The Final Blow
My Moment of Strength
Domestic violence was one of the most amazing experiences in my life that I have been through. At the naïve age of 20 in March 1997, I was hit for the first time by a man I was in a relationship with, in his bedroom away from where anyone could see his devilish ways. It stung me not only physically and emotionally, but it stung a part of me that I never knew existed; a rage that I had never felt before or could be described was brought about. It took many episodes for me to finally walk away but with each blow I became stronger. It stung me in a way I never expected, but this was my very first encounter with violence towards me.
SMACK! It was a sound I was not familiar with. It was quickly followed up by a BANG! From me being thrown against a wall by my hair. My nose quickly began feeling congested and my cheek was burning. I could feel it enlarging by the second. At that point I didn’t know if there were tears, blood or both dripping off of the sides of my face and chin.
The surprise of what happened sent a shock up and down my spine that made me feel frozen in that moment as if it were never going to end. I was paralyzed by fear and unable to do anything other then just sit there and digest the “situation”. But I couldn’t figure out what just happened or why. How does someone that you trust and care about so much justify such an act? Did this really just happen? What do I do now? So many thoughts and questions ran through my mind in just a few seconds.
The “situation” as I called it, dragged on for what felt like hours was only a few minutes. Each blow Andres threw got stronger, each blow I received caused a burning in my gut and my muscles to tense up. Each hateful word that was said only fed the fire that was only building up inside of me.
At one point and I am not sure exactly sure when it was, I decided it was enough. I had a choice to make; either fight back and face the “situation” escalating or taking it and riding it out. I made the cowardly choice, I rolled up in the ball and prayed for it to be over. I prayed for the strength to know that this was wrong, that it would be over soon, and that I would find it in myself to leave.
I am not sure exactly what happened after that, it all kind of blurred together. I do however remember that it was very quiet and that he was gone. I got up and walked to the bathroom to clean myself up. When I looked in to the mirror I didn’t even recognize who I was looking at and it wasn’t from the marks. The person I saw was scared, weak, and beaten down mentally.
I had become one of those people I had always looked down upon and I finally understood what it was like to walk in their shoes. My whole life I always spoke about battered women as people who either were too weak or deserved what they got by staying with their abuser. In that first blow I received I found out what is was like to be totally degraded, to be so angry but unable to do anything about it. I learned how to hate someone with every inch of my body but still stay because I cared about them.
It still took me a year to escape the person who was causing the “situations” as I have always put it. The whole experience has allowed me to see the truth about abuse, that I am just as susceptible to it as anyone else. Being the victim taught me not to be a victim though. That I do have control over what happens in my life, to have the strength to stand up and walk away. Walking away is not a weakness, it is proof of wisdom and strength. The burning anger I felt was just what I needed to open my eyes, to become a stronger person, and to be more compassionate towards others in circumstances I have not experienced.