I protected family and friends from the scary stories and my scary ex. I suffered alone, worried what people would think of me ... and even worried how he would be judged. Sounds crazy, but these are the real thoughts from a domestic abuse victim.
The spotlight is back on domestic and dating violence against women since pop star Rihanna and her boyfriend, singer Chris Brown, reportedly were involved in a domestic abuse incident that led to charges against Brown.
It has been about seven weeks since this made headlines, but what Rihanna needs to know is that victims of domestic abuse suffer long after the abusive relationship ends.
I survived an abusive relationship.
Women, myself included, often continue to carry the guilt for years after the abusive relationship has ended. We feel embarrassed that we were "so stupid'' to have "allowed'' the abuse to happen. This blame game only protects the perpetrator and continues to keep the woman who suffered abuse in victim mode.
I found myself painting a better picture of my past than it really was. I lied to protect my children and myself. It was easier that way.
I’ve learned that women who have successfully freed themselves from an abusive partnership need to recognize that they are not to blame. No level of instigating or antagonizing should result in physical harm. The criminal is the batterer. The violent partner physically and emotionally harms to create an unbalanced relationship where (usually he) gains power and control.
I protected family and friends from the scary stories and my scary ex. I suffered alone, worried what people would think of me ... and even worried how he would be judged. Sounds crazy, but these are the real thoughts from a domestic abuse victim. No one wants to rehash a bad past and retell the horror stories, but there is definite liberation from being able to tell the truth when it comes up.
If you feel unsafe or are in immediate danger you should call 911 for help. If you are looking for additional assistance such as safety planning, emergency shelters and other support services, you can call SafeLink at 877-785-2020. The service is available 24 hours a day.
Dianne McDonald is a working mother who lives in Marshfield with her husband and five kids.