The Impact of Domestic Abuse

Since I left an abusive relationship myself and began to heal, I wanted to do something to give back… to help in some way others who were also leaving abusive relationships.  I began a couple years ago volunteering at a transitional housing organization focused on women and children who are left homeless when leaving an abusive situation.

Last evening, we had our annual benefit dinner.  I participated as a volunteer.  After we had everyone “checked in”, with their programs in hand and the dinner portion of the evening began, we were able to sit down and eat ourselves.  Me and a couple other staff members were seated at a table with a few supporters.  I introduced myself to the two people on each side of me.  To my right sat a woman who was probably about my mother’s age.  She was heavily overweight, using canes to assist in moving herself around (I admire how someone manages to do that).  Her eyes were a clear, crystal blue, and had what I saw as a very sweet soul inside.

“What brought you to be involved with this organization?”  I asked.  When she responded, she had to work very hard to speak.  Her voice was difficult to get out of her body, and her neck and head shifted accordingly.  Her voice was intermittent and difficult to follow.

“My husband” she said.  I thought “Oh, nice, her husband must be a donator or supporter as well”.  However, he wasn’t there with her.

She continued, though, to tell me  “he choked me. He physically abused me so badly when our daughter was just a baby.  He abandoned us after I left, which is the greatest gift he ever gave us.”

Holy crap.

She told me of a few stories of their time together, and still had tears swell up in her eyes.  Her daughter is 42 now.  It has impacted her for most of her life.  She told me “any woman who is brave enough to take her children and get out of an abusive situation is a hero to me.”

It was slow and arduous to speak with her, and worth every minute of waiting for the words to form and every strain of my ear to hear her.  Yet she was sitting there – supporting and donating to enable others to have what they need to find their freedom, and with a wonderful smile which glowed through her eyes.   She is making a difference in the lives of others despite having had a difficult life herself.  She did tell me one other interesting thing… how her daughter understands why her father abandoned her and that it was for their good, but that she had to heal from being abandoned nonetheless.

It was an honor to have met her and shared our dinner together.  Here’s to many more who leave abusive situations and stand up to those who abuse!

2 Responses to “The Impact of Domestic Abuse”

  1. Julie says:

    Very inspiring! To often I have been made to feel by ignorant people that as a survivor I was weak or somehow should feel ashamed for what happend. Thanks for the story! Only a survivor can know the strength it takes to leave an abusive situation and not go back. (as many do). Other heroic survivors – Bill Clinton, Halley Berry, Shania Twain!

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