Hushed Voices, Secrets Untold

Giving women a voice, one day at a time


I wrote this post a long time ago, and I was going to save it until my story was complete, but I feel that now is the time to release it. This post explains a question I invariably receive when I tell people I am a domestic violence survivor.

People always ask, ” Have you forgiven him yet?”

Talk about the potential elephant in the room. This answer is always, emphatically, “YES.” What follows is a barrage of questions relating to how, why, when, etc…

Then  I begin to explain.

As a domestic violence survivor, we have to have time to heal, as any victim of any violent crime. Part of the healing process is facing our anger, working through our pain, healing and learning to forgive.

My journey of healing began 17 years ago. Now, as you can imagine, learning to forgive my ex-husband was one of the most complicated, difficult and immensely painful things I have ever done. You may ask how I could forgive a man that did all these horrible things to me.

The explanation is simple. As a minister once told me after my domestic violence ordeal, “If you do not forgive, he keeps winning. You must learn to forgive or the hurt will eat you alive and make you hateful and bitter. Do not let the hurt change you.”

Forgiving my abuser, was the absolute hardest thing I had to do, but it had to be done, to keep me from becoming an angry, and revengeful person. Forgiveness was also extremely painful. It was painful because, to forgive him, I had to be able to forgive him for all the pain and suffering he caused me. I begged and pleaded with God, to help me find another way, to not have to forgive him.

God then made me see, that he taught us to forgive, and we should do the same.

Forgiveness was also complicated. See, I had children that were angry and hurt, and had witnessed some of the abuse. They did not understand why I was going to forgive their father for hurting me. I explained to them that just because I forgave him did not mean I forgot.

I will never forget.

I forgave their father, because he was just that, their father, and one day they would want a relationship with him, one that could be destroyed by my hurt and hate.

So, I went through the paces with my faith, my domestic violence counselors, and God, and I learned to forgive.

Forgiveness, what a powerful word. So many things are wrapped up in that one word. No wonder God wanted us to learn that word.

As I am writing this, I remember how difficult and gut-wrenching that task was. Am I sorry I forgave him? No.

Like I said before, my healing journey began 17 years ago, but that was after 10 solid years of abuse. It has not been easy, and I struggle to maintain my recovery every day. I still have bad days and good days. Every domestic violence victim is always on the road to recovery. We are always working on self-motivation, self-preservation, self-discovery, self-esteem and all those things that lead us to a better place. It takes work everyday.

Abuse leads to a  victim being completely broken, exposed, completely vulnerable and leaves them open for a lifetime of  having episodes when these feelings are worse than others. Therefore, recovery is a lifelong process. It is imperative that every domestic violence victim keeps working towards their recovery everyday. Forgiveness is a part of that recovery.

If you are holding on to hate and hurt, you must let it go before it destroys the life you could have. I know forgiveness is hard, but trust in God and he will show you the way.



Living with Domestic Violence – Part III

We are now in Georgia, and I am working at a chain of movie rental stores as a Controller (accountant). My marriage has continued to deteriorate, and at this point I have started to fear for my life, and for my children.

The attacks of violence have become so frequent that I am so used to them now that the flowers and forgiveness routine have no effect on me. I am numb and I am walking through life with literally no emotion but fear.

The abuse is no encompassing the entire range, both physical and emotional.

My co-workers begin to notice the bruises on my neck, face, arms, cheeks, etc….

They tell me, “You don’t have to live like this.” Of course I tell them, “I know”, and I keep on with what whatever I was doing. Now, you have to undersand the cycle of abuse.

When you are living a life of domestic violence, there is a love/violence circle that goes on day after day, month after month, year after year. There will be days of peace, days of hurt, and pain.

The days that are filled with hurt and pain are followed by apologies, flowers, promises to never do it again, and filled with love. Those days can be long periods of time or short ones. You never know with domestic violence offenders, they have anger issues, they drink and they have very short fuses. You never know what will set them off. It could be something simple as a wrinkle in their favorite shirt, it could be their food is not heated properly, it doesn’t really matter the reason, it just happens.

The days that are filled with hurt and pain, you say to your self, “How can I stay?” and the days filled with peace you say, “Why should I leave?” This cycle continues until you just cannot stay anymore.

One night will live forever in my memory.

I made him his favorite meal, my beef stew. He says it was made him fall in love with me. I am busy setting he table. He comes home from work angry about something. I of course start my “walking on eggshells’ routine. Well that doesn’t work. Beef stew winds up everywhere. The rampage has begun. The screaming started first, then the hitting, but tonight was different, he was in a rage. He woke up my oldest son, with his yelling, and in his rage he picked up a box of books. He threw them at me, and well about the time he launched them at me, my son happened to step in the room.

