I have struggled with whether or not to write this. Very few people know, but I feel more compelled to share the not so pretty parts of my life these days. So, without getting into all the details I have been a victim of sexual, physical, and emotional violence. These were separate events, and I promise if you know me it likely is not who you would think. I have been held down, slammed into a wall, and forcibly kept in a residence against my will. These events span about 15 years of my life. I had a habit of picking the wrong person, trying to fix them, getting lost in the representation of myself and the relationship. If I just worked a little harder everything would be ok.
I never went to the police. I have rarely even mentioned any of this to those closest to me. I will not get into the details here and will likely not be very forthcoming with details if asked unless I felt my story would help someone.
I have my life together . . . and supposedly have for quite some time. I excelled in college. Excellent student, executive member of my sorority, student government, etc. I have always had a loving family and friends. As an adult I struggled some financially in my early Austin years, but I got it together. I got good jobs and a Master’s degree. I even got married like I was supposed to. I would like to state very clearly my ex-husband in no way perpetrated any of these acts against me. He and I were a bad fit for multiple reasons. We had our disagreements but he was neither violent nor abusive in any way.
My experiences have been formative. I have worked with my therapist to be more aware of my tendencies. I look for warning signs and indications. I am cautious physically and defensive emotionally. I focus on my independence, the things I can do to make and keep myself happy so that I never again feel compelled to stay in a relationship that is dangerous.
This happens. It happens to women you know. It happens to strong, independent, capable women. Are there women who lie about it, exaggerate it? Of course, and much like the legal system being ‘lenient’ these women make it harder for victims to step forward. Are there likely more women who quietly move forward, suffer, grow, cope? My guess is yes.
I am shaking as I am about publish this. I don’t want to answer questions or talk about it. I know people will have questions, and I am not sure I will want to answer. But now particularly with things being the way they are I feel compelled to at least begin to tell my story as I know I will not allow myself to be a victim any more.