It’s been about 8 1/2 months, since my cousin SherryLynn was murdered in domestic violence by the father of her four children. It’s hard for me and our family to cope with this reality of Sherry’s life. It’s an unimaginable fate, that no one wanted to believe would happen, although her sister’s feared the worst and did all they could to offer her a safe haven, she kept returning. There are millions of questions that have run through my mind. The last time I saw her, she shared with me that she left him and was not going to return. She asked for my prayers, because she was scared to have to face him in order to see her children. I believe that Sherry knew what most women victims of domestic violence know, which is, the most dangerous time in an abusive relationship is after you leave. I have recently learned that 70% of domestic violence murders happen after the victim has left.
The biggest question we all keep asking ourselves and each other is, “why did she stay in an abusive relationship?” and “why did she keep returning?”I further asked myself, “what is it in us that makes us fall victim?” I came across this testimony of a woman who answers every question and then some. I ask you to please take the time to listen to her, because you may be able to save the life of your daughter, cousin, son or stranger.
As you heard Leslie tell her story of crazy love, I hope that it made you aware of how vulnerable we can be. I also hope that it opened your eyes to see that it doesn’t affect only women. I have witnessed a few men being mistreated as well and I believe it is even more difficult for them to get out of their situations due to the stereotyping of our society. We view women in abusive situations very differently than we view men. If your unclear as to what I mean watch this short clip
There are so many areas of abuse that happen all around us and my goal by writing this blog post is to make you more aware of them and to be an active agent in breaking the cycles and heal. Heal yourself or someone else. I remember in my early twenties, I witnessed a man/father verbally and physically abuse a toddler in an umbrella stroller at the park in broad daylight. The park was fairly crowded that day and every one of us, was so stunned, we stared in horror and disbelief “paralyzed.” I mean seriously “paralyzed” like a dream when you are in a panic and you try to scream and nothing comes out. That image will be imbedded in my memory forever. To this very day, I am disappointed in myself for not being able to do anything. A few of us called the police and talked briefly to one another when he had left, giving a description of the car and license plate number, but we were all so freaked out, that we left feeling empty and wounded as though the abuse happened to each of us.
Words are damaging beyond our wildest imagination. Verbal abuse is often overlooked as a form of domestic abuse and should not be. If we knew how much power we held with our tongues, perhaps we would choose our words more carefully. Words scar in a way that are not visible. Take a look at these pictures to see what I mean, the pictures are silent, but they speak volumes.
If you have clicked on all of my links above, you have a lot to absorb and digest and I thank you for taking the time to do so. If you have any words of wisdom to add and share that may help someone reading this, please comment below. I will end with this powerful picture quote.