Hushed Voices, Secrets Untold

Giving women a voice, one day at a time


I had an appointment with my therapist this week and we were talking about all the things I have been through in the last year, some good some bad. Things such as getting laid off after 10 years at my job, the death of my mom, getting married, the birth of my grandson, my husband changing jobs, the death of my ex-BIL, the list goes on. She mentioned that those were a lot of life changes in a year of someone’s life. As we were talking about the feelings I was having about all of it, I kept mentioning how busy I was with school, my new marriage, etc… and she said something profound. She said. “I wonder if you are hiding behind of that busyness and not really dealing with your feelings.”

This statement really bothered me because as I learned in therapy years ago after domestic violence you cannot hide. Dealing with the feelings, the anger, the rage, the sadness, the humiliation, all of it has to be dealt with. I had to ask myself was I taking a step backwards. I told my therapist that 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. I began to wonder had I gotten so busy with my life had I quit working on all the things that got me here in the first place? The answer was YES.

That was an awful discovery.

It is like starting over for an alcoholic that has dropped off the wagon. Staying on the road to recovery after domestic violence, as I mentioned before, takes work every day. I have fallen off that wagon per se. I have gotten so busy with my life that I have forgotten to keep working on my recovery that now I am hiding again, not dealing with feelings, holding stuff in and finding excuses not to deal with stuff.

You may say to yourself, well it’s not like you are drinking or doing drugs. What you don’t understand is that domestic violence completely destroys a human being. It breaks them down, they have no self-esteem, no idea of who they are, they have no identity, no sense of self, no idea of what or who they should be, they have been told for who knows how long they are worthless, and good for nothing. They have been manipulated, followed, told how to eat, dress and live. They have been beaten and abused, time after time and most times, worse.

This 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. I have lost my way but I will get back on that path once again. If you are a survivor don’t get lost in the here and now, maintain your recovery before everything you have worked for seems no longer important. Fight for every day and fight for your happiness and your survival. I am.

If you are hurting and need help, there is help for you here.



I was speaking with someone the other day and they asked me, after everything I have been through, why had I not just thrown in the towel so to speak. They wondered why I wasn’t suicidal, nervous, on drugs, a mental case per se. I get asked that question a lot. My life has been hard, but not as hard as some I expect.

In 1975 I lost my father to suicide at age 9. I lived in a household where my father was abusive to my mother, was an alcoholic and he eventually died. His death was horrible and tragic and my mother did not handle it well. My mother then remarried.

When I was in high school, my boyfriend was murdered after he dropped me at home after a date. Later, in 1985 I married a man that would abuse me for 10 years before that marriage ended in divorce. In 1993 my beautiful daughter Ceara Alexa died. This for me was the most painful thing I have endured in my lifetime. Then in 1999 the night before Thanksgiving my brother committed suicide when he was 32 years old. In April 2010 I buried my last remaining parent, my mother. Grief and I are very familiar with each other; there has been a great deal of it.

Now, while all of these things are horrible and seem to just go on and on I have always reminded myself of five things:

Life is too short to be miserable, you must go on living and loving.

With God anything is possible.

Life is too precious to waste.

There is always someone worse off than you are.

Finally, my motto: That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

I owe a great deal of my ability to persevere to my church and clergy, my faith has never let me down. Also, after my domestic violence ordeal, I owe a great deal to the people within the domestic violence organization, without them my life after my ordeal would not be what it is today. If you had told me 15 years ago I would be graduating Cum Laude with my Master’s Degree in a few short weeks I would have looked at you and told you, you were crazy, it wasn’t possible for me. Time changes things but so does your ability to persevere. If you are being abused, just have faith that you will and can change your life, this isn’t and doesn’t have to be forever. There are people here willing to help you. They helped me and I have persevered.


Be the Change, Save a Life

I was watching “The View” one morning and Diane Sawyer was on the show talking about her new 20/20 special “Be the Change, Save a Life” that aired Friday night December 17, 2010, on ABC. She was speaking about how she is going around the country challenging high school students to solve one of the worlds problems, and once they do so, sending that solution to whatever country that needed the solution and making a change, saving a life. It occurred to me that this is how we could possibly put an end to domestic violence.

