I am a survivor of domestic violence. I was a battered woman. I survived, but more than that, I have thrived, in spite of, and possibly in some ways because of what I went through. Those are such hard things to say out loud, yet I have to. I need to give them voice, to let them out. Let it be known that anyone can fall victim to this epidemic. The first time I said it out loud was the day I left. I still remember that so clearly. I remember being on the phone, I don’t remember what all was being said, but I knew, when I got home and he got home, it was going to be ugly.
It was Father’s Day weekend 2001. My ex had to work, so he was already in a foul mood. I went out of town to take the kids and visit my dad. It was about a 2 hour drive away, so we had stayed Saturday night with my mom. We were going to get up Sunday morning and go see Daddy, then head back to Houston. He wasn’t happy about this. Why should my dad get to see me and the kids when he had to be at work. The whole world revolved around him you see. But we had gone, and Sunday morning about 8:00 he called my mom’s house, demanding to know why we were still there, why hadn’t we gone to my dad’s yet, just really angry at me. I was so scared. I didn’t know what to do. I remember crying, and I remember when we hung up I was in the laundry room. My mom was there, and I believe my sister and my brother-in-law were standing there with me. I was crying so hard, and I looked at my mommy and said, “I don’t know what to do”, she replied that whatever I decided, she would help me, and I said, “I want to go back to the first time he hit me and make it all go away!” I cried out with so much pain, all the instances of abuse that I could remember, saying I wanted them to all go away. That was the first time I had ever spoken it aloud. I’ve said it several times now, that I am a survivor of domestic violence, that I was a battered wife, all those things, but I will never forget the feeling of saying it the first time. That fear that no one would believe me, or that they would blame me, and the relief that came when my mother wrapped me in her arms and said, “Oh baby, I love you.”