Thank you to my sweet courageous friend for letting me share her story.
As I sat there I listened to my friend sob. She told me of her husband questioning her every move. She told me of the times that she was cornered in her bedroom as her husband demeaned her, criticized and talked down to her. She told me that she felt like a slave in her own home, taking care of the kids, and having to provide all the sexual requests that were demanded. She didn’t know what was happening, she just assumed this was the way marriage was. She felt worthless and at times she was told that as well.
To the world outside the walls of their home they were the perfect suburbia family, but inside told a different story. My friend was suffering from a form of abuse that is not regularly talked about and is usually not known to the outside world. “Abuse consists of actions or attitudes that are intended to hurt or control. It can include many different types of behaviors, from subtle verbal criticisms to the severest forms of physical or sexual abuse” (Bradford & Whiting).
Approximately 1 in every 4 women experience physical abuse by their intimate partner at least once in her life; about 1.3 million women are raped or physically assaulted by their partners each year; 18.5 million women go to a mental health care facility each year for the very first time because of this. Every day people wonder why women stay in these situations they think it is so easy to just leave, but unfortunately it is not a simple matter. Most women think that their abusers will stop, some might not even think they are being abused because it has been happening for so long, and others are threatened if they do leave (Bradford & Whiting).
My friend, like many others had gotten to the point where she didn’t even know what she liked anymore or what to think of situations. You would ask her what she would want to do and she would shy away. A lady named Rosa said, “One day I went to the mall and I had no idea what I liked anymore, nothing. And that’s when I realized you just totally lose your whole person.”
Thankfully, my friend is coming back. She has gotten help, she is starting to learn to think for herself. She said that everyday presents new challenges, but she is up for the task. She has looked passed her x husband’s mistakes and has found it after many years in her heart to forgive him. She said that an anonymous person said it best when they said, “I had never really understood the healing power of the atonement. I had no idea how personal and penetrating it could be, no idea that it could heal my broken heart and take away the pain and hurt and anger and bitterness that I had been feeling for so many years.”
Abuse is prevalent around us. We need to help those who are victims, whether it is to listen, give them a shoulder to cry on, or help them seek out the help that they need. The consequences of abuse go far beyond the hit or the word they last for a long time and we must be willing to stand and support the victims in their road back to figuring out who they are.
Bradford, K & Whiting, J. (n.d.) Understanding Abuse in Family Life.