Do­mes­tic vi­o­lence can hap­pen to any­one

Serve Daily - - EMPOWERING LIBERTY - By Heather Wolsey

As a young girl, I had many dreams of what life would be like when I grew up. I de­cided at a young age that be­ing a mother was my dream job. I was mar­ried when I was 20 and I was blessed with six beau­ti­ful chil­dren. My life had all the mak­ings for my hap­pily ever af­ter, but I hid a dark se­cret. I was a vic­tim of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

Shortly af­ter I was mar­ried, my hus­band be­gan to be emo­tion­ally abu­sive. I didn’t un­der­stand what was go­ing on, nor did I rec­og­nize the warn­ing signs. I did my best to make my home happy and keep the peace. We had pe­ri­ods of hap­pi­ness in­ter­min­gled with hard times which in­cluded walk­ing on eg­gshells and fight­ing.

The emo­tional abuse grad­u­ally turned into phys­i­cal abuse. I found my­self stuck in an im­pos­si­ble sit­u­a­tion. I didn’t want to be in my mar­riage any longer and I couldn’t fig­ure out how to get my chil­dren and my­self out safely. This took a toll on me. My dream job had turned into a prison sen­tence that had no end in sight.

I en­dured this re­al­ity for 20 years. It took me al­most dy­ing to re­al­ize that I couldn’t sim­ply en­dure the abuse any longer. I fi­nally found the courage to get my­self and my chil­dren out.

As I look back on my ex­pe­ri­ence, I re­al­ize just how lucky I am to be here. Only now do I un­der­stand the cy­cle of vi­o­lence that I was caught in. I want oth­ers to un­der­stand this as well. Do­mes­tic vi­o­lence al­ways fol­lows iden­ti­fi­able pat­terns - the hon­ey­moon phase, the ten­sion phase and the in­ci­dent. Do­mes­tic vi­o­lence hap­pens to one in three Utah women. That be­ing said, men can be vic­tims as well. Do­mes­tic vi­o­lence has be­come a norm in our so­ci­ety and I am not OK with that.

My days are now filled with mommy du­ties and work­ing a full-time job. It is ex­haust­ing, but it is so worth it. I am com­mit­ted to mak­ing sure that my chil­dren un­der­stand that what hap­pened in our house wasn’t nor­mal. I will make sure that the cy­cle of abuse is not passed on through them. I want my com­mu­nity to un­der­stand that chil­dren watch ev­ery­thing that hap­pens in their house­hold. They will mir­ror their par­ent’s ac­tions. We can­not al­low this to hap­pen through our si­lence and se­crecy.

I have de­cided that it is my duty as a con­cerned cit­i­zen to speak out about do­mes­tic vi­o­lence. I hope to ed­u­cate and in­form my com­mu­nity about do­mes­tic vi­o­lence in ef­forts to re­verse this hor­ri­ble trend. I also want to give those who are cur­rently suf­fer­ing a mes­sage of hope. There is a way out. There is life af­ter do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and many happy days to be had. If you or some­one you know is be­ing abused, please ask for help by calling 1-800-897-LINK.

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