Love Lighting My Way

I put so much into the creation of the menu and writing the descriptions that I almost didn't think I had any energy or words left to share here. Pshaw! There are always more words... Seriously though, I was rereading my blog from last year and remembering how powerful it was for me to write it. You see October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and though I rarely think about it now, I am a survivor of Domestic Violence.

(photo iskcon.org)

This year the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence is launching a social media campaign on October 18th called #IWishYouKnew. They are asking people to share their personal or public statements on what they wish others knew about domestic violence. The idea is to raise awareness as well as raise funds for organizations that support battered women and their children. Kari Hitchcock, the Community Outreach Coordinator for Home Free, a Minnesota-based women's shelter, states: "I wish you knew domestic violence isn't always physical, it's more emotional, isolation, economic abuse, intimidating...It’s still a very secret situation, something people don’t talk about.”

Hitchcock wishes you knew the signs in your loved ones, to pay attention to patterns. Reach out for help. Reach out to help.

“I have noticed you have bruises, what's going on? Did someone do this to you?” said Hitchcock. “I have heard women say when someone asked them, that is what they were waiting for, someone to ask them. All of the sudden that might make her realize she can get out of that situation.” - source kare11.org

It is not yet October 18th, but #IWishYouKnew how confusing being in an abusive relationship is. That kind of unhealthy relationship is so damaging, so isolating, so manipulative, that it is very, very difficult to retain a sense of self, what to speak of a sense of self-preservation. The best explanation that I have ever seen on why/how "strong" women end up in abusive relationships and why they don't "just leave" was in a TED Talk given by Leslie Morgan Steiner, author of Crazy Love. For whatever reason, and it wasn't my family of origin, I have ended up in three intimate relationships that spanned the domestic violence continuum. Each time, it took a force far greater than my own power to extricate me from the situation.

This is what I wrote on this matter last year: "It was almost exactly seven years ago that I was finally able to leave my situation, thanks to the persistent encouragement and support of friends and family. Today is a lifetime away from those dark days, and I don't feel ready or willing to delve back into them, neither in memory nor word. I do acknowledge that everything I experienced has helped make me who I am, has made me appreciate the miracle of supportive loved ones, and has fueled a burning quest to understand why people hurt others (this might explain my obsession with neuroscience), and ultimately to find within myself the capacity to forgive. Read more... "

This month is the eight-year anniversary of leaving my abusive marriage, and my current life is even farther away from that dark and lonely place than it was last year. The past two years have been an advanced study in learning to trust, to work in partnership, to practice safe communication, to learn to receive love as well as to give it. I have many people to thank for walking with me along this journey. One person in particular is to thank for doing what I once perceived as impossible, teaching me to trust in love. He knows who he is (as do many of you), and I could not be more grateful for his presence in my life. #IWantYouToKnow that there IS hope. If you are in a domestic violence situation. Keep reading. Keep learning. Keep looking for resources. Keep praying. Keep hoping. There are people you can trust out there. People who want to help. You just have to find one another.

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