It has taken me decades to understand my inner power, decades to find my own value and now that I have I owe it to myself to share and inspire others to speak out; to “say it forward.”
As a domestic violence survivor, I have seen a lot. I have lived through a lot and felt a whole lot. It doesn’t start out so black and white or so all at once, sometimes the signs are being covered up by something else and often they are being masked by biased opinions.
My story has some major ins and outs, stepping out and growing wiser had allowed me to understand the red flags that began day one.
I needed to find my worth and sought after the feeling of not being alone instead. Teen dating violence seems so easy to understand, if he is hitting you get out but there is so much more to it. It wasn’t until I found myself questioning my beliefs, my feelings and distant from friends that I understood something was wrong. I found myself arguing over basic rights and legitimate feelings often.
I wanted to get away from the adults who weren’t helping me so I tried to begin a life living in a small apartment.
In this apartment the red flags I had not seen before quickly became violent and scary.
Once I found out I was pregnant I was beginning to see what was happening to me and by then it was too late. I allowed clouded judgement to creep in and made decisions for me. Once locked into into marriage it had escalated and become part of my everyday. I found myself alone and hiding more often than not, hiding became the norm.
Shelter programs and other advocacy agencies stepped in and I was able to begin raising my baby with love in my heart.
I know now that given the opportunities ripped away from me and my baby and being forced to live the way we did, we are survivors.
Everyday is something that we make it through, we are strong even when we feel week. There are differences between not being abused anymore, not living with an abuser and escaping entirely.
My message to girls who feel that something is not quite right in their relationship is to listen to your body and if you feel something is off call it off. It doesn’t matter that you can’t explain why you feel this, it doesn’t matter that you aren’t understood, just allow yourself time to step back and really see the signs for what they are. And if you can’t, please don’t blame yourself. You aren’t alone and I promise you you deserve better.