October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
I have been a victim of domestic violence. I have had a man hit me and abuse me mentally AND I stayed. I've been her.
I dated a man who was a womanizer. He repeatedly cheated. I knew it. I was very aware because as a part of his abuse, he made it known. I stayed. I stayed when he told me I wasn't very attractive. I remember when we were at a club in Cleveland. I was getting a lot of attention and he turned to me and said, "I don't get what they are seeing." I stayed. There was a day when we were moving from one condo to another in the same complex. He had a friend come by to help us. This entire time he bragged to his friend about how after he moved us into this condo that he was going to see this other woman. The friend looked at me, I looked at him. It was as if the friend as so much pity for me."Rhonda, where is the iron?" The friend stayed to help make sure I had everything moved and everything I needed. The friend leaves the condo and go I sit on the couch. My daughter was about 7 years old at this time. We had boxes all over the place. I was tired. I sat on the couch in a daze as I watch him get ready to go see this woman. At some point, he needed the iron. He says, I tell him I don't know and to find it himself. It starts. He repeats over and over, "Rhonda, where is the iron?" He begins to dump every box on the floor. He every dumps the boxes from the kitchen. Food goes all over the floor as he continues, "Rhonda, where is the iron?!"
I said NOTHING but I was on fire. I walked pass him into the bathroom. He is telling me how I'm unattractive and FAT. Interesting. I was about 30lbs lighter then and not even close to being overweight but he knew that would get to me. He finds the iron. He begins to iron his clothes and as I pass him. I hit him with all my power in his face. I exploded. I was tired. The mental abuse, the cheating, was killing me. I hit and he hit, and hit, and hit, and kicked and dragged me all over the apartment. I had bruises from him kicking me. He dragged me on the couch with his fist in the air, we both hear...."MOMMY!!!" He stops. He puts on his clothes and leaves. I run into my daughters room. She's there......crying. She heard it all.
This "relationship" went off and on for another two years with one more episode of abuse where he pushed me into a closet and started to kick me. What is worse, this relationship ended because he ended it. Not me but I never returned. He's come back years later with marriage proposals and apologizes. I never returned.
I was so abused mentally, I truly thought this was it, this was the best that love could offer for me. Understand, all this time I was empowering women to make healthy decisions about relationships. I knew better but felt trapped. I believed I loved him. I believed these were isolated episodes. Now, I watch him continue to be a womanizer. I woke up. I'm scarred but I'm aware. I understand and have experienced Domestic Violence.
Don't stay. Seek help. Don't be embarrassed. I'm not embarrassed. I'm free. I'm a survivor.