Domestic violence is a national epidemic. It is not just a local problem. Women come from all walks of life, rich, and poor are suffering. They are suffering because we cannot figure out how to put an end to this never ending, vicious cycle problem. Maybe what we need is a challenge to figure out how to solve this problem. Sure, it is a social, behavioral and economical problem, but there has to be a solution. Women and children must stop suffering at the hands of those they love. Women must stop dying because they once trusted and loved someone.

Domestic violence is a silent epidemic no one talks about it until it is too late. This is the solution to the problem, education, community awareness, community programs, and community volunteering. But, most of all getting it out in the open where women who are abused are not afraid to come for help, are not afraid they won’t be heard and are not afraid that they have to hang their heads in shame and embarrassment due to the abuse.

I am challenging us all to find a solution to the problem and cure this silent epidemic. It is about time that women and children can be safe in their homes, and safe to live a life full of love and happiness. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence is working diligently everyday to find new solutions to this problem.

Posted on this site is information to help those that may be hurting, but further more there is a link to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence so that you may contact them with ideas, and other resources to help put an end to domestic violence.

Let’s make 2011 the year we find a solution to and put an end to domestic violence, one woman at a time.



I was riding home this afternoon and I heard a woman call in for the Magic 96.5 FM Magic Christmas Wish program. This woman was a victim of domestic violence. She had 5 children, and her husband was in jail for domestic violence. She had no way of providing Christmas for them, her stove doesn’t work and the heat in her car was broken. This affected me in a major way. I wanted to reach out to her but have no idea who she is. But, I remember those days of despair and desperation.

There was a time when I was alone trying to figure out how to raise children on no support, working three jobs, and scared to death about how to feed my family and survive on my own. This woman’s pleas brought all of that back to me.

There are too many women out there alone, scared and trying to figure out how to make it on their own. That is why so many women stay in abusive relationships, fear. They are afraid to leave, afraid to stay, afraid to call out for help, afraid to stand on their own and change their lives. They are afraid of the unknown, afraid of what lies ahead, afraid of what might happen to her children, and afraid to go through it alone.

This has to stop. Women have to realize that they are not alone, there is help out there. We need to empower them to reach out, support them, give them encouragement to make that call. It is time to put a stop to the suffering, and pain and embarrassment of domestic violence. Please find time to learn about domestic violence, its causes and ways to prevent it. Find a way to volunteer to help these women, if you can. Donate to shelters; money, clothes, and food are always welcome. If you know someone in your community that is suffering please lead them to help. This woman needs help and there are too many like her. Like me, once.

Let’s put an end to domestic violence, today.


Veil of Secrecy

I made the decision to put my blog address on my social network page so that my family could read about the important work I am doing and read about my life passion; helping other women who have suffered domestic violence, giving them a voice and removing the veil of secrecy (stigma) attached to domestic violence. He asked me why I had not done it before and my response was that most of my family did not know about the abuse I had suffered at the hands of my ex-husband.

He was surprised and as soon as it came out of my mouth, I thought wow, they don’t know. Had I kept it a secret to protect myself from judgment from my family, to save myself from a ton of questions, to protect my children? I really did not know the answer to that. Then I went away to the mountains and I had time to reflect on that very question.

I had my answer. I was protecting my family from the ugliness that is domestic violence.

Domestic violence still today has a terrible stigma that is attached to the victims and their pain and suffering. Domestic violence victims are still hanging their heads in shame and are afraid to get help and talk to others about their pain.

In protecting my family, I missed an opportunity to talk to my extended family about my experiences, and how to prevent them. I have young female cousins that I am sure their parents have not talked to about domestic violence. I also missed an opportunity to share how I survived, got help and changed my life. Therefore, I listed my blog address so maybe my cousins can read about my experiences through social media.

I started my blog on domestic violence with the hope that I could reach more victims and let them see they have a voice and there is help. We can work together to lift the veil of secrecy, by bringing this subject out in the open, discussing it with our families, sharing experiences with our youths and working together to make the consequences for causing so much pain, and suffering, greater than they are today.

