Monday, December 8, 2008
This is a serious post, so sit down with your favorite cuppa, and let me tell you MY STORY.
When I was younger, like most of us, I made some bad choices. I am still trying to figure out why. The sad reality is that I may never know...
When I was 16 years old I married a man who was abusive to me. Why? Because I wanted to get out of my parents' house. Because I felt that they were too strict... my bedtime was 9 pm, I couldn't go certain places with friends, etc.
Boy, was I stupid.
I stayed with him two months. Yup, a whole two months until he went to jail for beating up a previous girlfriend.
A year later, I was back in the same situation, but with a different man. This one was mentally, verbally, and physically abusive, and almost kicked me in my stomach when I was 8 months pregnant. He did punch me in the face that night too, but I fought back on that one. "Don't you EVER punch me in the face!!!"
I stayed with him for four years and two children later. Why? Again, I don't know... I guess I was young, stupid, scared, whatever you call it... I was co-dependent.
This guy was bad news from day 1. From the alcohol and drug abuse to not keeping a job, he did nothing for me. Finally, when my daughter was about to be born, social services was called because we had been living in a house with no electric.
That was the best thing that could have happened to me.
I had my Social Worker contact the local battered women's shelter and I went to move there. That was very hard for me. I had been on my own since I was 16 and I was, at that point, 22. I was used to my rules, doing what I wanted when I wanted...
I moved into the shelter and they make you write down goals. And once you accomplish a goal, you have to replace it with another. That was great discipline for me!
In 3 months I had my GED, had registered for the local community college, and was working. Yes, there were tough times but I learned a lot, both through my experiences and through the women I met.
I can never replace that experience.
And I wouldn't want to.
One thing I noticed is that the domestic violence laws are very lax. Get a restraining order - they break it with no regard. Sometimes they kill you. About 2 years ago here in the MD/DC/VA area, a woman was burned by her estranged husband at her job by gasoline. He walked right into her job, doused her with gasoline, and lit a match. I will never forget when I saw that on the news.
Luckily he was sentenced but she will forever be disfigured, and I'm sure, emotionally scarred, from her life with him.
Also, the lack of shelters for abused people (this includes men because they are victims sometimes also!) in this area especially. Most women will not leave because they don't know where or who to turn to.
I plan to change this by opening a shelter... not sure when or how but that is a goal for me.
Your thoughts? Please share!