Thursday, November 17, 2011

Shaking off the shame




I had mixed feelings when I saw that Wanderlust was speaking out against Domestic Violence. I admired her confidence in speaking out... I tingled with shame at my own story.

You see, I grew up in a family where domestic violence - in all its categories... physical, verbal, mental, emotional, sexual - was the norm, not the exception. And I swore as a young adult that no-one would ever treat me like my mother (and every other woman that the sperm donor brought into my life) myself and my sister had been treated. Ever. I swore it adamantly. Vehemently. Absolutely.

In March 2009 (while this story started a long time ago, you can read about my awakening, everything in between, and finally resolution to make changes) my husband attempted suicide. It was horrible, horrific, devastating.

I sat in the special room at the hospital speaking to the Psyche nurse... no, make that vomiting out my husband's behaviour... all of it. The nasty, horrible, hateful things that he had done, said, behaved towards me and my children. Suddenly I stopped. Because I HEARD myself....

I turned to my friend that was with me - someone who had saved me from myself once before (but that's another story for another time) and said to her "Oh my god. If someone was sitting in front of me telling me the things that I have just spoken I would be looking at them aghast and asking them what the hell are you doing??" That was my moment of realisation. Realisation that I had landed in a relationship that I swore I would never have. One full of violence - verbal, mental and physical. I was devastated. How the fuck had I got here?? What had I done???

I started to cry - not for my husband, but for myself. For my children. In disbelief.

It took me nearly another 12 months and an Apprehended Violence Order, changing my home phone number and mobile number to finally cut him completely out of my life - or as completely as  you can cut someone that you share a child with. It took another 12 months and a whole lot of persistence, and me standing my ground, for something that resembled him having a relationship with his son to occur. For ME to no longer be afraid, and know that he no longer has any power over me, to be able to see him for the pathetic sad little man that he is - that took another six months.

Two and a half years in total. To feel like he no longer had a psychological hold over me in some form. To feel like the person I know I am. To reclaim my self esteem. To trust. To love myself. To forgive myself - well that's still a work in progress.

Its easy for outsiders  to say a million things about a situation that they haven't walked or lived. To have an opinion. Hell, I even had a million things to say, and an opinion, and I had already lived it as a child... and I still fucking ended up in an all to similar situation as an adult. Why do women stay in abusive relationships? There is a myriad of explanations out there. Its insidious and gradual the slide down that slippery slope. By the time it happens your self belief, esteem, courage, worth are so eroded that you start to believe it is all your fault. That you are the cause of it all.

What should you do if someone you care about is in this situation? Don't judge them. Be there for them. Let them know, when they are ready, you will stand there beside them. They are going to need you.

What if you find yourself in this situation? Firstly - even though it no doubt feels like it, please know that you aren't alone. Reach out. Speak out. You too can shake the shackles of domestic violence. If you can't do it for yourself, and have children - DO IT FOR THEM. Show them how brave, and strong you are. Show your daughters that it is not OK to be treated badly. Show your sons that it is not OK to treat women badly. Show your children that domestic violence is never OK.

Knowledge is power. Find the knowledge. Find the power.

Domestic Violence Resources and Help in Australia

Lifeline Phone: 13 11 14 (cost of local call from landline) Website: http://www.lifeline.org.au

This website is all about the line and the kind of behaviour that crosses it. http://www.theline.gov.au/

What is domestic violence? http://au.reachout.com/find/articles/domestic-violence

Domestic Violence Resource centre http://www.dvrc.org.au/





19 comments:

  1. Wow Vicki, what a powerful post. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I know how difficult that is, believe me. Kudos to you for finding a way out. Please don't get down on yourself for ending up in an abusive relationship. That is so, so common for women who have experienced abuse or violence as a child. I think we are drawn to what feels familiar. Even if there is no inkling in the beginning that a man is abusive, the 'energy' is a familiar one. Something inside us says 'yes, I know this.' Change can be a long, slow, gradual process that is marked by sudden awakenings, such as yours in the ER. Thanks again for speaking out. I know your words will be a beacon and a comfort for other women. x

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  2. You made me cry :') Thank you. For your wise words, and for speaking out.

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  3. Come by and link your post tomorrow, kay? x

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  4. Wow Vicki.
    You are strong, and brave, and you should love yourself.
    There is nothing wrong with you, but those who are abusive, who need to feel powerful and like they can make people cower, those people are the ones who should hate themselves and how they are treating others.

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  5. I never stop being amazed at how women like you can pick themselves up after the things you have endured.

    It takes someone special.

    It takes you.

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  6. Thank you for sharing your story and speaking out about something that was so hard for you to live.
    Love, hugs and positive energy !

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  7. Oh, Vicky ... I've got tears. You're so incredibly strong and amazing. x

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  8. Thank you for sharing your story and speaking out. Love and hugs. Here from the Speak Out link.

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  9. What an amazing story and an amazing realisation! When you are living it each day, it's difficult to see! Thankyou for sharing your story!

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  10. A truely powerful and emotional post, I am so pleased that you got out and have rebuilt your life. Well done you. x

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  11. I think this is a brave post. Thanks for speaking out so others can learn.

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  12. I feel you, Vicky.
    With all my gratitude, Lina.

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  13. Thank you for sharing your story. I am in awe--you are so strong to have been able to extricate yourself and your child from such an awful situation. It's easy to get into abusive relationships (denial is strong at the beginning), but to get out--that takes courage and strength. <3

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  14. Vicky I am going to try to open the door and add my two bobs worth. Not sure if I can but I will try.
    Will this be my 'Coming of Age'?
    It really is about time.. it is hard to be free of those shackles that bind us.

    thank you for being my friend and walking the road with me.. I know that you are even when we are not in 'physical' contact. I can 'feel' it.

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  15. I have a friend who escaped her violent husband only to go back and have a child with him. But when he hit her in front of her daughter, that was it! Children make us so much stronger. If only we would care for ourselves just as much. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  16. I have spent the last few days reading peoples stories... funny [not] how some I could have written myself!! Leaves one feeling VERY heavy hearted but also uplifted.. the sharing & caring that is evident amongst the bloggers and their respondents. I've subscribed to a few blogs and before I do anything I think I will respond to KatieP's... lots of interesting reading on so many blogs... I'm sure I'm getting everyone confused!!
    MHW...thats me...
    (muddle-headed-wombat)

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  17. Vicky, I came over here to thank you for your kind words on my post tonight and WOWZA. I was holding my breath the whole way through and mostly because the strength coming through in your words just floored me. Amazing, amazing, amazing.

    You have been through such a lot and here you are standing proud and strong and just oozing with a compassion that has given you strength enough to write this beautiful post.

    It is almost ironic that this is the story you have up on your blog tonight. My being here and feeling the way I am feeling seems to be all the answers I need to the questions I asked on my blog.

    Yes, is the answer. Because I do not judge. I listen. I hear. I want to hear and need to hear and am so grateful that I can hear.

    Thank you. You are a remarkable woman, no doubt about it.

    Amazing.

    x

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  18. Wow this is awesome! Love love love xxx love you Vicky <3

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