So for the last couple of days I've been trying to write my next post in my head. It's hard to give voice to some events, like opening Pandoras Box. Once you commit them to the page you breathe life into them and all that they bring with them. I've been vacillating between fight or flight. I mean I'm fat for a reason, once I let go there is no turning back, nowhere to hide. For the last 3 days I've turned on the computer, logged into my blog and then turned tail and ran.
Yesterday I picked up the paper to read that there is a proposal which would entail the creation of a Domestic Violence Register along with a nice little sidebar of women applying for AVOs and why they were. Nice little puff encapsulating the circumstances behind the AVO.
This misapprehension that Domestic Violence is physical makes my heart ache because for 20 years I was at the mercy of an abuser who never laid a finger on me yet he raped my soul every single day. He tore me down day after day after day until there was nothing left. How do you stand in court and ask for protection against that? Sometimes I used to think it wouldn't be so bad if he hit me because then there would be a mark and maybe someone would notice.
Domestic violence is not only physical it is emotional, financial, sexual and geographical. It is ruled by fear and shame and self loathing. Like the ripples in a pond the shockwaves spread outward infecting all around but at the same time wrapped in a cloak of invisibility.
Behind many doors in all types of neighbourhoods the scenes are being played out night after night. We talk of bullying in schools but where do the bullies go when they leave school - they move into the community and find new victims.
Like any bully once they find a weakness they work it and they have the perfect weapon - SHAME.
How many times have you heard a conversation and had people categorically state if x,y or z happened to me I'd be out of there in a heartbeat. It's easy to make that determination when you aren't in a situation that isn't healthy but imagine if someone in that conversation is, how weak do they feel? Everyone else would leave so why can't I?
How many times have you heard someone say that they've tried to help but they didn't leave so there is nothing you can do and they're on their own. Leaving in itself can be a journey where small steps are taken. No one else can set the timetable but being told you are a failure when you are already told how stupid, useless, fat, ugly....... only reinforces that not only is everything you are being told true but that you deserve it because you can't hurt yourself.
The signs are subtle, control is exerted gradually and in seemingly inocuously until it's too late and it's all done in the name of love. I only ......... because I love you. I'm only doing this because I want you to be the best you can be........
So you continue going through the motions, to the outside world you look like you have a perfectly ordinary life and all the while your spirit is drowning and you begin to bury the pain by eating because that's the one thing you have control over. You choose when you eat, what you eat and how much but like everything else in your life before you know it you realise that not only don't you have control but you've become everything you've been told - literally a self fulfilling prophecy.
The cycle of hate continues