Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Victim; I hate being called that, yet I am one. I am a victim of domestic violence. I am middle class. I was in a relationship with a very wealthy man. I have a college degree. I work to support myself.  How did I end up as a victim? I suppose my story is very similar to so many others.

As I do when confronted with a new problem, I research the hell out of it. I discovered that it is a secret problem all over the globe. Domestic violence happens in the privacy of homes, secrecy is their weapon. 60% of the time, an act of domestic violence is precipitated by an accusation of infidelity (as it did in my case, are they looking for an excuse for the violence they are going to perpetuate?). Women and children remain silent. Why? There are over 50 reasons why; shame, fear, guilt, blaming the victim is just a few of the reasons why.

The following are true stories of three different women spanning time and the globe. The names have been changed to protect them. Their stories are like so many others. I hope that in telling their stories, it will inspire women who are caught in the spiral of domestic violence to seek help to get out. There is hope of a better life, as these two stories show.

Childhood; Spain, 1975~ Leisel

It is very difficult to say when this story begins, because all those who have suffered child abuse know that there is no beginning and no end; it accompanies you throughout life.
But I do remember the first day that I realized that something wasn't going well in my family. I was about 4 or 5 years old, and saw my mother crying in the kitchen. I heard her conversation with my grandmother and I knew that my father had stuck her. The truth is that until that day my father had been that; my father.  He told me stories, playing with my brother and me...But that day everything changed. My father went on to become an abuser and had already abandoned that role in my mind. I went to the bathroom, where he was shaving and reproached him that it had made my mother cry. He turned and slapped me. It was the first of many times more, so many I would lose count; for the most unexpected reasons, or no reason... apparently because he was in a bad mood, because we made noise... for so many things...

In addition, my father was not working or working little, and his earnings were so slim. So my mother, who was a seamstress, was responsible for the livelihood of the family. Sometimes my father and she discussed money; He hit her, my grandmother shouted, he would break things... my mother was crying, my grandmother hated him, my brother and I were frightened... and so over and over again. Ever, he also abused my mother sexually, especially when he had drunk much; unfortunately I witnessed several episodes, or heard them... At one point, my mother sought relieve from the police. The police office just told my mother, ‘Ma’am this is a private matter, go home as resolve it.”

Sometimes there was nothing you could do to escape. If you played along it was better to accept it with resignation rather than to run away or resist, because then it was even worse. It hurt physically, but more in the soul, but at that time I didn't know it, was too focused on hating him and praying that he died...The psychological damage that I suffered I wouldn’t discover until years later.

We were poor and we received help from the social services, the (Catholic) Church, and old mama friends who always came to our aid... so I never went hungry... but yes, much sadness; material and emotional. I was wondering what I had done, why it could not  be happy  like other children, including having  a loving family. To be honest, what I most wanted in the world was+ to have parents who were+= down the street,

To finish completing the landscape of my childhood, by 7 years I had the misfortune of falling into the circle of attracting a pedophile. So the physical and psychological mistreatment at home was joined by sexual abuse at the school. Abuses of all kinds, a primary school teacher, taught me everything that a child of 8 years must not know about sex at such an early age. Kay, the truth is that this episode of my life, know you very few people (live); my brother, my husband, and a friend from childhood who witnessed abuses at school... because I was not myself. That sick, pedophile, abused more children... Although I was his "favorite" so I took the best of attentions.

He used a rod of almond tree that was on the table. Fear was omnipresent and, in addition, we were in the countryside, in a small village, in the middle of the 1970's, in a country that had just emerged from a dictatorship, and with a very conservative Catholic morality. All played against so that son of a bitch was unfazed. As well it was; although there were suspicions and reviews between the parents of the school, the truth is that it could never prove anything, or are unwilling to try...Finally, the following year he left never to return.  I didn’t know no a man could did so much damage.

A few years ago, when I told my husband and he knew in detail what had happened, we went to the police to report it. But crime had expired. We tried to find his current address but could not locate it (in Spain the law of data protection is much more restrictive than in the United States)... There is nothing that can be done, and while those who suffer abuse have had to bear the consequences of life, he has lived freely.

Adulthood; USA, 2012~Kay

I thought we had a good day. I had taken the day off work because it had been a very long week. I had been working two jobs and taking an on-line course for work.  I had to finish a four page test that week as well as study for a quiz the night before. My boyfriend’s daughter was staying with us, and I had my daughter. I cooked the meals…I was exhausted. I had gone to bed early the night before and I knew the boyfriend was miffed at me, but he wasn’t working as hard as I was, so what did he care?

That morning, he had accused me of having an affair, something he’d been doing a lot of lately, and no matter how many times I’d asked him to stop, he continued, so I just threw my hands up in disgust and walked away and refused to get in an argument with him. He didn’t bring that up or my going to bed early the night before, so I figured the two subjects were dead and I was glad. We spent the morning putting our outfits together for the Halloween party we were going to that night. Our kids came home from school. James began to drink. I ignored that (he had a drinking problem, something he was refusing to acknowledge).

We went to the party, where we had a great time.  We danced, we ate, and we mingled with friends. We drank. I drank socially; he drank heavily, as usual. It was late and we went out to the car, there was no point in asking if I could drive, he would refuse. The music was playing softly and he pointed out this beautiful owl sitting on a sign on the side of the road. It seemed magical, if not for the next thing that happened. 

