Domestic violence is one of the hardest things to get away from, because usually it takes a while for an abusive man to show his true colors. By the time he starts to abuse you, you are already involved with him and love him. Then come the promises that he will change and it will never happen again….until he gets mad again. It is a vicious cycle of lies, manipulation, pain, and heartbreak. Some women are never able to break away, and end up either living their lives in misery and fear, or they may even end up dead.
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
· One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime
· Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence
· Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police
· 30% to 60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the household
· Almost one-third of female homicide victims that are reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner
I was able to speak to a woman who is a survivor of domestic violence. Her name is Emily, and she agreed to answer some questions for me.
Me: How long were you in an abusive relationship?
Emily: 7 years
Me: How long ago was this?
Emily: I left him 8 years ago.
Me: What kind of abuse did you go through?
Emily: Verbal, physical, and emotional
Me: How often did this abuse occur?
Emily: At least a couple of times a week.
Me: Were the police ever involved?
Emily: Yes, a few times. I never called them, but there were neighbors who called and also people that we didn’t know who just happened to see.
Me: Did you ever get a restraining order?
Emily: Yes, two of them.
Me: Did it do any good?
Emily: Not really
Me: Is there an incident that stands out to you as being the worst?
Emily: One time he punched me in the back of the head maybe four times and I remember seeing a blue flash. Then when I was six months pregnant he pushed me on the ground and dragged me across the front yard.
Me: What effects did this abuse have on you emotionally?
Emily: During that time I was in a really dark place. I had no self esteem and I felt like I couldn’t do any better. I was really depressed and even had thoughts of suicide.
Me: Do you still feel those effects today?
Emily: No my life is completely different now. I may still have some self esteem issues in the back of my head, but I’m okay now.
Me: Why did you stay in the relationship for so long?
Emily: He was a manipulator and he made me believe that I wouldn’t find anyone else. I believed his lies that he would change and that he loved me and that it would never happen again. I always held on to what the relationship was like in the beginning.
Me: Was your family/friends aware of what was going on?
Emily: My family knew but they didn’t know the extent of it because I tried to hide it. I really didn’t have any friends at the time because he was so controlling, I pretty much stopped talking to anyone.
Me: How did you finally break away?
Emily: I was at the point where I felt like enough was enough and then I met my husband, and once I saw how a real man treats his woman, it was easy for me to say goodbye.
Me: What advice would you give to someone who is in an abusive relationship?
Emily: Get out of the relationship, no matter what it takes. You don’t deserve to be abused, and there is a better life waiting for you. There are good guys out there who will treat you right.
For more information or to get help, please call:
THE NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE at 1-800-799-7233
THE NATIONAL SEXUAL ASSAULT HOTLINE at 1-800-656-4673
THE NATIONAL TEEN DATING ABUSE HOTLINE at 1-866-331-9474