Among the many stories women have bravely shared with me over the years, here is one. One common thread is that many women struggle to save themselves, but will take action over a loved one, often a child, their child. Here is one account of one woman's story. Please take caution if you read and have a history of domestic violence; this is meant to educate those who don't understand and for those who do, to feel seen and less alone.
It was seemingly a regular night, whatever that is when you live in unpredictability. I made dinner, my baby was asleep , then he came home. Most often I could tell when I needed to watch what I said or how I looked. Tonight, I did not however. Tonight, maybe because it had been so long since he got mad. My baby seemed to soften him, or so I thought, until this night.
With my baby still asleep, I made his plate as he watched TV on the couch. I sat on the opposite couch and made a comment about my family, about them wanting me to visit. I said it to gauge what he might do if I actually did go visit; unfortunately or fortunately as it turns out, it was an off the charts reaction. Honestly I should have known better, I mean like I said, when you live your life walking on eggshells, you cannot EVER predict a reaction and those reactions never fit anything you do, they are nonsensical.
The rest is clear and a blur at the same time. I remember him throwing the plate across the room, I duct so that it missed me but hit the window behind me, food was everywhere. I think I tried to soften things by saying I wouldn't go and I started cleaning up. I could hear his breath; the heavy breath like you might imagine a rabid dog fueling for attack. As he came towards me, he howled; "you go anywhere, and I will kill you and that baby, understand, you are not leaving". This was new because before my baby, I visited others and others visited me, but looking back, that was diminishing. I don't know if I said anything, but I started backing away from him and tried to get around him and down the hall; I don't recall now how I got mid hallway, but he stopped me with one hand at my neck, lifted me up and it's as if everything became super bright and clear; my hearing, my sight, my knowing. As I dangled from the wall in which he was holding me against, my feet not touching the floor, I heard my baby babble, not cry, just make that sweet babbling noise babies make, a coo I think some call it. Everything stopped for me at that moment. I remember it so clearly, like my voice but with the power of God in it, I heard ' YOU CANNOT LET THIS BABY EVER SEE YOU GET TREATED LIKE THIS!' I didn't fight back as I had always prior, I just said okay and calmed my breathing and my body and with every ounce of my being I knew I would leave, I knew I had to escape. He let me down by throwing me to the side and I went into the bedroom to be with my baby. I don't recall much more of that night, but the violence was over for the night; and I knew I had to get out.
And I did, I prepared my escape secretively with some help of very few so that he could not find out, and he didn't until I was a long ways away and my baby and I were safe, and I was never hurt by him again. I was saved by my baby's babble, by God and by the strength of being a mom!
Survivors often share a moment when a flip switches , and in this story it is when "everything stopped" and she hears her own voice with the power of God. This woman took safety measures to insure that he did not find out until she was long gone and got help from others. Safety is the first priority for woman and their children in these cases. If you need help, need an exit plan or if you know someone who does, please contact thehotline.org, call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or text START to 88788, you can be anonymous and begin to get the support you or someone you know needs. It is also important to note that staying does not make you weak, it only makes you fearful and unsure of next steps, and that you don't see YET a way out. You don't need to have all the answers to begin to make a safe exit and you don't have to do it alone.