Friday, October 8, 2010

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

I think I've been aware of, and struggling against, domestic violence since before the age of 8.

I recall hearing my mother crying out as her boyfriend had her pinned down to her bed. As I kept swinging the bedroom door open, I could see that he was on top of her with his hands around her neck. Each time I would swing the door open, he would swing it back toward me, trying to shut me out of the altercation. However, I would not be shut out. I could not be shut out. Even at that early age, my first instinct was to protect my mother. From somewhere in the house I retrieved one of those big thick novelty pencils, returned to my mother's room and swung the door open one last time. I rushed in and started beating her boyfriend in the back with the pencil. He released his hold on her neck, rose and turned toward me. Afraid, I backed off, retreated from the room and the door was slammed shut. It was time to call for help, except I couldn't, because he had ripped the phone cord from the wall. I had to resort to fleeing the apartment to a neighbor's house, leaving my mother with her abuser. I dialed great-grandma. She showed up to that upstairs apartment, gun in hand.

Now the mother of a 7 year old, I realize how small I was, what could have happened to me had he turned his rage toward me, what could have happened to my mother had I not intervened. As a small child, I should not have had to be so brave, however, my bravery saved a life that day. In the end, Bigmama didn't shoot him, although, as a woman who didn't play that shit, that's what she came there to do. In the end, my mother stayed in the relationship. In the end, I vowed that I'd NEVER be hit by a man and stay. Thus far, I have never been hit by any man, but I have been emotionally abused and raped, and stayed, and raped again. It took the second rape for me to recognize that I was in an abusive relationship, and it was then that I ended that relationship. My second vow: for my daughter to NEVER have to be as brave as I was when I was her size, and for her to NEVER witness her father's mistreatment of me.

I'd encourage us all to take our awareness a bit further and transform it into action. If you know a woman or man who is being abused (physical,mental, emotional, sexual) get involved! Many of us are afraid to get involved. Afraid that if we do get involved we may loose a friend. Well, if you don't get involved, you may still loose a friend!

Be aware. Be vigilant. Be brave!


  1. I remember we talked about this. Has to have a lasting effect on you being front row to seeing your mother being abused like that. You came from it so strong...though I know you don't think so. But just having gone through some of what you have, I know different. My wish has always been that for every man that puts his hands on a woman, there is a REAL man standing right there to pull that ass up and beat the shit out of him.

    I was slapped once by a so-called dope dealer that basically told me that I was going to be his girlfriend or else. That fool terrorized me for 3 months for no reason. I had to finally confront him, not knowing what the outcome would be and thank god, it stopped. After three months of terror, he just stopped. I guess me standing up to him and questioning "why" he was doing it in the first place to someone that didn't want him, made the bastard think. I've only seen him 2wice since that episode years ago, but it had me so non-trusting of men...especially as they tried to get too close.

  2. Each time I'd hear about one of my aunts being beaten up I'd have that same wish! I still have that wish when it comes to Emma's dad, as you already know. Yes. There was definitely a lasting effect, which is why I can say that I will never find myself trapped in a physically abusive relationship, AND now that I've experienced emotional and sexual abuse I will never allow another man to hurt me in that way again either. Abuse is never necessary, however, experiences have a way of teaching valuable lessons, you know.

    Wow. Thank you for sharing this with me. I never knew. What a scary and horrible experience! You know, sometimes standing up really is all it takes. That's what it took for me to stop my abuse. This will not be the case for all abuse because standing up to your abuser could get you killed, but sometimes, that's all it takes. Saying NO, asking WHY, transforming fear into power. Its shocking to some men and they'll fall back when they learn that you will NOT be trampled on. I'm very glad that he stopped that madness. And glad that he did not invade your space again!