I became outraged and went after him. In his anger, he picked me up and threw me against a wall, and I landed in a heap in the floor. I knew I was hurt badly so, I pretty much just stayed there huddled in the floor, with my child in my arms, until his rage subsided, and he passed out.

My son was in shock at what his father had done, at what he had witnessed. I managed to make it to work the next morning, only to be taken to the doctor, to be told I had some injuries which required care.

No, I did not divulge how they happened. I pulled the usual domestic violence victim routine.

I had fallen down the stairs.

These memories are not easy for me, but they must be told so that another victim can find the courage to get help, I did. In upcoming posts I will tak about how I got away and got help. If you are hurting and need help, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline Number  1−800−799−SAFE  (7233), there are people waiting there to help you. There are also resources on this blog under Get Help.

Make the call, it will change your life. You do not have to life this way.



Blog Anniversary

Well today is my two year blog anniversary! It seems appropriate considering that Blogher’12 was just completed yesterday in New York City. I have learned a great deal in these past two years.

I began blogging after the death of my mother to try and put the pieces together and to honor her work that she did with domestic violence survivors. My mother was an avid volunteer at a domestic violence shelter, and she also served on the board of one as well.

I began Ramblings of The Geek Wife as a mix of daily life stuff, and my domestic violence work. But, then after a while I realized that the domestic violence work was so important, that it needed its own space, and hence this blog Hushed Voices, Secrets Untold was born.

I have learned many things in the past two years, such as, not every one is going to agree with your opinion. However, they are just that, opinions.

I have also learned that I am not just writing for me. I am writing to help other people. I am writing to give those a voice that may not have one.

I am writing to lend a hand to those that need it the most.

This past weekend I did not go to New York City, I attended BlogHer At Home. This was a unique opportunity, for those of us that could not attend, to participate from home. I learned a great deal about using many web based features to increase site exposure.

BlogHer At Home also allowed me to participate in discussions, although from a distance, through the #BlogHer12 hashtag.

So, as I move into year three of blogging, I will take the tools I learned, put them to good use, and continue to network towards my cause of domestic violence.

I will continue to strive to help put an end to domestic violence, and bring attention to the victims, and give them a voice, one day at a time.

Here is to another productive year!


Don’t Cover It Up

There was an article on the Daily Mail not too long ago that hit a nerve with me. As you know, many domestic violence victims can often have many bruises or wounds, some visible some not. This particular article dealt with the “Don’t Cover It Up” campaign going on in the UK right now regarding domestic violence.

Some domestic violence victims go to great lengths to cover their bruises or wounds. This often entails, make-up, heavy clothing, sunglasses, etc.. Now, the “Don’t Cover It Up” campaign, encourages domestic violence victims to stop hiding, to make domestic violence a known issue, and to make people pay attention to the social issue that is still a very real problem.

I know that when I was going through my domestic violence ordeal, my bruises were still visible even though I tried to cover them. I wanted to shout out to the world, “See what he did to me!” But, my shame kept me from doing so.

It is time to stop the shame. Domestic violence victims should not be ashamed!! They should uncover their bruises, so that the stigma attached to domestic violence will end once and for all, and allow these women to walk around with their heads held high knowing they have nothing to be ashamed of!

I am not ashamed. I do not walk around with my head hanging down. I am not the one who needs to be ashamed, my suffering was not my fault. Domestic violence victims need to uncover, show their bruises and not be afraid. They are not the ones that need to be afraid, they did nothing wrong.

A woman should not have to put on make-up to cover up what some insecure, angry person has done to her. It is time for her to have the confidence, to stand and say, “I am not a victim, these bruises are not my fault.”

Support your local domestic violence organizations and any campaigns to put and end to domestic violence. It is time. “Don’t Cover It Up” is a great campaign I hope it takes hold here in the United States.

So many beautiful women are covering up their beauty due to the hands of someone else. Don’t cover it up.


Two Truths and a Lie

The other day at work we were celebrating All American Day and we were eating and playing games. Well, this one game came up where you had to tell two truths and a lie about yourself. It was then up to your co-workers to decide, depending on how well they knew you, which one was the lie.

Well I decided that mine were: I had been a dancer most of my life, I have 3 small children and I was a domestic violence survivor.

If you know me at all, you know the first and the last are true, and the middle one is a lie. Many people at my work already knew I was a domestic violence survivor, and and advocate for victims and survivors. Many of the ladies I worked with were survivors as well. After the games and eating were over, a young lady approached me and asked, “How can you admit something like that, out loud, in front of all these people?” I asked her, “Why not?” I then proceeded to inform her that I was not the one who needed to be ashamed, that I had done nothing wrong.

