I started writing about the topic of domestic violence that I had experienced (almost 30 years ago) three weeks ago. I have noticed that I have been experiencing some memories that I thought had been long forgotten. Certain smells, songs, even a knock at the door have been a bit alarming, so I am going to round out today’s post and end this story.
If you want to catch up, I will post the links to the previous two posts, but first I must start with this;
Warning: Domestic Violence Content.
For your review:
According to the Huffington Post; The number of American troops killed in Afganistan between 2001 and 2012 was 6,488. The number of American women who were murdered by current (or ex) male partners during that time was 11,766. That’s nearly double the number of casualties lost during those years of the war.
Women are much more likely to be victims of intimate partner violence with 85% of domestic abuse victims being women and 15% men. Too many have been held captive by domestic violence – whether through physical abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse, or a combination or all three.
I was finally out of “R’s” grasp and safe at the women’s center on campus. There was no more time to waste. I would be going into hiding. Everything I had prepared would need to be left behind. I needed to disappear now. Paula helped me make some awkward phone calls, and I got in my car and drove to my parent’s home.
The sheriff was called so the protective order could be carried over into the county I was now residing. My car was hidden, and I moved into a basement room, much more secure and out of sight than my original bedroom. I was offered a ticket to Boston to stay with a family member, and my job would be cleaning airplanes. BUT. I had one class left on campus and an internship I could complete from anywhere. Three more months and I would graduate. I stayed.
I would drive different cars (never my own) every week to campus. A security guard would meet me. He would walk me to class and then from class, back to my car. My professor knew what was going on so I interned in a different city and he would meet me at random restaurants to discuss my assignments and review the ones I had mailed in for him. I got my diploma!
Things didn’t go quite that smoothly, but I got through it. There was a lot of emotional turmoil, mental anguish, embarrassment and difficult experiences even after leaving “R.”
But I made it!
Shortly after I graduated, I started working for the Region IV Council on Domestic Violence. I was a court advocate for women and men who were experiencing domestic violence as well as an advocate for a woman’s shelter. I worked with that program for a little over a year. I loved working for the Region IV Council. However, I knew I needed to make a change for a bit. For my own mental health and a much-needed change of pace.
I moved to Minneapolis and started working as a mental health counselor with mentally challenged adults. It was a very different change of pace! I would go through much needed emotional healing as I met new co-workers and cared for these people I worked with that were so vulnerable.
I had made a healthy decision, it was a good change. I remained in touch with Paula.
I was free!
- Domestic Abuse Hotline 1-800-799-7233
- TTY 1-800-787-3224