I Never Thought This Would Happen... Again

root - Posted on 07 October 2009

by Anonymous

I never thought I would be here again. I promised myself, that I would never ever ever let this happen again. Here I was another “victim of violence”, or so I thought.

I remember the first time I saw violence. It wasn’t on TV, or a movie my parents wouldn’t let me watch, it was in my family. I remember the feelings of sadness, violence, and anger hanging in the air of our house as if a permanent fog of violence had settled inside. It was if you could breathe it. I started to breathe it in, as if it were a daily dose of prescription that was given to me every day. “Must experience violence, sadness, or anger at least twice a day. Do not take on an empty stomach”, the prescription would read.

I breathe in that violence many ways, and would breathe it out in ways very opposite. Breathe in... Screams, yelling, door slamming, name calling, hitting… Breathe out… Crying, trying to be the best kid so my parents wouldn’t fight, turning on the TV so I didn’t have to hear the yelling… Ahhhhhh… these breaths of air were not toxic to anyone except me…

As I started getting older, the violence wasn’t just between my parents anymore. Smack… Pow… Thunk… all became sounds that were too familiar to my body. I now had become the object of parents’ hatred about themselves. The colors of black, blue, and red were an everyday occurrence. I would breathe in the violence, and breathe out bad grades, skipping class, and detention.

As I got older, the relationships I would be attracted to were not ever healthy. Lucky for me, they never lasted more than a week. I would remember to myself that I have to find someone who was not like the father I grew up with. I wanted someone who was traditional, kind, and loving.

I thought I found those qualities in someone I was dating. I remember we would go for these drives just to go to his family’s sweat lodge. I remember him talking about how he was so proud to be Native, and how this land used to be ours. I remember the violence he would lash out on me, instead of himself. I know that somewhere down in his soul he believed those boarding school lies and used those same abusive punishments on my body.

I remember how he would yell at me on the way driving to sweat lodge, and then he would make tobacco ties by the fire, and say how sorry he was. I remember on the way back from sweat lodge how he would spit and beat on my body to his heart’s content.

One day, I told a friend of mines and made a decision to talk about it. I thought telling his family would be helpful. I mean one of his relatives was a well-respected medicine man, and he would listen to me. Right? Well, I was wrong. I came out and told my story and got laughed out of their circle. I was told if it was that way then to not be with him. I left.

It took awhile to trust anyone again. I used to joke with my friend, and blame all men as the problem. She told me, "Women can hit too.” I didn’t understand what she was telling me. She then told me of a girlfriend she had, who would beat her, yell at her, and call her names. I couldn’t believe my friend had experienced violence too.

I noticed the more women I told my story too, the more they told me their stories. I started to tell some men my story too, and they would open up how they were abused and when got older abused their partner. One even told me how his girlfriend abused him.

I could not believe how many people experienced violence that I knew and respected. I started to think how could I erase violence at least from my own life?

I knew prayer was the first place to start. So I prayed everyday to God, asking for me to find the partner that was created for me. That we would have a healthy relationship, and our love would last for a lifetime.

Then I met him. I had dreams about him. I would spend hours talking to him. I would love how he held me. I would love those beautiful moments when we kissed. He had to be the one I prayed about. I thought to myself this is the man I want to spend my life with.

I wish I could say that all of the sudden violence entered our relationship, but in looking back it was there before I knew it. The abuse would go on and on, and even some of his family members noticed. One told me to call a hotline to get help. One of his family members told me to leave him. I remember being called bitch way before I got a black eye.

So here I was again, in a place I promised myself I would never be in. I thought I was too old to have abusive relationships. I proved myself wrong, abuse happens at any age. So I left him for a while. Of course, he came back crying and saying how he changed. He was going to go to Anger management, and he wanted to start a family that he never had. I bought it all… hook, line, and sinker.

It happened again except I had two black eyes this time. I cried so much, and he just kept saying sorry. He tried to heal the wounds he created. Those wounds were deeper than my eyes to heal them he would have to start with his soul. He promised to never do that again, and stated how he is an abuser and that he needs help. He held me in his arms that night.

The abuse didn’t stop. I would be blamed for something, called a bitch, or be accused of cheating on him. He even accused me of cheating with someone in his family. He was right I was being cheated. I was being cheated out of a healthy relationship that I prayed all the time for.

One day after beating me, I couldn’t take the lies anymore. The day before I told him I was pregnant, and this beating was the worst one. I know that the baby felt it. I woke up. I stopped lying to myself in thinking that we would be that happy, loving couple. He threatened my life and my unborn child, and I decided to tell someone my story.

I started with the police. It was the first time I had ever told anyone about the abuse I had suffered with him. I cried, and was very nervous about what the future held. Would his family hate me or retaliate against me? Would he try to get revenge on me for telling my story? What would I do after I told my story?

The next time I got a call from Victim Services and then from the prosecutor telling me they were going to press charges on him. They issued a warrant, and days later he was in jail. The courts during that time established a no contact order between us. It was during this time I started to see how his family treated me.

Different members of his family harassed me during this time. I was even ignored and snubbed by the relative who told me to call a hotline months before. He and members of his family were blaming me for his jail time. For one moment in time, I actually believed they were right. Then I snapped back into reality, and realized violence is a choice. He chose to become violent and take it out on me.

Finally, the trial came. He pleaded guilty. He was mandated to probation and DV counseling. He had more jail time to come as well.

During this whole time I was pregnant, I tried to be positive for the baby. It was hard with the constant harassment and stress coming from some of his relatives. I cried so much, and promised the baby that even if I have to be single for the rest of my life I will not let my child experience violence inside our home.

I was scared for my unborn child, and was suffering greatly from post-traumatic stress. Then that call came, “Mamm’ he will be released from jail in thirty minutes.” It all started coming back, but I tried to remember to be positive. So I went about my day, and cleaned up my house. Then that evening came, he wasn’t in jail anymore. Would he come to my house? Would he beat me up because he was in jail? Would he get a family member to do it? I started to have cramps, and then I started to bleed.

I freaked out. I called the hospital and talked to a labor nurse for advice. She said, “If it gets worse then come to emergency or just wait till morning to see your OBGYN.” I calmed down, and tried to go to sleep.

The cramps got worse. It was some of the worst pain I have experienced in my life. Then it happened, my unborn child was in my hands. Just like that my baby was gone. I cried harder than I ever have in my life. I still cry about the baby to this day. It is a pain that I know will never go away.

Growing up, I was taught that silence is sacred. Silence spoke volumes when my grandmother used it. I was taught that silence could also oppress others. In matters of abuse and violence, silence only helps to continue killing our communities, Nations, and societies.

A Pastor by the name of Martin Niemöller saw how dangerous silence surrounding violence is, and how it could lead to genocide. He stated:

“After Hitler came to power in Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

This Pastor saw how silence allowed genocide to kill millions of people. There is a genocide happening right now with our people, particularly our women. In what ways have you been silent about violence?

You may think this story includes you, that you may know me, or that you are the abuser, I consider that is how well you connected to this story. In the end this story is the story of many women and some men. It is a story that started on this land when the colonizers first came. I wrote it for all those survivors out there… who choose to not be a victim. I wrote it for all those abusers, so that you may realize violence is a choice. Violence is learned, and that it can be unlearned.

It is by writing this story I refuse to be silent any longer, and maybe one day if our society refuses to silent as well then I can republish this story with my name and have no fear.

(If you or someone you know has experienced domestic violence or abuse, please feel free to call Alternative Horizons 24-hour hotline at 970-247-9619 (English and Spanish) or Our Sister’s Keeper Coalition 24-hour hotline at 970-247-7888.)


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