My guest today is Kim Hawkins, she is one of the co-authors with me and 21 other women in The Art of Brave Living Book. Today she is sharing about breaking the silence of domestic violence.
“Now, you know he loves you, he didn’t mean anything by it.”
“We don’t need to be airing our dirty laundry around to God and everybody.”
“It’s just that he had a few to many last night. It will be alright.”
Shhhh!!! Seriously, when does it stop? When does the glossing over the details, turning a deaf ear, and ignoring the blatant misconduct come to an end?
There was nothing significant about that final day. It could have been any day of the week, it wasn’t a holiday, and the weather was the same as it was the day before the straw broke the camel’s back. The neighbors could hear what was happening, it wasn’t the first time. No one came to the door to ask if I needed help. Someone did call the police, again. My screams filled the night air, but people just wouldn’t get involved. After all, there are all kinds of crazy out there.
What made this night any different than any of the others I will never really know, but I was done. I couldn’t keep going on this way. Something had to give and I had given all that I could. I was broken.
As desensitized as our society has become to violence, domestic violence is a horse of another color. It’s a strange shade of discomfort wrapped in fear viewed with a blind eye because no one wants the elephant in the room to speak and prove its existence is real.
Domestic violence is a real thing. It’s not a simple misunderstanding between a man and a woman or intimate partners. This thing is not all of a sudden. It’s subtle and plays tricks on the mind. Warped by smooth talk and constant word manipulation, you won’t know if what you thought you heard was what was really said or if you’ve mistaken what was said.
The seduction and charm suck you in and before you realize what’s happening, you find yourself isolated riding waves of jealous fits and other forms of manipulation. Criticism replaces what once was compliments and sheer flattery. The mean streak appears and it is generally meant for your eyes only, but if it happens to expose itself in the presence of others you can expect a dutiful “I’m sorry,” but never a repentant heart.
It took time for me to leave, but I finally did. I’m breaking the silence.
No more shhh-ing and hushing about the truth of the matter.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) provided these national statistics:
• 95% of men who physically abuse their intimate partners also psychologically abuse them.
• Women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner
• Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries
I share these particular statistics because there are signs to watch for. Listen for changes in the way someone speaks—lack of respect, constant criticism, vicious or cruel words are a red flag. Fear can cause you to make unwise choices and refusing medical attention when an injury is inflicted by an intimate partner can create a pattern you don’t want to keep repeating. Perhaps they didn’t mean, but maybe they did.
Fairy tales are not real life. There is no prince charming, no knight in shining armor. When someone shows you who they really are, believe them, especially when they are no longer charming. It’s okay to make a mistake in a relationship but when you let the mistaken behavior continue, that’s a choice. You get to choose to break the silence and be a voice.
If you realize from this blog post that you or a loved one is in an abusive relationship, please find help. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE, or locate a safe house in your community.
Kim S. Hawkins is a Social Media Consultant, Certified Christian Life Coach, and women’s ministry leader. She is passionate about simplifying the way women do social media for business. What tugs at her heart is the need to increase awareness about domestic violence. She is a living testimony that there are safe ways out. She lives in South Texas with her husband of nine years and her rescue dog. You can find out more about Kim by visiting http://kimshawkins.com/.