Happy October… I love the fall. The colors alone are fabulous… along with the return of sweatshirts, stews and my ability to bake increases with the cooling temperatures. For me, it’s also a time of raising awareness for domestic violence. Twenty people every minute are injured by an intimate partner. Every minute. Only 34% of them will seek medical attention for their injuries, which might make you think it’s not so bad. Unfortunately, it’s more common that they are prevented from seeking care by their batterer or are too ashamed of having walked into a door again. An average of 200,000 emergency calls are made daily in this country… and those are just the ones that make it to the phone. Not one time did I ever call the police, not even on spinal fracture day.
I’m feeling survivor-ish today, so I want to talk about what comes after. When you are no longer walking on eggshells, when you are no longer in any imminent danger. You’re still broken. At least, I’m still broken, following many years of therapy, groups, etc. I have PTSD and sometimes the way I see the world is skewed. Like… Not so very long ago, I found myself deeply, profoundly attracted to a fellow. The kind of attracted where their soul calls to you. He was a batterer. Now, Miss Shannon can usually smell a batterer at forty paces. I knew that this fellow I found myself just wanting to play with was bad for me, exactly the sort that would cause me grievous bodily harm and still I responded to him. Feelings are neither right nor wrong, they just are. This is where your higher order thinking comes in…. every decision you make is a choice. I choose to not follow the yellow brick road again. I choose safety and good sense. I choose me.
Sometimes they call the PTSD that evolves from DV Battered Women’s Syndrome. The reality is that if somebody hits you in the head while demanding you proclaim the sky purple enough times, eventually you get to seeing a purple sky. To a good extent, it’s the path of least resistance that keeps you alive. I will not apologize that I have scars… I earned them. I will not be ashamed that I still falter now and then… I’ll be proud that I can see the danger and walk the other way. I fight like a girl… I use whatever means necessary to survive. Recognizing that I was caught in a cycle that just kept circling the drain was only a little piece of getting out of it… You have to look for the part where you’re cutting your own throat and put down the knife. A whole lot of domestic violence is psychological. You develop coping mechanisms that help you survive, but those same things are a hinderance later.
My therapist would have said this is a psychological response to a pattern of systemic abuse. He would be correct… but, fact is, I have enough education to know not to follow the primrose path. It will not end well, I know it, and it’s on me if I am stupid enough to do it anyway. Once again… my momma raises gypsies, tramps and thieves… never fools. What I am saying is that you, too, have to decide. Are you going to continue to tolerate whatever Mr. Not So Right throws your way?? Or will you stand… for yourself, for your brothers and sisters who no longer have a voice, for the right to live violence free? For your kids, who sure the hell didn’t choose to live in a war zone? I can’t answer any of this for you. I will say this… survive another day. Give me a call… I got you… your ride, your court petitions… whatever you need, baby. If anyone, ever, had had those things for me, I would have got out a whole lot sooner. I actually have a rescue scheduled for next week. Please pray I survive it and the victim and her kids do, too.