With last month being domestic violence awareness month, I feel the need to really dive into the topic and share what domestic violence really is, and what it is not. I’d like to invite you into my own experiences to hopefully debunk some myths. Many people’s only idea of what DV is is what JLo went through in the movie Enough. It doesn’t always happen that way. In fact, it hardly ever happens that way.
That’s what leads me to say that domestic violence and abuse is not black and white. It very much so has a lot of gray areas in between, and no two story is ever alike.
One thing I feel like most people think is that it is so obvious what is a DV situation and what is not, and that all DV is violent abuse, which isn’t true. My story for example is very interesting. Many of the warning signs were not visible to me at first. I was 16 or 17 then. I was a baby. I didn’t know any better. Fast forward a year later, things would get tricky. I would notice times when he would lie to me or he would make me believe something to be true when I knew deep down inside it was not. These are when the mind games began. He would carefully choose his words so that he was answering a question, but not really answering the question. He would do it with such precision and confidence that I would have no other choice than to believe him. That was his game, and he was ALWAYS the winner of his games.
To many people’s disbelief, the physical didn’t come until about 3 years into our relationship. Most people wouldn’t understand this. I think that a lot of people think that the violence comes immediately, or that it is obvious to point out who “looks” like an abuser and who doesn’t. I recently watched The Perfect Guy, with Michael Ealy and Sanaa Lathan. Michael Ealy’s character seems to be perfect until he shows his true, violent side one evening. This violence appeared after only a few short weeks or months of dating. I feel like that is Hollywood’s version of what tends to happen. Although I’m sure that abruptness has shown itself true in some situations, it doesn’t accurately represent MOST abusive relationships. In my case it took 3 years! 3 YEARS!!! This is why we have to let go of blaming the victim and asking, “didn’t she know what type of guy he was?!”. Well, no because after 3 years you feel like you know somebody, but in reality you do not. That is why DV is so incredibly tricky.
Another myth is what exactly does DV look like on a regular basis. Me for example, I was not someone who was continuously beat with bruises all over my body every day. Those, I feel like, are extreme situations. They happen often, but most cases of DV are the ones that are not clearly defined. Where she is held against the wall, or she is pushed away. He didn’t exactly hit her, right? So that’s not really abuse. There’s no mark, so nothing really happened. It ALL is wrong because of the fact that force was used ON PURPOSE and to show power, to control her actions. This is just as equally dangerous as the more severe cases because these are the situations that get ignored, the ones that are seen as “acceptable” so it continues on and on for years! You see how it is not so black and white?
Lastly, the most dangerous and deceiving part of all was the final year of my relationship and what were to come after that. See, the final year I never had to worry about violence.The mind games, the lying and the cheating were all still there, but I was so convinced that those darkest days were over since it hadn’t happened in well over a year. When I finally ended things I felt the fear all over again. It was scary how someone can flip so suddenly. The fear that he had finally lost me filled him that it turned him violent all over again. I would receive threatening phone calls. I was told that he turned to drugs and alcohol, that he would be drinking during the day, even before work. He would try to manipulate me into getting back together by threatening to kill himself. One moment the conversation would be about him being so in love with me, then the next would be about him hating me and threatening me. It was so crazy to see someone’s mental health diminish. I knew then that if we were to have continued our relationship the violence would definitely still be there, and much worse!
For women who can currently relate to this, I pray that the Lord first gives you the knowledge to understand your situation, and then gives you strength to move on. The strength to fight for your life and the ability to experience what TRUE love is!
My prayer for all of us is that we gain the knowledge to understand each other’s situations. No matter how we all choose to live, that we don’t pass judgment, but rather stand by their side and pray for them and love them.
Thank you and I love you guys! #ForeverFighters