Tag Archive | trauma

Breaking My Silence

“Our silence is the abuser’s protection.” — Jodie Ortega

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. #SAAM

When I started down the path of sharing my own personal journey about my relationship with Domestic Violence, I was welcomed into a sisterhood of woman who had been in the same place as me.  Some even, who are still in the same place as me.  The more interaction I had with people regarding this issue, the more I wanted to know about the epidemic itself.  In all honesty, although I knew it was happening to others, I never once looked up any information about the statistical aspect of it.  Not until I started blogging.

Eventually, I landed on Twitter.  There too, I found many more avenues to follow.  Not only more people who were blogging on other sites, but also victim resources, shelters and government agencies, all sharing informative links and articles.  So, I did my homework.  I’m still doing my homework.  What I quickly learned is that the topic of Sexual Assault goes hand in hand with Physical Assault. Abuse is abuse. What I mean by that is that it all falls under one umbrella.

However, I always seem to find myself taking a step back from the topic.  I guess because to me, Sexual Assault just seems so much more graphic than being slapped around.  I always felt like I was tough enough to handle the physical stuff.  I could take it “like a man” so to speak.  It’s because over time I was conditioned to do so, in order to survive.  Although my abuser did attempt to rape me once over the span of all these years, it’s the one thing I don’t think I could’ve (mentally) survived.  And because it’s never happened to me, I feel that I am unable to relate on the same level with women who have survived it – mentally and physically.  That’s not to say I don’t support them because I do.  Because there’s rape and then there is sexual abuse and molestation.  And I fall under the molestation category.

What’s the difference?  Is there a difference?  There may or may not be.  I guess it all depends on how it’s perceived.  It’s all subjective.  I’d think each victim has their own outlook.  Bottom line is, an unwillingness to participate in any type of sexual act means the victim doesn’t ask for any of it to happen, which means it’s all Sexual Assault.

For me, coming out about my physically abusive marriage was already one secret too much.  Little did I realize, I was picking at the wall of the dam and eventually everything would overflow.  When asked to do a guest post on another blog, less than a month after I started blogging, it just came out.  In Aftermath of Abuse, I discussed my relationship with abuse at the hands of my husband, father and grandfather.  The latter was the perpetrator of my childhood molestation occurring at four years old.

“As luck would have it, he never penetrated me.  It was mainly fondling.  I remember several episodes after the first incident that he had me in his bed.  His “manhood” exposed and he guided my hand in stroking him.  In total, from memory, there could not have been more than five times that this had gone on.  And as I got older I actually forgot, blocked it out, suppressed it, whatever the experts say happen after events like this…is what must have happened.  I didn’t really think about it again until he passed away which was about 20 years after the fact.

When the memory came flooding back, I had told my mother and sister.  My mother questioned me as if she didn’t believe me.  She said, “he never watched you and your cousin at the same time.  I don’t think he even ever watched you alone.”  Guess what, apparently…he did.  Our family was very close growing up and so my grandfather was always around.  There was never a strained relationship with him.  More evidence (to my mother) that this could not be a true story.  I quickly dropped it.  I never spoke about it again with her so I don’t know if she ever truly accepted what I had said as true.  I let it go.  At the wake I leaned over his body and said, “I forgive you”.  I don’t know if that helped me in anyway but I felt like it was the right thing to do.

I also never spoke about this with my cousin.  So I don’t know if she recalls the same incident I do or whether or not there were other one on one incidents with her.  I do have my sneaking suspicions though.  After all…if we are a textbook case of the aftermath of sexual abuse then the evidence is clear – she went on to be involved with drugs and I became sexually promiscuous.”

The cousin I reference above is one and the same as discussed in Disconnected Reconnection.

The point of all of this is that we all handle things differently.  There is no cookie cutter abuse worksheet that makes every act the same.  Whether it’s physical, sexual, emotional, psychological., etc.  There are similar aspects to all of it because at the very essence of it all is controlling manipulation.  Our distinct personalities make up the other part of the difference because our reactions and coping mechanisms vary.

