As Domestic Violence Awarness Month comes to a close, this is the last story I am sharing of the courageous women who dared to use their voice and speak their thruth about living and staying in abusive relationbships.
Today I share Alecia's story. Her story is an example of how domestic violence happens in the context of various types of relationships.
As a child I grew up confused because something hurtful had happened and I didn't know what it was. When I finally realized that sexual abuse was the reality of my childhood, my world turned upside down. Things happened and trauma intensified when I looked for someone to hear me out.
I always kept my family away from it, as a way to protect them and also to keep me away from trouble. The bad thing, however, is that I needed to vent and had no one to go to. I needed help and couldn't get it. I moved away from my birth country, running away from it all. Little did I know, the worst hadn't happened yet.
I met someone who became a good friend, a confidant, someone that would listen. I was happier. We became roommates so we could share expenses and make life easier. Soon after, that friendship turned into a manipulative relationship. In order for me to be heard, there had to be a sexual favor in exchange. The words of encouragement turned into words of hatred. I was being emotionally abused and blackmailed. This person was a narcissist and I couldn't leave. I feared the worst.
Even though I was in charge of all the finances in the house, and I mean all of it, I couldn't just go. I was working two jobs while this person stayed home all day and waited for me to come home and be the "taxi driver". There's was a point in time when I started feeling incarcerated in my own place. Things only got worst when I tried having friends or even talking with my own family. I was being isolated from everyone. It was a living hell.
And then, the hitting started. I knew I had to run but I couldn't find it in my heart to put someone in the streets. At times I felt as though it was my fault. It was ok to be hit, to be abused, somehow I had done something wrong. That's how my mind played me!
Eleven years later, I was still in the same horrible situation. Why did I really stay? In my case, I had no support. Not a single person knew what was going on. Scars? Simply household accidents, that was all. For me to leave meant that my life would have to do a 360° change and I didn't know how to do so.
One day I got hurt bad and for a moment I thought I could easily die at the hands of this person. That's when I woke up and decided to look for help. With the help of a therapist, I was able to see things clear and, just a few months after, I gathered enough courage to ask that person to move out.
Those few months were the worst yet! It's been almost two years since I reclaimed my freedom and to this day, I often ask myself why I stayed. I was trying to protect myself and surviving a day at a time. Also, to this day, my family doesn't know how bad this decade has been. There is a lot of judgement involved as well. I have chosen to keep this away from them —at least for now.
When we are in the situation is hard to see things as they are because of the fear and the shame related to the violence. Many things happened during all those years. Many things also didn't happen. I sometimes feel like I wasted a decade of my life. I am now working on the aftermath.
The longer we wait, the harder it is to come back to life. I'm dealing with constant flashbacks and nightmares and it's just a mess. The one thing I know for sure is that my life is better now because I removed myself from a bad and possibly deadly situation. I'm no longer a victim but victorious. If anyone reading this is in a domestic violence situation —or any dangerous situation for that matter, I urge you to please ask for help now, please leave, please speak up. Domestic violence doesn't have to come from a spouse or partner, it can also be just the roommate next door! There's help available. We are all in this together.