October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which is the time to honor victims and increase awareness of the impact in our community. My name is Lindsey, and over the next four weeks, I will be sharing my lived story. Before you continue reading, please be aware that what follows may be triggering for some. I am sharing my story to demonstrate resilience and bring hope to those still impacted. I am able to lead a full, happy life, but my account could have changed at any moment, as it has for the hundreds of persons killed through family and intimate partner violence this year.
I was hit with a car and still found a way to rationalize the abuse. My name is Lindsey, and I am a Domestic Violence Survivor.
We started off our relationship young and in high school. He encouraged me to become more involved with drinking and partying. He was always angry, but in the early stages of our relationship, I found a way to rationalize it as it was not directed towards me. Our relationship was very on and off until finally, we married at age 18. He was in the military, so we spent years living in new places with little support around us. His aggression escalated towards me until it was normal for him to spew hateful comments while screaming in my face until I cried. He would only begin to laugh and move on when I reached that point.
He viewed himself as the “machismo” man of the house and would regularly use aggression to assert his dominance. I let it go for years because he never hit me with his fists. Therefore, it couldn’t be abuse, right? His drinking problem and reckless behavior grew in intensity. Friends started growing increasingly concerned seeing his aggression towards me in public. Still, it was a relationship problem, so no one wanted to intervene, even after watching him back into me with his truck, causing me significant pain. Inside, I begged for mercy but had no outlet to express my fear.
One day, he showed up at my work, violently drunk. He yelled at my manager with hateful comments about me and how I was worthless as a human. Upon escorting him out of the building, they pulled me into their office, asking me if I was safe to go home. In tears, I said yes, knowing what I would return to. They encouraged me to begin safety planning, but working a low-paying job in a new state didn’t seem realistic. Upon getting home that night, he was sitting on our bed with his gun. It was at that moment that he told me that one of us was going to die tonight. I knew my situation was not safe.
The military police came and picked him up but would only hold him for 24 hours. The police said I must have done something to him to make him act this way so they would not keep him longer than that. They insisted that I correct the problem. I fixed it by leaving that night in the middle of the night.
My story is not unique and is something millions of families are experiencing now. Despite underreporting by victims, reports find that domestic violence impacts 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 males. Multiple people you know are likely being abused or have experienced abuse. Resources, such as the Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center, save families from violence and provide a safe place during crisis and safety planning. The organization served 326 domestic violence victims last year. More education and awareness are necessary to encourage more victims to come forward and change how society views domestic violence.
If you or anyone you know require help, call their 24-hour hotline at (951) 686 – RAPE (7273).