Being a woman of my own mind (friends may wish to argue that point) and therefore also a feminist (yes, that is a real word, which actually has the same meaning as “egalitarian”, or even “an individual who respects all other humans on the planet no matter their sex”), I like to make myself aware of as many different related campaigns as I can (and that time allows, or even all my extra curricular activities allow). This desire to keep on top of this subject also stems from certain experiences in my past, but I’ll get onto that shortly…
On Sunday 8 March 2015 it was International Women’s Day, and I came across this article that was posted to Facebook: Domestic Violence Ad Goes Viral
The single paragraph that truly struck a personal chord:
“[…] While this campaign is undeniably powerful, it’s also crucial to note that intimate partner violence is not always physical. Plenty of women — and men — face psychological, emotional, sexual and financial abuse from their partners and, though these forms may be less visible than bruises, they are still damaging. […]”
A GUSH OF MEMORIES CAME RUSHING THROUGH MY SYNAPSES
I was there. I was one of those women. And I didn’t even realise it at the time.
I started to wonder if other women are like me – if they have had such dark experiences with former lovers from whom they have finally managed to escape. Women, who, today, still walk around in a different lifetime, wishing, and not for the first time, for ignorance and its sweet bliss to envelop them. I wondered if they didn’t have strength to face up to those memories, to that man of their black past, or to even have had someone with whom they could have shared those stories, even if they had to relive painful memories, in the same way I chose not to dredge up my own distressing memories. But then again, isn’t it better to talk about it, get it off your chest – unload, if you will? Doesn’t it make it easier once you have shared the problem??
I don’t know.
Now I think about those dark few years rarely, and when I do, I am both ashamed and embarrassed to have put myself, my ex, and even my family, through it; to have not had the strength to walk away sooner – perhaps saving both of us in the end – and to have let another individual have such control over me, and specifically without my consent, is just completely counter-intuitive – everyone who knows me considers me a “free spirit”, so how did he cage me? I think about all those times I could have just walked away… however, I know that I never felt I had the inner strength, at least not until that final time.
I can’t recall when my love for him changed to fear of him… the boy I met was not the man I left 8 years later. Actually, now I think about it, I distinctly remember the feeling of disgust when I looked at him during those last few weeks together; I’d learned to change my mindset towards him, towards what we had done to us, steeling myself for the unknown future to come – looking at him made my skin crawl in the end.
He didn’t hit me, but it might have gone that way had I not left when I did. The paragraph above taken from the Mic article suggests 4 other types of abuse that were present on and off during the last 4 years of our togetherness. I agree, not many people could see the non-physical bruises and breaks – and I wouldn’t have let them if they tried. Maybe I was wrong for doing so, and could have got out sooner – but that’s the beauty of hindsight, isn’t it?
I wonder what happened to my ex, how he is now, if he thinks what he did could be considered “abusive” – to ask him “why?”… and eventually I wondered if I should get in touch with him after all these years. You must think I’m nuts, but before our relationship became “abusive” (and this is something I find very hard to write about, let alone constantly writing that word to describe a former lover of mine), we really had a pretty cool relationship – I can’t believe how much we loved each other those first four years… it still amazes me that it went the way it did. He was my best friend, and I, his. I left him. I blocked him – completely and absolutely – from my life, 7 years ago. The last update from friends: he now has two kids – and I hope he treats their mother with the love and respect he should have shown me all that time ago.
If you, or someone you know, is suffering this form of invisible abuse, please speak up to your family and friends, or speak up for them, please help them – at the very least, try.
I came to my own rescue in the end – only after years of my family telling me to, then finally giving up hope that I would, leave him. However, if it hadn’t been for my family and friends to support me during those difficult first weeks after I left, I don’t know where I’d be, or even who I might be right now.
Thankfully, in the last 5 years I have discovered that I am, actually, and surprisingly, a very strong woman, who does give a shit about a whole bunch of things – and I would love to get people worldwide to give more of a shit too!
“Ignorance is bliss.”
Yeah, right… whoever said that just couldn’t face up to the “pressure of adult conformity”! Personally I prefer this one:
“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.”
~ Jim Morrison
“Necessity is blind until it becomes conscious. Freedom is the consciousness of necessity.”
~ Karl Marx