I explained to her that I was the victim, and that I had no reason to walk around hiding the fact that I was the one that was abused. The one that was made to feel like I was worthless, unloveable, and undesired. I explained to her that if anyone needed to feel ashamed, it should be the man that made me feel this way.

I am not ashamed, I do not hang my head and want to hide the fact I was abused. If anyone should be ashamed it is the abusers NOT the victims. Once I was free, it took me years of therapy to understand that the violence occurred not because of something I did but, because he was insecure and did not love himself enough to love me the way I was meant to be loved. It took me forever to realize that none of my suffering was my fault. I finally realized I could be loved for me the way I was meant to be loved, and there was help out there, and another life free of pain and suffering.

If you are suffering, you are not to blame, they are. Reach out, I know it is hard and frightening, but that phone call could save your life, and lead to a new life of health and happiness. If you need help please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline Number  1−800−799−SAFE  (7233). There are people waiting there who care.


Living with Domestic Violence – Part II

I began this story in December of 2010 here on this blog and never continued it. Well, it is time I told you the rest of the story. I left off in California I believe. Our marriage continued to deteriorate. There were a lot of fights and emotional abuse. I was back handed at the dinner table on many occasions. We had friends living with us, for reasons I won’t go in to, and they were worried about my state of well being. Well, finally my husband was discharged from the military, and we headed home to live with his parents, until we could find a place to live and get settled. I was hoping being around family would modify his behavior.

We moved home in April of 1988. I was 4 months pregnant with our second child. At first things seemed better. But, then with the frustration of not having a normal salary and not being able to find a job, it started again. The screaming, the emotional abuse, the back handing at the dinner table. One instance I remember very clearly. I had made dinner, and it evidently wasn’t what he wanted, and the entire dinner ended up on the dining room floor. Yes, that was normal in our house.

Well, we finally moved to Georgia, where my husband was working. We had moved many times in between. I won’t bore you with where and how. Just know that the emotional/physical violence is increasing. In Georgia is where the heart of my story begins to unfold. It is now 1992 and my children are 4 and 7.

Now, you ask yourself why does she put up with the abuse? You have to understand the cycle of abuse. The woman, or abused person, becomes afraid to go and afraid to stay. She becomes afraid of the consequences if she stays and afraid of the consequences if she leaves. I had someone tell me today, that the woman makes a conscious choice to stay. I told the person evidently they have no understanding of what it is like to be abused.

When you are living a life of domestic violence there is a love/violence circle that goes on day after day, month after month, year after year. There will be days of peace and days of hurt and pain. The days that are filled with hurt and pain are followed by apologies, flowers, promises to never do it again, and filled with love. Those days can be long periods of time or short ones. The days that are filled with hurt and pain, you say to your self, “How can I stay?” and the days filled with peace you say, “Why should I leave?” This cycle continues until you just cannot stay anymore.

I will continue my story and its conclusion in subsequent posts. They will be difficult to write. I suppose that is why it has take a year and a half to continue the story but it must continue. Not only for my sake but, for the millons of women that suffer silently each year. These women should not have to suffer in silence. Domestic violence isn’t their fault. They should not be ashamed. We have to make a change and it has to start today.

If you or someone you know is suffering please get help.  Help is available here on this website under the topic Get Help, or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline Number  1−800−799−SAFE  (7233). 

Be the change, save a life.





This week I saw a headline that absolutely stopped me cold in my tracks. The headline was from a news organization called The Daily Mail. The article was about America turning a blind eye to the 64,000 missing black women across the country. This is a horrifying number of women that have disappeared in our country. It is frightening to think how many of them possibly were harmed at the hands of someone they once loved. Too many women simply vanish in this country each year.

Women in this country, when harmed, more often times than not, are acquainted with their attacker. It is more common for a woman to be a victim of a friend/lover/husband/mate than a stranger. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence “an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. Also, 16,800 homicides each year due to partner violence and one-third of female homicide victims that are reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner.”

Domestic violence is a silent killer for women. I say this because most women do not report domestic violence injuries. I know this first hand. I did not at first then eventually as the violence worsened I had to. Too many women are in danger each and every year from those that they love.  Women are frightened into not reporting the violence that they suffer. Women should not have to suffer at the hands of those they love.

If you or someone you know is suffering please get help.  Help is available here on this website under the topic Get Help.

Also, if you have any information regarding any of the missing women mentioned in this article or any other missing woman, please contact the Black And Missing Foundation at 1-877-972-2634 or click simply click on the name and it takes you directly to their website.

Please help stop the violence. Domestic violence has to end. Violence against women has to end.