I encourage all of you, if you have been abused and managed to leave and change your life, to share your stories with other women, so that they too may be empowered by your decisions and success. If you are hurting there is information here to help you.

Let’s start today to life the veil of secrecy and stop the violence, one woman at a time.


Living With Domestic Violence

I met the man that abused me, I was 16 years old, miserable at home and not happy with life in general. I met him while I was working at a restaurant and he was a waiter, he was 4 years older than me and had been in college a while. He was good looking, well-off, well-mannered, he spoiled me, made me feel like a queen and he was very charming. He had the kind of charm that as my mom would say “could charm the skin off of a snake”.

Many have asked, did I recognize when I was dating him, what my life with him would be like? Looking back I can honestly say that we had fights, nothing most dating couples didn’t have, but ours were worse. He had a bad temper and yes he liked to drink even then, a lot. I just contributed that to him being part of a fraternity and the college life. Well, we got married my second semester in college and shortly thereafter, I was pregnant.

He convinced me to leave college and then proceeded to drag me 1,200 miles away from any of my family and friends. The abuse started quietly, mostly anger to start and of course the drinking. He was in the military and we were barely making ends meet and the financial stress, as well as the stress of a military job started making things worse. One day he came home and his dinner was on the table and it had gotten cold, and all of a sudden I felt him back hand me across the face. Of course I was horrified and he begged me to forgive him and he swore never to do that again. The following few days were tranquil. This cycle of bruised cheeks and apologizing repeated it self for several months, and then he got stationed in another city 3,000 miles away from my family and friends in California. Then things began to change.

I will continue this story in my subsequent posts. If you have never been abused these next posts may be difficult to read but they are important. The veil of secrecy and silence that has been a part of domestic violence must be lifted and the abused must have a voice. If you are suffering, there is information here to help you. Please speak out, find your voice and get the help you need.

Please feel free to comment, your comments are welcome.

Domestic Violence Prevention

Domestic violence is a vicious cycle that grabs a hold of families and repeats itself over generations. When I was a little girl, growing up in a home filled with domestic violence and alcoholism, my mother never had time to talk to me about how to avoid domestic violence as she was living her own personal nightmare. After my father died and we moved on, all my mother wanted to do was forget about everything that had happened to her. I don’t think she ever really dealt with all of the feelings and the pain. As I grew older, my mother never wanted to talk about the pain she endured, nor would she ever talk about my father. I grew up literally not understanding what had happened in my own home. Until I was living my own hell, called domestic violence, and then it was too late.

The key to prevention and breaking the cycle is speaking out, finding a voice and educating others.  Had my mother talked to me about her experiences, and given me the tools to be educated about domestic violence, the cycle may have ended with her. However, I never found out what behaviors to look for, what signs to look for, and how not to be drawn to men that make me feel good about myself in ways that are not healthy. If you have a daughter, please make sure she is aware of this problem, and what to do if it occurs. Also, talk to her about how a good man is supposed to treat her, and how to stay away from men that will only hurt her.

Another means of prevention is community education and volunteering at agencies that provide assistance to these victims. Getting the word out about this silent epidemic is key to prevent it from spreading.  Domestic violence is the silent epidemic no one talks about, because society has given a stigma to domestic violence survivors, like we have something to be ashamed of. This has to change if we are to conquer this problem.

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 and need help, I have listed four contacts under the Get Help section of my blog. You can click there and find the help you need.



What is Domestic Violence?

In my last post I talked about defining domestic violence. What is domestic violence? Domestic violence is about manipulation, anger and control. Domestic violence includes emotional, physical and sexual abuse, even if the abuse is subtle. Domestic violence can include loud verbal abuse or arguments, non-physical, but it is just as demeaning and degrading. The abuse can be sexual, using the bedroom as the punishment for wrong doing, or it can be simply physical, leaving tell-tale signs on the abused partner.

