Hushed Voices, Secrets Untold

Giving women a voice, one day at a time

Archive for the tag “domestic violence”


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.



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.



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!



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.


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