Letter to the Editor

Surviving domestic violence

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My story intersects with CAASA in 1992 when I was 20 years old. At that time, I had a six-month-old baby girl. I left in terror, brave enough to face my husband's threat "you can leave but you're not taking her." I was brave enough and desperate enough to make a stand.

"You will have to kill me then because I am not leaving without her," I said.

I called the police after having my review mirror smashed in and threats of harm done to me. I went through 10 years of violence with my first husband, as I waited for him to change. My normal became being treated less than. Even though I made some progress with myself, I entered another abusive relationship for 5 years. With the myriad of problems to untangle, it just took that long. I had enough and let go as I tried to change the pattern. I have been free of abuse since 2007. That is six years I have not had to survive what was happening, but I have been able to heal and thrive. I have achieved many things by letting go of chaos and pain.

As I share my experience of transformation from being a survivor of domestic violence into a thriving individual, I am hoping to touch the heart of our community. Domestic violence is an issue that affects all women in some manner. Education or income level does not exclude you as a victim. Many family problems co-exist with domestic violence -- one of them is substance abuse. I am a woman who has a higher education -- it is not about knowing better. It is about not waiting for the men to change. Many people do not stop to think that 1 in 3 women age 18-24 are in an abusive relationship.

Look around you, I am very concerned that as a community we hear very little about domestic violence and that our shelters are not funded. I received help from CAASA from 1992-2004. I would not have made the changes I needed without CAASA teaching me that there was a different way.

J.G.

SUBMITTED BY CAASA (Centers Against Abuse & Sexual Assault)