In 1995 my aunt’s boyfriend ended her life by slitting her throat. This happened after she suffered years of abuse by this man. I can vividly remember countless times of her coming “home” with broken bones and blackened eyes. She wouldn’t really talk about what had happened but each time she declared was the time that she left him for good. He broke her ribs one time. Broke her nose. Broke her arm. Knocked several of her teeth out. Each instance growing more violent. Each beating more savage. I did not understand why she wouldn’t leave someone who was beating the hell out of her.
I was young at the time and it shook me to watch her go back to him time and time again. We would cry, argue, and even beg. Please, don’t go back. My grandmother would tell her, the next time he’s going to kill you. I am older and wiser now, I get it. The post traumatic stress experienced by women having been through abusive relationships is powerful. They believe that the abuser is sorry, that they’re going to get help or won’t do it again. The four psychological stages of the battered woman syndrome is denial, guilt, enlightenment, and responsibility. Unfortunately some women never make it to the final two stages. My aunt was one of those women.
I’d just come home from a football game when the telephone rung. My grandmother answered the phone and after several silent seconds she let out a long chilling wail. When she could finally speak she cried, “James has killed Andrea”. The house broke out in an uproar. After savagely beating her one final time, he slit her throat.
Women who are being abused must find the strength to get out of the situation they’re in. It’s never your fault, you don’t deserve it, and your abuser is not sorry. They will do it again. Call on a friend, family, or a battered women’s shelter in your area. Develop code words so others will know that you are in danger. Make a safety plan and put aside money if you can. Hide an overnight bag where possible so that you can leave at a moment’s notice. These are just some of many tips but more importantly, if you find yourself in a dangerous situation, leave however you can.
National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-7233
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