Re-directing Focus

As many of you know, who followed my domestic violence blog posts at my other blog Ramblings of The Geek Wife, I posted there about many things including domestic violence. I decided that my domestic violence work needed a focus all its own due to the very nature of the topic and its importance. This new blog Hushed Voices, Secrets Untold will focus on domestic violence specifically and the available resources to its victims. Domestic violence is an epidemic that we all need to work together to bring national focus to, so that one day this will no longer be such a huge issue like it is today. The new focus will include such things as the stigma that is still attached to domestic violence, giving victims of domestic violence a voice, one woman and child at a time and finally, the fact that the violence is not always physical.

In 2010, according to the National Network to End Domestic Violence 70, 648 victims were served in one day, in shelters across the country. This really puts into perspective how large this problem really is. That is ONE day. Therefore, I am directing my focus of this blog to getting help to this that need it most. Those that can’t get help through traditional means. If you know someone that may need help, or even suspect they may need it, please direct them to this website. As you can see there are already many resources here and more are being added every day.

Please be a part of the solution, be an advocate, be a volunteer, work the hotline, donate your time, money, or whatever you feel you can. Domestic violence affects many people every year, and that number is growing by the thousands every year. Let’s stop this epidemic now.



Silent Pain

These last few months have been really hard on my extended family has we have dealt with yet another suicide. This time it was my ex-brother-in-law. He left behind a 20 year old son and a 16 year old daughter. He and his wife had been married for 25 years. Later that same week a friend of mine also suffered a suicide loss in his family as well.  Then this week I have watched two of my friends struggle with how to get their loved ones mental help that are struggling to deal with awful things that have happened in their lives.

I am struggling with trying to help these people with their pain and suffering as much as I can but at some point I have come to the realization that these people need more help than I can give them. Silent pain, as I call it, is a killer. This means keeping stuff bottled up inside, refusing there is a problem, not wanting to change the situation, or wanting to change it but not wanting to do the work to make it change, and cutting yourself off from all those that love you to be around those that make you feel better about yourself in very bad ways.

Silent pain is something domestic violence victims are very, very familiar with. If there is no treatment after domestic violence, this silent pain starts to eat away at the very fabric of your being and you become defensive to those you love, you cut yourself off from those that love you the most, you begin a self-destructive pattern of alcohol, or drug abuse, sleeping around, doing anything that makes you feel “good”, and I use that term loosely.

Watching someone try to stuff this pain deep inside and act like all is normal is hard. They are literally a walking time bomb waiting to go off. They act like if they ignore it, it will go away, or if they don’t think about it, it just won’t be there. Or they keep moving so fast, staying busy as to not to have to deal with it. Does this sound like you or someone you know? If so please, please seek help before this silent killer, kills you. Therapy is critical after any traumatic event that leaves you broken and vulnerable.

If you have children, you must seek help so that you can continue to be the stable parent they depend on. They cannot help you, do not turn to them for help and comfort. You need expert help, someone that can understand your suffering and help you deal with the demons that are taunting you. If you need help there is help available here on my website. Your call will be kept confidential, but please get help before it is too late.



Old Threats

I have been speaking lately to several women who have been set back in their journey to recover from domestic violence by the reappearance of the ex-husband and the violence that came from that reappearance. I have watched the landslide that came with that reappearance and it is just horrible how much progress disappears when that threat makes itself known again. I have watched them struggle with the self-confidence they worked so hard to gain and felt for them when they tried to describe how far they thought they had come until he walked back into their lives.

It is amazing how hard domestic violence victims have to fight to regain their sense of self and their independence after being left completely vulnerable and exposed by the offender, whether it be a spouse or a boyfriend. And it is even more amazing how fast it all comes tumbling down when that threat reappears and becomes real again.

One of these women had been to a couple of police departments recently, begging for help and protection from her ex. He was stalking her, calling her, following her, and appearing at her work. She even had to change her phone number. What was she told? There was nothing they could do. He knows how the system works, he would provoke her just to the point as not to get arrested, therefore according to the law he had done nothing wrong. Meanwhile he making this woman feel threatened, scared and miserable, and laughing about it.

As a woman who has survived horrible violence at the hands of an abuser this angered me! How dare a police department whose job it is to serve and protect say there is nothing we can do. Domestic violence laws have to change and change now. There is never an instance where a woman should not feel save in her own home and her own place of employment, and she should never be told her own police department can do nothing to protect her.

I challenge each and every one of you to make a difference and help STOP domestic violence once and for all. This cannot continue. Women must feel safe, they must know that the police can and will make a difference and that they can stop this behavior all together and let it be known it is not acceptable and will not be tolerated!


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