~Esther Mitchell, 2010~
I’m sorry I hurt you,
he whispered in the night,
I’m sorry I made you feel,
worthless in my sight.
I never meant to harm you,
to put pain upon your face,
or scars upon your heart,
he murmurs as she flees for safer space.
His thoughtless words have done their evil task,
his cruelty has left a brutal mark.
She’s suffered in silence for the last time,
determined to slip away in the dark.
One day she’ll learn terrible truths,
that will chill her to the bone.
She’s not the first one he’s harmed,
She’s far, far from alone.
Note from the Author:
Domestic Violence doesn’t come in just bruised and battered bodies. It also comes in hateful words, screaming, and belittling. It comes in emotional, spiritual, mental and financial control, not just physical or sexual torture. It comes in inflexible control over another person’s health, welfare, or general well-being. And it often comes from those we expect to love us most. It can come from a parent (birth, adoptive, step, or by-marriage), a spouse, a lover, a sibling, or even a child. And the worst part of it is, most forms of abuse are silent to the rest of the world. Physical marks can be noticeable, in some situations. But emotional, mental and spiritual marks are invisible to the unknowing (and/or unconcerned) eye. Financial abuse is often the worst, as often the victim is ridiculed or blamed by the world at large for their own victimization (how cutting the words “how could you be that dumb?” can be when no one understands the manipulative tactics of a financial abuser. Financial abuse often leads to or involves other forms of “silent” abuse, as well – emotional, mental, or spiritual, or any combination of the above).
It is vitally important that society as a whole takes a step back and looks at the whole picture of abuse, and not just the poster-child, if you will – physical beating. Compassion, not ridicule, is called for. “I told you so” has no place in the mouth of someone claiming to want to help. Nor does negating another’s experiences with your own. Statistics show that, even in the same household, no two victims suffer the exact same abuse. Victims often aren’t looking for advice – they know what they need to do. What they’re looking for is someone to give them the unquestioning support and sense of strength they need to carry through what has to/needs to be done. Telling someone “you need to get out” says “I think you’re stupid, too” when they’re in a mentally or emotionally abusive relationship – they KNOW they need to get out. What they need to someone to convince them they really ARE strong enough to make it out.
It’s also important to note that Domestic Violence isn’t a “one-time” thing. Not only does it go on for years, but the perpetrators of Domestic Violence often have a long history of abuse. They might have acted out as children in a fashion that left parents or siblings wary of them. It’s possible they were even so out of control as to be institutionalized in an effort to control their violent or neglectful impulses and outbursts. They always blame others for their inability to control their emotions or anger. They’ll start explosive arguments over the most minor of comments or events, seeing a slight or accusation in any word or action that isn’t specifically aimed at praising or providing comforts for him/her. They tend to expect others to take care of them or provide for them, and they take it for granted that it’s other people’s jobs to provide their care. They’re not likely to remember your birthday or special occasions, but will incessantly remind you of their own and what they want you to provide them. In short, they tend to have a narcissistic outlook, and they will repeatedly abuse every person who is involved in a close personal relationship with them – probably the main reason why most of their personal relationships fail.
Spiritually speaking, abusive personalities tend not to actually follow any religious tenants with a true heart, but they will quickly make use of religious dogma as a weapon against the person/people they are abusing – especially when used as a way to prove how the victim “brought this on” him or herself.