Those who abuse are all about anger and control. Everything must be manipulated and controlled by them. Their control is what gives them the “power” to demean and degrade in the relationship. Domestic violence begins silently like a brewing storm. One day he begins to question where you have been, who you have been talking to. This quickly escalates to him checking your cell phone, monitoring your calls, refusing to allow you to talk on the phone to others unless he is present, and then removing your phone completely because he is afraid he can no longer control you in fear you may call for help. Then he begins following you to work, refusing to let you take your own car to work, and then begins going everywhere with you including the grocery store and even the bathroom because he no longer trusts you.

Then the process begins of cutting you off from everyone and everything you love. This is the ultimate “power” trip for most abusers. He is in total control at this point; you have no one but him. He thinks he has you where he wants you. This is where the physical violence usually begins to escalate. The smacks across the table and the bruised cheeks are no longer enough. He has a point to prove. You belong to him and no one else. The violence becomes more routine and if he drinks that escalates as well.

This is why most domestic violence offenders are outraged when the victims finally leave or seek help. They have lost control. It is all about the control.

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.


Defining Domestic Violence

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence is a vicious cycle that grabs a hold of families and repeats itself over generations. I am a survivor, my mother was a survivor. I never wanted to repeat the cycle that my mother endured. For some reason, children of domestic violence seem drawn to those that will repeat the cycle for them, people that are not good for them or their self-esteem. Growing up in a home filled with domestic violence I never wanted that kind of life for my children, but unfortunately I got drawn into that violent cycle as a young girl.

When I speak of my years living in a marriage with domestic violence, people always ask, “Why did you stay so long?” This is not an easy question to answer. 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. 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.

As I continue this journey I will explore many of the answers to these questions and try to answer many more about finding help and escaping the hell that is domestic violence. For now, I would like to leave the National Domestic Violence Hotline Number  1−800−799−SAFE (7233). If you are reading this and need help please do not be afraid to call. There are people waiting here to help you. I know making this call is frightening, I made that call and it changed my life. Help is waiting, you are not alone.



My Mission Statement

Well since I have ventured into this land called blogging I may as well tell you something about myself and what drove me to do this in the first place. As I mentioned in my ABOUT Page, I am a survivor of domestic violence and so was my mother. I married at 18 and he began abusing me shortly afterwards, it lasted 9 long years. Being a Christian I had to learn to forgive him and that was a long and arduous journey. We have two children together so; not forgiving him wasn’t an option. I made my peace with him and now many years later we can hold a civilized conversation without malice.

Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women in this country. According to the American Institute on Domestic Violence, some 5.3 million women are abused in this country each year. This figure is frightening, and I hope to change this figure. My goal in life is to help women free themselves of violent partners. Women have a right to be safe and secure in their relationships without fear of injury or pain from those they love. Children also deserve to grow up in a home filled with love, not hate. Domestic violence can leave a woman scarred, with no self-esteem or hope for the future. I was not the only victim in my family.

When I finally freed myself of the pain and suffering, I was left physically and emotionally scarred. If it were not for a wonderful group of people, I would not now be in a position to help other women. If I can help just one woman avoid or escape what I endured, then every moment I suffered will have been worth it. Helping these women is a dream I have had for a long time. I hope to take my law degree and make a difference. My dream is to open and run a domestic violence shelter, where I would be an advocate for these women and children that are so deeply troubled and show them that a life beyond abuse is possible.

In Alabama, there are no domestic violence shelters in the rural eastern parts of the state. This means that women in these areas, in order to escape abuse, are torn from their families and support mechanisms and brought to Birmingham. These women are left without any local family contact or means of love and support. This distance can mean the difference between success and failure during recovery. More shelters are needed in Alabama so that these women can remain close to their families and support systems.

If I am allowed to become an advocate, meaning if I get into law school, I would become not only an advocate for women, but also an advocate for a change in the way abusers are punished. Women need to know that once they are free, they are safe. The laws are different in every state regarding domestic violence. Sadly, they are not in favor of the victim. Some women become victims twice, once while being abused, and second, when that abuser is freed, and they then take the life of someone who once loved them. This violence occurs far too often and needs to change.


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