The women that raised me. She always seems to know exactly every question I have about adulthood and provides personal experiences to make it seem ridiculous not to trust her advice when I ask for it.

I stayed with her while the cop took pictures of her injuries and the destruction of her apartment. I watched my sister shake in fear as she wrote her statement. I was there for the most vulnerable seconds of her life. I know she isn’t lying, and I know that she is a SURVIVOR.

The next day I called my oldest sister and asked her to help me get an Order of Protection in place. She took the day off with no questions asked and my oldest sister and I marched our younger sister into the courthouse in front of a judge within two hours of me asking.

I contacted a Quanada rep (they have advocates that attend hearings and offer assistance to victims of assaults) and got my sister some therapy sessions set up.

She is doing well now, she is staying with me now. She seems happier.

But she still blames herself.

I want to make it clear to any SURVIVORS out there:

Anyone that causes you bodily harm does not love you. 

What they did to you was not because of anything you did. Nothing you could have done should ever result in someone putting their hands on you.

You are worth more than how they made you feel. You can break the chains. There is more out there for you.

If you or someone you know needs help, the Domestic Abuse Hotline is 1-800-799-7233.If you’re interested in supporting The National Domestic Abuse Hotline with non-financial donations including material resources, partnerships, collaborations, or other opportunities, please reach out to hotline.requests@thehotline.org


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499891/

Just One Time

He raised his voice

Just one time

When he raised his hand,

You hardly flinched

It’s as if his words already

Hit just like punches

So when the fists flew,

You noticed no difference

You made excuses and hid the truth

Hoping you could change him

But that wasn’t your job

You’re worth so much more

Than being someone’s tape and glue

You deserve feeling the warmth of the sun

And dancing in your underwear

You deserve a love that pours into you

Just as much as you pour into it

You deserve the gentle hand on your cheek

And deep rest through the night

He raised his hand

Just one time

And that one time

Did not stop there

The Apology That Never Came

I was a hot head for a long time growing up. I think it had a lot to do with the resentment and uncertainty I had in the relationship I had (or lacked) with my mom. I often got in trouble well into my junior high years for hitting my siblings. I was angry and I took it out on the people that surrounded me.

When I was in high school I secretly wrote letters to my mom in prison – against the wishes of my aunt and uncle who were raising me at the time. They, with their adult wisdom, knew that engaging with my mother during such a detrimental stage of my life would be very toxic. But I was young, foolish, and full of feelings that I wanted my mother to know about. I had a friend who let me use her address for my mother’s responses and she would bring me the letters at school, without my aunt or uncle knowing.

In those letters I would spew my deepest, darkest emotions of hatred and retaliation with such imagery it would have made a film maker gasp. It felt good to know that my mother would most likely weep when she read the awful things I wrote in my letters to her. Writing those letters was the only sense of control I felt I had at a time in my life when I felt like my life was controlled by other peoples’ decisions.

The letters came and went for months, but the more and more I expressed my disdain to my mother, the more pain was piled on top of me. I though I was somehow transferring the pain she she’d given me back to her, but instead I was secretly hoping I’d recieve the one thing that was never going to come.

For whatever reason, my broken heart had always hoped I would receive some sort of apology. Some sign from my mom that she had remorse for the irreparable damage she’d caused. But I was naĂŻve because even if her response back to my heartfelt letters was an apology, her actions never backed it up to make the words mean anything. I thought that if I saw the words “I’m sorry” in her handwriting, it would make the pain of her actions go away. I now understand that an apology without changed behavior is just empty words. It doesn’t heal, it just aggravates your sense of hope.

Part of me is glad that my mother never responded back acknowledging her mistakes or vowing to change, because it meant that never acquired the impression that she that she had any intention of changing. Her letters were instead filled with excuses and placing the blame of her actions onto anyone and everyone except for herself. Every letter I received from her threw me back into a pit of rage until one day I made the decision to not reply.

I like to think that was the true turning point when I accepted what was and made the decision to stop allowing her choices define who I wanted to become and what I wanted to accomplish. It empowered me to move on and release some of the anger I had been holding onto for so very long. It allowed me to enjoy the presence of those around me – the people that cared if I failed or succeeded; because at the end of the day, they were the people pushing me, loving me, and rooting for me.

I am forever grateful to the people that picked me up, held me accountable for my mistakes, and showed me the value of love outside of the norm; but most importantly, taught me just how great life can be when you are no longer waiting on an apology that will never come.