This amazing woman, Jodie Ortega, who I have come to know via Twitter  has just completely floored me.  As soon as I watched this video today, I stopped what I was doing to write this post.  The way she handles telling her story in front of an audience is a beautiful thing to watch.  She relates part of her words through rap dialogue which seems to ease you into the reality of what she’s saying.  She then breaks down numbers that are not your every day run of the mill statistics.  When she speaks of her experience with a cab driver, well…get a tissue.

Healing thrives in conversation.  Break your silence.

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Suppressing Fear

A while back, I attempted meditation.  I only did it a couple of times but it was an enjoyable experience and it seemed like something that would be helpful if I could continue it regularly.  Of course, I didn’t continue. No specific reason as to why. Just stopped. You know how it goes, too busy with work, family, blogging…etc.  Plus, it’s hard to get a quiet time to really focus.  I have a small window before my day gets going and phones start ringing and if I forget then there’s no time to squeeze it in.  Also, there are things that I do for me and my own peace of mind (such as writing) that I’m not into the rest of the household knowing – therefore, less comments from the peanut gallery – and meditation is on that list.

So, out of the blue, I decided on Monday to start again.  I’m working on “realigning my chakras” and I have to say, I’m enjoying it.  Monday happened to be a noisy morning so I put in ear plugs, which really helped me focus, and so I have been using them every day.  For me, it’s a smart move because I can tune right into my breathing and clearing my mind.

This week I’ve been working on my Red Chakra which represents my base aka my foundation. The meditative exercises I’ve been employing deal with understanding the source of my life energy.  Not only from my current state but what has been passed down to me through the generations.  I’ve been focusing on Renewal; change and new beginnings.  This is part of the book I’m reading, sort of a Chakra guideline.  To my surprise and yet not a shock, apropos my life, part of the meditation was to feel fear, sadness and let my mind journey to that place I want to inevitably be.

Pleasantly, my consciousness has quickly adapted to letting my thoughts and visuals go where I need to in order to conjure these very real feelings.  It’s only Thursday, and I’m already feeling a clarity about certain things, so I’m interested to see where this goes.  Here’s the thing.  This week brought up a feeling I always knew existed but I’ve been so determined to suppress it that when it showed up in my meditation it was very emotional.  Very emotional.

Fear.

I just can’t shake it.  It’s this shadow that is living inside of me and no matter how hard I push it down it still pops up.  Strangely, the fear is not in being here or in the actual act of leaving.  I’m very aware of the process I’ve outlined and what needs to be taken care of in order to accomplish this.  I’m confident in my ability to get out.  However, every action has a reaction.  The fear is in the unknown response of what leaving will snowball into.

At this point in “our” lives, I know on some level he knows I’m leaving or at least suspects it but doubts I’d actually do it.  He still plans for a future of growing old together – as if.  But I know, as with any change, there are going to be stages he goes through.  Of course, we’re both going to go through stages but they’ll be vastly different.  I already know how he reacts when he’s angry so I anticipate promises, threats, and destruction.  I think it’s the hunting down part that keeps me in a certain head space.  I mean, he’s turning 50 – does he really still have the chase in him?  I tell him continually that I don’t love him and that I’m not happy, and in giving the benefit of the doubt, I feel like that will click (at some point) and he’ll accept the fact that I’m not coming back.

It’s not even fear about what he’ll do to me.  That’s pretty much the least of it.  It’s more of the lengths will he go to in order for me to come back.  Who will he harass?  What will he do?  Where will he show up?  When will he give up?  And of course there is – why.  I know he’s going to play this pathetic…Why did I leave?  Why didn’t I give him another chance?  Why didn’t I let go of the past?  And whatever else his brain can muster to dump all of this on me, as if it’s my fault.  I guess the fear is that he will actually come through on one or more of his threats made over the span of this marriage.

