Life after domestic violence is almost as scary as being in the abusive relationship. I am not sure of where all my readers are from but I live in a very small town of roughly around 5,000 people. Everyone knows everyone else’s business. That means everyone in this town has probably heard what happened to me. Let’s not forget that my abusers family lives 4 miles away. I have seen them out at the grocery store, I bank right across the street from their business, and we also used have some mutual friends. Since we live in such a small town it is extremely hard to keep my son’s life private as well. I have had someone I considered family take pictures of Beau and send them to my abusers family, against a court order.
There are so many rumors I have heard about myself that you wouldn’t believe. I have heard that I lied about my abuse, sorry but medical records, text messages, and pictures do not lie. I have also heard that I keep my son away from his “grandparents”. The only time I have ever heard from my abusers parents was when I was being served in my home, and when his actual mother emailed me. I have also heard that I kept Beau from his father. I wouldn’t have ever done that, even with the abuse. That is his father, I can not change that. I didn’t file a motion for abandonment until a little over a year after ZERO contact. Then R decided to give up his parental rights after numerous no shows in court. He never sent Beau a birthday card, never called to check on him, and never paid a dime in child support.
If you have ever been in an abusive relationship you more than likely have PTSD from the situation. I, to this day, am constantly looking over my shoulder, sit facing any entrance to the restaurant I am in, and even do laps around the parking lot before I enter a place to lessen the chance of running into them or him. In the times that I have run into them I get a death stare, not an apology. Which then brings the guilt right back. Feeling as though what happened was my fault.
Dating after domestic violence is a whole other story. It is terrifying. I have been in counseling for over 2 years to try and learn the behaviors an abuser has but you can still never be 100% sure. You have to worry about the motives of the man you are seeing. Is he seeing me out of pity? Is he seeing me to say he went out with me? Is he actually interested in a meaningful relationship, not just sex? If you have been abused you have had your heart and brain completely wrecked, your trust level is the lowest it can possibly be, and you have extremely low self-esteem. That makes you easy pray for any man to take advantage of you. Knowing that I have my walls up so high it’d take an olympic pole vaulter to even reach them. I really have to think if this man is worth me putting my heart out there again. I can tell you one thing, if you are dating a girl who has been abused in any way (emotionally, verbally, physically) and she actually likes you, its the best kind of love you will ever find. We know what its like to be torn down so we will always be lifting you up. We know what its like to have your trust broken so we will never lie. We know what its like to be treated like dirt so we will treat you like gold. Domestic Violence Survivor’s are the strongest and most courageous human beings I know. They had the strength to leave a situation that crippled them, built themselves back up, and came back stronger than ever before. They need to feel respected and loved, appreciated, and communicated with.
Life after domestic violence is definitely scary, but at least you are safe. You have one life to live. Do you want to spend it living in fear every day? Worrying about how long the next bruise will take to heal? What lie you are going to tell your family when they ask why you can’t come over, Or do you want to spend your life owning it. I am so proud of my journey and my scars. I took something that should have killed me and turned it into my mission. A Survivor’s Mission. I am going to change how this world views domestic violence victims, I am going to give every girl the chances I had to have a career, education, and counseling services, and I am going to try my hardest to change the domestic violence laws here in CA. For anyone who doubts me, sit back and watch.