He began to accuse me of offending his daughter by going to bed early the night before, that I was not being a good mother to her…(what? Red flags, bells and whistles going off in my head…you know how fast your thoughts go the speed of light? I’m not her mother…no 12 year old is offended by someone going to bed early….she wasn’t offended, James was…he wasn’t offended, don't argue with a drunk person, he just wants to control me…he wants to pick a fight with me, but why???) I just say back, ‘We aren’t going to discuss this tonight, I’m not going there.’

He pulls into the garage, turns off the engine and I open my car door and begin to step out, (my back is turned toward him so I can’t see him) and suddenly, I feel his hands around my neck and he is strangling me, pulling me back into the car, pulling me on top of him, telling me that I WILL listen to him! I just repeat over and over, ‘This is assault, you’re hurting me, let me go! This is assault, you’re hurting me, let me go!”

I don’t know how much time passed; I had no concept of time. I know he was hurting me, but all I could think of is how to survive. I realize that I don’t have my cell phone on me and I can’t call for help, and that our children are inside and I must remain calm so I don’t bring harm to them. He finally lets me go, but even before I can get out of the car, he is out of the car and runs over to my side and before I can get past him, he grabs me.

I then yell that I must call the police. He releases me. I am able to calm him down.  I do call the police and he is arrested. Strangulation is a felony. He pled down to a misdemeanor.  Yet, James got no jail time. He does have two years of probation and has to take a yearlong course of domestic violence classes and be evaluated for drug abuse.

Why is strangulation a felony? Because it kills, it can even kill a person days after. It cuts off the air supply. The symptoms include: dizziness, nausea, sore throat, breathing and swallowing difficulties, redness and bruising on the neck and around the eyes, changes in vision, loss of consciousness, loss of memory, eyelid drooping, brain injury, PTSD, suicide ideation, insomnia and depression. strangulation

The next morning, I showed the bruises to James and he just turned over and said, ‘It’s not 100% my fault. I started to cry and asked him back, ‘then whose fault is it?’ He wouldn’t respond. He then started to touch me, wanting sex. I told him no, that I was too upset with him and I pushed him away. He continued to touch me.  I relinquished because I was afraid of waking the kids and I didn’t want any more problems.

The day that James was arrested, I received a call from his Dad. He told me to drop the charges and he would make sure he got into a rehab program.  I called the prosecutor’s office and was reassured that I didn’t have to cave to pressure. Once charges are filed, the state is in charge and the victims can no longer drop charges.

When James was sentenced, I had a victims impact statement to read before the court, but I was too emotional to read it. I was assured the male judge would read it out loud, so that James would hear the impact his actions had on me. This didn't happen, however, the judge only briefly read it over to himself and tucked it away. I felt I was robbed of the perpetrator hearing of the terrible things he had done to me and how it had affected my life.  

Also, the day James was arrested, he yelled at me that he was going to financially ruin my life for having him arrested. He carried through with his threat. He canceled my car insurance, doubled the cable bill, and refused to pay me several thousand dollars he owed me. We owned our house together, and he immediately refused to assist with the house payments, knowing I could not afford to pay them on my own. The mortgage fell into default. By the time James was sentenced, I begged the judge to compel James to assist with the payments, since he already had a legal responsibility to do so. The judge refused, even though it was in the judge's power and authority to do so.

I have since lost my home to foreclosure, along with my downpayment. The judicial system is patriarchal and stacked against women. I see no end in sight.

It is reassuring to know that there is more support for the victims of domestic and sexual abuse than there once was. Yet, there is so much that needs to change.

India, 2012

In December, 2012, there was a brutal rape and murder of a young woman in New Delhi, India. The details are horrific. Only now am I able to read the details of what happened. Since it took place so soon after my strangulation, I was too traumatized to read about it at the time…even now, it is traumatizing to read about it.

A young woman and her male companion were riding a chartered bus home after watching the movie, ‘The Life of Pi’. There were six other men on the bus. The men attacked the male companion with a rusted rod, beating him and knocking him unconscious.  They then dragged the woman to the back of the bus, where they each raped her, brutally beat her and raped her with the rod, tearing out part of her intestine in the process. They then threw them off the bus and the bus driver attempted to run over them, but the male companion was able to pull them to safety.

A passerby found them and called for help. The young woman received several surgeries, but they did not save her life. With the testimony of the woman and her male companion, along with the recovery of his cell phone and cameras along the highway, the bus driver and the perpetrators were arrested.

The rape and death of this woman led to national and international protests. This also led to awareness of an epidemic of rapes and gang rapes in India and the persistent problem of little justice for the women there.   Gang rape in India

We have a long way to go, before women will have equality. It worries me greatly, then when I hear other women say things like this:

“Young women you will be the ones who will provide the example of virtuous womanhood and motherhood. … You will understand your roles and your responsibilities and thus will see no need to lobby for rights.” ~ Elaine S Dalton, Jan 15, 2013

*The names have been changed to protect the innocent people of domestic violence.
*Silence is the weapon of the abuser…take their weapon away by speaking out.

If you or someone you know may be a victim of abuse please seek help:

For any victims of abuse who would like their impact statements published, go to this blog and leave a comment and the owner of the blog will get it published:

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