Fear of the unknown is horrifically cruel.  It plays every single scenario over and over, each time making the outcome worse and worse.  This gut wrenching fear is paralyzing.  I was talking to a friend of mine about all of this yesterday, and they said that [since I’m aware] I can start to detach from the fear and start really confronting it.  That I’m, moving away from it but it’s a process and I have to move through the process, which has already begun.  My friend said, the control needs to shift to me now. The battle is in my heart.  The battle is with the fear. That I’m already bigger than that fear at the deepest level and ready to take it on. Now it just has to reach the surface.  “When you decide it’s time to go, you’ll be ready for whatever he brings your way.”

I know that’s all true. It makes sense. I guess it’s just that after all these years, now that the end is so close, all the suppressed trepidation is bubbling up. Maybe that’s the point of starting back on this road of meditation.  Maybe it was a subconscious decision that is meant to lead me down the path of self realization and enlightenment in order to finish this part of my life.  I guess I’ll learn more as I continue on this journey – through darkness, dawn and light.

Hidden Truth

My entry for this week’s

RonovanWrites Weekly #Haiku
#Poetry Prompt Challenge #32

Prompts: Rare & Harsh

Harsh reality,
Secrets veiled with a smile,
Genuine joy, rare.

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You can read more of my Haiku challenge entries here.

Check out some of my picture poetry on Pinterest.

31 Facts in 31 Days – Day 27

Men and women NEED to watch this video.  It exposes the vocabulary that is used to help “nurture” boys into manhood.  Whether it comes from parents, siblings, other relatives, friends, teachers, mentors or coaches – it’s just wrong.

These types of phrases can and will alter their behavior pattern and eventually have a direct result on their interactions with each other, society and potentially…their girlfriend/wife – women in general.  Not only can the choice of words used have an effect on their social skills but it can also determine their own mental health and contribute to suicidal/homicidal contemplation.

Please take three minutes of your time and watch this video.  You do not have to have a son nor do you even need to have interaction with children to understand this problem.  Let’s change the way we speak to our boys.  We are molding them into the men they will eventually become.

This alone may be the very core to ending Domestic Violence.

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Fact Source:  The Representation Project
Or follow on Twitter: @TheRepProject

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To read from the beginning… #MyStory starts here.

31 Facts in 31 Days – Day 17

HER STORY IS WORTH YOUR 7-8 MINUTES:

NATIONAL STATISTICS:

85% of domestic violence victims are women.

Every 9 seconds, a woman is assaulted or beaten.

More than 3 women are murdered by their partners every day.

Intimate partner homicides make up 30% of the murders of women.

Only 70% of domestic violence is reported to law enforcement officials.

One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.

Approximately 33 Million Americans admit that they have been victims of domestic violence.

An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.

In 70-80% of intimate partner homicides, no matter which partner was killed, the man physically abused the woman before the murder.

Less than one-fifth of victims reporting an injury from intimate partner violence sought medical treatment following the injury.

Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police. Almost one-third of female homicide victims that are reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner.

FACT:  Victims of abuse may experience punched walls, control of finances, lying, using children to manipulate a parent’s emotions, intimidation, isolation from family and friends, fear, shame, criticism, cuts, crying and afraid children, broken bones, confusion, forced sexual contact, manipulation, sexist comments, yelling, rages, craziness, harassment, neglect, shoving, screaming, jealousy and possessiveness, loss of self esteem, coercion, slammed doors, abandonment, silent treatment, rape, destruction of personal property, unwanted touching, name calling, strangling, ripping, slapping, biting, kicking, bruises, punching, stalking, scrapes, depression, sabotaging attendance at job or school, brainwashing, violence to pets, pinching, deprivation of physical and economic resources, public humiliation, broken promises, prevention of seeking medical and dental care, ridicule, restraining, self-medication, forced tickling, threats to harm family and friends, threats to take away the children, threats to harm animals, threats of being kicked out, threats of weapons, threats of being killed.

Over the past 25 years, at one time or another, I have been on the receiving end of everything that I have put in bold print.

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Fact Source:  National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

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To read from the beginning… #MyStory starts here.