This is a healing letter from a formerly abused spouse named Emily. (Names have been changed to protect the identity of persons in post.)
I remember how you made me feel like I was the most important thing in the world. I remember that you called me like 12 times a day, what I didn’t realize it was you being insecure and checking up on me. I remember that you told me to stay away from toxic people, what you really meant was I am going to isolate you, I remember when you said you like me in that dress, what you really meant was you will wear what I want you to wear, I remember when you said, honey.. don’t worry about the bills let me take care of them, you come ask me for what you need, what you really meant was let me economically cripple you, financially abuse you..
When you hit me and said I love you so much it just drives me crazy and I lose control… what you really meant was , I felt like I was losing my control over you. I remember when you said.. no one will ever love you like I do.. What you really meant was is that you will make me forget that I could actually be loved.. When you said I will always take care of you.. what you meant was is that you will be there for me as long as you control me. When you said… I could never live without you and I mean that .. what you really meant is that if you ever try to leave me I will try to kill or destroy you.. When you said, look at you no one else will ever love you… what you really meant is I am scared you will find out I am a monster… when you said.. you better run bitch … I knew you meant you better run because I am going to hurt you.
And then as I looked over one night all the fear I had was gone, it was not the man I loved in the bed next to me, it was a monster who had no soul. I had lost my independence, I had no money , no job, no skills, no friends, no family ties left, nothing in my name, didn’t know where the electric company was, didn’t know about our bills, how to file taxes, how to do anything. So the fractions of money I saved from the allowance you gave me for groceries and clothing, I saved it, many, many months I saved it. I secretly looked for a job and found one, I secretly looked for an apartment I found one… I am loved again, You did live without me. Now there is another woman in my place, I do worry about her, I think of how scared she must be sometimes, I think of how she is lost and can’t get out. I worry if she will ever get as strong as I did… strong enough to leave the monsters in and under my bed.
Resources and References:
IF YOU ARE IN IMMEDIATE DANGER CALL 911!
http://www.justice.gov/ovw/domestic-violence: We define domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.
NATIONAL STATISTICS: http://www.ncadv.org/learn/statistics
- Every 9 seconds in the US, a woman is assaulted or beaten.12
- On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.1
- 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.1
- 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.1
- 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.1
- On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.9
- The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%.10
- Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime.2
- Women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner.2
- 19% of domestic violence involves a weapon.2
- Domestic victimization is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior.2
- Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries.2
- 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the United States has been raped in their lifetime.1
- Almost half of female (46.7%) and male (44.9%) victims of rape in the United States were raped by an acquaintance. Of these, 45.4% of female rape victims and 29% of male rape victims were raped by an intimate partner.11
- 19.3 million women and 5.1 million men in the United States have been stalked in their lifetime.1 60.8% of female stalking victims and 43.5% men reported being stalked by a current or former intimate partner.11
- A study of intimate partner homicides found that 20% of victims were not the intimate partners themselves, but family members, friends, neighbors, persons who intervened, law enforcement responders, or bystanders.3
- 72% of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner; 94% of the victims of these murder suicides are female.8
CHILDREN AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
- 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.5
- Victims of intimate partner violence lose a total of 8.0 million days of paid work each year.6
- The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $8.3 billion per year.6
- Between 21-60% of victims of intimate partner violence lose their jobs due to reasons stemming from the abuse.6
- Between 2003 and 2008, 142 women were murdered in their workplace by their abuser, 78% of women killed in the workplace during this timeframe.4
- Women abused by their intimate partners are more vulnerable to contracting HIV or other STI’s due to forced intercourse or prolonged exposure to stress.7
- Studies suggest that there is a relationship between intimate partner violence and depression and suicidal behavior.7
- Physical, mental, and sexual and reproductive health effects have been linked with intimate partner violence including adolescent pregnancy, unintended pregnancy in general, miscarriage, stillbirth, intrauterine haemorrhage, nutritional deficiency, abdominal pain and other gastrointestinal problems, neurological disorders, chronic pain, disability, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as noncommunicable diseases such as hypertension, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Victims of domestic violence are also at higher risk for developing addictions to alcohol, tobacco, or drugs.7