There's a lot in the news right now about domestic violence. I'm not going to comment on the details, but it's safe to say that what is being brought to light is all too common.
I'm not going to spout statistics.
I'm not going to talk about the perpetrators.
But I am going to talk about what I know.
This is an uncomfortable post to write. Not because I am uncomfortable to write it, but because I know you'll be uncomfortable to read it. But it may offer a glimpse into why.
All the why's you are asking have an unfortunate answer.
I stayed, at 21, because I was alone. And terrified. I was isolated from my family and all of my friends. And I know you want to know - because they always want to know - how does one become isolated?
One by one, my ties to the world outside of my apartment were checked off of a list. And I was slowly and all-at-once alone. Tethered to my tiny, 700 square foot world. I talked to no one. Isolation and shame work that way. They are constant reminders that you aren't doing right by yourself. I was incredibly ashamed of what I had allowed to happen, and what I had become.
And the days ran together. The fear ran together. The threats of death became monotonous.
Isn't that scary? When even the threat of your life being thrown off of a cliff, careening down a ravine in a car, becomes old news?
Isn't it terrible that the name calling becomes so routine, that the words don't matter anymore?
The control was all I knew. What to wear. How to do my hair. How to do my makeup. Where to walk. Where to look.
I stayed like this, terror-filled and numb all the same, for over a year.
And then the fear of being killed took second priority over survival. It was the last battle. I had my arm slammed in a door, and my wrist twisted up and inside, behind my back... and even in all the blinding pain, and fear that my shoulder would tear out of the socket, I knew I had to fight for myself. More immediately, that I had to get to the phone before he ripped it out of the wall. And that's how I fought my way out. Scraping and scrambling, hair being torn out and forcing myself back up from being body-slammed, all guts and raging life to get. to. the. phone.
And I did.
So that's why.
It's never easy. And there is always more to every story.