I was talking with a lady very quietly at the library. Though she looked determined, I was drawn to her because of the tears and look of brokenness. How can one have all that in one look? She did, and I have seen that look in myself. I was lucky enough to connect with her and find out what was wrong. She wasn’t reluctant to give me information, but, domestic violence is not something one really wants to discuss, especially in a public place, like the library.
She accepted my phone number and was willing to get the help she needed. In many cases, this usually does not happen. I knew to point her in the direction of DVIS (Domestic Violence Intervention Service) because of research, networking, and volunteer work. With optimal resources here: a shelter and counseling to start, this would be the place. Additionally, the YWCA, after researching, I found that would be a good place for her to go as well, even in the wee hours of the night.
Fortunately, she did call me and I was able to connect her with a family member. Even though she did not go to a facility during the transitioning point, she made a positive choice and made arrangements to join with a family member out of the state.
The world sure is different than one would ever imagine, after having lived in a domestic violence relationship. My experience started 25 years ago with never ending can’t do this or that’s, like swimming, visiting friends and family, and even going to lunch outings. Cyclic months of good, then, a big wash out with the silliest triggers, something wasn’t cooked right or at the desired consistency, or the way I pronounced my words.
I had always thought the marriage would get better. Over time, it just got worse. Knocking me down, both verbally and physically just didn’t stop. Telling me I can’t do stuff and not supporting me with my endeavors, making me feel like I’m not capable of something real simple, like making a garden. Ripping the telephone out of the wall or hiding my make-up really got old. Locking me in the bedroom and getting in my face fiercely yelling at me didn’t help matters either.
Finally, I just had to gain enough confidence, because confidence is what it takes to make anything happen. I tried to leave repeatedly and would get sucked back into the cycle with apologies each time. Although the fix may or may not sound simple to some, the mission is to have a plan, recognize where you are in your relationship (no abuse is ok), focus on your goals, take every opportunity to use what you have available and invaluable. Documentation, orders, code words, transitioning, etc. Most importantly, think safety all the way through your processing. Once this is completed, you have conquered and won!
Eileen Seefluth is a speaker, writer and soon to be author from Owasso, Oklahoma. She educates and empowers women from domestic violence.