03-30, Decrying Domestic Abuse

Regarding women’s safety from abuse, it really is a black and white issue. Abuse is never o.k.

He pushed me – because we were having a disagreement.

I was young, but I wasn’t afraid. He was my boyfriend. We were in high school. We were the same size, and I’d had many bouts with my brothers. I felt fierce enough to defend myself. Besides. It wasn’t serious.

So I pushed him back.

But the pushing got harder, and then – he punched me in the face.

And then he pushed me down.

And grabbed me by both ankles and drug me through his house, burning my back with carpet fibers until I wrestled away, locking myself in a bathroom.

I was afraid.

I was alone.

I was in shock.

And I thought, I must’ve done something wrong.

I pushed this memory down as best I could for nearly two decades.

I wrote about it once, in my book.

I spoke about it once – as a keynote speaker to an audience of girls at the United States Gary Job Corps Center, and it was hard.

But, it was important to me.

I was amazed at the line of girls who came to talk to me afterwards, confirming their own spirals of pain at the hands of abusers.

***********************************************************

I involuntarily unearthed this memory recently when someone I cared about told me that she’d been choked by a spouse and regularly beaten.

The images flooded my mind when a personal friend shared last month how a former spouse pushed her down the stairs while she was pregnant with their son; chased her with a knife; bruised her mercilessly, and threatened to kill her “before the end of the week.” And she returned to him six times before leaving him for good.

I stared – and cried – in disbelief.

I remembered by school mate who had been raped three times.

I remembered my childhood friend whose husband forced her to sit in a chair and told her not to move, or else she’d be burned by the iron he held over her thigh.

She moved. She was burned. He told her, it was her fault for moving.

***********************************************************

This is perhaps, among the hardest posts I’ve written; but, in light of what has been brought to the forefront of my life again…

It is important to me.

During Women’s History Month, we celebrate many things: achievements, milestones, markers. However, I believe it is incumbent upon us to also distinguish the detrimental; to reveal the repugnant. We are obligated to acknowledge the atrocities that are still occurring, not just in single settings, but all over the world; in our backyards; to our young girls; to our young and older women.

Despite the contemporary date of 2021, many women (and young girls) are being abused at alarming rates. I have learned from a variety of sources that the stresses and strains of the pandemic have likely increased the intensity of abuse that was already taking place. Given my immersion into a new realm of education with refugee women, I’ve also been informed that abuse in many cultures different from my own is acceptable.

I have to disagree with that. For me, it is not.

It is not my place to tell others what to believe. I don’t contend to be the spokesperson for all mankind. However, I have developed a number of convictions of my own, grounded in my faith in which I feel most solid.

There are no circumstances in my mind that warrant the physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, financial, spiritual – or any other sort of abuse, against women or girls. Period. I don’t believe God has ever intended nor designed for us to hurt one another in such a way, especially given the resounding impact in the lives of those who are abused and those to whom they are connected.

I implore women everywhere, and the men with whom we share this earth, to be vigilant in the fight against abuse. There are far more effective ways to solve our problems. There are people who can support those who need help in the management of their frustrations. There are places designed to aid those who need a way out, and there is enough love to conquer a multitude of evil.

To the women and girls who have shared their stories with me – many of which I can’t even put in print.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. I believe, like all of us, God has a purpose and intention for your life. If you are in a life threatening situation, explore the abundance of resources and opportunities that can offer a pathway to your safety.

I’m praying for every one of you.

May the future memories we share be unlike the nightmares we’ve experienced.

You are special. You are important, and you are loved.

#decrydomesticabuse #womenshistorymonth #literacylove #carlamichelle

8 thoughts on “03-30, Decrying Domestic Abuse

  1. Thank you for sharing this powerful post. Your caption under the picture that abuse IS a black and white issue- it is never OK, is so powerful. I love the mantra you ended up with. Thank you hugging and building up women through your words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deer HZ Reflections,

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I vacillated many days before determining to finally write it. There is something extremely painful about reliving these experiences in order to transcribe them. Ironically (and sadly), one of the women whom I wrote about experienced a domestic violence incident hours after my post. I learned about it later after a cryptic request from her for help. I was in disbelief.

      Nevertheless, it was also a testament that confirmed by conviction in the importance of sharing these stories. It is a real problem, and it’s happening everyday.

      Thank YOU for standing with the many women who need not stand alone. I hope that through all of our efforts, we can make a difference – one life at a time.

      With Warmest Regards,

      ~Carla Michelle

      Like

  2. It’s the personal stories that really help to illustrate the problem and make it real in readers imaginations, leading to understanding and conviction. So thanks to your friends who told you their stories, and thank you for your story, though we know it is so painful to re-live it in the telling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Fran for your support. I think often among the hardest parts is suffering in silence and feeling invisible.

      Sharing gives voice to the vulnerable. I can’t tell you how much of a difference it makes to know that someone listens, loves, learns and cares.

      You are greatly appreciated.

      With Warmest Regards,

      ~Carla Michelle

      Like

  3. I am very fortunate to not have been victimized, but lived in close quarters with those who had. I completely agree with your post; there is no gray area in the subject of abuse.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear cmargocs,

      I am glad to hear that this is not an experience you’ve had personally. I would never wish it on anyone. That being said, thank you for standing in solidarity with those who have (and may still) be suffering.

      Your stance means the world to me.

      With Warmest Regards,

      ~Carla Michelle

      Liked by 1 person

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